Letter – Bainbridge Wadleigh, 10 December 1864


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Letter written by New Hampshire senator Benjamin Wadleigh from Milford, NH. It is addressed to “Charley” and was among a group of letters identified to Charles Wilkins of the 1st US Infantry. However, at this time Charles had been dead for over a year. It is possible the letter was intended for Charles H. Bell instead, Wadleigh’s successor in the senate. In it Wadleigh asks the recipient why he has not responded to any previous letters, blaming a “Mrs. C” for taking up all of Charley’s time. Wadleigh then goes on to discuss politics and the war.

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Milford, NH, Dec. 10, 1864

Dear Charley:

    Why do you not write me? I would like to know what reason you can give for such an unconscionable delay. I have been expecting to hear from you every day but have uniformly been disappointed. I begin to think that the time which you gave to your friends before is now occupied by Mrs. C. That is all right, but drop a line now & then if you can.

    Things are jogging along here in the same old fashion. We are listening intently to hear the shout of Sherman’s men when they reach the coast of the Atlantic. It is now nearly or quite time to hear from him. I do not believe that there is anything to stay his triumphant march, & that the Rebel reports of his disasters are only whistling to keep their courage up. When he does get through I shall expect to see Grant reinforced and Richmond taken.

     Today we are having the first snow storm of the season. There are many indications that it will stay, and that we shall now have sleighing continuously. I don’t care how soon it comes, for we are more comfortable here with snow than without it in cold winter weather. At Washington you can’t have the luxury of sleigh rides.

     I suppose that by the time this reaches you Renel

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Durbee will be in Washington. You must get acquainted with him if you want to know common sense and homely shrewdness incarnate. Renel is the most original man in N.H. today. I should like to be present at the interview between him and Old Abe.

     It now looks as though Fred Smyth would be nominated for governor, and Rollins is absolutely certain of the Congressional nomination. I suspect that we shall have a hard fight next spring in which the main issue will be the financial management of this state, and the general government. They say that the “nuterified” are made to believe that they can carry the state, though such a belief indicates a vast amount of faith and hope. And through an amount of faith equal to a grain of mustard seed might have been sufficient to remove mountains in Christ’s day, the article must have been a good deal purer than any which our McClellanites have now.

     Gen. Marston is to be a candidate for congress in the first district. He could get almost anything he wished if he had not such a violent, ungovernable temper, of which innumerable anecdotes are told. As it is I hardly think that he will get it though it is possible.

     In this town the democrats profess to be well satisfied with the president’s message. Even Dr. Stickney commends it and said yesterday to Fordyce, Hutchinson, & myself,

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that he sees nothing in it which any reasonable man can object to. I think that it is a model state paper for the people. There is no indirectness, evasion, or “high fulutin” about it. But there is an honest manliness which is sublime. God bless old Abe. I say, and so do the people.

     But I have but little time and many letters to write. Let me hear from you. Remember me to Ordway, Ned and “last but not least,” your wife. Tell Tom to write me. Write soon.

                                Yours truly,

B. Wadleigh

Bainbridge Wadleigh was a Republican United States Senator from New Hampshire. He attended Kimball Union Academy, studied law, and began practicing in Milford after he was admitted to the bar in 1850. He served as a member of the NH House of Representatives for several terms before being elected to the US Senate in 1873. He died in 1891.