14 September 1862

Washington [D.C.]
Sunday Morning
September 14, 1862

Dear Nellie,

I am in the park adjoining the Capitol seated beneath the shade trees. It is a nice cool place & so I thought I would come here to write. I have been up here once before this morning & took a walk round the place. I went just where my inclination led me without being stopped or in any way disturbed.

I suppose you will want to know when and how we got here so I will commence where I left you at Mrs. Stanton’s. She expressed a good deal of sympathy for you. Said you was a pretty little woman, let you be whose wife you would. We all stood at the gate and watched you until you was out of sight & they went into the house & I towards the camp feeling as if the past had all been a dream.

On arriving in camp I found everything just as I had left it. At 3 o’clock we were formed in line of march & soon as we could be got ready, were marched off for the city. It was dusty & hot & when I first started did not feel as if I could endure it. But we took the old road which was not as dusty & so I made out finely. Some of the men in Co. B had to fall out by the way, but I think they had been drinking.

We arrived at the depot about 4½ & took cars for the point. When we got there, we were marched onboard the boat without much ceremony & a guard was stationed at the plank to prevent soldiers from coming off or citizens from going on board but [my brother] Bob ¹ got onboard somehow. So I got the cape you sent which was very nice. I went into the fireman’s room with Bob & we both jumped on the dock & went into the depot & stayed about an hour, I should think. I saw all the folks & then went back the same way I came off, took my cloak cradled up on a bale of wool & went to sleep & slept nicely. Awoke the next morning & found it was raining but before we went on shore, it stopped so that we had time to eat our bread & soup which was furnished us in Jersey City. We then took the cars & had but just time to do so when it commenced to rain & rained very hard for about 4 hours. But as we did not have to change cars, [we] escaped a good soaking which we must have got had we been out in the rain.

The ladies all along the road waved their handkerchiefs at us which compliment was returned by the soldiers. One pretty girl threw kisses at us & I felt as if they were intended for me.

The land along the railroad is level, low & marshy. I saw lots of peaches & had all I wanted for at every station they were brought round to sell & at several stations we were treated to them by some persons who happened to know someone in our company.

We arrived in Philadelphia at 4 p.m. & had a good supper furnished by the city. Here we waited until 9 o’clock & then took cars for Baltimore at which place we arrived in safely the next morning at 7 o’clock. I think the people of this place [Baltimore] a low, hard-looking set to say the least of them & I did not see a pretty girl in the place. We had to change cars at this place. The railroad from Philadelphia here is mostly laid through the woods which would afford the rebels a good chance for plundering the trains. But pickets are stationed all along the road from Philadelphia to Washington. The South, so far as I have been able to judge, is a slack concern as it has that appearance.

After we left New York & got a little out of the city, I could see every now & then a little dirty cabin with half a dozen dirty children in front, or looking out of the doors & windows & as we neared Washington, such scenes became more frequent.

I saw numerous fields of corn & large ones. In New Jersey it looked very poor. I saw some fields with a dozen acres that did not look as if it would produce as many bushels, but as we neared Philadelphia it looked better, and after passing that place I saw some fine corn fields. The folks this way do quite a business raising tomatoes. I saw a number of acres as we passed along the railroad. I only saw one field of tobacco along the whole line.

After I commenced this letter as I was in the park writing, I heard drums and on looking up saw our regiment passing along road so of course I picked up my things as soon as possible & went down to the barracks where we stayed last night. I found our first lieutenant and a number of our men who were in the same fix as myself. So all we had to do was to shoulder our knapsacks and march out about a mile & a half & here we are without any tents or barracks but I suppose we are to have some before night.

We arrived in Washington last evening about 7 o’clock, got supper, and went into quarters for the night. We had a very good place & I thought we were to remain there until tomorrow. I did not sleep good in the cars & had the toothache yesterday & this morning. My face is badly swollen. It proceeds from a tooth on the right cheek & in the upper jaw. It is the same one that I had such a time with last winter. I wish I had had it taken out when I was home. I am in hopes it will be better soon.

The blacks are quite plenty here.

Bill Turner has just been in our camp. He is in a hospital with his brother Lawrence. It is in sight from here. George Avery & Harland Maynard have just gone from here. They are on the steamer City of Norwich which is used in carrying troops to & from Fortress Monroe. I would write to Bob but shan’t have time today. It is now 5 o’clock.

I picked a clover leaf in Washington Park today close to the statue of Washington. I shall send it in this with a small flower that I picked from the garden in the same place.

I could write more but think it will take you some time to make this out. When I come home, I shall have a long story to tell you. Give my love to all who inquire after me. Tell Noyes that I think he was wise in staying home. Remember me to all your friends & mine.

Remember me as your loving husband, — Thos. L. Bailey

Direct your letters to:

T. L. Bailey
Co. C, 21st Regt. C.V.
Washington D.C.

¹ This is the first of several references throughout Bailey’s letters to his younger brother Robert (“Bob”) Morris Bailey (1839-1920). 

Greenough’s Statue of Washington in park near Capitol (ca. 1863)