Wednesday Aug. 8 [1861]
Columbia College Hospital. Washington.

Dearies All

It was delightful to receive letters from home, though I
am so constantly busy that I scarce find time to say so.
Every thing here is at 6s & 7s, as might be expected among the
militia; though I am surprised to find it in what belongs
to the regular army; orders are made, unmade, remade &
countermanded; convalescents are set to work after recovering
from one disease, & over-worked till fever ensues; or they are
appointed for night watchers, when they have not strength
to keep awake, & very sick patients are suffering for
the drink the watchers should give. The contractor sends
his beef or eggs, or sends them not; & there is sometimes
hunger, & sometimes waste. Pres. Abe has been expected
for some days, & not a spoon, or phial, or anything that
belongeth with a sick room must be visible, lest he
should perceive it, or lest the head surgeon should see
it in this his daily rounds, which are at irregular times.
Four young physicians practise on the 4 stories, & live in
the house; one of them does not extinguish his gentlemanly
manners in his military cap. Such quantities of
medicine as I pour down their throats, Heaven forgive

me for inflicting upon their poor stomachs; blessed be
currant jelly & those who have sent it so liberally. Here
his a lumberer from Maine, never knew what sickness was,
till the mumps seized him after enlisting, & now has not
had a well day since; so long for the pine woods &
the sparkling streams & the fresh breeze of his home. Here
is Jesse Egleston , whom they call my baby; a long, lank,
honest, modest boy, of 18, from Geneva, who wept because
he feared that the socks his mother knit for him had
been lost; who is as patient as a woman, & looked so happy
today when I touched his dry lips with the first peach
we have seen; he was at the moment dreaming he
was in his father's great peach orchard; strong men
become babyish, youths without hope; cripples from
rheumatism who never knew pain of body before;
knapsacks lost with money, or all their clothes; homesick-
oh! how homesick they are, & how ignorantly careless
of their health their commanders have been! One
boy convalescing saw his Reg't, from the windows, marching
away; he had no discharge from the physician; he
was not in the house; if here, might give him one, might
not; "what shall I do, I must go home away with them?"
"You may be shot for it." "I would rather be shot than
stay here another hour." "Then run as fast as your legs can
carry you"; & away he went double quick, though drooping
& listless the day before. The defeat has not dis-
couraged them; but the hunger & sickness. There
is but one voice about the famished condition of
very many of the Regts. Glad Isabella has bright
letters from Greely; that regt. [The 2nd Mass. Volunteer Infantry; (Greely’s regiment)] will know how to take
better care of themselves than these boys who rushed
from their homes as to an immediate victory, & have
been the victims of dishonest contractors & ignorant
officers. It is hot here, very hot for some hours
of the day, & often oppressive at night; my chamber is airy
& I am far more comfortable than I expected. I cannot
get over the surprise of being ordered about by these doctors
as they order the privates; they recognize nothing of the
peculiarity of the position; we have not been put under
arrest yet, nor deprived of our rations, but scolded
plentifully for not always obeying exactly minute contra
dictory orders. The army is an awful school in some
respects, & few men have the self-control to use power
well. We are surrounded by encampments; hear
the sentinel calls, & the sounds of military music &
drill. The night before they march home, they
make bonfires, & sing, & enjoy themselves generally; the
effect of the light among these many trees is very

One nurse here was a patient
of Brother Greely's
Franky's letter & Isabella's came straight; none
thus yet.


Let me finish with a pencil -- I have just
got over that extreme soreness of the feet,
which, I believe, has bothered all the nurses, except
the real old stagers, whose muscles never surrender.
Rec'd yesterday Tuesday's Advertiser with, I thought,
Margarett's writing on it. The only word
yet from you, dearie; I fear you are
ill; though Harriot H. said not.
Letters to me need not be directed
to Miss Dix, only expressed bundles.
To Brookline, pinckneys [9 Pinckney Street, Boston , the Stevenson family home] , Plymouth love
all round. The work is immensely
hard, but I get used to it. If we could do
it as citizens, instead of soldiers, it would
be easy --

Good bye, dearies, yr