Abbie Howland Woolsey to her sister, Georgeanna.
8 Brevoort Place, New York, July 10th, 1862.
Eliza, Joe and Jane have gone off this morning to Fishkill. . Joe’s place here was in the long lounging-chair by the front parlor window, while we received ordinary folks whom he wouldn’t see, in the dining-room. He has worn a full white suit of Charley’s, which Hatty happened to lay her hands on, and went off in it this morning, home, via Newburgh. . . . He did not mean to go till this afternoon, but got a letter yesterday from Mr. Masters (who has been one of the callers here) written in great haste, and full of excitement. It was to Eliza, saying that the people of Fishkill were so full of enthusiasm for her husband, that they were bent on having a demonstration on his arrival, which he knew would be contrary to Eliza’s taste, and injurious to Joe’s health. He therefore advised that they should change the hour and way of their proposed coming, and if they would telegraph him to Newburgh—under an assumed name (isn’t it funny?)—he would be there to receive the message and would let Thomson and Moritz know! . . . We think it a shame to disappoint the people so much, but Joe would get up at five this morning and leave the house at six, with his sword, etc. done up in a brown paper parcel. He thinks if there is such enthusiasm, he ought to be able to turn it to account for recruiting. It is really pleasant to know that the country people have such a spirit —for the cause. It is a good sign. . . .
The farmer, Mr. Thomson, wrote me a letter of thanks for mine to him, describing Joe’s wound, etc. He said there had been “such reports in Fishkill as never was. Some had it his nose had been shot off, and some, his jaw, and the story was ‘Mrs. Howland was pris’ner,'” etc. Great discussions took place in the church porch on Sunday, whether his moustache would grow over such a very bad scar, and Mr. Masters was so besieged for details that he ended by reading from the pulpit part of a letter of Carry’s to Mrs. Charles Wolcott.
The neighbors have all been in, or sent in to offer their services to us and our wounded hero, having watched him get out of the coach that Sunday morning. Carry was so intent on watching the Hills from her window, and so desirous that they should all be ranged at their front windows, looking, as they were, that I believe she missed seeing Joe get out herself ! . . .
Did anyone tell you of your friend Mr. Mitchell’s call the other night? He brought your note and was very pleasant. We had no candy for him, but he drank iced lemonade. His father won’t let him enlist, so you may see him back again. Jane recognized him as some one she had seen at Philharmonic rehearsals fifty times or more.
Mrs. Trotter writes G. about this time: “John met Edward Wright (of the army) today. He spoke in the highest terms of Mr. Howland. He says he is the idol of the regiment, and there is not a man who would not do anything for him. I trust his reward will be as great as the sacrifice.”