This page contains letters 50 through 95 that were written by Charles M. Heaton between 15 January 1864 and October 1864. During this time, Charles was working in the Land Office Department with its offices in the Patent Office on F. Street. Charles’ wife had returned to their residence in South Bend, Indiana, as well as his daughter Mary, now the wife of his roommate, Mr. Haynes.
For a Biographical Sketch of Charles M. Heaton and to read letters 1-30 dating from 1861 and 1862, go to 1861-64 Charles M. Heaton Letters.
To read letters 31 through 49, go to 1863 Letters of Charles M. Heaton.
Friday, January 15th 1864, 12 o’clock
Mr. [David] Haynes has just returned, left my office a few minutes ago. Was very sorry to hear of your detention between here and Baltimore but perhaps it was well as it afforded you time for a little sleep & rest in Baltimore. When I left you at the depot, I returned to the house and employed myself until breakfast time, picking up things and getting ready to move, and I assure you we all felt lonesome enough. And you remember the walk Mr. Haynes and myself had the evening before to find conveyance for baggage, and to procure tickets. I got very warm and took some cold. And you know how late we sat up that night and all together I felt miserable all the next day and done but little work. But after office hours, I moved our things over to our new boarding house. But oh dear, when I went to dinner and began to sit down, I seen we were sold. I certainly have not sat down to so poor a dinner since I have been in Washington and not only so, things look dirty all over the house. And besides, the woman of the house has eight small children about the house—the largest girl about the size of Mary Haynes. She has had twins twice and look as though she might be good for doublets a few more times. Well, we all regretted we were there but for awhile we must put up with it.
Every boarder left Mr. Cox the same day we did. Mr. and Mrs. Lake went to a house on the corner of 9th & I Streets, just above Mankin’s. They locked up their rooms, going to wait until the first of the month and if no others get sick, they will go back. If otherwise, they will then give up their rooms. Walter is getting better. I hear this morning he is up. Has not been very sick and will likely be out in a few days. In fact, I almost regret we left the house—or at least I am sorry we moved our things away. And it may be that we will go back there in two or three weeks—that is, if none of the others get sick, and they will take us back at fair prices. But we shall wait and see. Mr. Haynes has had no experience at our new boarding house yet but will commence at dinner today. So far as our room is concerned, it is large enough & good enough but not quite clean enough. I made arrangements to have a fire made in our room every day at 3 o’clock at $5 per month. I thought it better than to buy coal & wood ourselves—especially as we do not intend to stay over a month.
On Wednesday and Thursday I was so unwell that I did not feel able to go to the Telegraph Office. Consequently did not telegraph to Charles as I intended. You will take him and all the friends on surprise. I suppose you will about reach home this Friday evening on the mail train and will meet Charles at the depot.
This morning I feel much better and intend to go to Mr. [Schuyler] Colfax’s first levee this evening. Will write you all about it. Have not seen any of them since you left.
I want you to attend those Relief Associations at South Bend as often as you can and take such part in them as you can. Don’t neglect this. We must be identified in all such movements. See that Charles attends them also.
Be sure and send my teeth back soon as possible for I have to swallow everything whole which goes rather hard.
Write me all about your trip home. How did you get along with Daisy and Polly? Polly must have been considerable trouble to you. We will write soon again. All well. Love to all.
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
Washington D. C.
Sunday, January 17, 1864
Mr. Haynes has gone to church and I am here in our room thinking and hoping that you had a speedy and safe journey home after you left Harrisburg. I shall suppose until I hear otherwise that you arrived at home [in] South Bend] on the Friday evening 7 o’clock train, that you found Charles at the depot, and took all in perfect surprise.
This morning I received a letter from Lib. It was written on the 13th the same day you left here and I know she must be perfectly delighted at your return. From what she says, however, about the house, I suppose you will not be able to get possession of it for some weeks to come. And as I know that Lib has not sufficient room for you there, I think you and Mary better stay at the [St. Joseph] Hotel, or some other boarding house a week or two. Then one of you better go to Aunt Harriet’s and make a visit there and the other make some visits about town. This perhaps will be better than to commence keeping house at once. But when the time does come that you can get the house, I shall insist that you and Mary will not undertake to clean house and put it in order yourselves. You must get Lucy [Smith] and other help, if necessary, to clean house and fix things up. You must not do any part of the work yourselves.
But I promised to tell you about Mr. [Schuyler] Colfax’s reception. Of course I was there—so was Mr. Van Doren. 1 James Sample did not go; he could not get his coat all right to suit him but will be ready for the next. And Mr. [David] Haynes did not go. You remember he got home on Friday and was sleepy & tired and preferred rest. Van and I went about 9 o’clock. The company had commenced to come in and altogether was very neatly dressed in black silk and stood next to Mr. Colfax and Carrie [Matthews] next to her mother. 2 Carrie’s dress—as near as I can recollect—was a mouse color with Spanish waist with white bodice. But you know I cannot describe a lady’s dress very well. But she looked very neat. The company was received and presented to Mr. Colfax himself. Mrs. Matthews was in a fine humor and received the company with much grave & dignity. Carrie appeared more reserved as was very proper. and went through with her part very well indeed. In fat, it was a good success. Mr. Colfax was in his best mood and all felt finely.
The rooms were well-filled. Secretary [of War, Edwin] Stanton was there a short time. A number of military gentlemen with their wives were there. Among them was General Milroy. Mr. Dufrees and Julia wsa there. Julia was very neatly dressed—in fact, she was the belle of he evening in my estimation. Refreshments was served in a side room—coffee, cakes, and ice cream was all. Guests went in and called for it just as they felt disposed without any formality. All seemed to enjoy their visit first rate. Mr. Colfax, Mrs. Matthews & Carrie expressed their deep regrets that you & Mary was not there. They had heard through Mr. Stailey the day before that you had left for home and was much surprised at your sudden departure, but when I explained, thought it was best.
Walter is still getting better and so far there are no symptoms of anyone else being sick. Mrs. Cox visits on him—no one else goes to his room. If no one else gets sick there, Mr. Haynes & myself think of going back there in about three weeks. We cannot stand the cooking here. If we go back, we think of taking the back parlor room. Perhaps Mr. Van Doren & James will also go back, but of this we are not certain. But it is certain that they will not stay here long. Say to Mrs. Sample that James says he has not had a letter from home since he left and is getting quite anxious for a letter. James is well, enjoying good health. No cases of sickness among any of our acquaintances.
I said in my last that I took some cold the night before you left but I am quite over it now and feel all right again. But oh! how bad I want my teeth. I hope Mr. Howe has fixed them and that ere this reaches you, they will be on the way back. That 5.20 bond we got from James Sample, hold on to it until you hear from me again. James has been speaking about wanting it again. If he does, he will pay me here and have you give it to his father. By hte first of the month, we will let you know about it.
Mr. Haynes is back from church and we have just been to a turkey dinner, well spiced with onions. We did not relish it well, but still we had to go in & done the best we could. The bread is horrid and everything else in proportion but we will grin and bear it the best we can for a short time.
Since you left, Wm. Miller (black) from South Bend was here and called to see us. I showed him as many of the sights as I could. Had a very good visit from him. His family he left in Buffalo. They will be back home in about two weeks.
Lib wanted me to write to Jimmy. Tell her I will do so soon and will also write to her before long.
Tell Charles I want him to read my last letter to him over again and answer it fully. I cannot apply to have his salary raised until he does so.
You must write and give me all the particulars of your trip after you left Harrisburg. Want to know how you made the change at Pittsburgh [and] how long was you detained there. Had you any trouble getting your baggage rechecked at Toledo? And how long was you at Cleveland? Also, how did Daisy and Polly stand the trip?
Before you close a bargain with anyone about fixing our house, want you to write me about it. I want to know the plan and price. It seems to me I would not go to a very heavy expense. I had spoken when I was there to Mr. Sample about buying posts for the fence. He also intends to build a fence in the spring & I told him when he contracted for his posts, to also buy enough for us. He can tell just how many will be wanted both for back and front fence. He can do better to buy all together. I think it is best not to do anything for the present with the middle fence between us & Mr. Sample unless it is his desire to do so.
I want you to call on Mr. Gallagher & ask him how much he will charge to get me up a suit of black—the cloth at least as good as my last. He took my measure when I was there in July last. tell him he entered it in the back or front part of his book. But I want to know the price before I order it. He will remember the kind of vest I got before & something of the same kind will answer now.
Did you pay for any of the last washing before you left? Mr. Haynes does not know. I know it was paid for up to the time we came from New York. Now I guess by the time you answered all my questions, it will make a pretty good letter. Write often as you can. You and Mary must keep us posted of your movements. We hope you are enjoying yourselves. Love to all.
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
1 Van Doren was a clerk at the Treasury Department. His address in the 1864 City Directory was 412 9th Street in the District.
2 Schuyler Colfax’s wife died in July 1863 just prior to his becoming the Speaker of the House in August. To preside over the household and host receptions on 4th Street, Schuyler asked his mother, Hannah (Stryker) Colfax Matthews (1805-1872), now the wife of George Washington. Matthews (1810-1874) along with his yet-unmarried sister Caroline (“Carrie”) V. Matthews (1838-1917). Mrs. Matthews wrote of the reception that took place on Friday, January 15th 1864: “Had you been here last Friday night you would have seen ‘Mr. Speaker,’ his mother and sister standing in the centre of the drawing-room, and in form receiving a thousand people. They come and go, generally, though some stay from half-past eight to eleven. We have refreshments, coffee, cake and ice cream, not a drop of wine or liquor.It is the talk of the city that never Speaker had such receptions. Mrs. Lincoln says she is jealous of them, for they rival hers. With all the fatigue they are pleasant, and until they are over we do not realize the fatigue. It is pleasant for us to be able to assist Schuyler, and especially to be together again as one family. We avoid all the parties we can; still, etiquette makes it necessary for us to attend some.”
January 29th 1864
Mr. Haynes tells me he wrote to Mary yesterday and I suppose he gave you all the news. Still I thought I would write you again this morning. We had all along intended to go back to Mr. Cox to board provided he did not charge too much. I went there on Saturday evening last to talk to him about it. The room he had rather held for our refusal was the back parlor room and asked $28 per month, board and gas. I thought he asked us too much but doubted whether we could do better & told him I would see Mr. Haynes about it but that I thought it would be alright, but determined still to continue our search and see whether we could not suit ourselves some other place before giving him a decided answer.
On Tuesday, [my nephew] Frank [Heaton] came to see me and said he had rented a house large enough for us all on the northwest corner of F & 10th Street. F Street you will remember is the one that runs between the Patent Office and Post Office buildings. He pays $900 [which] I think a large price. I believe there are 12 rooms in it including the kitchen. One room is designed for an office and can be rented for about $400. He gets possession on Monday. Mr. Haynes, James Sample & myself take two rooms on the third floor with a door between. The rooms are full as large, if not a little larger than those we occupied at Mr. Strugis’. We intend to use one for a bed room—three beds—and the other for a sitting room, and we intend to cover he walls all over with pictures and make it look as cheerful as possible. We shall all of us board with Frank and we are to pay $27 each including room and gas. From this out we shall not need much fire & between all three of us it will not amount to much. Mr. Haynes and myself could have got one room to ourselves, but I was anxious to have James with us for I know Mr. & Mrs. Sample would feel better satisfied to know that James was with us. Hence I made the arrangement as above stated.
We shall not get moved over, however, before the last of next week as it will take Frank nearly all the week to move and get fixed up. When this is done, we expect to feel as though we were settled for the season. Now, how do you like the arrangement?
The next day after you left I was vaccinated [for small pox] and it took first rate. Had quite a sore arm, but it is getting well now. Walter has got entirely well and none of the rest has taken it. Mr. Cox has bought a fine Chickering Piano. The tone is splendid. Tell Mary the tone is much like the one at Ed Clark’s. She will remember that. I should like to hear her touch it off. After I made the arrangement with Frank, I went and told Mr. Cox. It surprised them but of course they could do nothing more than acquiesce.
I was sorry to hear that you had taken cold on the way home but was rejoiced to hear that Dr. [Lewis] Humphreys was there to prescribe for you, and hope by this time you have entirely recovered. Have you got a girl yet? I hope you have. You must not think of doing your own work. Why can you not get Lucy? Has she quit going out to work?
I shall send you some money next week but I do not know how much. I must keep enough for the coming month. I expect James will pay me $50 to redeem that bond. If so, I will send you that also & then will tell you what to do with the bond. I think the intention is for you to hand it over to Mr. Sample.
Tonight is Mr. [Schuyler] Colfax’s reception. I did not go to his last one—did not feel very well, but shall go tonight. I wish you would read my last letter over again and see if there is not some questions in it that I want answered. One thing I remember, that I wanted you to see Mr. Gallagher about a new suit. I want to know how much he will charge for a suit. The cloth must be as good, at least, as the suit he last made me. See him soon as you feel able and let me know for my old coat is out of all character and am compelled now to wear my best everyday. So you see, I must have a new suit.
Do you remember how many shirts you left me of each kind? One, if not two are missing. I mean one under shirt and one other. You left me if I remember right, 2 new under shirts, & I can only find one. The wash woman says she never had it & I cannot tell whether she had or not, but I know the other missing shirt she did have & will make her pay for it. Tell me what it is worth.
You will see by the Chronicle that [Rev.] Mr. [B.] Appleby is dead. I was not at the funeral but I hear he had a large one.
Tell me also how many pair of drawers you left me. How is Lib getting along? I must write her soon. You and Mary must be very careful about your health. Do not expose yourselves in any way. It is very important that you keep your feet always dry & warm.
Tell Charles to write me often as he can. I want him to answer my letter about the receipts of the office that I may try & get his salary increased. Have him hunt up & read my letter over on that subject. Tell me the terms you board Mr. Lowell. What is the prospect about their moving & when. Did you tell him I called to see his Father in New York? We are all well. Love to all.
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
[Sunday] January 31st 1864
Mr. Haynes received Mary’s letter this morning. Its date I do not remember. She says you are still getting better. From this, I fear you have been quite sick, more so, than we have been informed. I hope you will let us know just how sick you have been and what the matter is. And Mary says not a word whether you have a girl yet or not. I shall feel uneasy until I know you have a good girl and that you are entirely well again.
For over a week past the weather has been like May weather—dry and pleasant. Yesterday, however, it was cloudy with a little rain, but not enough to make the walking bad.
Frank [Heaton] will move into his house tomorrow (Monday) but it will take them all the week to move and clean house, and we will not get over there before—about a week from tomorrow. We may, however, get over by Saturday. We are very anxious for the time to roll around for we are tired of this miserable boarding house. Our rooms are good enough, but the board is horrid and the back house —– —– oh! it’s no use talking—the dirtiest place you ever seen. Have to roll up my pants to keep clear, and then the pathway is strewed with clods, freshly taken from the young brats about the house during the morning. But you know we must submit for a few days and be thankful.
Mr. Haynes is lying on the bed taking a nap and James [Sample] is sitting by the stove reading the Sunday Morning Chronicle, but my mind is running upon home and wondering how you are today And although I wrote you on Friday, yet I could not refrain from writing you again today. If I only knew you was well and had had a good girl, I would be satisfied.
I forgot to mention in my last that in due time I received my teeth in good order, and nicely mended. Mary says Mr. Howe would not have anything for mending the. You must see him and thank him for me and tell him if he has anything I can do for him here, to let me know and I will do it with great pleasure.
We all went to Mr. [Schuyler] Colfax’s levee Friday night [29 January 1864]. Oh how sorry we were that you and Mary could not be there. The house upstairs and down was crowded. Mr. Chase & daughters & other dignitaries were there and we had a grand time. Carrie told me her Mother and herself the evening before [28 January 1864] had dined with the President & Mrs. Lincoln. She said from what she had heard of Mrs. Lincoln for some time past that she was prejudiced against her. But she says her prejudices have all been removed—that Mrs. Lincoln is a very pleasant lady and has the nack of making her company feel perfectly easy and at home. Carrie also, on the invitation of Mrs. Lincoln, attended the theatre with her and was perfectly delighted.
Mr. Colfax is well and seems to enjoy those evening entertainments very much, but tells me quietly that it is all a force put–that his heart is not in it and would much prefer a quiet evening by himself or with only a friend or two than all this pomp & show. And it is only done out of a sense of duty and because his position as Speaker requires it. He requested me to come over this evening and spend an hour or two with him in his room, as he expects to be alone—of course I shall go.
I wish you would have Mr. Sample examine the peach trees and see whether he thinks the trees are killed. I am fearful that cold weather has destroyed them. If so, they must all be grubbed out. But do not have that done until you find the leaves do not come out. Wait the full time for that. Then if the leaves fail, and the trees are dead, have them grubbed up and then we must try it again.
