1864 letter written by General Whipple regarding the current state of affairs in Chattanooga, Tennessee during the winter of 1864. Comes with the original signed stamped envelope!
4 pages, 5 x 8, in ink, written by General William D. Whipple, to his wife Caroline. Comes with the original cover addressed by General Whipple in ink as follows: Mrs. Gen. W.D. Whipple, 56 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, N.Y. Partial blue military C.D.S., Chattanooga, Ten., Jan. 18/64, with 3 cents rose George Washington postage stamp (Scott #64) with blue bulls eye cancellation. The envelope which is completely addressed in the hand of the general, to his wife, Mrs. Gen. W.D. Whipple, qualifies it as his war time autograph with rank.
Chattanooga, Jan. 15, 1864
My Darling Caro[line],
I would like to write to you oftener than I do, but there is no time that I can do so until late at night when I feel so completely tired out and my hand aches so that even if I wrote I think my letters must be exceedingly stupid. Your description of the delights of the children at Christmastime was very vivid and made me wish more than ever that I could have been there to have seen them. I ride every afternoon upon a white mare which I have bought. She has great speed and bottom, but is very timid and every dead mule and horse, and every mound of earth and frequently logs of wood cause her to wheel about in a twinkling so that my rides afford me not only exercise for my muscles, but exercise for my horsemanship. Day before yesterday a piece of paper came in with the name of H.M. McShields, Norristown written thereon. I do not remember ever seeing Mr. McMiller before, but I received him politely, invited him to dinner, and to come and stay at my house which I am glad he did not stay long enough to avail myself of and gave him a free pass to Knoxville where he was going. I wish I was with you to fix you in some place and then remain with you. I am very tired of this drudgery and intend making a desperate effort to get relieved from a portion of it. Otherwise I have visions of carbuncles and paleness and a general feeling of leanness and worthlessness. I am much obliged to you for the segars and sugar plumbs. They have not arrived. He was granted leave upon his motherís "wailing appeal" as she called it in her letter to Gen. [George H.] Thomas. When you get an opportunity to send me something again you may if you please send a few collars 15 inches long, a white shirt or two, or a pair of woolen socks with the toes in them or a few napkins. If you have any of my old collars you can get new ones of the same size or I will send you one. All my old ones have serrated edges and threaten to saw my neck off. Day before yesterday our cars were greeted by the whistle of a locomotive engine for the first time since our occupation of Chattanooga. We have now a continuous line of railroad from here to New York and starvation no longer stares us in the face. No person except those connected with the army knows what our troops have suffered from, want of food and clothing, and as for our animals hundreds and hundreds of them are lying everywhere dead, and the living are but walking skeletons. As I was going to my quarters last night I saw an old horse attempting to make a meal off the pine weather boards of a house. He would gnaw off a few fine splinters, and then crunch them between his teeth. He is probably dead by this time. We came to the conclusion long since that the Rebs were starving and that we could starve as long.
W.D.W. [signed by General Whipple with his initials]. [William D. Whipple]
Very neatly written letter in excellent condition. Very interesting content from General Whipple regarding the current state of affairs in Chattanooga, Tennessee during the winter of 1864.
General William D. Whipple: (1826-1902) Graduated in the West Point class of 1851, and then served on the Indian frontier in New Mexico and Texas. In 1861, he was on duty at Indianola, Texas, when the post was captured by the Rebels. He made his escape through the enemy's lines and managed to get to Virginia in time to take part in the 1st battle of Bull Run. Promoted to brigadier general, July 17, 1863, he served in the Departments of Pennsylvania and Virginia, the Middle Military Department, and the Department of the Cumberland. In late 1863 he was appointed chief of staff to General George H. Thomas and took part in all the operations of the Chattanooga, Atlanta, Franklin and Nashville campaigns.