Erastus Fairbanks to John Wolcott Phelps
My dear Sir,
I was gratified to receive your valued letter of the 4th instant, as also one of a previous date which arrived during my absence from home.
I am glad to notice your testimony in regard to the conduct of the Vermont 7th. I had read with pain the General order of the commanding gun. No 62. which appeared in the newspapers, and I was led to suppose that there must have been some error in relation to it.
The conduct attributed to the 7th Vermont was so different from the character and proof of Vermont soldiers, that if the report had any foundation - if there was any thing reported to the commanding gun like what he describes, I felt assured he was misinformed or else that the circumstances must have been so peculiar as to place them in a position to be misapprehended by those giving the information.
Every where during the war, where the Vermont troops have been brot into action, they have evinced a coolness and perseverance that has now for them the just commendation of which commanding officers, and the gratitude of their fellow citizens at home.
Their heroic deeds have not been heralded in the newspapers so frequently as those of the Massachusetts troops, for the reason that they have not, like them, been attended by a corps of special newspaper reporters; but for loyalty, patriotism, courage & endurance, no other troops have surpassed them.
The war has assumed frightful proportions, and the prospects of its being successfully terminated seem more distant than ever before. The battles last week in Maryland, although favorable to the Federal arms o far as intelligence has reached us, get fail to indicate any relaxation of the efforts of the rebels or to prove their inability to resist our efforts to subdue them. They made a fatal mistake in invading Maryland, but at the present writing it would seem that they have succeeded in escaping and massing their forces in The Shenandoah Valley. Our losses have been severe, especially in high officers.
While I see no immediate prospects of the close of this conflict, yet I will not doubt the final results.
In adopting the most vigorous measures for crushing the rebellion, we practically do what will most certainly destroy the System of Slavery, so that if I can see the rebel armies driven back, and the ground [ ] by our forces, I shall be satisfied, so long as all the slaves of rebels falling within our lines, or escaping [ ] loyal [ ] are appropriate in anyway for Govt Services or else allowed [ ].
I [ ] the political discussions are the subject. The cry of the democratic again - "The constitution as it is [away] the Union as it was" means nothign more now less than this. "Give us runs of Govt and we will restore peace by inviting back the rebellious states upon there former states under a general [ ]." While the clamor against the President by the opposite wing, because he moves cautiously is "giving aid and comfort" both by the rebels & their democratic friends.
I shall hope my dear sire to hear from you more frequently, and to learn more definitely the position you occupy. A rumor reached us a few weeks ago that you had tenured your resignation, but I have seen no confirmation of the report. I have always regretted that I could not prevail upon you to take the command of the Vt 3d, believing that had you done so, the Vermont Brigade in the Army of the Potomac might now have been under your command.
Although I have no official position or connexion with the regiments organized by me, yet I have a kind of paternal regard for them, as well as for all the officers whom I have the honor to appoint, and I have no greater pleasure relating to the affairs of the war, than to hear of this [ ].
The Vermont [ ] of the troops called for by the President, has been filled with great promptness, without resorting to drafting, and some of the late companies contain a large portion of our least most reputable citizens.
I remain most truly yoursEratus Fairbanks
Just as I was about sending this letter to the P. office, [ ] to you at New Orleans, I saw a notice in the Newspapers of your arrival in New York, and at the present time I am not informed where to address you. I shall enclose this to our New York House, 189 Broadway in hopes it may reach you. I enclose a slip from the [ ]