You may give that bond we got from James Sample to his father and James will pay me here. In a few days I will send you all the money I can spare. I will send you at least $100 including the fifty from James and perhaps more. I have not paid my board yet & must keep enough to take me through the month with a little margin. Don’t forget to see John Gallagher about a new suit for me, as I before wrote you. I want you to remember me very kindly to Mr. & Mrs. Lowell. Tell her I have not forgotten the nice lunch she fixed up for me when I left there last—that I ate every particle of it. The last I ate was between Baltimore & Washington and I enjoyed it very much indeed.
What about the cow? How does she look and did she know you?
You cannot do much about repairing the house until spring comes. Find out from Mr. Lowell whether lumber is coming down in price or not. I want you to have that tree standing at the back window of the Colfax room cut down close to the ground and you better have what manure there is about the stable and cow yard spread over the garden. This should be done soon as the frost is out so that it can be dug up.
I suppose you have had plenty of friends to call & see you. Has Mrs. Waterhouse returned yet? Tell Mrs. Sample that James is well and I think he looks better and feels better than he has been for some time past. Hattie [Heaton] & the baby are well. The baby grows finely. Hatty feels rejoiced that she is going to housekeeping again. Soon as you are able, you must write me yourself. Tell Charles to write. Mary of course must write Mr. Haynes and that answers for both of us. All well. Love to all.
Your affectionate husband, — C. M. Heaton
Don’t you think I better buy Brother Johnson’s interest in that land in White county. I think I can get it for about $80. Say to pay $20 every month or two until it is paid. A letter from him since you left says his health is very poor and he is much discouraged on account of it. My judgement is that if we buy it, it better be done soon and get a deed on it at once. What say you?
February 5, 1864
I here enclose you one hundred and twenty dollars. This is all I can spare this month. I have retained forty dollars after paying all expenses up to the first of this month but you know we had to move and then my board, room and fire since you left was at the rate of $32.50 per month. But we have left that horrid place. On Wednesday we moved our things over to Frank’s and we are eating at Mr. Cox’s, but sleep at Drank’s, and on Monday we commenced boarding there also.
We are very nicely fixed, have two good sized rooms—make a bedroom of one and sitting room of the other. Both are nice room. The bedroom has just been freshly whitewashed and the other is nicely papered and we are going to gather all our pictures together with which to decorate our sitting room.
I received Charles’ letter of 1st inst., last night. I will make the best effort I can to have his salary increased. You must encourage him to use all the economy he can. I would like to know whether he has saved anything during the past year & how much. I am aware that everything is higher than usual but you know he had no board to pay. At all events I should like to know how his business matters stand.
Would he not like to join the I. O. O. F.? I learn that our Lodge is in a good condition now. They have expelled some of the old thorns that used to be there and that everything is now progressing most harmoniously. I think he better join.
Mr. Haynes will write today which will reach you before this does.
I shall be looking for a letter from you every day now until I get it.
I want you to keep me posted about what you intend to do by way of improving the house and fences. What does Mr. Lowell say about the price of lumber now? Give me your plan about improving the house before you close a bargain. I want the plan & price if you can get at it. It is early yet & you will have time to write back & forth a few times yet before the work can begin. Still, if an opportunity offers, some of the material might be purchased. For instance, the shingles might be looked after. They must be good pine shingles. no other kind will answer. Perhaps Mr. Lowell—he being in the lumber business—could advise you about some of those things.
I was mistaken about losing some of my shorts. Mr. Haynes had put them in a bureau drawer and I did not know it until we commenced to move when we found them. I must apologize to our washwoman for telling her and insisting that she had lost my shorts. That was rather bad, was it not? But I will make it all right with her when I see her.
Love to all—to all—to all. Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
February 6th 1864
Yesterday being Friday, we intended to go to Mr. [Schuyler] Colfax’s reception last night but after we got seated around the stove in our cozy room, I felt more like staying there than going anywhere else and gave up going. Mr. Hayne’s however went to church which they have kept up every night since you left, or nearly so, and it was nearly 10 o’clock before he returned and found me in bed. But he brought me your good letter commenced January 31st and finished a day or two after. Of course I was soon out of bed to read it and I was rejoiced to know that you was quite well again and at last had a good girl. I was more astonished to hear that Lucy [Smith] had been spoiled that either of the other girls for I thought she could not easily be spoiled but it seems I was mistaken. I hope, however, your new Dutch [German heritage] girl will turn out all right, but if she does not, then try another, and yet another, but I want you to keep one all the time.
Mr. Haynes wrote to Mary last night and have her a full description of our room. Consequently I need not add anything hereto. I will only say that I think we are very pleasantly situated. We still eat at Mr. Cox’s however, and will do so until Monday. Then we all commence with Frank. Mr. Van Doren, however, having been offered and accepted a nice room from a relative of his free of charge, will not of course be with us. It is near the Treasury Building where his work is and he has found a good place to board near his room at $5 per week. He called to see us last evening and says he is getting along finely & is well pleased with his situation.
Since reading your letter last night I have been reflecting about that suit of clothes. The price is about the same that they charge here but I have more confidence in Mr. [John] Gallagher getting me up a good suit than I have in these Washington tailors. And then another thing, I always prefer patronizing our old South Bend friends. You will then go to Bro. Gallaghers and tell him to get up the suit soon as he can for my coat is getting rather out of date. Tell him he must put in the best cloth he can afford to for that price $53—the coat. I will give no directions about hte style, however, will of course be about the same as the last he made for me. The pants he must remember to make them with wide falls, not open fronted, and I want him to make the pockets out of a little better drilling than the last he made me. In the old ones the pockets were too thin and the lining was also too light. I want heavier lining in these. The vest I would like to have out of the same kind of material my other fine vest was made of. I can’t give the proper name of the material but he will remember it and you will remember it is a smooth heavy silk.
Now tell Bro. Gallagher he has always been more unlucky about fitting me with a vest than any other garment. He always missed it at the collar. It never fit me up close around the neck as it should. I hope he will remember this and guard against it. I guess you had better show him what I have written about the suit. As to the pay, you will pay him $25 when the suit is done, and the balance agree to pay one month after, or set the time to suit the time I get my pay—a month or so afterwards. I think that will suit him. And get him to pack them well to send by Express, or of Mr. Sample should be coming here about that tim, perhaps he can bring them. But if sent by Express, tell Charles to direct them to “Room 17, General Land Office.” “Free through.” The quicker now this can be done the better for you know I need them. I sent you yesterday by Express $120. It will reach you about the time this letter does.
I am sorry to hear of the death of Mr. [Robert Lanier] Redding. He was a kind and good neighbor, and an honest an. His loss will be severely felt by those who knew him best.
You say Mr. Sample has got a part of the posts for the fence delivered. You will of course provide him with the means to pay for them. Take a bill for them. I want you to keep an account of all expenses about fence & house. Mr. Lowell is certainly very liberal but you will make things all right with him.
In a former letter I wrote you about the peach trees should they all prove to be killed. Although you prophesy we will have no fruit this year, yet I will prophesy that the Northern Spy apple trees will be full this year.
You have of course handed over the bond we got from James Sample. He has paid me & the money is included in that I sent you by Express. All there is to do is to hand him the bond.
Write me just as often as you can. I received a letter from [brother] David [Heaton] last night. He says Feb. 2 at noon, “The outposts of Newbern have been attacked by the enemy. Some hard fighting took place yesterday. The rebels have come within sight. Yes, within cannon shot yesterday and today. Our force is not large but all are on hand ready for the conflict.” The rebels before Newbern are said to number about 15,000 but our forces are confident of being able to repel them. But this morning’s telegraph news says, “the rebels are withdrawing their forces from before Newbern.” So you see he is in a pretty warm place just now. I shall feel uneasy until I hear further from them. Should the Rebels take Newbern and take him prisoner & take him to Libby prison, he will not be able to last long in that doleful place.
Love to Lib & children, to Mary, and all the rest.
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
February 7, 1864
I wrote you yesterday but forgot to mention how to tell Mr. Gallagher to find the last measure he took for my suit when I was there in July last. I had him take my measure, with a view of sending to him to have it made. Tell him he entered it down in the back part of his measure book that he was using at the time I don’t want him to go back and use the measure he took two years ago but the one he took last.
This is Sunday morning. Mr. Haynes has gone to Sunday School & James [Sample] is over to Mr. Cox’s. We expect to commence boarding with Frank tomorrow at dinner.
Mr. and Mrs. Cook occupied the two rooms immediately under ours. That is all that is in the house at present but Franks to rent a room or two more & also to take some boarders. It will require some careful management for him to make much, for the reason that he pays such a high rent. I was frank with hi, and told him that I doubted whether he would find it a very profitable investment, the rent being so high, but he & Hatty both thought they could make it work and determined to try it for one year at least. But now they are in for it and must make the best of it they can.
The news from Newbern [N. Carolina] this morning does not vary much from yesterday. The rebels seem to be close around the city within cannon shot & even in sight. I guess David and his family think they are in pretty good quarters, which is true. The latest news, however, is that the rebels are retiring. But I doubt whether that is true. My believe is they will have a terrible fight right at the city, but a day or two more will determine the matter and shall feel very anxious until we hear again. Our forces however can & will hold egress and ingress on the water side of the city and should it become necessary, David and family might leave.
The small pox still continues to flourish all over he city but the cases are all light—but few deaths—and none that I am acquainted with. I believe I told you I was vaccinated the next day after you left. My arm was quite sore. The scab came off last night. It is not very large but I here send it to you. It came off my own arm and will be safe to use if needed.
Hattie’s bay grows finely & keeps well. They have not named it yet.
I do not know that I have anything more to say just now but should I think of anything, will write again. I hope, however, you have entirely recovered from your cold. When you see Mary Jane Roberts, tell her I have not forgotten her and that I will answer her kind and good letter before long.
Tell Charles I want him to let me know the total amount of his Express receipts for the last year, before deducting salary and other expenses. He can easy get them from his settlement book. I also want him to look at my old account book & tell me whether my account with Colfax and Wheeler, before I left has been settled since I left & whether it stands open yet. And the same with Mr. Colfax Telegraph Account, & how the balance stands in each. I want this done now. Mr. Wheeler has sent me his newspaper account but I think they owe me on the old account. Charles, have you settled with Wheeler at any time since I left?
All well. Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
February 17th 1864
Mary’s last letter to Mr. Haynes says the money $120 I sent you arrived safely and that my new suit of clothes will be started from South Bend Monday morning next. I am glad of this for my best coat is failing fast. You remember the old one was about used up when you left and having to wear the best one I have everyday has become unfit to wear—only at home & in the office. Should this reach you in season for you to get me a neck tie to send with it, I would be glad. You can select one better than I can. But do not for anything detain the clothes in order to get the neck tie. The neck tie can be sent by mail or by someone coming here.
I understand Mr. & Mrs. Dayton are coming here about the first of March and that Mr. Sample will probably be here in March. Go and see the Dr. before they start.
We are getting along at Frank’s [boarding house] pretty well, but Hattie cannot cook with Mrs. Cox—that is certain. But still she does pretty well and tries to do all she can to make things pleasant. James, I guess, is satisfied. He thinks he is gaining in flesh more than at any other time since he has been in Washington and I think so too. He is certainly more rugged than I have seen him before.
The baby grows finely but I do not think they have named it yet, though they talk of calling it Clary after Clary Gallagher of Cincinnati. Mira makes herself useful, generally. They have a yellow girl to help them but she is of but little use unless everything is told her. They will turn her off soon as they can do better.
I have been looking for a letter from you or Charles for some days but it don’t come. Suppose you have been so busy you have not had time to write. But I shall look daily until it comes. Mr. Haynes always shows me Mary’s letters and they are very interesting but I want one from you as often as you can find time to write. I want to know about the particulars about the house—whether Mr. Lowell is still with you, whether you have found all your thins which were scattered among the neighbors and at Aunt Harriet’s, and did the things ew sent back from here come safely, or have you opened them yet? And I want Charles to write me fully as to his financial affairs—whether he has saved anything during the past year, and how much. All these things would be interesting to me and everything else of the same sort you can think of. If you cannot find time to write a full letter at one time, commence it, and write a few lines from day to day until it gets to a sufficient length to mail. I confess, notwithstanding my good roommates, that I am lonesome. Mr. Haynes generally goes to church every evening and James goes to Mr. Defree’s or some other place and I stay at home either reading or writing. But continually my mind is on home, wondering how you are getting along, whether you have entirely recovered your health or not, and wether your girl is good for anything or not. I hope she is a good girl so that you will not be troubled about your work.
How is Lib getting along? Do they all keep well? A week or two ago I wrote [her son] James a long letter and took occasion to give him a little advise. Have you heard anything about it? And what does he think of it? He may not relish advise from me but I hope he will. I tried to impress on him the necessity of being kind and obedient to his mother.
On Saturday night, Mr. Hayes and myself attended a reception at Mr. [John Bassett] Alley’s, Member of Congress from Massachusetts. It was a very nice affair. Mrs. Matthews & Carrie was there looking finely. When the refreshment room was open, Mr. Haynes escorted Carrie and I escorted Mrs. Matthews to the refreshment room. Mr. Matthews escorted some other lady—I do not know who. Mr. [Schuyler] Colfax was not there. He was attending a reception somewhere else. I think I shall not attend any more receptions until my new clothes arrive. My old ones are rather nasty and you know they always have their parlors so brilliantly lighted up that a threadbare coat is easily seen.
When I commenced this letter I did not think that I could find enough to write about to half fill this sheet but here I am near to the end of it. And I know I had something in my mind to write about when I commenced but it has slipped my mind and I cannot call it up. I will very probably write you again tomorrow if it is of anything of importance.
If my clothes starts on Monday, I think I will get them in time for Schuyler’s reception on Friday. I hope to have them then, and that when they do come that they will fit me.
Yesterday there was quite a change in the weather from warm and pleasant to cold and windy. Night before last and yesterday morning a little snow. But the wind has blown it all away. What is the prospect about lumber? Tell me the prices as near as you can. Also the price of provisions. How do they compare with Washington. After you get all right and the weather cold, I will then remind you about sending us some mince pies made A No. 1. Mrs. Sample may want to send something—some nice doughnuts would go well, or anything you wish to send.
Love to all. Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
February 28th 1864
Yours of 21st inst. was duly received. Sorry to hear Mary had been so unwell. Hope she has entirely recovered and that your cold has entirely left you. Last evening, Mr. [William Theodore] Van Doren 1 was over to see us. He had just received a letter from Mrs. Van dated on the 22d. She says Mr. Lowell & family had gone to the hotel to board. If this is so, they must have left the same day you wrote your letter or the day after. I was not surprised that you found it difficult to get along with her for when I was there, I discovered she had a peculiar disposition. The only way for her to succeed in getting along is to have her keep house alone where she can have perfect control and slash and order things around her own way, and somebody with plenty of money to pay the bills. Mr. Lowell, however, I found to be a very pleasant man—always making an effort to please and liberal to a fault. I hope, however, they are gone and that you are released from the perplexities of boarding anyone so full of eccentricities.
This is Sunday afternoon and the weather has been for weeks past, and is now, very mild, dry, and pleasant. Mr. Haynes has been out to church, of course, but James [Sample] and myself have remained in our room reading. Perhaps we also should have went to church but we did not do so, but I think we shall go this evening.
I received James Davis’s letter and he seems to be highly pleased with going into the office with Charles and hope Charles can make good use of him there. I shall write James again soon with reference to his duty. Charles should be very prompt with him and when he requires a duty to be performed, to see that it is performed fully and to the letter. 2
I think also that it is best to let the improvements on the house rest, at least until warm weather—until May or June. But in the meantime you should be planning how you intend to have it done. Have you conversed with any mechanic about it, & with whom? But one thing must be observed—that the expenses must not reach over what can be paid for in the fall. When you talk with a mechanic, ask him what he thinks about raising the roof higher in the center & make the roof quite steep. Cannot sufficient bedrooms be made under such a roof and with sufficient lights? You remember we looked at some roofs here in this city that you liked and we thought would do to pattern after. And then ask the mechanic what the difference would be between a roof of that kind and raising another store square up. I want to get an idea of what the expense is going to be.
Has Mr. [Russ] Sample procured all the posts for the fence yet? How many are they and what did they cost? And have they been properly piled up? When dies Mr. Sample leave for New York and is he coming this way? I would be very glad to have him come this way. Tell him to come right here—corner of 10th & F Streets. We can take care of him if he can sleep with James. I think Mr. and Mrs. Sample 3 done exactly right when they decided to let James go to Idaho. He is much better off where he is. His health is now first rate. My clothes have not arrived yet but I shall look for them tomorrow.
I wish you would see Dr. [Daniel D.] Dayton 4 & find out when they start for Washington. Mr. Colfax has made arrangements with the War Department and had a rebel prisoner sent to Richmond to have him exchanged for Alfred Wade—Mr. Dayton’s brother. If this succeeds as we think it will, Alfred will be expected here some time this month & we hope in time to meet the Dr. and his wife while they are here. You remember he has been in Libby Prison for several months.
