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    Headquarters Army of the Potomac April 18, 1864

    My soft necked Dove-bird:

    Don't you think I call you
    very pretty names? I am sure
    I think I call you real nice
    names, though no names are as
    nice as you are because you are
    a great lot more delicious than
    preserved peaches and cream-cakes.
    You be handsome looking and
    handsome acting; and it is a fine
    pleasure only to be looking at
    you. I wish I could -:- Yester-
    day I got your nice billet of
    ltrs & the other, I guess, was
    late, because I got two letters on
    two successive days. I would like

    to go about and pick a whole
    bunch of such flowers as I sent
    you. They grow near sort of
    wet places, and I should have
    to help you over puddles - a
    good many; and if the puddles
    were very deep, I could, in my
    big boots, just neatly carry you
    over, and soon you would have
    a great bunch of yellow posies
    to put in a glass of water. I have
    seen some high-bush blackberries
    that already had wee leaves, just
    beginning to open; and the buds
    of the trees are swelling; and hun-
    dreds of little toads sing and whis-
    tle all night to please other hun-
    dreds of Misses toad. The sap is
    rising so in the oak trees that the wood won't burn without some
    trouble. It really looks like
    a beginning of Spring; and every-
    thing is so quiet that it is quite
    amazing; whether it is that old
    soldiers get lazy and sleep a
    good deal in the day, I don't know;
    but really just a short way from
    a camp, it is as still as if not
    a human being were near; and
    here at Headquarters, the only
    sounds are the distant car
    whistles and the drums and
    trumpets sounding the calls; ex-
    cept indeed, the music of the
    band, which is hardly a noise
    and is very acceptable. I sup-
    pose that we may call this the
    lull before the hurricane, which little short of a miracle can
    avert. Here is Grant, with his
    utterly immovable face, going
    about from Culpepper to Washing-
    ton & back, and sending no end
    of cipher messages, all big with
    strategy. He evidently means to
    do something pretty serious be-
    fore he gives it up. Today was
    a great day for him; he reviewed
    the entire 6th Corps, which, as
    you know, has been strengthened
    by a division of the late 3rd corps.
    The day has been fine, very. At
    11 ocl. we started and rode tow-
    ards Culpepper to meet Gen. Grant
    who encountered us beyond Brandy
    Station. He is very fond, you must
    know, of horses, and was mounted on one of the handsomest I
    have seen in the army. He was
    neatly dressed in the regulation
    uniform, with a handsome sash
    and sword, & the three stars
    of a Lieutenant General on his
    shoulder. He is man of a
    natural, severe, simplicity, in
    all things:- the very way he
    wears his high-crowned felt
    hat shows this:- he neither
    puts it on behind his ears,
    nor draws over his eye; much
    less does he cock it on one side,
    but sits straigh and very hard
    on his head. His riding is the
    same; without the slightest
    "air," and, per contra, without affectation of homeliness; he
    sits firmly in the saddle and
    looks straight ahead, as if
    only intent on getting to some
    particular point. General Meade
    says he is a very amiable man,
    though his eye is stern and
    almost fierce looking. - Well,
    we encountered him, as afore-
    said, followed by three or four
    aids; one of whom, Lt Col.
    Rowley, was oblivious of straps,
    and presented an expanse
    of rather ill-blacked, calfskin
    boot that took away from
    his military ensemble a good
    deal. When a man can ride
    without straps, he may do so,
    if he chooses; but, when he possesseth not the happy facul-
    ty of keeping down his trow-
    sers, he should make straps
    a part of his religion! We took
    our station on a swell of ground,
    when we could see a large
    part of the corps in line, but
    there was so much of it, that,
    though drawn up by battalions,
    [that is, ten men deep] there
    could be found in the neigh-
    borhood, no ground sufficiently
    extensive, without hollows. At
    once they began to march past:-
    there seemed no end of them:-
    in each direction there was
    nothing but a wide, moving
    hedge of bright muskets, a very fine sight. When all the in-
    fantry had got by, the artil-
    lery of the corps came, which
    was in a most excellent con-
    dition, and passed with a
    battery front, that is, 6 guns
    in one line, followed each by
    its caisson. All the cannoniers
    were mounted on the carriages,
    making a fine show. After this
    we rode over to the Reserve Ar-
    tillery and reviewed that, in-
    cluding two regiments of heavy
    artillery, one of them a German
    one, which marched remarka-
    bly well. You would have laughed
    to see the stiff Prussian serjeants
    cropping out here and there.
    Gen. Grant is much pleased and [The following lines appear as cross-writing on page 1 (see the page image).] says there is nothing of the sort out west, in the
    way of discipline and organization. Adams' squad-
    ron has relieved the regulars of these Headqr's
    but neither Adams nor Flint have yet come, which
    is very pretty, considering I electioneered for them
    If you see Adams, just tell him to hurry up! Coal!
    my darling - parlor coal! I don't know nuphing
    about it When it is gone buy more, and don't
    bother your lovely soul. By the way, how are
    friends? - I don't want any - only curiosity.

    Your Lover,
    [Address on envelope not transcribed, see page image.]