Frederick Holbrook to John Wolcott Phelps
My dear General:-
The bearer of this letter is my son, William C. Holbrook, now Major of the 7th
Vt. Regt., formerly the Lieut. in the 4th Vt. Regt., to whom you offered the
place upon your staff. He will explain to you the various causes which conspired
to prevent him from going upon your staff. Of course, I consider him a promising
young man, and I suspect that others, outside my family circle, "the world's
people", so far as they know him, think well of him. Will is not a dashing or
showy person, but the substance, I believe, is in him.
For a volunteer, he is well posted in military matters, and is called a good
officer. Should it be in your power to befriend him in any little ways, with
propriety to yourself & your position, I doubt not you will do it, and any
officers from you will be gratefully appreciated by Mrs. H. & myself.
You have little idea how much we think and talk about you in our family circle - and indeed, how many sympathizing friends you have, not only in Brattleboro, but throughout Vermont. May the choicest blessings of Providence ever attend you, and may you be spared to enjoy, in your own Vermont, the blessings of peace again, when our beloved Country shall have become composed, and the Union & Constitution again firmly established throughout its borders. I believe, my dear General, this happy time is yet to come, and that our present trials as a Nation are to result in ultimate good to the American people. It is fiery ordeal for us, but the purification thereby will be great.
We know not what reverses are in store for our Arms, but it would seem just now as if the Union Cause must triumph. Our victories have been signal & substantial, and unless soon followed by reverses, the effects must be greatly in our favor.
The 7th Vt. Regt. is a fine one, as you will see. I think it is peculiarly fortunate in its officers. Col. Geo. S. Roberts, you knew at Newports News. He has thus forfilled his present position admirably, and promises to be a superb Colonel. Lieut. Col. Volney S. Fullam, was a Captain in the 2d. Vt. Regt., and promoted to his present place from there. He is a fine-toned man. Major Holbrook I have already spoken of. 2n. Mr. Morse you know of old. Adjt. Parker is a refined finely educated young gentleman, & promises well. The Captains of the several companies are bright promising young men, most of whom have seen some service.
I have toiled hard, General, in raising & organizing the 7th & 8th Vt.
Regts., and feel proud of them, and highly gratified that they are to be in a
Brigade under your command. This Genl. Butler has
distinctly promised me shall be the case, and nothing short of this would
satisfy the people of Vermont. I early determined that I would exert all the
official influence I could command to place some portion of our Green Mountain
Boys under your command, & have succeeded in furnishing you with these
Regiments. I am right glad to be able to tender to you such an offering, and the Regts. are most happy to have the privilege of serving under your command.
I shall be most happy to hear from you often, and hope you will not fail to write me very often, and I will surely respond. I shall watch your movements with the greatest interest.
I have had an exceedingly laborious time thus far in the official position I occupy. The winter has been one of great labor and anxiety & perplexity to me; but I hope I have discharged my duties tolerably well. If I have not, it is not because I have lacked the earnest desire to do my best. It is no mere pastime to occupy these important places in the present time - all is labor, anxiety & trial. The law of the state are inadequate to meet the present sudden & unexpected emergency, and much has to be done by the Executive on mere judgment & discretion, without law or precedent.
With my most fervent wishes for your health & welfare. I remain, with high regard.
Your friend,Frederick Holbrook