I am not surprised that you find provisions so much higher than they used to be, It is so all over the country & will be a long time before they are lower. I think when Mr. Brownfield or some other of our merchants goes East to buy groceries, that you had better give him money enough to buy you a barrel of sugar and perhaps some other things. If will be a saving in the end to do so. Economy should be studied in all things for the time is not far distant when the greatest crash ever felt in the country must take place, and all real estate, at least, will fall in value. And woe be unto him who is found in debt. We should therefore avoid living in debt all that it is possible. I hope Charles will not lose sight of that idea.
We did not go to Mr. Colfax’s reception last Friday. I thought I would wait for my [new] clothes.
The fair at the Patent Office Building is going off finely. 5 The large and spacious room is crowded every afternoon and night. I have been in two or three times. I bought me a season ticket $1 & can go in when I please. I found a stand there where they sell mush and milk 15 cents for a quart bowl full & a nice article and that is all the place I patronize.
Tomorrow evening Mr. Haynes and myself intend calling on Mrs. Sturgis & to take her and Mr. [Thaddeus S.] Sturgis’s sister that is there now on a visit & call on the other Mrs. Sturgis who is now back in the city. They live between the City Hall and the depot [312 9th Street].
I shall look for a letter from Charles soon & I want you to write as often as you can. I am very lonesome and you letters always revives me up. Did your big glass jar get back safe? My love to all.
Your affectionate husband, — C. M. Heaton
1 William Theodore Van Doren (1819-1885) was married to Matilda Woodruff (1828-1903) in 1847. In the 1850 US Census, he was a carpenter in Ovid, Seneca county, New York. In 1860 he was enumerated in South Bend, Indiana, working as a merchant. In the 1860’s he took a job as clerk in the Treasury Department in Washington D. C. He was still there in 1880.
2 James Richard Davis (1852-1886) was Charles’ grandson—the oldest child of Judge James and Elizabeth (Heaton) Davis. The youngster would have been about eleven years old when this letter was written. He was apparently being offered the opportunity to work for his Uncle in the Express/Telegraph office in South Bend.
3 Andrew Russell (“Russ”) Sample (1818-1885) and his wife, Mary Hannah McKnight DeFrees (1821-1867) lived on the adjoining property with the Charles M. Heaton home in South Bend, Indiana. Russ was a merchant in South Bend. Their eldest son James Anthony Sample (1844-1916) was a clerk in the Treasury Department. His boarding house address in the 1864 Directory was given as 412 9th West.
4 Dr. Daniel D. Dayton (1806-1889) of South Bend, Indiana, was married to Anna Maria Wade (1825-1908) in 1844. Anna’s brother, Alfred (“Alf”) Wade, was the youngest son of Judge Robert Wade of South Bend. He was the Adjutant and later Lt. Colonel of the 73rd Indiana Infantry when he was taken prisoner in May 1863. After he was exchanged and released from Libby Prison in February 1864, he went to Washington and met President and Mrs. Lincoln, Generals Grant and Halifax and Secretaries Stanton and Chase. While in Washington he stayed at the home of Schuyler Colfax. This and other experiences are vividly described in his “Hoosier Journal: the Civil War Diary of Alfred B. Wade.” He returned to South Bend after the war, married Jennie W. Bond of Niles and entered law school at Michigan State University. After becoming a lawyer he once again returned to South Bend and opened a law office. He was made Postmaster of South Bend by Schuyler Colfax. He died of a heart attack in 1877 at the age of 38 and is buried in City Cemetery.
5 The Patent Office Fair was conducted under the auspices of the Ladies’ Relief Fund Association of the District of Columbia. It began on 22 February 1864. Proceeds were targeted for the benefit of the Christian commission. The fair was held in a large hall on the third floor of the Patent Office in the partially finished and unoccupied north side. The hall was 300 feet long and 75 feet wide. Down the center and along each side, “stands, booths, bowers, and fairy-like arbors” were arranged. Near the center of the hall was a miniature representation of Gen. Grant’s headquarters at Chattanooga.” The President, his wife and son Robert attended the opening day’s events when Lincoln was asked to give a speech, “which he attempted not to do, concluding, ‘If I make any mistakes it may do both myself and the nation harm. It is difficult to always say sensible things. I therefore hope that you accept my sincere thanks for this charitable enterprise in which you are engaged. With the expression of the gratitude of mine, I hope that you will excuse me.’ Mary Lincoln was said to have told Mr. Lincoln after his speech: ‘That was the worst speech I ever listened to in my life. How any man could get up and deliver such remarks to an audience is more than I can understand. I wanted the earth to sink and let me go through.’ ” Source: John Y. Simon, Harold Holzer and William D. Pederson, editors, Lincoln, Gettysburg and the Civil War, Frank J. Williams p. 68.]
Sunday evening, March 6th 1864
Your letter of the 27th ult. was duly received and I assure you it was very welcome. I know it is a task for you to write, especially as you have so many things to look after since you returned home, but I hope you will so manage affairs that you can find time to write me at least once a week and oftener if you can. I believe I have not written you since last Sunday and I have no special reason for it only that I have been out several evenings during the week.
The Sanitary Fair now going off in the Patent Office building attracts large crowds every evening and one evening I took Mrs. Cox there, and another I took Hattie, and on Friday evening was at Mr. [Schuyler] Colfax’s reception. But I know had you been here to have went with me at all those places, I should have enjoyed myself much better. My clothes came in good order on Thursday last. Charges from Elmira $1. I don’t know why Charles did not mark them “Free Through” as was done before nless new instructions have been given by the company he should have done so. They fit me first rate with one exception—the legs of the pants are a little too long. Otherwise I am well pleased. I wore them to the reception and felt not ashamed. The crowd was not as large as usual, still the rooms were comfortably filled.
The centre of attraction that evening was Col. [Abel] Streight 1 and Maj. Alfred Wade, just from Libby Prison. They both looked better than I expected but they had both provided themselves with new military suits and cast away their prison suits. This of course added to their appearance and of course felt happy with the great change in their condition which a few days had wrought. It is just ten months since they were taken prisoners and during all that time had not been permitted to step their foot outside of Libby Prison.
Alfred was exchanged through the efforts of Mr. Colfax. He applied at the War Department and sent a Rebel Major who was a prisoner in our hands to Richmond who agreed to procure an exchange for Mr. Wade or return himself. Mr. Wade knew nothing of it until the thing was done and he was ordered to the flag of truce boat that brought him to Fortress Monroe where he met a letter from Mr. Colfax inviting him to come to his house where he is now stopping. Mr. Wade telegraphed when he would arrive and Mr. Colfax notified all the South Benders [here in Washington] and we all got there a few minutes before he came in. And you may well imagine how he felt to meet so many of his friends & acquaintances so unexpectedly. Mr. Van Doren was there and as I presume he is at home today & will see you, can tell you all about it.
Col. Streight, however, had a harder time to get away from Libby. He is one of those that got out through the tunnel you have heard so much about. They dug a hole just large enough for a man to crawl through under a narrow street and come out in a back lot. When Col. Streight made the first attempt to crawl through, he had on an overcoat but that made him too large for the hole an he had to back out & take off his overcoat and made it fast to his feet and dragged it through after him. This hole or tunnel was just 60 feet long. I had quite a long talk with him about it. He told me that after he got through, he stayed in Richmond near Jeff Davis’ house for seven days, at the house of a friend. I asked him how he found his way to that friend’s house and how did he know he had such a friend?
Said he, we knew we had friends in Richmond while we were in prison, that for a long time they kept up a correspondence with a lady in Richmond 2 who gave them every information about what was going on in the city. Well, said I, how did you get your letters back and forth? Who was your mail carrier? Well, said he, I will tell you, but this must not get into print. As for the lady, she is safe for she is now in this city, but our mail carriers are not. Said he, there were two negroes whose duty it was among other things to fill our spit boxes with sawdust. But these two negroes was not allowed to go outside the guards around the prison. But there was another negro whose duty it was to take care of a horse belonging to one of the prison keepers and also to supply those other negroes with sawdust. and the letters were carried in this sawdust by the negroes.
Now you must request all who may see this not to let this negro matter get into print. The Richmond authorities began to suspicion this lady for not being loyal and among the detectives in Richmond are some good Union men and through them she was informed that she was about to be arrested, and a pass was procured for her to come through the lines in a fictitious name & she left & is now here. I did not ask her name—but I forgot, I was going to tell you that these letters informed them that when they got out, a certain number of them was to go to certain negro quarters which was particularly described & there send for her which was done. And about one o’clock at night she came and conducted them to the different houses where they were to stay. There they could hear all that was going on. There were 109 that got out—all that could get out before daylight. Most of them left the city that night but it was known if Col. Streight should be retaken, he would be shot on the spot. Hence it was arranged for him to remain in the city & soon as any of them got through to our lines, to publish that Streight was one of them which was done, and this put the rebels off their guard.
After remaining in Richmond seven days, the man where he stayed took his gun as though he went out hunting, but for the purpose of finding just how many of the guards & pickets were posted around the city and then in the night he piloted them out ten or twelve miles in the country. He would travel in the night and lay in the brush all day, but in twelve days he got through. His feet and ankles got very sore and are sore yet, but he says he will soon be ready for duty. He is from Indianapolis. About 45 or 48 of the 109 was retaken.
I hope when Major Wade gets home our South Bend folks will give him a good warm reception. He starts for home Tuesday or Wednesday. You and Mary must call and see him at Mr. Chapin’s soon as he arrives. It is expected that Dr. Dayton and wife & daughter will be here tomorrow. Alfred is anxious to see them before he leaves for South Bend.
Capt. Saunders’ wife is here on a visit to her husband. I seen them at the reception and of course gave her some attention. I told her she must see you, or you her when she got home. She said on Monday after you got home she went to the office and enquired of Charles where you was that she might call and see you but somehow Charles did not tell her where you was and she went home again and felt very bad about it. I suppose Charles must have been very busy at the time or did not understand what she wanted. I hope you will see her when she gets home about the last of this month. She can describe these receptions to you as she has attended them.
But here I am at the end of this sheet and several things in your letter not answered. I will write again in a day or two and answer. But as to selling part of our lot, we must decline. But if we ever do sell, Mr. Sample shall have the first chance. I sent yesterday a package of garden seeds each to you and Mr. Davis, & one to Uncle Tim & Mrs. Mary J. Roberts. Mr. Hayes is at church tonight and well. He will finish a letter to Mary tonight or in the morning. Love to all.
Your affectionate husband, – Charles M. Heaton
1 Abel Delos Streight (1828-1892) commanded the 51st Indiana Infantry on a raid in 1863 (Streight’s Raid) in which he was taken prisoner and held at Libby Prison for ten months.
2 The lady might have Miss Elizabeth Van Lew. Her story was posted on Civil War Talk in July 2015. Or perhaps it was Aunt Rhoda, a “colored mammy” who was credited in the following article entitled “Col. Streight’s Escape” by Thomas C. Mays, of the 65th Ohio.
March 11th 1864
When I wrote you last evening I fully intended to have written you again before this Friday evening but every evening something was in the way. Tuesday evening I went to the President’s Levee—the first I have attended this winter. The evening was pleasant and the walking good. James Sample and myself went together, but notwithstanding we went early, we found the East Room & halls pretty well filled. It had been announced during the day that Gen. Grant was to be there. This called out an immense crowd. There were a good many Ladies there, yet the Gents outnumbered them five to one.
I met Mrs. Green there, the lady who keeps the boarding house on 9th Street—not the one that boarded at Mr. Finney’s. She introduced me to a Mrs. Wait from New York State. I offered her my arm and we, with many others promenaded once around the East Room, and just as we got to one of those large sofas right opposite the Green Room entrance, a loud clapping of hands commenced and it was soon discovered that Gen. Grant was about entering the East Room. We saw that he was just entering along with Secretary Seward. The crowd pressed toward him very heavy but he pressed his way through and crossed the room directly where we were. They came right up to where we stood. We shook hands with him but the crowd pressed stronger and stronger to shake him by the hand. I spoke to him & Mr. Seward & told them to mount upon the sofa or they would be overwhelmed. Mr. Seward thanked me for the suggestion and up they mounted with their boots on the elegant sofa.
The rush in that direction was terrible and was impossible to get away from it and I told Mrs. Wait to get on the sofa. She done so and I put my hand against the wall but the pressure on me was so great, I could not stand under it, and I also mounted the sofa. By this time, Secretary Stanton got there and he also mounted the sofa. There was no controlling the crowd. They rushed from every direction & those that had shaken hands with the General could not get away. I took it on myself to speak to the crowd and urged them to open the way on one side so that those who had shaken hands could pass off. Some was pressed to the floor & they placed their feet against the sofa and pushed the crowd back and in this way run their feet through the silk covering of the sofa & about ruined it—tore it full of holes large enough to run my head through. But we finally succeeded in opening a way for them to pass off.
Mr. Seward spoke several times and so did Mr. Stanton of how fortunate it was that they accidentally came to that sofa or the crowd would have overwhelmed them. Their position was fine for the crowd to see them. I was [mist] taken by hundreds for Secretary Wells and it was generally remarked that Gen. Grant was accompanied with three of the cabinet. Now don’t you think I felt very much flattered over that? General Grant stood there near one hour with both hands extended, shaking hands with everyone he could reach. At first the Ladies could not get near but after a half hour or more they began to come forward and at the end of near an hour, the most of the crowd had succeeded in taking the General by the hand and the press slacked off. 1
When Secretary Seward and General Grant left the room arm in arm. I then had a promenade with Mrs. Sturgis and a sister of Mrs. Sturgis who is now there on a visit, and then I retired and went home somewhat fatigued with my evening excursion. Mr. Haynes did not go to the levee and instead, I believe, he went to the office or to church, I forget which.
It has been raining some this afternoon but Hattie and Frank & Mira and myself are going to Mr. Colfax’s levee. It is rather muddy but as they have fixed themselves up to go, they are inclined not to give it up.
I applied at the seed room for some pansy seed but they say their flower seeds will not be ready for a week yet, But I will watch for it & get you some if possible. You must let me know whether you receive the garden seeds I sent you. You must see that Charles looks out for our taxes and not let them run over. I have not heard from Brother Johnson yet, whether he will take my offer about buying his interest in the White County land.
Evening before last I made a call at Mr. Defrees. Julia is now at home but Mr. Defrees starts for Indianapolis on a visit Monday morning to be gone two weeks. From Mary’s letter we learn that you are now alone, that Mr. Lowell has gone to keeping house. I am very glad of this as it will make it much easier for you and Mary to get along and you will not be under the necessity of keeping up so many fires. But Mary did not say what house they moved into.
Dr. Dayton & wife has not arrived yet but are expected tomorrow evening. Major Wade could not wait for them and suppose by this time he is in South Bend. You and Mary must all and see him sure. Mr. Wade has leave of absence for 30 days from the time he left here last Tuesday & the Dr. will be home in time to see him.
Could you not get me a couple pair homemade flannel drawers and send by Mr. Van Doren. Get Mr. Gallagher to make them but don’t have strings at the bottom.
I had a line yesterday from Mr. Sample. He is very anxious to buy one half of one of our lots. I would be very glad to accommodate Mr. Sample if I thought we could spare it. It would take off some of our best apple trees and leave the balance of our lot too small. You know those oak trees takes up considerable room for trees and shrubbery entirely too small. Of course, if at any time we should make up our minds to spare it to anyone outside our own family, Mr. Sample should have the first opportunity to buy it. Will you ask Mr. Sample whether he has made a contract with anyone to build his front fence that we can extend ours on the same level—that is, the top of the fence should be on a level from end to end. But I think we better not have ours built until the house is repaired as it might get injured with timbers. He says the posts had not all been delivered but would be soon. You must pay him for our share. Let me know what they cost.
It has just begun to rain again & I rather guess it will break up our going to the levee tonight. Well, if we don’t go tonight, we will go next Friday night. I here send you Carrie Matthews’ photograph. It was taken before she came here. She says if she gets any taken here, she will give me one.
We have not finished up the presentation to Mr. Colfax yet. Expect to by the last of the month. I want you to ask Mr. Van Doren to write me and tell me how much to put down for him, should it be necessary to close it up before he returns. Tell him not to fail to write and that he must do the best he can as it will crowd us hard to do as well as we wish to.
