1863 letter criticizing Army leadership, 2nd Massachusetts Volunteers

$175.00 CAD

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Interesting letter written to the Chaplain of the 2nd Massachusetts Volunteers making harsh criticisms of the leadership and officers of the Union Army.

Addressed to:

Reverend Alonzo A. Quint, Chaplain to the 2d Regiment Volunteers of Mass. Washington D.C.

Postmarked ‘WESTON MAR 23 MASS.’ (Note ‘MAR’ is upside down).

Weston on March 20th 1863
Rev’d. Alonzo A. Quint
Dear Sir, your favor of the 10th instant has reached me and I have engaged Mr. James to send ten copies of the Congregationalist to Washington (to you) for one year paid for the paper and postage and expect they will be received wherever you may be located; and hope you may constantly enjoy the luxury of doing good to those about you. That this horrid rebellion is upon us as a punishment for our individual and national sins, I as fully believe, as that Napoleon the first, the Great Napoleon, was raised up for the purpose of scourging the nations of Europe. And was there ever a more efficient agent? I have wished that the Federal Army for a time might have the guidance of one like him. But  //
I should, judging from the past, expect he would be recalled, deprived of his command and perhaps, an unqualified inefficient aspirant placed in his stead. It requires a person of more equanimity than I possess, to look on quietly and approvingly to see month after month  pass in idleness after  a battle has been successfully fought, instead of immediately following up the advantage; thereby giving the enemy all the time and opportunity to recruit and reconquer what he had lost. To be frequently removing and then restoring commanders who had shown by their inefficiency that they could not or would not , do anything but organise, organise and organise month after month, under the pretense that the roads were impassable. They were not impassable for the rebels, and would not proved so to the Union Troops , had there been a hearty good will to advance in the //
the commanding officers. The propitious opportunities for effecting a great objects are, it seems to be generally admitted that Richmond (1)  might have been conquered with very trifling loss had there been a disposition on the part of the commander and a capacity to do so. But both were probably wanting.  And subsequently a most valuable commander was near being sacrificed to get him the poor organizer out of a difficulty into which he had brought himself by his strategy.  I am, as you perceive, fault finding. Yet I am truly sorry to feel obliged to do so or remain silent. It would be quite intolerable were it not my conviction that God reigns and can bring good out of evil. I should be delighted to have Gen’l Pope  (2) enjoying all the all the favor he so richly deserves; but he will not stoop, I hope, to those who were willing to sacrifice him , for the undeserving favorite of the copperheads (3).
Truly yours,  Alpheus  Bigelow //
P.S. My best wishes and prayers are for the success of the U.S. Army; but wishes do not amount to hopes. Gen’l Butler (4) is no longer allowed a command; by some that one of the most efficient officers of the Army. Gen’l Hooker (5) brave and efficient as he has shown himself may be Butlerized. The country may be saved in spite of all efforts of Rebels and blunders of Unionists.
A. B.

(1) Richmond VA

Over a period of seven days from June 25 to July 1, 1862, Richmond's defensive line of batteries and fortifications set up under General Robert E. Lee, a daring ride around the Union Army by Confederate cavalry under General J.E.B. Stuart, and an unexpected appearance of General Stonewall Jackson's famous "foot cavalry" combined to unnerve the ever-cautious McClellan, and he initiated a Union retreat before Richmond.

(2) General Pope

At Second Bull Run, he concentrated his attention on attacking Jackson while the other Confederate corps attacked his flank and routed his army. Following Manassas, Pope was banished far from the Eastern Theater to the Department of the Northwest in Minnesota,

(3) Copperheads

In the 1860s, the Copperheads, also known as Peace Democrats, were a faction of Democrats in the Union who opposed the American Civil War and wanted an immediate peace settlement with the Confederates.

(4) General Butler

Although Butler's governance of New Orleans was popular in the North, where it was seen as a successful stand against recalcitrant secessionists, some of his actions, notably those against the foreign consuls, concerned Lincoln, who authorized his recall in December 1862. Butler continues to be a disliked and controversial figure in New Orleans and the rest of the South. Butler's popularity with the radicals meant that Lincoln could not readily deny him a new posting…

(5) General Hooker

Lincoln appointed Hooker to command of the Army of the Potomac on January 26, 1863. Some members of the army saw this move as inevitable, given Hooker's reputation for aggressive fighting, something sorely lacking in his predecessors. During the "Mud March" Hooker was quoted by a New York Times army correspondent as saying that "Nothing would go right until we had a dictator, and the sooner the better."

Patriotic red and blue edging on paper.
Envelope torn and toned.
4 pages
7" x 4 ½"