Letter from Frederick William Seward to Frances Miller Seward, October 20, 1861

  • Posted on: 22 February 2018
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Letter from Frederick William Seward to Frances Miller Seward, October 20, 1861
x

transcriber

Transcriber:spp:sts

student editor

Transcriber:spp:msr

Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections

Date:1861-10-20

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Letter from Frederick William Seward to Frances Miller Seward, October 20, 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 2018-01-22

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Page 1

Washington, Oct. 20th 1861
Sunday morning
My dear Mother,
On Monday, the Board of
Commissioners for the Great Exhibition commenced
their sessions. They met at the State Depart-
ment, Father
Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
presiding and Mr Kennedy
Birth: 1813-04-01 Death: 1887-07-13
being
Secretary. Mr Minturn
Birth: 1805-11-16 Death: 1866-01-09
, who is one, dined and
breakfasted with us. Their subsequent meetings
were held in the evenings in order that
they might devote the day to the camps, &c.
Tuesday Mr. Evarts
Birth: 1818-02-06 Death: 1901-02-28
came to argue a
claim against the Russian Government, and
after him Judge Black
Birth: 1810-01-10 Death: 1883-08-19
to argue one against
the Government of Peru
x

Peru

. Col. Johnson
Birth: 1827-06 Death: 1904-04
, the
Page 2

Secretary of the N.Y. State Agricultural Society
came to dinner, with some others of the
Commissioners. He is to be Chairman of the Executive Committee.
Wednesday, we took an inventory of our
prisoners of State at Fort Lafayette, and
found the number was reduced from
144 to 122, showing that more are
released at present than are arrested.
They average about two arrests and three
or four released on taking the oath of
allegiance, daily. The scenes at the
State Department are much like those
at the Governor’s house in Albany, when
he is besieged to exercise the pardoning
power. Hardly a day passes that there
are not five or six ladies to solicit passes
Page 3

to go South, or orders for the release of their husbands,
Lawyers & friends are also abundant, but less
difficult to get along with. The Secession ladies
have so little control of their tempers & tongues
that they usually do more harm than good to
the cause of those for whom they intercede.
Thursday morning we had the gratifying
news of Col. Geary’s
Birth: 1819-12-30 Death: 1873-02-08
defeat of the enemy
near Harper’s Ferry. General Banks
Birth: 1816-01-30 Death: 1894-09-01
who
came down in the course of the day &
dined with us, brought the confirmation
and the particulars. – We drove over
to Arlington to see Gen. King
Birth: 1814-01-26 Death: 1876-10-13
who is now
stationed there, and found the roads,
heretofore lined with camps, now deserted,
almost the whole army having moved
forward.
Friday, the often reiterated story of the
Page 4

closing of the Potomac was renewed, with more
show of truth. This inconvenience however is
counterbalanced by evident disposition of the
enemy to retreat back towards Manassas.
Every day, some new post, hill, or village
is occupied by our troops, who push steadily
forward, as the others retreat. Every height
thus gained is immediately fortified. –
The circular to the Governors about the fortification
of the seaboard & the Lakes created much
sensation & talk, not lessened by the correspon
dance with Lord Lyons
Birth: 1817-04-06 Death: 1887-12-05
on the subject of
arrests. By way, however, of showing
that hostilities are not immediately
imminent, Father, Anna
Birth: 1836-03-29 Death: 1919-05-02
, Lord Lyons, Mr
Birth: 1816-09-24 Death: 1886-10-16
&
Mrs Mercier, and Mr Tassana
Birth: 1817-07-19 Death: 1875-02-14
all made an
excursion over the River, attended a Review
Page 5

and visited Munson’s Hill. There was a
slight contretemps, however, as they met the
French Princes
x Birth: 1840-11-09  Death: 1910-12-05  Birth: 1818-08-14  Death: 1900-06-16 
at Arlington. Of course they
and the French Minister
Birth: 1818-11-11 Death: 1866-10-18
could not speak
or be introduced to each other. The Princes
are very popular among the Army officers, from
their modesty and their eagerness to be
useful, as well as their strong Unionism.
Yesterday was the day for the recep-
tion of Foreign Ministers, an arrangement
which proves very convenient. In the after-
noon the President
Birth: 1809-02-12 Death: 1865-04-15
and Father went to the
Navy Yard and the Pensacola, now nearly
ready for sea.– Gen McClellan
Birth: 1826-12-03 Death: 1885-10-29
went
over the River last night and staid
at Gen Smith’s
Birth: 1824 Death: 1903
Headquarters near Prospect
Hill, all night. He telegraphs back this
morning, that all is quiet, that the
Page 6

enemy have still further retreated, and
that he is to make a new reconnaissance
in force today, to find out, if possible
where they are.
Affectionately your son
Frederick
Page 7

Unknown
Frederick
Oct 20th
1861