Love to all. Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
1 There are various accounts of Grant’s reception in the East Room on 8 March 1864 but I will quote portions of Ron Chernow’s “Grant” which was published in 2017. Chernow wrote that Grant arrived at the President’s weekly levee wearing the same grubby outfit in which he had travelled in all day because he had misplaced the key to his trunk. The White House was already “packed with spectators” when Grant arrived at 9:30 p.m. because the newspapers had announced he would attend the reception. After meeting briefly with Lincoln in the Blue Room, Secretary of State William Sward took Grant by the arm and walked him into the East Room “which broke into brisk applause and wave after waves of cheers. So boisterous did the gathering grow that [Journalist] Noah Brooks labeled it ‘the only real mob I ever saw in the White House.’ The room shook in the throes of Grant mania. Because the crowd swallowed up the diminutive Grant, people twisted their necks to spot the bashful hero, chanting ‘Grant! Grant! Grant!’ Finally at Seward’s behest, Grant stood on a couch, enabling everybody to ogle the hero…. Brook’s noted…’The little, scared-looking man who stood on a crimson-covered sofa was the idol of the hour.’ Never cut out for such social duties, a prisoner of this pandemonium, and embarrassed Grant admitted that the time he stood on the couch was the hottest campaign he ever fought…One reporter captured vividly the flustered Grant standing amid the hubbub: ‘He blushed like a girl. The handshaking brought steams of perspiration down his forehead and over his face…’ For an hour, Grant remained a captive of the adoring crowd before extricating himself ot confer with Lincoln and Seward in a small dining room.” [Grant, by Ron Chernow, pp. 341-342]
An eye-witness for the New York Tribune described the reception for General Grant in the White House on 8 March 1864 as “more furious than any scene that ever transpired in the East Room. Grant was literally lifted up for awhile and in obedience to a demand and to a necessity, so great was the desire to have a fair look at him, he was obliged to mount a sofa under the auspices of Secretary Seward who preceded him to that elevation. There was never such a coat-tearing, button-bursting jam in the White House as this soldier has occasioned.” [Providence Evening Press, 10 March 1864]
March 19th 1864
Mr. Ames starts for South Bend tomorrow Sunday evening but wishes to pack his trunk this evening. He has kindly consented to carry this bundle of grape cuttings to you for me. Mr. Haynes procured them for me from Mr. Stickney. You will find quite an assortment. The kind we so much admired last fall was the Delaware–a light red color, very sweet, juicy and tender. Of course you will be extra careful of those. Each kind is labeled. Be careful not to get them mixed. I would recommend that you get a large box, say a foot deep. Fill it with earth and set them out in that no matter how close so they do not touch each other, but in rows or in such a way that you can mark them and keep track of the kind—say on the end of the box opposite each row or kind mark figure 1, 2, 3 and so on, and then take a book and set down the corresponding numbers with the name of the grape opposite each figure. Let them remain in the box this season to sprout & next spring they can be set out where they are to grow.
I also send you some medicine for the piles. Have you been troubled with them this spring? I have heard that this medicine is a great remedy but I do not know what it is made from. Mr. Haynes procured it from Dr. Piper. It may do you good. At least it can do you no harm. Try it and let me know what effect it has. I believe Mr. Haynes has written to Mary more particularly about the medicine.
Mr. Ames goes home on some business. Will not remain but a few days.
We were all at Mr. Colfax’s reception last evening. Had quite a pleasant time but I should have felt much better could you and Mary have been there with us. I never go there but i regret that you are not there. The streets and weather has been much more pleasant than any winter since I have been here. The streets are now dry and dusty. We have had no mud this winter. This makes everything more pleasant than it otherwise could have been.
Dr. Dayton leaves here next Thursday for Newport, Rhode Island, where their son is. They stay there two or three days and the last of the following week will be at home. All well. Love to all.
Your affectionate husband, — C. M. Heaton
Sunday a.m. March 20th 1864
You cannot imagine the satisfaction it gave me when last night I received your good letter of the 15th inst. Yes, I will remember the time you refer to, just twenty-nine years ago, the time Granny Miller was at our house. I remember also that eventful morning. I made a hurried trip to Terre Coupee Prairie and brought Dr. Egbert home with me, but it was too late, all was over and I was greatly rejoiced for I feared a painful repetition of a former occasion. But oh! how rapidly the time has passed away. It does not seem possible that so many years have passed and gone.
I am very sorry that James did not conduct himself better in the office. I was greatly in hopes that he would have done better. He is smart and might have been of service to Charles and also to himself. I know not how to advise in relation to him. He is yet too young for the Navy and even if old enough, at present there is no vacant places in our District, and what is to become of the boy, I cannot tell. Elizabeth must feel very bad about it & I feel very sorry for her, but what to advise is beyond my comprehension just now. But I will think of the matter.
This evening Mr. Ames starts for South Bend and before receiving your letter last evening I had sent a package of grape cuttings to him for you with a short letter.
You say you felt a little disappointed in not getting any money this month. The reason I did not send any was that you remember I had written you that I had made my brother an offer for his interest in that White County land and I did not know but he would take me up, & if so, I should need some to pay him the first payment. But he has not yet written me on the subject and it is now so late in the month that even if he does, he must wait until next month. And I will therefore send you one hundred dollars by Mr. Ames. He will arrive at Sound Bend about the time this letter does, though this letter & Mr. Ames will leave on the same train this evening, but I understand he will go by the way of Cincinnati having obtained a pass on that route to Cincinnati. When you write, let me know which gets there first, Mr. Ames or this letter.
I knew you had enough to last you even if you did not get this until first next month. I shall send you from time to time all that I can spare and I shall need none, or but little besides my board—except that if I get a letter from Bro. Johnson, & he sends me a deed, then I must send some to him. When he writes me, I will let you know all about it and then, I must save some next month for this Colfax presentation the amount I have not determined yet. But of course I must do what is right. And then again, the Indiana clerks have formed an association to distribute documents during the coming campaign, and of course I must do something for that. You remember Mr. Colfax had determined not to be a candidate again but the pressure has been so strong on him to withdraw that determination that he has about made up his mind to yield to the wishes of his constituents & I have no doubt will again be a candidate. Congress will adjourn about the 1st of June and he will be home soon after the meeting of the National Convention at Baltimore which takes place on the 7th June. Mr. Lincoln will get the nomination without a doubt & will be reelected. Nothing can prevent it. The people and the soldiers are for him everywhere. Mr. Chase has declined being a candidate in a very patriotic letter which has done him great credit.
The [St. Patricks] Catholic Church across the street is just out. A large attendance there today. 4th Sunday is Lent and everything big, little, young and old has a sprig of evergreen in their hand. I do not understand what that represents.
You say you have been talking with Messrs. Marsh & Alexander about fixing our house. They are good men and good mechanics and would be very likely to do the job as reasonably as any others. Let them make out the plan and see what the whole expense will amount to. Have them put it in writing and then send it to me & let me examine it and I will then advise what to do. Let them go on the principle of furnishing everything themselves and finishing it up ready to occupy. I think that would be better than to furnish the material or any portion of it ourselves. The fence, you know, would be a separate job altogether. You should let them know now before they get too much on their hands that we want it completed by the last of August so as to be in time to have things fixed up a little by the time we et home in October.
When they ascertain what the expense will be, I will then determine how fast we can pay the. Charles must lend a helping hand in this matter by way of paying expenses for living, &c. as eventually you know this improvement will be as much for his interest as for ours. The fence should not be built or at least the front part of it until after the repairs are done to the house.
It wsa certainly very fortunate that our things got home so safe & especially that large glass jar. I really expected that to be broken but I am glad you got it through for it will be of use to you. Since my last letter to you, I feel much better, but I fear you will feel bad over the letter. And if I had it back, would not send it. But you have it before this. Indeed, I have almost forgotten what I did say. But I guess I scolded some. I will finish this letter in the one containing the $100 by Mr. Ames. Love to all.
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
March 20th 1864
Today I mailed you a letter saying that I would send you by Mr. Ames one hundred dollars which I here enclose you. Let e know which letter you receive first. In closing up the letter by mail, I told you that I would finish answering your letter in this.
I did not know that I expressed any great anxiety for you to become acquainted with Mrs. Saunders and in fact, I did not know there would be any objection to it. I thought as she had been here & attended some of those receptions that you would like to see her and hear her describe them. I never had heard anything about her. I am sure I never has seen her to know her until I seen her here & would not have known her had I met her in the street or anywhere else, But Mr. and Mrs. Ames who did know her & all belonged to the same church seem to give her as much attention as anybody else, and I wish you would tell me why she has a bad name.
Mr. Saunders was always a good friend of mine—always voted for me, and worked hard for me at my last election. And of course I should always treat him with respect. I should not be surprised, however, if she was a little “toungy”—perhaps too much so, But so far as the Captain is concerned, I think him a very clever man, not very bright, that is true, but he always votes right.
I heard yesterday, however, that she was going to stay here for a few months, that they had rented a room or two on Capitol Hill, and are going to keeping house.
You say you have had a man to trim our trees. I do hope that he did not make a mistake and trim off those grafts I had put in two of the apple trees on the right hand of the path as you go to the wood house. They stand near the asparagus bed. I would not have them cut off for ten dollars and hope they have been saved.
It is now dinner time and I must close up for I must go right after dinner and give this to Mr. Ames.
Do tell us how Polly gets along. You don’t write anything about her or the cow. What did you do with the calf?
Frank and family all well. And I know of none of our acquaintances who are sick. Love to all. Your affectionate husband, — Charles M Heaton
March 25, 1864
Charles’ letter of the 17th inst. was duly received and it done me good to get it. It was just such a letter as I wanted and I am glad to know that his business is in a healthy condition I had no fears however but that all was right but I wanted to see some figures, to know how much he was saving. He, and all of you will remember that as I address all my letters to you, it is intended for you al, and as answers for all previous letters received from any of the family. Charles, I hope you will carry out your determination about keeping accounts with anyone, for Express matter, or for telegraphing. Your keeping an account with the bank is no exception, but a convenience for yourself as you may make your deposits with them but it only makes trouble for yourself to keep accounts with any others. And it is expected, and is the rule everywhere, to require the cash for express charges on delivery of the goods—and your only safety in in following up this rule strictly. And this applies to telegraphing as well as for Express business.
And there is one class of charges you should be more strict about if possible than any other, and that is C O. D. packages, Never allow such packages to leave your possession until all charges are actually paid and that unconditionally. I remember once I came very near having to pay $200 in such a case. It kept it to myself and sweat over it for two months, but finally got it. The moment such packages leaves your possession, you are liable. [More advice on collections]
I have written to r. Kipp and urged him to make a liberal increase of your salary—pointed out all the reasons for it that I could and I have no doubt it will be done. But how much I cannot say. I have not heard from him yet and it may be tht instead of writing to me here that when action is taken on it, the result will be sent to you. Perhaps the matter may be referred to Mr. Cone and he may call and see you about it. You will of course be careful to always make everything pleasant with Mr. Cone.
When Messrs. Marsh and Alexander called to make a survey of the work necessary to be done in fixing our house, do not forget to bring to their notice the floor. You know how uneven it is along where the stoves stand in the dining room, and it seems to me that the north door should be changed to near the N. W. corner & have a hall where the long room is, not as wide as the room but of a proper width—or perhaps the other corner, the S. E. corner would be better—and then it might be best to have the stairway go up in that hall. However, I will wait to see the plan they may propose. I sent you by Mr. Ames $100 and suppose you have it before this time.
Mary’s line to me, enclosed in a letter to Mr. Haynes, was duly received and was surprised to hear that James Davis had run away from home. I feel very bad about it and I know that Elizabeth must feel wretched over it. And what should be done? I am unable to say just now. It seems he is determined to have his own way and although he is so young, yet I do not see how it can be helped. Was he brought back, doubtless he would try it again soon. But if he is let along, I think he will find out there is not much fun in it and the first thing you know, he will voluntarily return—and it may do him good. If he sticks with the 48th Regiment, no doubt some of them will see that he does not suffer.
Dr. Dayton, wife and daughter left here yesterday morning for Newport where their son is [and] where they will stay until Money. They then go to Pittsfield, I believe it is, & will arrive at home next Thursday night or Friday morning. They have had a fine time here. They stopped with Mr. [Schuyler] Colfax and he of course gave them every chance to see all the sights. I seen Mrs. Sturgis last evening a few minutes at the house, the other Mr. & Mrs. Sturgis have sold out & again left the city. I suppose this time for good. Mrs. Sturgis says she is going to write to Mary in a few days.
I suppose our taxes have been attended to. I wish you would see Judge Egbert & tell him I want to know whether he received his daughter’s pension papers I set him some days ago. Hope he got it all right. Has the garden seeds I sent you come to hand?
On Tuesday night we had quite a snow storm. The snow Wednesday morning was about 8 inches deep but it is nearly gone now & looks something like rain this p.m. If it does not rain, I expect to go to Mr. Colfax’s reception tonight. Wish you was here to go along. I know you would enjoy it well. There is a fool fellow in the room talking so much I can scarcely think of what to write. But my sheet is full. Love to all.
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
Washington D. C.
March 30th 1864
I have this moment received a letter from Mr. Kip of Buffalo in answer to a letter I wrote him asking an increase of salary at our office in South Bend. He represents the affairs of the office in a very unfavorable light and you may imagine how badly I feel about it. Here is a copy of the letters. It is dated day before yesterday, March 28th, he says, “I returned home from the West on Sunday morning and today find yours of the 22nd inst. I go again tomorrow and will consult with Mr. Cone about increase of pay. I intended writing you this day about our business at South Bend and unpleasant as it is must do so. The returns from that office are not made to my satisfaction—delays every month without cause—and if your son continues in the office, I shall insist on our statements being made weekly or he must give up the office….”
…my object in pressing Charles so strong for a statement of how his financial affairs stood was that I might judge as to the condition of the office. And from what he wrote me, I suppose he has sufficient means on hand to meet all the office demands. But if he has not, they must be met by applying every cent you have on hand if necessary for these reports must be made at once. Charles must not get in a flurry and excited over this, but take it cooly & deliberately, but promptly and at once….
Do see also that I am informed every day or two how he progresses. A line or two if no more. I shall write to Mr. Kip today that I have written to Charles directing these reports to be made at once and will guarantee that it will be done. I want Charles also to be particularly careful in his intercourse and correspondence with Mr. Kip or Mr. Cone so as to exhibit a disposition to do everything he can to give satisfaction. Mention this as a precaution for I know that Charles when punched up a little is very apt to exhibit some feeling—and no exhibition of feeling must be indulged in these matters for it is all a plain business matter and the only way to get along is to obey instructions to the letter.
I have not heard from you since I wrote you by Mr. Ames sending you $100 but am looking for one every day. Mr. Van Doren has not arrived yet unless he got in this morning as he did not arrive on Saturday as he wrote he would. I suppose he concluded not to start until Monday.
All well. Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
March 30, 1864
I wrote you this afternoon at the office and this evening Mr. Hayes went to the post office and brought me your letter of the 26th and just as I got through reading it, in stepped Mr. Van Doren and over all this we rejoiced and felt better. The things Mr. Van Doren brought was jus what we needed & we are glad to get them. On reflecting over my letter I wrote you today and receiving Mr. Kipp’s letter, I find I got a wrong impression to some extent as to his complaint about reports. If I remember the terms correctly, a statement is one thing & a report another—or else it is a weekly statement & semi-monthly statement—but I see Mr. Kipp insists that his weekly statements must be promptly made…[more discussion on Charle’s business performance].
That pile medicine, Mr. Haynes got it from Dr. Piper and I understand it is a great remedy for that troublesome disease. I hope you will give it a good trial. I don’t think there will be any danger of its doing you any harm if no good, but I would continue to take it until you take what you have of it or until you can determine whether it will do you any good. I am very sorry to hear that you have such a bad cold. You must be very careful with yourself and be sure & wear plenty flannel clothing and do but very little work. I hope you still have your good Dutch girl. Make her do the work.
I am surprised at Mrs. Sample but am very glad this last one (I suppose) is a daughter and hope she may have the good luck to raise it. James [Sample] is out this evening and does not know it yet. I hardly know what he will say but I think it will tickle him.
The drawers you sent me are very nice. I shall put a pair of them on in the morning. My old ones has failed very fast lately. What is maple sugar worth? and molasses? and what is sorghum worth?
Mr. Haynes and James are both out tonight & I feel terrible lonesome. Somehow lately I feel more lonely than ever. Were it not for fixing the house, I believe I should be for having you come back and stay here whilst I am here, and I am now of the opinion that you will have to come & stay here next winter for I think I cannot stay here alone during another winter. If Charles would go and see Kate Morehouse and marry her, I think it would be the best thing he could do. Don’t you think so?
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
Washington D. C.
Sunday pm., April 10th 1864
Your letter of 5th inst. done me much good and done much toward quieting my “nerves” and hope Charles will keep up his reports promptly. It is just as important for him to promptly forward his weekly abstracts as it is his settlement reports for it is from them that they make up their accounts with other offices.
I am not very well today. My bowels are out of fix but hope to feel better tomorrow. It rained all day yesterday & last night but today it has been quite pleasant. But not feeling well, I have remained in my room all day.
Yesterday morning Mr. [Schuyler] Colfax sent me word that there would probably be an exciting time in the House [of Representatives] after Congress convened and if I would like to see it, to come down. I got there just 5 minutes past 12. Mr. Colfax had just take the floor and was introducing a resolution to expel a Mr. [Alexander] Long—a member from the Cincinnati District in Ohio—for stating in a speech the day before that he was in favor of acknowledging the Southern Confederacy. This produced excitement sure enough and called forth speeches from both sides of the most excitable nature. The Democrats tried hard to defend & shield Mr. Long and among others, a Democratic member from Maryland, Mr. [Benjamin Gwinn] Harris, not only endorsed all that Long said, but went much further and stronger than Long had done. And in the midst of his speech, [he] was called to order & made to take his seat when the case of Long was postponed until Monday and the case of Harris immediately taken up and a resolution was offered to expel him. But it requiring a two-thirds vote to do this, the Unionists were not strong enough. Although a large majority voted to expel him, yet it did not amount to two-thirds according to the rules of the House.
