Point of Rocks Hospital
Saturday Evening, February 11, 1865
My Dear Nellie,
I have just returned from a visit with [my brother] Robert on the “[George] Leary.” I was busily engaged helping Mr. Ward check off the register yesterday when who should come in but [my brother] Robert. I was surprised of course for I didn’t dream of seeing him so soon and had got a letter all written to send to him. He said he could not stay long as his Capt. had come up with him on a tugboat and was in a hurry to get back. He said the Leary was laying at anchor off Bermuda Hundred and wanted me to go back with him so I got a pass to go and return today. He thought the tug was to take us back and so did Capt. Deming but they wanted to use the tug for some other purpose and so we had to walk.
I was introduced to Capt. Deming and found him a plain, unassuming man. I acted as guide and we commenced our journey. It was quite muddy and we were pretty tired when we got to the boat but we had a good dinner which had been kept waiting for them. I took dinner with them and was treated with the utmost politeness by all during my stay on the boat. I did not sleep but very little for Robert had some work to do which kept him up until about midnight and I stayed up to talk with him. I had a state room and slept soundly until three o’clock at which time a dispatch boat came alongside and gave orders for the Leary to go to City Point and take in coal. I heard the noise and not understanding the order, thought that they might be going down the river so got up in something of a hurry. Robert laughed at me for being so frightened but I did not like the idea of being taken out of the department without having permission.
But I had a nice time today. Robert had nothing to do but visit with me. We talked over all the interesting subjects relating to our welfare &c. I enjoyed it first rate and think it done us both good. He told me about his visit at Mr. Hurlbutt’s, what he had seen in Savannah, and other places, and showed me his things. He gave me a nice pair of suspenders and some gutta percha buttons to make rings of. So you may look for another splendid ring if I get time to make it. I suppose you have not forgotten your engagement ring? Well that is the kind of ring I mean.
The Leary had been laying at anchor since last Sunday waiting for orders. They had no idea where they should be sent but was in hopes to get onto the mail line or in to the hospital department again. I wish that they might stay around here so that I can see him occasionally.
I tried to get some of those white flannel shirts for Robert to take to you when he went to New York but the quartermaster had gone away so I could not get them. I heard yesterday that the schooner “Idaho” was laying off City Point. I looked for her some today but could not see her and if I had, I could not have gone onboard as the Leary had no boat lowered and I did not like to ask them to lower one. But I would like to see Capt. Havens and perhaps I may yet. I gave Robert your towel and he will take it to you when he goes to New York. It is now bed time & I am very sleepy so goodnight and a kiss.
The chief engineer, Mr. Lanagan, is a nice sort of man, I should think, as was Mr. Crole, the mate, and Mr. Conklin, the pilot. I have just got the paper with the rubbers and a letter from you. Will write more tomorrow.
Sunday morning. I had a good nights sleep last night and am feeling much refreshed. I am still in the office but suppose I shall go out in a few days as they are breaking up this office. Dr. [Moses Greeley] Parker asked me how I would like to be a detective and then he asked me which I had rather be — a detective or ward master. I told him I would do either and wanted to do that which would be most for his interest and where he thought I could do the most good. He is a good man and a friend to me. I am not particular what I do here if I do not have to work too hard and I do not feel at all worried about it.
The wind is blowing a gale this morning. The tents are flapping and the dust is very disagreeable. It blows through the cracks onto my paper as I write. I see by the papers that the Peace Negotiation was a failure so we cannot look for anything but a continuation of the war.
Robert is looking much better than he was when I saw him last summer. He was in hopes that the boat would go to New York so that they could fix up the boat as she needed painting &c. Robert had not got your letter or mine which we sent to South Carolina. I read a letter from Julia, one from Jane, and one from Aunt Mary which had been sent to Robert. [My sister] Julia is at her Father Marlatt’s this winter. ¹ She had a terrible time going there according to her account of it. The car that she was in upset and piled them all up together in one corner of the car but none of them was hurt. They were going back to Wyandott [Kansas] in the Spring. Aunt Mary wanted Robert to come out to Pennsylvania and come home with her in April. I hope Robert will not be drafted. I think Mrs. Lester and Beckie done wrong not to stop Capt. Latham when he was abusing Mother but he is not worth noticing. I should not think folks would side with him as much as they do. Love and kisses from your fond husband, — T. L. Bailey
¹ Julia Ann (Bailey) Marlatt (1828-1911) was married to George “Washington” Marlatt (1829-1909) in April 1861. Her father-in-law was Abraham “Thomas” Marlatt (1792-1877) who lived (in 1865) in Milton, Wayne County, Indiana.
Washington Marlatt was one of the three founders and the first principal of Bluemont Central College at Manhattan, Kansas, which was subsequently developed into the institution that became the Kansas State Agricultural College, and later Kansas State University. Julia Bailey was recruited as a teacher at Bluemont College and later married Washington Marlatt.