The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch, Post 15

The following excerpt is from the diary of Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch.

Sunday, July 27th, 1862

Public events, which in this trying time, occupy our thoughts greatly, have of late been very saddening in their character. I refer chiefly to the week of battles near Richmond, where, notwithstanding the skill of Gen. McClellan and the valor of his troops, all that could be accomplished was to gain by a retreat, a safer position, with great loss on both sides, - more probably on the enemy’s than on ours. The result has been a comparative pause, while new enlistments are urged, - 300,000 men being called for by the President. The share of Mass is 15000, - that of Dorchester 137. Public meetings are held, - large bounty offered; - many towns have completed their quotas; & ours I hope will do her part. Some are very earnest to have a proclamation of emancipation; but our President, cautious and firm, holds back from what might at present, if it did not arouse the horrors of a slave insurrection, at least divide the North and embitter the South. Gen. Halleck is appointed Commander-in-chief. Congress has confirmed, after passing a Confiscation bill. Three from this town have died in the service; - two, Edward Foster and Ambrose Howe, by sickness; & one, - Dodge, - perhaps more, - in battle. My own young parishioners, thank God! have thus far been spared, as far as accounts have been received.

Bulfinch's pen is silent in August, but look for his next entry in the Beehive in September.

permalink | Published: Wednesday, 18 July, 2012, 8:00 AM


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