The Democrats voting against expulsion, soon as this failed, another resolution was offered to censure him which was carried. By this time a few of the Democrats began to see they were getting themselves in a bad fix, defending a man who had openly and defiantly avowed his treason on the floor of Congress, and a few of them turned over and voted to censure him. No doubt he will resign as no man ever remained in Congress after a vote of censure. He will resign and go back to his people for reelection. But it is said he will easily be eaten next time.
I will send you the Sunday Morning Chronicle containing the proceedings. Mr. Colfax’s course in the matter will add greatly to his popularity. I stayed until the whole matter was ended at half past 5 o’clock.
I have had no further letter from Mr. Kip but am expecting one soon as he promised he would write again in regard to increasing the salary soon as he could see Mr. Cone. There will be no necessity for Charles to write a letter of apology either to Mr. Kip or Mr. Cone if the reports are kept up promptly—that is all that will be required.
I think from indications that the price of sugar is going up and also all kinds of spices, and I think you better lay in a lot at once. Butter here is worth from 65 to 75 and everything else seems to be going up. And Frank [Heaton] has concluded to stop keeping boarders at all, so we will have to look out again for a new boarding house. It may be that we can keep the rooms if we can get boarding nearby. I doubt whether we can get in at Cox’s as I hear they are full. Mr. Finney has quit and only rents rooms now. Some of his boarders have gone to Cox’s. If we had known how things were going to turn out, we should not have some here in the first place. We will keep you posted as matters progress. We do not know yet what Frank is going to charge for the rooms but my opinion is that it will be so high that we will not stay. I hope you will pack and save all the butter you can and if you could buy a lot now and then that would do to pack down, guess you better do it for there is no telling how long it will stay up.
You may just as well make your calculation to spend next winter here for I know I shall not be willing to stay here another winter alone and it is of no us to think of it. I shall be there for the October & November elections and you may expect to return here with me.
Last Thursday Mr. Colfax invited me to go with him to Baltimore where he was to lecture for the benefit of the Sanitary & Christian Commission for sick and wounded soldiers. I had a seat on the stand with General [Lew] Wallace and Judge Bond of that city. Had a good time. We stopped at a Mr. Shoemaker’s—a man of wealth. His wife [Augusta Shoemaker] & family made our visit very pleasant indeed. She is at the head of the National [Sanitary] Fair they are getting up there which is to be opened a week from tomorrow. We returned home next morning after breakfast. I enjoyed the trip very much but I should have enjoyed it much more could you have been with me. The whole trip cost me 10 cents which I spent for apples on the cars. Next Friday is Mr. Colfax’s last reception night. The President also discontinues his on Tuesday night next if it does not rain & I feel well enough, I will try and attend both as they are the last for the season.
In a few days I will send you some more money but don’t know just how much. We have an Indiana Club here preparing for the election campaign & I must do my part in this & also my part in this Colfax presentation. But I will send you all I can & will make my expenses light as possible & be decent. Write as often as you can. Have no letter from Charles yet but expect it in a day or so. Seems to me I have forgotten something I wanted to say. When I think of it, if it is of importance, will write again. All well. Love to all, all, all. Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
Washington D. C.
April 16th 1864
Your long letter of the 9th inst. was duly received—that portion of it in relation to Dwight Coonley surprised me very much. But in relation to your own business matters, I am much pleased to see with what energy and promptness you have brought up your reports so close, that you have but a week’s bills in hand, and now, that you have the matter of your reports so completely at your command, you will find it much easier for you to get along. But it will require great care and watchfulness to keep them up close. Whilst Thomas Baird is with you, no doubt he will be of much service to you. He at least should keep your waybills closely entered up and distributed, and also your telegraph dispatches entered up daily. It is best to keep the Express Co. in your debt if possible.
In regard to Henry Painter, I would say that the contract with im was made by Mr. Cone and I suppose it continues in that shape. No, Henry’s duty under this contract was for him to receive all express matter in his office, load it up himself, deliver it to the messenger in the cars, and receive from the messenger, all express matter for the office & deliver it to you in the office unless otherwise directed by you—that is, you might direct him to leave any portion of it on the sidewalk….[lengthy discussion of express business and advice].
Some time ago Mary wrote to Mr. Haynes about sending a dozen bottles of the Sicilian Hair Renewer. Tell her and Mother the best way to get that would be to go to Mr. Cushing. Take a bottle with her with the directions pasted on it and request him to order some from the proprietor, R. P. Hale, Nashua, New Hampshire. I have no doubt Mr. Cushing would do it at once, and then you could obtain it from him.
Tell your Mother I want her to mention in her next letter whether she is using that Pile Medicine I sent her. I want her to give it a fair trial, according to the directions I sent her. Dr. Piper says it will certainly cure her if she will continue to take it. It may take some time to do it. She must persevere in taking it & when she has nearly taken all she has, let me know I will send her some more.
In my last I mentioned that Freak Heaton was about to quit keeping boarders & that on the first of next month we would have to find a new boarding place. Mr. Haynes also wrote Mary this morning the same thing and for a day or two we have been looking for a new boarding house and supposed we had found one where we intended to go, but since dinner this afternoon, we found on 9th Street right opposite the Patent Office at Mrs. Johnson’s where we can board at $22 per month without a room and we can keep the two rooms we have at Frank’s at $10.50 each per month, including gas, so that James [Sample], Mr. Haynes, and myself have concluded to stay where we are and board at Mrs. Johnson’s. This will make our room & board cost us $32.50 each per month and it is the best we can do. Everything in the way of rents and board have gone up to the very highest pitch. Many boarding houses are closing up on account of provisions being so high. Frank and Mr. Cox stops the first next month. So does Mr. Green and Mr. Finney quit the first this month. Mother will remember these places. Others are also quitting. The arrangement we have made is the very best we can do. We are glad to be able to keep our rooms. They are large and airy and very convenient to the office.
Keep us posted how you get along with Dwight and whether you have made any new discoveries. Your affectionate father, — Charles M. Heaton
April 24, 1864
I should have answered your very welcome letter of the 17th inst. but somehow I have been very busy for a few days past and could get no opportunity of sitting down quietly to write you. But this Sunday evening Mr. Haynes & James [Sample] have both gone to church and I am left alone, just as I want to be when I write you.
For several days past I have had my leisure time employed in fixing up this contemplated presentation to Mr. [Schuyler] Colfax. We have been very successful in receiving donations for that object and three or four days ago we made the purchase. It is a tea set consisting of three teap pots, sugar, cream, and slop bowl & waiter. The whole costing $650. I have now on hand paid in $595 and some ten or twelve of us who have not paid yet. We have been holding back to see how much would have to be made up. But it will be easily made up and our shares will not amount to much. The presentation will be made some time next week. I wish you could see it. It is a beautiful set and I wish very much you & Mary could be here when the presentation is made. We intend to notify Mr. Colfax on some morning that in the evening at a certain hour a number of his Indiana friends intend calling to pay their respects. We do this that we may be sure that he will be at home. I will send you an account of the affair soon as it is over.
I do hope that Charles will find that his loss of Coonley has not been quite so great as $600. If so, I fear he has discovered other packages that have been robbed other than those he mentioned. The largest he mentioned was a $50 package sent by Mrs. Harrington which Coonley refunded & $20 from another package which he was not quite certain about, and a $2 package. If the loss of any others have been discovered, I must be informed fully. And if $600 has been taken, he must be behind with the Express for I do not think he could have saved that much after paying the expenses of the office and his own incidental expenses during that time. [More business discussion]
You seem to think it will be impossible to procure lumber to fix our house with this season. well perhaps it would be best to hold on as to the house—but the fence should be fixed. And you say you have bargained with Pitts Taylor for lumber for the fence at $17 per thousand, What kind of a fence do you intend to put up? Should it not be the same kind that is round Mr. Sample’s lot. Better advise with him about making a contract to have it built. But the lumber should be seasoned before it is built and I want you to keep an account of all the expenses about building it…
You think it is best to know who is to be elected President before you determine about coming to Washington again. Now, I have no doubt but Abraham will be reelected. The people have fully determined that, and you might just as well settle your mind on that now as any time, and make your arrangements to return with me in November next. And by that time we can determine whether it wil be better to board than keeping house.
It is just nine o’clock and the bells have just broke out ringing for a fire. I must look out and see were it is—wait. Well, I cannot see the fire & I will no trouble myself about it.
y impressions now are that it will be best for us to board unless we sall be lucky enough to fid a house sufficiently arge to make it pay by renting rooms and a little more because I believe to have house rent free, it will cost about as much to keep house as to board. But times may change for the better by fall and we may find a house during the summer that will suit.
You may expect to hear of some terrible fighting between ere and Richmond before long. General Grant is getting everything ready for a forward movement & Richmond will be taken. He has at least 250,000 men here now and more arriving every day. Soon as the earth dries out a little more, the army will move. All the hospitals are being cleared out ready to receive the sick and wounded. There has been some more fighting near Newbern [N. C.] where [brother] David is but I guess he is safe yet. But when Richmond is taken, it will relieve all North Carolina as well as all Virginia. Every day, more or less of the Rebels are coming into our lines & giving themselves up. The other day I seen near a hundred pass up the avenue and they seemed to be glad to get where they could get something to eat.
I have closed the bargain with brother Johnson about that land [in White county]. I get his share for $80 and have sent him $20 on it. Will have the deed in a few days. I will write to Davis about his taxes in a few days. He must pay them. Your suggestions about reading letters are right and will be followed hereafter. I sent Davis some garden seeds. Did he get them?… Love to all, all, all.
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
May 5, 1864
I am just in the receipt of Mary’s letter of the 1st inst. and am very sorry to hear that you have taken a fresh cold, and not so well as usual. I hope before this reaches you that it has passed off. I am glad that spring has come and the cold weather gone, and in future you will not be so liable to take cold. I am quite certain that it will be better for you to make your arrangements and calculations to spend next winter here. It will be more pleasant for us both, for I am truly tired living in this way and made up my mind that it must not continue so longer than next fall. Mr. Haynes has doubtless written to Mary about the way we are now boarding. As I wrote to you before, the first of th month we went to Mr. Johnson’s on 9th Street to breakfast, having made a bargain with her at $22 per month, but after breakfast she told us that although the bargain was for $22 per month, yet she would have to raise on us to $25 as she had raised on the rest of her boarders. I told her we did not expect this, but could let her know in a day or two whether we would stay. And that same evening we found another place at a Mrs. Walls, right opposite to Mrs. Appleby’s on E Street at $20 per month where we are now boarding and keep our rooms at Frank’s. This makes our board and room and gas at $30.50 each per month. This is the best we can possibly do just now. How these rates wil hold is too hard to tell.
The heavy battle that is about to come off may make things better—or worse. General Grant is about ready to move forward. In fact, it is said among the knowing ones that he has already commenced to move, and it may be before this reaches you that you will hear that the battle has commenced. It will be a terrible one. Grant has a larger army than was ever collected here before—over thirty thousand passed through the city a few days ago. I stood on the corner opposite Mr. Finney’s where it took them 4 hours to pass and among them was about 4,000 black troops and two companies of Indians—and finer looking troops than these Blacks & Indians I never seen.
We have every confidence that Grant will win a victory and take Richmond. Grant has at least two hundred & fifty thousand men for the conflict and there must be a great human slaughter. Let it come as it must come and I hope he will completely clean out those rebel traitors so that what may be left will be glad to sue for peace and ask for terms.
Mary says nothing has been done yet in the Coonley matter except that he has written to his uncle. I hope he has kept a copy of his letter. He should be very careful how ad to whom he writes about such matters…[business discussion]
The rebels have not yet attacked Newbern as we had heard when I wrote you last but the last news says they are working down towards Newbern. But we think if Grant’s battle commences immediately, it will have a tendency to draw them off from Newbern.
[Paragraph or two on flower seeds and sending money home.]
I suppose after the fence is built, and as the stuff should be planed, it should also be painted. Advise with Mr. Sample how to have it painted. Will you have steps or a gate where those steps are on the north side. Have that fixed just to suit you. Have it all fixed to suit you as I know you will have it done right. I am glad you had those maple trees set out…
The presentation to Mr. Colfax goes off Saturday evening at 8 p.m. Wish you could be here. Will send you an account of it soon as it is over.
Word has just come that Grant has crossed the Rapidan with his army an that Lee, the rebels are falling back. I believe we will have Richmond within a week. But you will get the news before this reaches you. Excitement is up here & will remain so until the battle is over. The weather is good & the roads are also in good order.
Mary says you have not taken but one dose of the piles medicine. I think you better take it. It may effect a permanent cure. At all events, it cannot hurt you. Try it. Love to all—to all—to all.
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
May 13, 1864
We are all in a glorious state of excitement over the news from our gallant army. The news says Grant is whipping Lee out of his boots. Our army has followed up Lee from Fredericksburg fully half way to Richmond and now we hear that our cavalry has got between Lee & Richmond, cut the railroad, taken 40 cannon, thousands of prisoners, with three or four Major Generals. Our forces are now in connection with General Butler on the other side of Richmond and I have no doubt by this time our forces are around Richmond in such forces that the Rebels that are outside cannot get in and those inside cannot get out. And before this reaches you, we certainly will have Richmond.
The slaughter has been terrible on both sides. The wounded are arriving here by the thousand. Lee’s wounded are also in our hands. Thousands of the wounded are yet on the field but this warm weather they are better off out of door than in houses. And every effort that is possible to be made is being made to make them as comfortable as possible. Thousands have gone to the field to take care of the wounded. Frank [Heaton] went day before yesterday. James Sample would have went but for a felon on his finger. But the wounded are all joyous and cheerful over the glorious success of our army. The rebels are being swept entirely out of Virginia and certainly they will soon sue for peace.
I have Charles’ letter but can’t answer it just now.
The excitement is wonderful and but little work is being done here today. The Chicago Tribune will no doubt give you all the news before this reaches you but I thought I must drop you a line. Love to all
Your affectionate husband, — C. M. Heaton
May 17th 1864
I intended to have answered your good letter of the 11th inst. last night, but James [Sample] got possession of our table writing to his mother, and when he got through, it was too late for me to begin. We have but one table in our room and that is rather small for two to occupy at the same time. James Sample is quite afflicted with a felon on his middle finger of the left hand. When it commenced, I had him try the coal oil the same way you tried it with such good success. But it done him no good. He tried other severe remedies but could not drive it back U finally had it lanced. But my opinion is that it was not thoroughly done. Since that he has been using various poultices but mostly bread & milk. Night before last it broke, one side of where it was lanced. It does not pain him so much since but of course looks badly. I remember you, on the last one you had, applied corose of subliment, but I do not know how you applied it. Write me at once about it & tell me just how it should be applied & how much, and how often. I am sorry he did not write sooner about it to his mother & have her get some of that salve from the Dutchman of Studybakers. I think I remember of his curing one on some of Mr. Samples children some years ago. Perhaps it better be sent yet. James has not been able to attend to his work for several days & will not for several days to come. Sometimes he gets the blues but generally in pretty good spirits.
[Garden talk and money]
Hattie [Heaton] is now quite sick though she is better this morning. Sunday she was attacked with a chill & has had quite a fever since, and a sore throat. The Dr. thinks she will soon be up again. The rest of us are all well. Frank got back Saturday night from Fredericksburg & it is well he did as Hattie was taken on Sunday.
I am truly at a loss to know what to say about that Coonley affair. The same mail that brought your letter also brought me a long letter from him. He admits that he used the money from a collection of $43 to help get his sister from the East, and that when this collection was called for, he used the 50 belonging to Mrs. Harrington to replace the collection. And Charles says in a former letter that Coonley refunded the 50 dollars but of course Coonley denies that he improperly used any other money….[remainder of letter business related.]
May 26th 1864
Your more than welcome letter of the 22nd was just received. You cannot imagine how much it relieves me to get your letters, not that I am uneasy about how things are going on at home, for such is not the case, but it gives me a kind of inexpressible gratification to get your letters and read from your own hand all that is well. The fact is I am lonesome and often homesick, and I cannot help it. But I shall bear up with it the best I can. It is true that 4 and a half month will soon roll around yet I know they will pass slowly. If our boarding arrangements was in better condition, it would help some. To room in one place & board some five squares off is not very convenient and I have about made up my mind that I will change it is some way at the end of the month. James Sample is also dissatisfied with our boarding arrangements & will change whether we do or not but I think we shall change also.
Another thing, the quality of our board, does not come up to my expectations. I do not like it and will do better if we can. I think by fall Mr. Cox will get at it again and then we will get back there if we can.
