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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Saturday 3d

3 August 1861

Monday 5th

5 August 1861
4 August 1861
Sunday 4th

A fine day. I found my way in company with my son Brooks to a small Unitarian church in Little Portland Street at which Mr Martineau commonly officiates, but he has left town, and somebody else occupied his place. The edifice is small, and the attendance was thin. The service resembles more that at King’s Chapel than any in the denomination else where. It is the Episcopal Prayer Book with eliminations of doctrine about the Trinity. I took a walk afterwards around the north western parts of the town back by the Regent’s park. At luncheon I found two Misses Gelston from New York just out from America with letters from Mrs Eames. After they were gone I sat down to read at my leisure when Mr Morgan was announced. He brought a telegram from the Canada at Queenstown, Giving an account of a disastrous defeat at Bull run in Virginia. It seems that after several hours of spirited fighting a reinforcement came to the rebels which turned the tide, and created a panic and regular rout from the field. Every thing was left behind, guns, ammunition, provisions &c, and no stop was made until the crowd reach Alexandria and Washington. Thus a change is made in all our expectations, and the war from this time assumes a new character. My own emotion is not to be described. Fortunately Mr Morgan had a couple of telegrams down to the 26th 203 which though meagre relieved our anxiety for the safety of Washington itself. It does not seem that there was any pursuit beyond Fairfax Court House So that humiliating as is the defeat, it is not as bad as it might have been had the enemy been in a situation to improve it. My poor country is destined to tear itself up for some time longer, but the issue grows more perceptible as we advance. There can be no hope of future peace so long as slavery remains in any part of North America. It must come to that in the end. In the evening I walked over to Thomas’s Hotel to see the Brookses. Mr Bemis was there. They had not heard the bad news, though it was issued in a second edition of a morning’s newspaper.

Cite web page as:

Charles Francis Adams, Sr., [date of entry], diary, in Charles Francis Adams, Sr.: The Civil War Diaries (Unverified Transcriptions). Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2015. http://www.masshist.org/publications/cfa-civil-war/view?id=DCA61d216