Editor’s Note: This article was provided by John Hennessy and transcribed by Jackie Martin.
FROM THE NINTH ARMY CORPS. The following family letter from a staff officer in the Army of the Potomac, furnishes new proof of the hopeful and patriotic spirit which pervades the troops in the field. Under date of “Near Petersburg, Sept. 11,” the writer says:
“Not many days will elapse before the telegraphic wires will carry news to the people that “something has happened.” Everybody is confident here—there is no discontent, no demoralization. It is most gratifying to see the cheerful unanimity that pervades our troops. They are all inspired by one grand purpose, that, despite the lack of interest at home, or, rather, the lack of sympathy on the part of too many who should be our warm supporters there, they will, under the leadership of our noble Grant, and a merciful Providence permitting, bring this war to its proper and desired issue; to wit, an HONORABLE AND PERMANENT PEACE. Hence it is that they so cheerfully respond to every call and readily undertake every duty however arduous. Hence it is that our Burnside assured the people of New Hampshire that he had ‘heard more grumbling during his three days with them, than during the whole summer campaign in the army.’ I assure you, the heart of the army is all right. I wish I could say as much of the whole people.
Democratic politicians are counting upon a large McClellan vote in the army; but when the time comes to act in the matter they will find where the army stands. The soldiers are not blind; they know who are their friends and who are not. McClellan was once their favorite. They remember that the same party which has used most strenuous measures to take away their right to citizenship—their privilege to vote, now tries to court their favor by inserting an ambiguous clause, as the last plank in a rotten platform. They know, too, that the party which would elect McClellan IS PLEDGED TO RENDER FUTILE ALL THEIR PAST EFFORTS TO RESTORE THE UNION. As they remember their labors for the past three years,—as they think of the treasure that has been spent, and bring to view their comrades whose lives have been sacrificed in the struggle,—they are disposed to say to those disloyal apologists for treason: ‘Stand out of our way—Grant, lead us on—OUR LABORS SHALL NOT BE UNAVAILING.’ Be assured, the army knows which way the wind blows—they will vote while they fight;—and they will vote for Lincoln while they fight for the Union.
Is there not great reason to be hopeful? Never since the war began have I felt so really confident as now, that the end is approaching. The recent glorious victories at the South and West,—the failure of the raids to cut Sherman’s communications,—the fizzle of Early in his attempt to scare Grant,—the persistent bull-dog grip which he has here, and which he tightens every day,—these and other things are cheering signs that our work is hastening to its close. All we want here is men; and I am happy that they are coming in goodly numbers. ‘Now, by St. Paul, the work goes bravely on,’ and we are content to await the issue in firm trust,—‘as we go marching on.’
- “From the Ninth Army Corps.” Boston Evening Transcript. September 17, 1864, p. ? col. ? ↩