Editor’s Note: This article was provided by John Hennessy and transcribed by Jackie Martin.
Letter from the Army.
A letter from the army near Petersburg, to a gentleman of our acquaintance dated July 20th, says they had just been refreshed by a fine rain which had given new life to men, earth and animals. The following is an extract:
“This morning a great deal of firing is being done on our right, and occasionally we hear the Petersburg express going through the air, which is the shell of a big gun down on the right called by that name.
The work of digging is continually going on all along the lines, throwing up new fortifications, rifle pits, trenches, cutting roads, & c. It would surprise any one who is not familiar with this business to see the immense amount of work done here, throwing up earthworks, building forts, bomb proofs, &c., but it is not half done yet I hear. And if that is so, why we shall be here a long time yet before the siege will commence. But I cannot think Grant and Meade intend to stay here so long before they open in earnest. I yet have great faith in their abilities to carry out what they have undertaken, but I do solemnly believe had Gen. McClellan had the men and been as well supported as have Gens. Grant and Meade during this campaign, he would and could have done more than they have done. I had and do now have great faith in Grant and Meade, but still hold that “Little Mac” was a far more able general than both of them, and I would like to see him in the field, commander to-day, and many, many thousands say the same. The men who fought under him knew him—knew him well and knew too that he cannot be outdone by any general or generals brought into the field as yet. McClellan stock will yet rise in the estimation if it has not yet commenced to, and he may yet be called to lead the Army of the Potomac forward, and men and officers will be found to follow where he leads. Officers I say. The greater part of them in this army would vote to have him come back.”
The above written by a well educated young gentleman who has served in the Army of the Potomac nearly three years without being absent a day. His time will be up in about a month.1
- “Letter from the Army.” Daily Eastern Argus (Portland, ME). July 28, 1864, p. ? col. ? ↩