I would like it much better myself if Mary could stay where she is until fall. I will talk to Mr. Haynes about it but I think it doubtful whether he will consent to it as I think his arrangements are already made for her to go o Long Island. He now talks about meeting her at Harrisburg & then to go right to Philadelphia & New York without her coming here. If this course is adopted, I am now inclined to think I shall go with him to Harrisburg & then to Philadelphia, but I will see about that hereafter.
I supose you are making arrangements to have the fence fixed this summer. Make the best bargain you can. Better get Mr. Sample to assist you in that but before it is done, get Mr. Stokes to set stakes at the corners where they should be. I suppose there will be no charge on the west side but will be on the north. I suggest that you say nothing about changing the fence between us and Mr. Sample this season as they have shrubbery there that they may not be ready to move and it will make no great difference to us for the present, but have the stakes set nevertheless. Mr. Stokes will not likely charge anything for setting them as he promised me he would do it long ago.
How do those wild grape vines grow and did you have them trimmed and staked? I am glad you have your garden in good trim. Everyday in imagination I am walking through the garden. I can see every tree and shrub in the garden. Oh how glad I would be to step out into the back yard to see how things have grown. But no, I can’t do it yet. I must peg away in this office until 4 o’clock, then go to dinner, and then to my room & take a smoke. But don’t be uneasy about my smoking. I don’t think I smoke as much as I used to, though I often take comfort in taking a good smoke after dinner.
I have not yet decided to write to Dwight [Coonley]. If I shouldm however, I will send it to you first. I hope Charles will continue to keep his accounts in such a shape that he can know at any time just how his finances stand. I shall write Mr. Kip again to know why he does not increase his salary. I am sure it ought to be done & I think it will be done. I think by fall he will be so master of his affairs that he will be able to manage them without difficulty.
What a boy that Jim Davis must be. I really don’t know what is to become of him & at this distance, it is impossible for me to advise about him. I hope, however, that Mr. Davis and Elizabeth will be able to control him in some way.
The weather here has been warm but not oppressively so. We have frequent showers and sometimes heavy rains. This morning we had quite a heavy shower and raining a little now. We have had so much rain that it affected the movement of our army. The roads were very bad but at present somewhat improved. Grant is still going forward and getting closer and closer to Richmond & we have every confidence that eventually he will take Richmond and destroy Lee’s Army. Lee continues to retreat with heavy loss and Grant follows up very closely. If Lee retreats within the trenches around Richmond, his is gone up for Grant will then surround him & starve him to submission. But some think that Lee will retreat further south and leave Richmond to its fate. If he does this, it will so demoralize his army that they will not be able to do much afterwards. Everybody has great confidence in Grant and I hear no fault found with him thus far.
It is though that today they are fighting the great battle of the campaign. We have not heard anything direct from Grant for two days but we are looking for news every hour. But before this reaches you, you will have heard all about it.
I know it is taxing you to write so often, but I hope you will write as often as you can. Have you a good girl yet? And how does your cow hold out? Butter is yet very high here, 50 to 60 cents. If the peach trees are dead, have them grubbed out. If they sprout below where they are budded, it will only leave seedlings. Better take them out and put in new ones if they can be had. Strawberries plenty here now from 15 to 20 per quart. Also green peas. Don’t know the price. We had strawberries at our boarding place once, with brown sugar on—rather hard. Who does Charles go for treasurer? It strikes me if I was there, I would go for Gallagher but I am not sure about it…Gallagher has always been a good friend of mins.
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
In any event, you must make your calculation to spend next winter in Washington and to come on with me when I return in November immediately after the election. Mrs. Defrees & Julia send their love to you & Mary. So does Mrs. Sturgis. I seen Mr. Van Doren last night. He is well but is yet in a quandary about a house for his family. But remember you come to Washington next winter.
Monday morning, June 6th 1864
On Saturday night your very welcome letter of the 31st May was received and I intended to answer it on yesterday but somehow I took a little cold and I felt so unwell during the day that I could not get at it. I do not feel very bright this morning but here I am in the office and the first thing I do, shall be a letter to you. And even before this reaches you, I fear you will think it a long time between letters. The weather has been very changeable here for a few days past. The most of last week was very warm and I took off my flannel again. On Friday the weather changed & the evenings were quite cool, but as I remained in my room every evening I did not put on my flannel again & I suppose that is the way I come to take cold. But this morning I feel better and the weather bids fair to be as warm as ever.
We finally concluded (that is, Mr. Haynes & myself) not to change our boarding place during this month. James [Sample], however, left and he is now trying it at a restaurant and says he likes it very well and thinks it will not cost him any more, if as much. I think, however, we shall make a change at the end of this month. I gave them a blowing up two or three times about sweetening my coffee with brown sugar & told them if they could not afford white sugar in my coffee, not to give me any. But still they would make a mistake & when they did, I would leave my cup untouched. But they are trying to do better now.
I am pleased to hear that you have finally got the lumber for our fence and of course I am not displeased that you have promised Mr. Bradley the job of putting it up. I approve the plan however of giving it to him by the job. I know he is slow but will warrant you. He will have it straight and plumb and he will save more lumber from the old fence than any other man. But make the bargain with him that when he begins it, he must not leave it until it is finished. What painting is done to it should be done soon as it is up. Advise with Mr. Sample about such things in regard to the fence that you do not understand. It seems to me there should be a gate or step near where the old steps are on the north side. And also a substantial gate on strong hinges and good fastenings next to the barn. It should also be fixed so that it could be locked when necessary. I hope you will take great care of those wild grapes that you say are in bloom. Give them every chance possible as I want to find out what they are. Do not let to many grapes remain on a vine and keep the extra growth of the vine down by pinching them off.
I am surprised that it has been so dry in the West. It is not so here. We have plenty of rain—a fine growing season. Strawberries are quite plenty, but the price keeps up pretty well. Average price about 25 cents per quart. Hope you will also soon have plenty. They are a great luxury but we lack the cream.
[paragraph on local South Bend politics]
In your letter, previous to the last, you expressed a desire that Mr. Haynes would consent to let Mary remain at South Bend until fall. I have freely talked the matter over with him and we have come to the conclusion to let her stay there and to send his daughter Mary there also, and he has written her to make arrangements accordingly. And we are now looking out for a chance to send her. John Reynolds and his daughter is now here. We called to see them last evening at Willard’s [Hotel] but they intend stopping in Ohio somewhere to see & visit some relatives and they are also going by way of Cincinnati. But no doubt some other opportunity will soon present itself and before many days she will start for South Bend. I am also much pleased with this arrangement as it will result in getting Mr. Haynes to South Bend with me in October. I am very anxious to have him go there and see the country. He has never been west of Cleveland. Mr. Haynes is in very good health. I never seen him look better in my life and my attachment toward him grows stronger & stronger every day. And I look forward with great pleasure to the day when we shall all be at home together and I fully anticipate the good things, you and Mary, will have in store for us. In the meantime you will be making your arrangements to return with me to Washington and you will determine as soon as practicable how you want to leave things at South Bend. I am glad you have so good a girl to work for you and hope you will be able to keep her until fall.
I herewith send you a draft on New York for $75. A few days ago I received a Deed from Bro. Johnson for his interest in that White County land and I sent him $20 more on it. I yet owe him $40. I expect to pay him $20 per month until it was all paid, but as we are not going into repairing the house this summer, might I not just as well pay him all up the first of next month? I have sent the deed to White County to be recorded. I sent it to the Auditor of that county. I think when I come home in October I will run over & see the land & probably sell it if I can.
I must not forget to tell you that Mr. [William] Lake has been dismissed [from the Treasury Department]. He had allowed himself to make severe remarks against Mr. Chase [Secy. of Treasury] which were reported to him. Mr. [Schuyler] Colfax asked Mr. Chase for the reasons of his dismissal and when he got them, Mr. Colfax says they were of such a character that he could not ask him to be reinstated, or to recommend him for any other place. Mr. Lake looks terribly cut down and has but little to say about it. I have not seen his wife since but understand she is nearly down sick over it. The left Mr. Cox’s the 1st day of this month & his dismissal was on the 2nd. I do not know what he intends to go at but think he will go into some kind of business either here or elsewhere. He is importuning for advise. Of course I must say something and advise him to go into business but to keep his temper and speak harshly of the man.
I hope you will write often as you can. Your letters are a great relief to me. I love to read them over and over. During this hot weather, keep in the shade. Take care of your health & see that Mary does so too. I would like to see Daisy & by fall I think Mary should put pants on him. She could find enough of Charles’ cut off clothes to make a nice suit for him. How does Lib get along? How much I feel for her & do hope she will be able in some sort to master that boy. Aaron Webster was here to see us the other day. When he gets home, he promised to call & see you. Mr. Lincoln will be nominated tomorrow. General Grant is moving on to Lee’s works. But the telegraph will keep you posted.
Your affectionate husband, — C. M. Heaton
I here send you a new issue of a two cent piece. They look well and just out. You will sign the draft same as you did before.
Washington D. C.
June 14th 1864
I wrote you one week ago yesterday enclosing you a draft on New York for $75 and as yet have heard nothing from it. I hope it came safely to hand. For two or three days past I have been giving all my spare time to J. G. Bartlett who is now here. Today he has gone to Arlington Heights but I could not go there. He is much pleased with things in general. He spent the Sabbath here and thinks it the most quiet city on that day of any city he has been in lately. Went to the Capitol on Sunday to hear the Rev. Dr. Breckinridge of Kentucky—an uncle to the Rebel General Breckinridge. The old man preached a very able sermon. He is 74 years of age and loyal as any man living. Goes in for emancipation to its full extent.
I see the nomination of Lincoln & Johnson is heartily endorsed all over the country. We have a ratification meeting here tomorrow night. Expect a large turnout should the weather continue fair.
Mr. Haynes went to New Jersey last night after [his daughter] Mary. We expect she will start for South Bend tomorrow night or next day morning with a Mr. Wilson of CHicago. I will telegraph Charles after she starts. I am very glad that arrangement has been made. It will insure Mr. Hayes to go West with me in October. And I am looking forward to the time when we shall all be there together and full anticipate a happy time.
I have not seen Mr. Lake for more than a week past and do not know what he is going at. On Sunday evening Mr. Bartlett, Mr. Colfax, & myself was at Mr. [John] Stailey’s to supper. Had a good time and a very nice supper. He thinks of taking a house on 6th Street, corner of L. It is a large brick house with water in all of the rooms. If he gets that house and does not ask too high for board and rooms, I think we better go there to board next winter. Mr. Haynes has not fully settled in his mind whether it will be best to board or keep house but there is time enough between now and fall to think about it and before we leave for South Bend will have all the necessary arrangements made for one or the other.
Hattie’s child has been quite unwell for a week or two past. It is cutting teeth. She is talking some of going to Crawfordsville during the hot weather but not fully decided yet. If she goes, Mrya will go with her. Mr. Van Doren is over to see us nearly every evening. He is in a terrible quandary abot his folks coming here. He had taken a part of a house at Bladensburg—six miles out of the city on the railroad towards Baltimore. But since that, Mrs. Van Doren, he tells me, has got a house in South Bend & moved into it and I gather from what he says that it is now doubtful whether she will come here for the present. I do not know what would be best for him to do but it seems to me if she can keep the house she has got or get another in South Bed, she better stay there at least until fall. Then he will be better prepared to make any change that might be necessary to make. Everything is so high here that it would take all he could make & more too, to make the change now.
I shall be looking for a letter from you every mail until it comes.
How about those peach trees? Are they all dead? If they are dead and sprouting up from the roots, perhaps it would be as well to let some remain—I mean the roots—and then at the proper time in September have the new sprouts budded with some choice varieties. I suppose they would come on quicker than new trees. But new trees would be best in the end as those sprouts would be apt to split off. Try a few of them in that way.
The weather has been quite cool for a week past—especially nights, and my health is quite good and I think general good health prevails in the city just at this time. The great place of suffering is in the hospitals by the poor wounded soldiers. There must be over twenty thousand in and around the city. Many die every day but all is being done for them that can be [done]. But at the best, they suffer terribly. It will be a blessed thing when this cruel war is over. How soon that will be, no one can tell. If Grant takes Richmond—which we fully believe he will—it will certainly cause the rebels to sue for peace. But they will have no peace until they consent to lay down their arms & submit to the laws of their country.
Write often as you can. Love to all.
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
Thursday morning, June 16, 1864
About 9 o’clock last evening your very welcome letter of the 13th inst. was received. If it is the intention of Mr. Sample to build his front fence this summer, I most heartily second the motion to build our also. And I suggest that you authorize Mr. Sample, when he contracts for the building of his fence, that he at the same time contract for the building of ours and have it all built alike. As to the style, I leave that to you and Mr. Sample, but it should be substantial as well as good looking. The gates would be well hung and the fastenings should be of some kind that will make it easy to open and close but so arranged that they could no be rooted open by hogs, &c. Let Mr. Sample make the contract and you can furnish him the means as often as he wants to pay for it. But I want it so arranged that it be all completed by the last of September and as much earlier as he pleases. But have it all done by at least last of September.
It was expected until this morning that Mary would start this evening for South Bend but Mr. Wilson has just been in to tell me that his business will necessarily detain him a day or two longer and the time for them to start is now changed until Sunday evening and if they meet all the connections, you my expect to see Mary on the train next Tuesday morning. I will telegraph on Monday after she starts. Mr. Haynes returned with Mary yesterday morning. She is quite well and is much pleased with the idea of going to South Bend.
I am sorry our strawberries turned out so poorly. I think one reason is that the garden is so full of trees and shrubbery. But as others have been more successful and the prices quite moderate, you can easily have all you want. I hope our cow will hold out until we arrive that Mr. Haynes and myself can luxuriate once more on a good cup of coffee.
Will there be any apples this season? I should think those Northern Spy’s would bear if no others. When you write again, tell me what kinds of fruit you will have or whether everything is killed.
We had a great time here last night. The ratification meeting for Lincoln and Johnson was very large. The street between the Patent Office and Post Office was perfectly packed nearly the whole length of the Patent Office & you know that covers two squares & the street and sidewalks are very wide. The fireworks was on the top of the building and had the finest display of rockets & roman candles I ever seen. Some half dozen lighted balloons were sent up during the evening. No accident occurred at any time. I will send you the Chronicle containing an account of the meeting by the same mail that takes this.
I wrote you on Tuesday which will reach you about this evening. Tell Mr. Sample to go ahead with the fence just as fast as he pleases and as you say Mr. Waterhouse & Nicar are getting new fences, our corner and neighborhood will look quite respectable when all are finished.
Mr. Bartlett left here this morning for New York and Boston highly pleased with his visit. We found him a place to sleep at our rooms & we had a good visit. He wrote to his daughter that she must call on Mary Haynes when she gets there & make her acquaintance.
I must get this letter in today’s mail that you may get it Saturday evening. Love to Lib and all the rest.
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
June 24th 1864
I presume Mary Haynes arrived safely either Wednesday morning or evening but as I understand railroad connections are seldom made at Cleveland, she did not arrive until Wednesday evening. When I last wrote you, it was intended that she should start Sunday evening but Mr. Wilson, who was to accompany her, was not well on Sunday and preferred putting it off until Monday evening so they did not get off until that time. And I see by Mary’s letter to Mr. Haynes that Charles started Monday morning expecting to meet her at Cleveland. In this he must have been disappointed unless he waited there over another day. I telegraphed on Tuesday morning about 9 o’clock the time she started. If Charles stopped i nToledo, he may have heard from that dispatch as it has to be repeated there & learned there when she started. But whether he did or not, I suppose all got home in due time and we shall wait patiently until we hear all about it.
From all that ew can hear, you still have dry weather in the West. It has been the same here for the past week or ten days and bids fair to continue. And not only so, but it is very warm and last night it was exceptionally so. A little air stirring this morning makes it more pleasant. This hot weather my appetite is not very good and for a few days have been troubled with diarrhea, but not serious. Still it weakens me and the distance we have to walk for our meals make it unpleasant. At the end of this month, we shall certainly change our boarding place and intend it shall be more convenient.
In my last I mentioned in regard to our new fence that I wanted the contract so made that it should be completed at the latest by the last of September. I see by the Register that county fair goes off in the last week of September. Now it seems to me you better arrange it so that the fence will be completed before that time—if it is not to late, try and have it all done by 10 September. Only think, we shall start for home, if all keeps well, in just 104 days from today. I know you say the time is short and will soon pass by but oh! what long days they are—the longest in the year. But we will be patient and wait knowing that when the time does arrive, if all keeps well, we shall have a joyful time, fully anticipating the good things that will be laid up for us, and I am so glad that Mr. Haynes consented to let Mary and the children remain there until we come. He is well pleased with the arrangement and thinks it is all for the best. And another thing, I was so anxious to have him see the West for he never was west of Cleveland.
