Letter from Frederick William Seward to Frances Miller Seward, October 7, 1861

  • Posted on: 22 February 2018
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Letter from Frederick William Seward to Frances Miller Seward, October 7, 1861
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transcriber

Transcriber:spp:sts

student editor

Transcriber:spp:cnk

Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections

Date:1861-10-07

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Letter from Frederick William Seward to Frances Miller Seward, October 7, 1861

action: sent

sender: Frederick Seward
Birth: 1830-07-08  Death: 1915-04-25

location: Washington D.C., US

receiver: Frances Seward
Birth: 1805-09-24  Death: 1865-06-21

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: sts 

revision: crb 2017-01-19

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Page 1

Washington, Monday, 7th
My dear Mother,
Here is the resumé of another week.
Sunday we drove to Munson's Hill, and saw
the deserted fortifications & rifle pits, the abandoned
huts & shelters & houses of the Secessionists, the magni-
ficent view of Washington & Alexandria, the exultant
soldiers roaming about in squads, the houses which
were in flames or ashes, on account of the supposed Se-
cessionism of their owners, and the various Generals,
McDowell
Birth: 1818-10-15 Death: 1885-05-04
, Keyes
Birth: 1810-05-29 Death: 1895-10-14
, Franklin
Birth: 1823-02-27 Death: 1903-03-08
, Porter
Birth: 1822 Death: 1901
& Martindale
Birth: 1815-03-20 Death: 1881-12-13
, disposing
their troops in their new positions. Passing down the
Leesburgh turnpike to Alexandria we found how
formidable our own fortifications were. First a line
of a mile or two of packet stations, then an
abattis consisting of a strip of forest half a
mile wide, felled and interwoven so as to be
impassable for an Army, and beyond and
commanding the whole, Forts on the heights
Page 2

with deep ditches, high stockades and the heaviest siege
artillery. This same line of defence, equally
formidable at all points runs along from Alexandria
to above Chain Bridge, over nine miles covering
the entire front of the City.
Monday there were various reports of skirmishes
near the Chain Bridge of which we could hear
the cannon. But they amounted to little, the
enemy retreating almost as soon as discovered. They
have now fallen back a day's march from us. In
the afternoon we drove to Tenlytown and looked at
the new forts there.
Tuesday on returning from a ride to Georgetown
Heights, we found Gus
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11
had arrived and as
you may imagine we're exceedingly glad to find
him. In the evening the President
Birth: 1809-02-12 Death: 1865-04-15
came over and
summoned Gen. Cameron
Birth: 1828-02-22 Death: 1894-03-15
, Gen McClellen
Birth: 1826-12-03 Death: 1885-10-29
, General
Sherman
Birth: 1813-03-26 Death: 1879-03-16
, Commander Dupont
Birth: 1803-09-27 Death: 1865-06-23
, Scott
Birth: 1786-06-13 Death: 1866-05-29
& Fox
Birth: 1821-06-13 Death: 1883-10-29
to a
consultation about the Naval Expeditions to
the South, now soon to be off.
Wednesday was raining, dull & quiet. Governor
Page 3

(G.W.) Patterson
Birth: 1799-11-11 Death: 1879-10-15
dined with us, and seems quite recovered
of his recent attack.
Thursday came some Baltimore Committees
to implore the release of Mayor Brown
Birth: 1812-10-13 Death: 1890-09-08
and others
in Fort Lafayette. I believe Baltimore has
sent a Committee here, on an average once
a week ever since April, all professedly loyal
but every one to remonstrate against the Govern-
ment's doing anything to defend itself. If their
advice had been followed there would have been
no Capital here, now. – In the afternoon
Father
Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
, Gus, and Anna
Birth: 1836-03-29 Death: 1919-05-02
went over to take another
look at Munson's Hill and vicinity.
Friday, the Fremont
Birth: 1813-01-21 Death: 1890-07-13
and Blair
Birth: 1821-02-19 Death: 1875-07-08
difficulty
culminated. You see it all (and rather more)
in the newspapers. Gen Wool
Birth: 1784-02-20 Death: 1869-11-10
, who came up from
Fortress Monroe was not ordered to supersede Gen.
Fremont. – We drove out on the plain east of
the capital in the afternoon, and found some
dozen or more camps there. In one, evening
parade was taking place to the tune of "Red, White
Page 4

and Blue"; in another, evening prayers to the
tune of "Old Hundred", and in a third they were
humming an Irish jig. The illuminated tents, laughing
groups & bands of music inclined us to think that
the poor women who are daily writing from home
to implore the discharge of their husbands from
such a hard life, give them credit for a good
deal more fortitude than most soldiers are ever
called upon to exercise–General McCook
Birth: 1831-04-22 Death: 1903-06-12
of Ohio
Governor Pennington
Birth: 1796-05-04 Death: 1862-02-16
of N.J. and Sam Ward
Birth: 1814-01-27 Death: 1884-05-19
of New York
came to dinner.
Saturday, more Baltimore Committees, more
Fremont and Blair, and the usual entreaties for
passes to go South, from people who want to save their
property, or rejoin their families, or carry information
to the enemy–it impossible to tell which, Here
all are forbidden, and doubtless many individual
hardships ensue.
Sunday, (yesterday) Father proposed to get one
day of rest, which is an impossibility in town,
by going out of it. On telling the President, he
Page 5

said he would go also. Gen McClellan, & Scott
(asst. Secretary of War) and two of General Cameron's
Birth: 1828-02-22 Death: 1894-03-15

daughters
Unknown
were added so that our party filled
three carriages. We went up through Tenallytown
and Rorkville to the camp of the Cayuga
Regiment, about 18 miles from Washington, where
the President had telegraphed General Banks
Birth: 1816-01-30 Death: 1894-09-01
to
meet him. Found the General, had a lunch
under the trees, visited the camp and found the
Regiment much improved in discipline and spirits,
saw Dennis
Unknown
(who says he is to have a furlough
soon) and caused a good deal of wonderment
among the people as to what it could all be
about. (The last time a similar visit was
made to Gen. Banks, the arrest of the Mary
land Legislature was arranged). Gen. McClellan
& Gen. Banks had a long & satisfying consultation
about their respective commands, and at half
past four we started homewards. We did not
reach the City till long after dark.
Page 6

To day the Adjutant General
Birth: 1804-10-26 Death: 1875-03-02
sends
Gus his Major's Commission. His bond
as Paymaster had already been sent him,
and he is to choose this week between them.
He inclines to the Paymastership.
Affectionately you son
Frederick
Page 7

Hand Shiftx

Frances Seward

Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
Frederick
Oct 7th
1861