Frederick Holbrook to John Wolcott Phelps
I have your esteemed favor of the 22d., and am greatly gratified that you are to be
in command in Butler's New England Division. The fact is hailed in Vermont with
universal pleasure, especially, among other reasons, that our 8th Regt., now
recruiting, is to be in that Brigade. Immediately on learning that you were to go
with the Expedition, I set about arrangements to have our 7th Regt. (the old 1st
reorganising) also attached to Butlers Brigade, and it looks as if I might be
successful, as Butler is desirous, & we have both applied to Govt. to have it
detailed. It would greatly facilitate recruiting if it were known the men would be
under you. Your fame as a man & a soldier is great in
Vermont and upon everybodys tongue. The 8th Regt
is to have 10 Companies of Infantry & two Batteries of Artillery.
Mrs. Holbrook and myself unite in our sincerest thanks & acknowledgments to you, my dear Sir, for your prompt & kind invitation to our dear boy William to become your Aid-de-Camp. We fully appreciate your delicate friendship in this thing, and shall always remember is gratefully. I hope Will. may suit you, and have a good expectation that he will. He is not so quick as some, but sure and reliable. I should have made him Major of the 7th Regt. had he not had your invitation to take what I think is a better place for him.
Your estimate of Lieut. Roberts is not as high as mine. I have seen a good deal of
him, & find he possesses very desirable traits, in a good deal of perfection. On
the whole, I am inclined to give him the Colonelcy of the 7th, as being the best
appointment I can make, out of the materials at command. He is a man of a great deal of sterling character, judgment & reliability,
will take good care of his men. He may perhaps be a little slow, but other qualities, in my judgment, more than counterbalance any imperfections. I know him well.
The Colonel of our 8th or Butler Regt. requests me to ask you to say, by return of mail, how Maj. Kimball, of the N. J. 9th, I think, would do for a Lieut. Colonel of the 8th? Please answer. - I recommended Capt. Ripley very unreservedly for Lieut. Colonelcy of Berdan's Sharp Shooters, being assured that he would soon be promoted to Colonelcy. I have not yet heard the result.
In very great haste, but with any amount of good wishes and prayers for your health and welfare,
I am, most truly yours,Frederick Holbrook
I am greatly surprised at the wonderful amount of praise called forth by my Thanksgiving Proclamation, not only by the public prints in Vt., but also in other States. I was not myself aware that I was doing anything extra when preparing it.