Washington Sep 23d 1861

My Dear Rose,

    Here I am
dancing attendance in the ante-
room of the Post Master General
and here I have been for the
last two hours - and now
I am going to while away
the time by writing you a
few lines. After writing
my note of yesterday, I took
a back with Rodman and
drove around to some of
our outposts on this side
the river. The weather
was exquisite, the country
covered with verdure, being
far richer in this respect
than our own neighborhood
and all nature so lovely
that were it not for the
large camps in every direc-
tion one would believe

war a thousand miles away
from these fair rolling
fields and groves - we would
drive through deep forests and
emerge before a camp containing
two three or four thousand
soldiers. With thousands of
horses picketed and wagons
innumerable. Regiments of
infantry, cavalry & artillery
from N England, N York
Penna and the West Even
Minnesota. Some of them
fine looking fellows with
fresh faces and innocent
expressions. Some gray-haired,
some villainous in their
appearance. But let me
say here that not one
drunken soldiers have I yet
seen. So strict is the disci-
pline already attained. This
argues well for the future.
No noise, no singing, no profanity have I yet heard
from these men. Indeed
I am thunder struck
with astonishment at this
and many other points
in this miraculous assem-
bling of armed men.

After dinner I walked from
four till seven on the banks
of the river (and canal)
from the monument
to Georgetown and looking
across at Arlington Heights
and House and all
along the Virginia shore
even down to Alexan-
dria saw one mass of
white tents and heard one
confused mingling of
the various sounds of
bands and drums in the
distance. It was a lovely
Evening. And just before
the sun set up rose the

great baloon with two or
three Engineers to make
reconnaisance of the rebel
forces and position. So near
that I could plainly see
the small cord which held
them in position: from
that car they could see
the camps of at least
four hundred thousand men
(nearly a half million)
ready to Engage in a moment
in the work of destroying
Each other. And then I
turned my steps up into
the city by another route,
and saw great pens
of thousands of horses
just arrived - and acres
of army wagons, ambulances;
hay, fodder, provisions for man
and beast heaped higher than the surrounding houses
and this is civil war,
thought I - Alas! how
little my good Father,
with whom I used to
walk through these scenes,
or I or any one Ever
believed that we should
so soon come to this.
Camps there are Every
Where- in the Prest's
yard - in public squares,
and soldiers hurrying
on horseback hither &
thither- but what is
truly surprising is the
Endless quantity of great
four horse wagons going
through all the streets
and at all hours of
the day & night for supplies
for these armed hosts.

As I before said, no noise
or confusion attend this.
There is Evidently a head,
a controlling hand which
is able to manage this great
machinery.

I feel as do all here that
Washington is safe beyond a
doubt. Our army consists
of 200,000 - the defences
are very strong and Every
day stronger. It is now
doubted by military men
if the Southern army
makes any attack here.

Well, my Dear Girl,
I have given you a pretty
ample outline of things
here. Expect me by the
End of the week.

Love to my dear little children
and yourself from
Your affectionate Husband
Leverett Saltonstall

P.S. Since writing the above
I have after waiting from
10 to 3 PM to see the Post Master
made up my mind to try another
way, and went to the Navy
Yard inquired for Master Salton-
stall was pointed to a large
squad of men practising a
huge 176 lb.er, when bang
and I was completely stunned
by the terrific Explosion.
Away skipped the monstrous
ball, plain to the sight all
the way right through a
target away off in the river.
out stepped from the smoke
our William with hands
all black and face wreathed
in smiles to see me.
He is hard at work and
looks and seems very well.
They all like him much.
He is going South with our

friend, Capt. Davis and will
have an Exiciting time I doubt
not. I then went to the top
of the ship-house and saw
through a powerful glass all
our fortifications and over beyond them
Munsonic Hill with the Rebel
flag and their troops as plain
as possible though two
miles from our lines they
looked from my point of view
to be a stone's throw apart.
I am very tired and scarce
know what I am writing.
Love again to you, my Darling.
L.S.

24.7 cm x 20 cm

From the Saltonstall family papers