Tell Aunt Harriet we are all coming to see her & Mr. Harris when we come. And tell Lib also that she will have to spread a large table for when we get there, we intend to branch out a little. And as I know where good things are to be found, her table, always abounding in the best, will not be neglected. Now you need not laugh at this for after starving and living on husks here, we intend to try and fatten up a little when we get where folks knows how to cook and live.
Congress will probably adjourn next week and if I draw my pay in time, I will send what money I can spare by Mr. [Schuyler] Colfax, though he may not be home until after the 4th of July as he told me a few days ago that he intended making his wife’s sister a visit on his way home. I asked you in my last what you thought about me paying Brother Johnson off for that land [in White County] the last of this month. I only promised to pay $20 per month until it was paid, but if you will not need the money, had I not as well pay it all off—$40—at the end of this month and be done with it. I will also have to send out & pay the taxes for last year which is $5.20. I think when I come home, I will run down and see that land and sell it if I can, and either invest it in some other land, or put it into repairing the house—or furnishing the house.
A letter from Bro. Johnson says Mother is in tolerable health & that she is either going to visit Crawfordsville or Middletown or both this summer. His own health is quite poor—hardly able to attend to any business & he feels quite discouraged.
I have not heard from David directly for some time though I heard indirectly that he and James will be here in a few days on business.
The news from General Grant is that he is slowly but surely pressing on Petersburg & must take it before long. They can now fire into the city. The negroes fight most valiantly.
The odious Fugitive Slave Law was finally repealed on yesterday and there is now no statute on that subject. I am rejoiced to see that odious law wiped out. It caused all our troubles and at the same time brought on the Kansas troubles, or was a stepping stone to the Nebraska Act.
Now my sheet is full. I am expecting a letter from you every day. Let me remind you that you must not work this hot weather. Keep cool & in the shade. Make your Dutch girl so all your work. I shall count each day as they pass and look forward with patience until we all meet again. Love to all.
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
June 30th 1864
I was very glad to receive your good letter of the 26th inst. this morning and to hear that all was well, nothing gratifies me so much as a letter from home. I know it must be quite as task for you to have to write so often, especially while the weather is hot, but a change in the weather will make you all feel better and the task will be more easy. I only call it a task on account of the dry sultry weather, which makes everyone feel sluggish and dull. Sometimes I feel so much so that it is with great difficulty for me to discharge even my ordinary duties. But on Sunday night and Monday morning a change also took place here. A heavy thunder shower passed round to the north and since that time everybody seems to have new life. Still it is dry and dusty. If we only had a shower to lay the dust, everything would be very pleasant.
This morning, Frank, Hattie, Myra and myself attended the wedding of Jennie [Lepreux] Campbell & a Mr. [Henry Clay] Stier or Steir. They were married at the church near their house on the corner of I & 5th Streets. Not many there but everything passed off pleasantly. They were married at half past 6 and left for his father’s in [New Market, Frederick county] Maryland. I had an invitation for Mr. Hayes but he not being acquainted with them and it being so early in the morning, he concluded not to disturb his morning nap. I got up at half past 4. The morning was pleasant but I am quite sure before the day is out, I shall feel the effects of being routed so early.
Brother David & his [18 year-old] son James are now stopping at the National [Hotel]. He is here on the business of his office. He goes to New York next week and then back to Beaufort where his family now is. He tells me that [his daughter] Harriet is to be married on his return to a Dr. [Henry J.] Menninger who hails from New York and is now in charge of the hospital at Newbern. 1 David was thinking that you was here and expected you to assist him in getting some wedding fixings, but I advised him to wait until he gets to New York & get Mrs. Clark to help him. This he intends to do. His health is much improved.
I am a little surprised at some of the nominations but as they are now made, I want all of them elected & will vote the whole ticket when I come home. As to the fence, I will now leave that with you and Mr. Sample to manage the best you can. Have all the old fence not used nicely piled up or cut up for fire wood. I am glad you intend to have it all done by the last of August.
I will only send $20 to Bro. Johnson this month. I have just drawn my pay for June—$133.50. Out of this I will have to pay to Johnson $20, for board for June $20, for room rent $10.50, washing about $1.50, making $52.00. The woman we are boarding with is moving today & tomorrow we must find a new place. We expect to live at a restaurant near the office but we will have to pay as we go. We think we can live as cheap as we do now—at least we will try it for a week & if we find it costs more, we wil find a boarding house somewhere. But if we have to pay as we go, I must save some money for that so that I shall only be able to send you $60 this time. But next time I can send more. Mr Colfax will leave in a day or two. He thinks Congress will adjourn on Saturday. He then goes to New York & will be home last of next week. I will send the money by him. This will save some expense.
Mr. Van Doren went to Baltimore this morning to meet his wife. They will not come here but stop at Bladensburg six miles from here where they expect to live. Tell Charles I want him to write me and tell me what the regular telegraph tariff is from South Bend to Washington. The dispatch to Mr. Van Doren had 7 words in it and he had to pay $1.58 here and the dispatch said that she also paid at South Bend $1.33. It seems to me the tariff must be horridly changed or something is wrong about it. When I get Charles’ letter, I will go to the office and see about it.
I see Congress is levying the taxes on us here very heavy. Yesterday the Senate passed a bill adding 5 cents in addition to all our other taxes on all income over $600. This if it passes the House, which I suppose it will, will make my tax here $100 per year. This additional only lasts for one year and is to raise money to pay bounties to soldiers. There is no other way but to stand it. The Government must have money some way. It is believed, however, that next winter Congress will raise our salaries & it is said they would do it now if the elections were over & they think it the best policy not to do it now. We must manage, however, to live this summer as cheaply as we can. If we can do this & pay for the fence, and save enough to take me home & bring us back here in November, I shall be satisfied. I will have three months more pay before I go home & then, soon as we get back, another month. I guess we can get through it.
Mr. Towle was just in my office. He says Mrs. Ames is going home next week with Capt. Saunder’s folks. I hear Mrs. Lake is quite unwell. I have not seen them lately. He is not doing anything yet.
If you see Judge Egbert, tell him I received his letter yesterday & will answer him in a day or two.
The prices in South Bend is not quite up to Washington. Here ham is 30, butter 40 to 50, eggs 35, lard 20, coffee 50, sugar 25, potatoes $2.50, flour $12.50, coal $13.00 per ton, wood $9 per cord, beef stake 25 to 30, and we see no prospect of them being lowered so we think that boarding at $20 per monh is not much out of the way. You remember I wrote you some time ago that my wash woman lost one my shorts. Yesterday young Mr. Bliss asked me whether I had lost short. I told him I had. He said he had one with my name on. And sure enough it was mine & it is the best one I got. My shorts are giving out quite fast. I also found my handkerchief. Mr. Van Doren had it. So my clothes as to number are all right now, but oh! how bad they need you here to watch them. Myra looks after them some, mends my socks and keeps the buttons on my shorts. Seems to me I have forgotten something I intended to write about but can’t think of it now. Keep yourselves in the shade and take care of your health. Don’t expose yourselves to this hot weather. Hope you can get plenty of ice. My love to all. Write as often as you can. Love to all.
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
1 Harriet Vail Heaton (b. 1844), the daughter of David Heaton (1823-1870) and Mary Vanness (1826-1893), married Dr. Henry J. Menninger who was serving as the Surgeon-in-Chief, sub-district of Newbern, N. C., formerly Surgeon of the 2nd North Carolina Volunteers. Henry was an 1863 graduate of the University Medical College in NYC. After the war, Henry worked for the Freedman’s Bureau.
July 2, 1864
In my last letter I told you that I would send you sixty dollars by Mr. [Schuyler] Colfax but the probabilities are that he will not get off as soon as we expected. Congress has not yet determined on any date for adjournment and it may be a week yet before they adjourn. This delay is caused by the resignation of Mr. Chase and the new Treasurer Mr. Fessenden has not determined whether he will accept [his nomination by Lincoln] and Congress will not adjourn until that matter is settled. Therefore, I have concluded to send you the enclosed sixty dollars by mail. It is rather risky but I thought I would risk it this time.
You will see that these notes are interest bearing notes but they are worth no more than their face [value] for present use. The interest is not payable until the notes are due—three years after their date. I should think it would be a good thing if our I. O. O. F. Lodge would invest their surplus money in this kind of money. If you have a mind to, you might see Alfred Hall, our permanent secretary, and if he thinks it would be advisable for the Lodge to do so, you might let him have it for the money for that purpose. And tell him if the Lodge would like to invest their money in that way, I could do it or rather have it done for the Lodge.
David left for New York this morning. Will be back next Thursday or Friday. Tell Mary I sent those pictures by him to J. W. Clark to be handed to Mrs. Griffin.
The weather is very warm again and continues dry. It seems to me I feel the effects of this hot weather more than usual, but I keep out of the hot sun all I possibly can.
I am counting the days now when we shall start for home. It is now only 96 days when we shall be off. Oh, won’t I be glad when the time rolls around.
Yesterday we commenced boarding at a restaurant. I doubt whether I shall like it but we will try it for a few days. Some that have been there for a month or more say they like it very well but somehow I don’t get the hang of it yet.
It is very warm today and I believe I shall not extend my letter any longer. Hope you will keep out of the hot sun and make your girl so all the work. Preserve your health all you possibly can. I want this letter answered promptly for I shall be anxious to hear whether it gets through safe.
Love to all. Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
A thunder shower is just coming up.
July 7th 1864
I am very sorry that another has passed and no letter from Mary to Mr. Haynes. He feels bad over it. It is now half a month since he had a letter from her. What is the matter. Is she sick? If so, someone else should have written. Nothing but sickness should prevent her writing once or twice a week sure. It won’t do to say it is for the want of time. That is a duty that nothing else should interfere with, and I am in the same fix for I have had none since the 21st June.
I have not been very well for a few days past—hardly able to be in my office today. Still I am here. Mr. Ludlow is still here. He starts for New Jersey this p.m.
I only wrote this to remind Mary of her bounden duty not to let so long a time pass without writing. No business or engagements of any kind should prevent it, I hope it will not be so again.
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
July 11th 1864
I was very glad yesterday evening to receive Mary’s letter of the 7th inst. acknowledging the receipt of my letter with the $60. I wrote you a note or two a few days ago complaining that we had not heard from home for half a month but the same evening after I mailed the last note, Mr. Haynes received a letter from Mary mailed 4th of July, and in a day or two after, received another mailed 28th June. So you see the fault was all in the mail and not anybody elses. So you may just rub out those complaining notes. But they will serve one thing, just to let you know how badly we feel when no letters arrive. They very hot weather we have had for some time past made us both feel a little low spirited but for a day or two past, we both feel better. And we hope by this time you and Mary have quite recovered from the labors and fatigues of the 4th of July. We are also counting the days when we shall start for home—87 days from today.
From the published reports, you have no doubt discovered that our City is again in a blaze of excitement. The rebels are again making another heavy raid into Maryland & Pennsylvania, have cut the railroad between Harrisburg & Baltimore, and it is reported that they are trying to cut the railroad between here and Baltimore, but up to this time have failed in that. And it is rumored they are making a strong demonstration on Washington. But as heretofore, they will fail in that. They are not strong enough to reach Washington. Gen. Grant has sent up some twenty thousand troops from the front and other large reinforcements are continually arriving, and unless the rebs look out, they will get bagged.
Mr. Ames’ and Saunders’ folks left for home last evening but they will have to go round by Philadelphia.
Our company is again in motion. I attended one drill—the only one yet held—but I think I shall not drill anymore as the weather is too warm for me and I do not apprehend there will be any active use for them. The excitement, however, is strong. It is said that firing could be heard to the northwest this morning though I did not hear it. Troops were marching through the streets in large numbers nearly all night and those who ought to know say the city is safe. Many, however, are leaving. But many would have left anyhow as this is the season that all who can leave, does so to get into a more pleasant climate during the hot weather. Hattie & Myra are going somewhere up in Pennsylvania to spend two or three months. They intend to start tomorrow or next day, provided the rebels do not cut the road in that direction. But they will go soon as they can get off.
I am now boarding at Mr. Polars near the corner of H & 9th Street, opposite Mr. Finney’s at $20 per month. I could not stand the restaurant any longer. Mr. Haynes however sticks to the restaurant. He seems to like it better than I did.
No doubt this rebel raid was got up by them for the purpose of drawing Gen. Grant from before Richmond but it will not have that effect. Gen. Grant will not abandon his efforts before Richmond. The troops he sent from there, he says he does not need–that he has plenty without them, and could spare more if necessary. These troops have arrived and gone out to meet the enemy.
Oh, how do you get along about the fence? Have you got the thing started yet? Who is going to have the job on the front when done? Hope it will be well done.
By the way, I must tell you about Mr. & Mrs. Stailey. About the 4th of July they went to visit his new married son at Harpers Ferry. While there, the rebs came and the rush being great, they had a rough time getting to and on the cars, the last train expected to run to Baltimore/ But they got on and started. The train run out about two or three miles when bang went a cannon & a shell right over the top of the care they were in. Then the crack of various rifles. One shot killed the fireman. The train was stopped soon as it could be by the engineer and the wheels reversed. The train soon began to run back, but while it stopped many jumped out and started up the side from where the rebs were. But the train got started back when many tried to get on again but could not [and] consequently had to take to the mountains. But Mr. & Mrs. Stailey stayed in the cars, lying on the floor, & the cars run back to where they started again with a train of soldiers ahead—but got through. It was a narrow escape. They came near going to Richmond. I rather think Mrs. Stailey was badly frightened. They could see men killed all around on both sides and could see & hear the cannon on every hilltop & hear the whistling of the shells in every direction. She thinks she will not make another trip to Harpers Ferry soon.
Cox’s and Finney’s folks all well. There are no doubt some sick about but I don’t know of any. You may look out for us in 87 days on the evening train. Don’t forget it. On the evening train. Love to all.
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
July 12th 1864
We are at last within the sound of cannon and musketry. The rebels are said to be about fifteen thousand strong out about six miles on the 7th Street road and made an attack on our outside fortifications. You will remember once we took a ride out to the Soldier’s Home and a little beyond where we could see some of those fortifications. It is there where the attack is made. All the afternoon yesterday and this morning we could distinctly hear the cannonading and even the musketry. But yesterday and all night last night, new arrivals of troops are rushing out and we are confident we are strong enough to keep the rebels back. The rebels are now occupying the premises owned by Postmaster General [Montgomery] Blair. They have burned all the outbuildings & everything except the mansion which they use for headquarters & will doubtless burn that when they leave it. Our authorities are very active and have got things in such a position that unless the rebs soon retreat precipitously, they will most of them be taken [prisoners]. We must have fifty to sixty thousand troops here & more continually arriving. They come mostly by water—some 18 to 20 thousand have just arrived from New Orleans & are pushing for the front.
Notwithstanding the rebs are so near, yet we have no fears of their taking the city. Most generally our citizens are pursuing their avocations as usual, labor on buildings are being pursued as usual, yet of course the excitement is strong—especially in the outskirts of the city. Thousands of families living out around the city are flocking into the city pell mell, bringing what they could, but leaving their homes & most of their things to the mercies of the rebels. You need not be uneasy about us for we have no fears but we will come out all right. I would be willing to go to the front with a musket on my shoulder if I was able to stand it but I know my inability for the task, and shall therefore not undertake it.
I do not know when this letter will reach you as all mails by railroad are stopped but I hear that a mail will be sent out this afternoon by water to New York. The last regular train that left was the one Mrs. Ames started on Sunday p.m. We have heard nothing from her but suppose she got through safe.
Mr. Haynes & myself are taking it very calmly—so is James [Sample]. He, however, is very anxious to go to the front but of course I discourage him for I am sure he could do but little good. In fact, all citizens not in regular organizations should keep out of the way. We have plenty of regular soldiers to manage this affair and the best way to help them is to keep out of their way.
Just now they are calling for volunteers from among the clerks of the Land Office to go to the front. If I did not know that I was physically unable to stand it, I would go. In fact, if it was in a different season of the year, I would venture it anyhow, but the weather is very warm and I am sure I could not stand it to walk and carry a musket and necessary equipage with haversack halfway to the battlefield before I would give out. Therefore, I shall not attempt it. I see Frank’s name on the list.
Hattie was to start for Pennsylvania today but of course she cannot get away just now.
We have no news of the result of the fighting up to this hour but I will write you every day until a change takes place.
As our telegraph and railroad communication is cut off, no doubt you have the wildest rumors about the fate of Washington. But be not alarmed for our army is able to bring us out all right. Love to all.
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
July 14th 1864
Mr. Haynes wrote Mary yesterday giving the situation of affairs up to that time. This morning the rebels have got away so far that we have nothing specially new from them up to the hour 11 a.m. but in the city, all is quiet. I presume you had a thousand rumors about our situation but not a rebel has put his foot inside our fortifications around the city except as a prisoner and we at no time have had any fears that they would. It is true, however, that had they come in force a few days sooner, they might have done so but by the time the rebs go in the neighborhood, our forces were on hand ready to meet them.
