Frederick Holbrook to John Wolcott Phelps
My dear General:-
I am indebted to you for several very interesting letters, which should have been
answered long ago. I have fully intended to answer your letter promptly, but
have been prevented by the pressure of Executive business. No sooner than I get
one class of matters off my hands, others succeed, claiming immediate attention.
These war times make a great amount of business for men situated as I am; and as
you very well know, the details of raising, organizing, and getting off new
Regts. are almost innumerable. When I sent you our 7th & 8th Regts., the
opinion of Govt. was that no more troops would be called for, I could never see
that there were enough troops raised, and advised the Secy.
of war, in March last, to call out 200,000 more; but he replied there were
enough, & more than could be used! Well, though I, if that be so, I can
have a little leisure in the summer months. But summer has come, and I am overrun with business.
The President, at the suggestion of the Governors of the loyal States, has called for 300,000 additional troops - as you doubtless know are this. He made a mistake, in my judgment, in not calling for six instead of three hundred thousand men, he ought to day to have a million of men under arms, part in active campaign, & part in Camps of instruction, as a reserve.
When will our National Authorities awake to the immensity of the work the Nation has to do to crush this Rebellion & hold it down, or blot off the face of the earth the instigators of it? With almost unlimited resources of men and means, why is the Nation today in the very jaws of ruin & destruction? Can it be that our Cause is to fail for want of that Scope of vision, comprehensiveness of plan & energy & determination of execution, which the emergency calls for, and which we have the means to meet? I am filled with the deepest anxiety about these days, lest we fail through want of ability in our Authorities.
When we ought to be solely absorbed in prosecuting a stern & determined warfare, promptly striking down every obstacle to our Countrys peace and welfare, & wiping out the causes of our impending ruin, we are stopping for the mint, anise & cummin, mixing up politics with military operations, and taking little, narrow, contemptible views of our real situation as a people. If the National Government would only come up to the grandeur of the crisis and adopt a bold, determined policy, which could openly & unequivocally proclaim war to the knife to all the causes of our troubles, a million of men would leap to arms in no time. We have just sent off our 9th Regt & are rapidly recruiting our 10th & 11th, and after that shall recruit our 12th, Regt. We will furnish four Regt. more from our little State, by the 1st of Decr. next, if Govt. will call out 300000 more men, & proclaim the above named policy. I shall write the President tomorrow on the subject.
I would like to write you throughtfully & elaborately upon the interesting
themes you treat of in your letters to me. If I had
the time, I should surely do so. But alas! I am so entirely occupied & harrassed with business that I can only offer you a hurried & disjointed letter like this. Many things I would like to say, & hope we may once more meet on this mundane sphere to talk up a great many things.
I thank you for your friendly expressions about my dear boy, Major Will. He is and always was a promising person. Seldom does a person of his years possess his maturity of judgment, &c. Good judgment, a strong vein of sound common sense appears to be instinctive with him. I have thought of calling him home to take the Colonelcy of our 11th or 12th Regt. He is the fittest officer we have for that place, that is now available. Both Genl. Baxter & Genl. Washburn tell me so. I hesitate, on account of the talk it may make - he being so young and my son too. Please write me, as soon as you receive this, your opinion of his fitness for such position. I do not wish to put him in a place he is not equal to. If I should conclude to do soappoint him I should be gratified if you and Genl. Butler would put such a testimonial in writing as you should deem proper to say for him. Mrs. Holbrook desires me to send her kind regards to you.
In great haste, but with high regard,
Your friend,Fredk Holbrook
What do you think of my making application to the War Department to put you in command of a Brigade of which our 9th, 10th, 11th & 12th Regts shall be part? I will make the effort to get you transferred if it would be agreeable to you. It would suit in Vermont.