War Letters of William Thompson Lusk.

Headquarters 1st Brig.

1st Div. 9th Army Corps,

Sept. 22d, 1862.

My dear Mother:

Heigh-ho! I do wish I could hear from home. We are promised a mail to-day, but I am not certain if my letters will reach me. I get piles of papers which travel down to South Carolina, make the tour of half the continent, and finally inundate me with news eight or ten weeks old; but the letters — where do they go to? I asked Genl. Burnside’s Postmaster this question the other day. “Why, let me see” was his answer, “there were some letters for you. I remember the name. It’s a queer sort of a name. Now where can they have gone to?” Consolatory, was it not? Here I am full of anxiety, and no relief.

However, most of us here stand on the same footing. We are resting now from past labors, near the mouth of Antietam Creek where it empties into the Potomac. This rest is indeed grateful to us all, for we were pretty well exhausted, ridding Maryland of its invaders. The rest can’t last long, though, I suppose. If possible I am going to abandon the immediate pursuit of arms, and return to medicine. Dr. McDonald, Surgeon of the 79th, urges me very strongly to accept the position as his 2nd assistant, and has well-nigh persuaded me that I could do more good in that position than anyone he would be apt to get elsewhere. I would like this first-rate, but how to accomplish the transfer from Brigade-Adjutant to Asst. Surgeon? The Government is not very obliging in these matters, and it is too difficult a thing to work, for me to hope much. I have a pretty good time now — am not too much pressed with work. The Col. commanding the Brigade treats me with flattering consideration, and I believe myself generally respected and beloved in the Brigade. I am not consequently very unhappy, am rather jolly than otherwise. Still I feel neglected, and have abandoned anything like military aspirations. It is vain to refer to long service, or to the estimation in which I have been held by commanding officers as shown on the records of the Division from the first. I cannot but feel that had I stayed at home until these last levies were raised, I might have held a much more responsible position than my present one. I have abandoned in future all care or thought of promotion, and content myself with doing simply and purely my duty. Now, my precious mother, if I am querulous, don’t let it trouble you. I do not mind it myself. I only write as I do to show you how it is that my feelings have so changed since we parted. You can remember how indignantly I repulsed every suggestion as to my entering the army in connection with the medical service, and yet would very gladly do so to-day were it in my power. As for the rest, not being one of your grand and gloomy geniuses oppressed by a sense of their own merits, and the world’s want of appreciation of them, although occasionally exercising a soldier’s privilege to grumble, I contrive to keep up my spirits, like a Mark Tapley in the township of Eden. Bother! I would like to see you all. Master Turly must wear breeches with pockets in them. Master Will has doubtless grown large enough to bully smaller boys than himself. (Such things are possible, my dear sister Mary, though I grant the improbability in this particular case). Lilly and Tom have grown staid and domestic. Walter can hear the heir-apparent talked about without blushing. Both the Ellens make charming young mothers. The old house, Hunt and Mary, and then my mother thinking of an absent scapegrace who now sits in his shirt-sleeves, having laid aside his shabby war-worn regimentals, and wants to be remembered lovingly by all his friends! Oh bother!


Capt. & A. A. A. G.

War Letters of William Thompson Lusk.

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