Yesterday morning as I was going to my breakfast, I could distinctly hear the firing out back of the Soldier’s Home, but since 10 o’clock yesterday, no firing has been heard in the city. Our forces drove them back yesterday & they left pell mell leaving all their dead and wounded in our hands. I am fully satisfied they did not intend to make much of a demonstration on the city, but merely enough to employ our forces whilst they got out of the way with what plunder they had collected from the farmers and small villages in Maryland—and this they have done pretty effectually. But our forces are in hot pursuit and it may be they will overhaul them and punish them severely.
I hear that they burned Post Master General [Montgomery] Blair’s house when they left it but did not burn the Old Man Blair’s house but left it full of their wounded. The city has hardly ever been more quiet than it was yesterday & is today. In fact, during the whole siege, no fears were entertained that the city could be taken.
Most all the clerks in the different departments have organized into companies and have been sworn in for 30 days services but I do not know what use they can be put too except to go to the forts so as to relieve some of the regular soldiers in order that they may pursue the enemy. As I wrote you before, I did not feel able to undertake such a service and therefore did not go into it.
Day before yesterday Mr. Van Doren came to town as usual in the morning train but it was the last train over the road until last evening. But in the afternoon, hearing that the rebs were getting near Bladensburg where his family was, he put back on foot and we have not heard from him since. I presume, however, he got home safe. But the most of the fighting took place within two or three miles of Bladensburg. In fact, some of it in the edge of town. But I do not hear that anyone was disturbed in town or that the rebs entered it at all. One good reason for it was that one of the forts—Fort Lincoln—commands that town, but I have no doubt Mrs. Van Doren wished herself back at South Bend. In a few days I intend to go and see them.
Mrs. Ames left Sunday afternoon but Monday or Tuesday Mr. Ames heard she had to stop in Baltimore. But no doubt she has left on her way home ere this time.
I send you the Chronicle which will give you more of the particulars of the raid than I have written. It turns out that the railroad to Baltimore has not been broken as reported. They set fire to a bridge about halfway but the timber being green, it would not burn. But not a rail was taken up. An engine and tender came through from Baltimore last evening and today the regular trains will start again. The wires were cut in two places but they are now all right again. We have had no mails since last Saturday night but they will be through today.
I am well pleased with my new boarding house—the best place I have found since we left Mrs. Cox. I called at Mr. Cox this morning. They are all well and send love to you. Mr. Haynes sticks to the restaurant yet and likes it very well.
It is said our forces are pushing the rebels hotly and we hope to hear very soon that they have overtaken them and punished them severely. In fact, we have a strong force north and south of them and it looks to me as though the most of them will be caught yet.
One of us will write again tomorrow. We are all in good spirits & well. Love to all. Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
July 16th 1864
I promised you that during the excitement here, about the rebel raid, Mr. Haynes and myself would write home every day. Yesterday Mr. Haynes was to write and I suppose he did, but as he went out with Mr. Stickney to Kendall Green 1 last evening, I do not know certainly that he did write.
The scare is all over and the city continues to be quiet. Our soldiers it is said are pursuing the rebels into Virginia but what has been done and how far they are from the city, we have yet to learn. All the news we have is in the Chronicle which I send you.
I accidentally learned that some ten days ago Theodore Coquillard’s wife [Helen] came to the city trying to find a brother in the army who was reported sick, I believe. But after a few days, I heard she was married to a Mr. R[osalvo] F. Cole of New York. This was announced in the National Intelligencer of last Tuesday. I understand she came here from New York—probably it was an arrangement for them to meet here to be married. I do not know where they stop and have not seen her. Suppose they have gone back to New York. 2
Having written you several times with a week, I have nothing specially new to write now. The weather is more pleasant and the nights cool. We have a good time to sleep.
Mr. Lake has not got into business yet. Do not know what he is going to do. I called in to see them last evening. They occupy two rooms in the third story in the same house where I went to board when you left and strange to say, they are boarding themselves. They got a little stove heated by a lamp with three burners. It is a complete thing and cold be used very well in hot weather to do any kind of cooking except baking. I think when you come, we will get something of the kind and try it. But that we will determine on hereafter. Only just think, in 82 days we will be off for home. One by one the days drop off and at last they will all disappear. Oh! how I long to be at home. I want to see the old house & garden again and the trees, and the town, and the folks, and above all the folks at home. Won’t we all be glad when the time rolls around.
By the by, what will you have for supper when we arrive? My opinion is we will be hungry for we shall not eat anything after we take our breakfast the last day until we all eat together. Oh won’t that be nice, all around the old table once more. Well we must be patient and wait. All well. Love to all. Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
1 Kendall Green was the estate in northeast Washington belonging to Amos Kendall who donated land and facilities for a deaf and blind school. Congress granted the institution a charter in 1864 (now Gallaudet University).
2 Alexis “Theodore” Coquillard (1836-1884) was the son of Alexis Coquillard who was one of the founders of South Bend. Theodore and Mary “Helen” Pike were married on 24 March 1859. Helen was an adopted child of Augustus and Milley Oakley of Buffalo, New York.
Monday morning, July 18th 1864
Yesterday I was more than glad to receive your letter of the 14th inst. and again to hear that all was well. And was pleased to find that you was not much worried about the fate of Washington for I was fearful that you would be carried away with the ten thousand rumors consequent upon hearing that the railroad and telegraph was cut off between here and Baltimore. Well, no new dangers have presented themselves thus far and everything is quiet as ever.
I have not been drilling and do not intend to anymore unless the rebels should make another attack on the city and should such a thing take place, I shall then shoulder my musket which I keep on hand in good order and do the best I can. But I do not apprehend that another attack will be made during the present campaign.
I seen Mr. Van Doren a day or two since and as I supposed, they were badly frightened on Monday last as the wildest reports were in circulation throughout the day that the rebels were just about entering the town [Bladensburg] with a view to sack it, but they did not come. These rumors together with the sound of clashing arms in the immediate vicinity was well calculated to alarm anyone—especially as the town was just outside our fortifications.
So far as the fence is concerned, I shall be satisfied with any arrangement you may make. Would it not be well, however, to have it whitewashed? Who has the job for putting up the front fence and when it is to be finished? Of course the front fence should be painted immediately after it is up but that, I suppose, goes in with the job. And do not forget about having the gates in their proper places & well hung and the fastenings such as will be substantial and secure.
I am sorry to hear however that your Dutch girl “cut up” so you had to turn her off. You must find another right off for it will not do for you to be doing your own work this hot weather.
You say you will have a good crop of tomatoes. I think you better put up as many as you can for they will come in good play sometime. Has the apples all dropped off? When you spoke about it before, you said they were dropping off fast. I hope you will have some left. Is the grapes going to bear any? Keep the weeds down whether anything else grows or not. I suppose prices of everything are going up as they are here. Good flour is worth here from 16 to 18 dollars per barrel and most everything else in proportion. Yet I still get my board for $20 per month. But as the railroads are all open again, I think the provisions will come down a little. All kinds of cotton goods are going up. Did you buy some muslins when I told you? I hope you did. Brown sheetings here are now selling from 80 to 90 cents per yard & will soon be $1.
Tell Mary it will not be necessary for me to telegraph as your letter was duly received.
Yesterday Mr. Haynes again went out to Kendall Green and I have not seen him since. Have no doubt he had a good time as he always does when he goes out there. I am glad to have him go as he enjoys it so much. Either Mr. Haynes or myself have written now every day for a week past with the exception of yesterday and I do not know whether he wrote yesterday or not. Let us know whether they were all received.
Today I only weigh 176. Have fallen off six pounds since you left but when the weather gets cooler, think I shall recover my usual weight. My appetite is better now that a few weeks ago and today feel quite well.
Only 80 days more before we leave for home. How anxiously we look forward to the time when we shall be off. But still we intend to be patient and wait our time. But we joyfully anticipate the happy time we shall have, when we all meet together around our own fireside once more. All well. Love to all.
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
Monday morning, July 25, 1864
Charles’ letters of the 14th, 21st, and 22nd inst. all received. The last one this morning giving me the painful intelligence that Elizabeth is sick with typhoid fever, or he says Dr. Ham say it may be typhoid. I feel much concerned about her but sincerely hope when I hear again that she will be better. Charles says if she should get to be dangerous, he will telegrapg. This I hope he will do and at all events he will continue to write me every day until she gets better or a change takes place. I fear every time my office door opens that a boy will enter with a dispatch, I feel greatly relieved however to know that you are with her as you know so well how to manage such cases. I pray God she may soon be better—poor girl. How I feel for her. She has had a hard time in this world but I trust before this reaches you she may be out of danger and on the mend.
Last night we had a heavy rain but it will do much good as everything was completely parched up with the drouth.
On Friday evening I went out to Bladensburg and stayed over night with Mr. Van Doren. Mr. Haynes did not go. He has some church matters to attend to but will soon go some other time. And besides, we knew they were cramped for room. One of the little girls—the next one to the youngest—is not very well. On Friday was quite sick, but Saturday morning was much better. They were glad to see me and I had a very pleasant visit. None of the family have been to the City yet but say they are coming over next week. I want to get this in this morning’s mail and shall not have time to write but a short letter. We are all well this cool weather and the dust all laid. We feel much revived. Nothing of special interest going on here.
Oh how anxious I shall be to get Charles’ daily letters. Tell him not to fail on any account. Give my love to Lib. I hope she will be patient in her affliction. I trust however she is on the mend. My love to the children and all the rest of you about home.
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
July 29th 1864
[Portions not transcribed speak to daughter Elizabeth’s illness, fence contract for South Bend residence, adjustments to son Charles’ salary.]
Boarding here has a general upward tendency. Most all have raised to $25 for day board. My boarding house gave notice yesterday that they must raise at the end of this month to $23 and as I do not think I can do better myself, have concluded to stay there another month. After that we will begin to look out and make calculations how we shall arrange things for next winter.
Levi Ludlow returned here day before yesterday with recommendation from Mr. [Godlove Stein] Orth, member of Congress from the Lafayette District. I went with him to the War Department and they at once gave him a temporary clerkship. Their pay is about a thousand dollars per year. He accepted it with a view that when Mr. Orth came on next December that it may be bettered. I got him a room in the same house with us—at Frank Heaton’s. His room is on the same floor with ours which makes it pleasant, not only for him, but for us. Mr. Haynes has taken a great liking to him. Thinks he is considerable of a man and we all think the same thing. He sends his love to you all. He gave me his photograph. I would send it in this but I left it at my room. Will send it hereafter.
AnnaCox has gone to New Hersey to spend a few weeks. Hattie & Myra are now up in Pennsylvania at the same place where Mrs. Yetter went last summer—up in the mountains. They like it very well. Their board costs about $4 or $4.50 per week. They expect to stay there a month or two, more particularly for the benefit of the child. I doubt whether they will ever raise it—it is not healthy. Children raised on cow milk when they are compelled to change it so often is not healthy.
…Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
Washington D. C.
August 6th 1864
First of all I will give you the state of my finances at the present time. I drew my salary for July 1864…$129.85 and I had on hand at the time $11.00 [for total] in all $140,85
Out of this I have paid as follows:
For the Chronicle $1
Balance due on board for July $15.20
Balance of assessment to Indiana Club $4
For tobacco $0.40
Balance White County Land to Bro. Johnson $20
Taxes for 1863 on same land $5.20
For Room rent for July $10.50
Washing bill for July $1.05
Amount draft herewith enclosed $70.00
Total equals $127.35 leaving on hand for contingencies $13.50
If nothing happens I can get along with what I have left very well. I think, however, I will not send any more home until I come, unless you will not haeve enough to pay up for the fence, and other expenses. After examining your pile, let me know how the matter stands. In two months from today we will start for home and you can tell whether you have enough to last you. Should I not have to send anymore, I will be able to start from here with about $200 and out of this we must save enough to bring us back. You will write your name across the back of this draft as you did before and then Mr. Lindsey will give you the money for it, or Charles could use it in the settlement of Express business & give you the money out of the office.
I am rejoiced to hear through Charles and Mary’s letters that Lib is on the mend. Hope she is able to sit up most of the time by this time. But she will have to be careful and not get a backset.
We had a fine rain last night. The dust is all laid but very warm.
The rebels are making quite a raid in Pennsylvania & Maryland again. Our troops are after them and eventually will drive them out, but they will do much damage and steal a large amount of property. They are in pretty strong force. But you get the news full as soon as we do here. I hardly think they will make another press on Washington but still they may do so. If they do, they will find hotter work that they did before.
I shall be looking for a letter from you now pretty soon. I hop you have a good girl by this time to do your work for you. Be sure and get one that will stay through October so you will be able to go round with us when we come.
I have nothing special to write this time. Mr. Haynes writes pretty often and consequently you hear from us every few days.
The $20 I sent to Bro. Johnson finishes paying up for that land and I have got the deed and had it recorded so we have a good title to 40 acres and a tax title for the other 40 acres. Love to all. Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
Washington D. C.
August 11th 1864
[Editor’s note: I have not posted a full transcription of this letter which speaks of daughter Elizabeth’s illness, the completion of the fence around his residential property in South Bend built by a carpenter named Bradley, the draft of $70 sent in the previous letter, the dray weather in Washington D. C. (“scorcher”).]
…Ed Ames’ father is at Georgetown sick in a hospital. He came here from New Orleans. He is now getting better. I have not been to see him yet but design going today or tomorrow.
I here enclose you Mr. Ludlow’s photograph. He is well and boards at the same place with me. Mr. Haynes and Frank boards at the restaurant.
I was very glad to see that Sanitary Commission meeting at South Bend so successful & glad to see Charles’ name down for $10. But Mr. Colfax as usual put all the balance in the shade. Mr. Brownfield ought to have done better for he is able and should have put down as much as Mr. Colfax at least. But perhaps it went against the grain for him even to do what he did.
[more discussion of grapes, the cow, and of son Charles’ salary.]
I see by the papers that today Gov. Morton and McDonald speaks at South Bend. Hope you will all turn out. Every meeting of the kind ought to be well attended but I fear our Union folks have not got roused up yet. It is high time they were at work. This fall’s elections are the most important for the country that ever took place and the salvation of our country depends on its success. I want to hear from the meeting there today.
I am very anxious about Mr. Colfax’s health. He writes me that he has not recovered his usual strength since his excessive labors in holding so many night sessions before the adjournment of Congress. Tell him he must use that currant wine pretty freely. It will be good for him. It is so warm I can hardly think or write. Don’t neglect to find a good girl—one able to do your work. Love to all, all, all. Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
In just 55 days we start for home!!!
Washington D. C.
August 23rd 1864
[Editor’s note: I have not posted a full transcription of this letter which speaks of the extremely hot weather in Washington D. C., new taxes (5%) levied on government clerks due 1 October 1864, the need for new clothing in wardrobe, and high market prices.]
…Hattie and Myra are up in Pennsylvania among the mountains at a little town called Catawissa boarding at $4 per week. Frank [Heaton] went up to see them last week. He writes me they are having a good time and enjoy the mountain air most hugely. He will be back net Friday but the rest will remain there awhile longer. If we stay here next summer, I intend for us to spend a month in New Jersey or somewhere up in that region.
The Democratic Copperheads will make a terrible effort to defeat Mr. Lincoln but I don’t think they can do it. In all the states but Indiana and Illinois the soldiers can vote in the field but for those two states, provision will be made as far as possible for them to go home to vote. In this way, I think, Mr. Lincoln’s election will be certain.
…It is our intention to get home Saturday evening the 8th of October for supper. I should like very much if we could get there in time for the fair but we cannot do it for I must so arrange my leave of absence so as to remain after the November Election—the next day after the Nov. election, we must start back…
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
Washington D. C.
September 1, 1864
I have had no letter from you since my last but Mr. Haynes has had one from Mary which says the sick, or those that were sick, are all getting better. The weather has become cooler and bracing, and everybody feels better. I believe I never felt the hot weather so oppressive as it was a month or so past. It pulled me down more than for many years past. I was weighed yesterday and I was astonished to find myself at only 171 pounds, but still I feel very well with a good appetite.
…You will find that now the Copperhead Convention at Chicago is over. The Union men, knowing who they have to contend with, will got to work with a will. I hope our country is thoroughly organized and that every meeting will be well attended. Tell Charles to examine that old banner I left in the office and if it is in order, to hang it up where it can be seen. It is as appropriate now as ever.
Five weeks from today we expect to start for home and if the trains make their proper connections, we will be there Saturday on the evening train for supper. Oh, won’t it be nice for us all to be around our own table once more. Let us be patient. The time will soon pass away.
I had a letter from Bro. Johnson yesterday. The money I sent was all received $80 in full for his interest in that land. I think I shall go to Monticello when I come home and try to sell it. I think it will bring a better price now than for some time to come and will do us no good there. We only have a tax title for one half of it and I think it better be sold.
Fr, Finney’s little girl Mary is dead. I never see a corpse that looked so natural. She was buried on Tuesday. Mr. & Mrs. Finney takes it very hard. You know she was a great pet in the family—a sweet little girl.
I have not seen Mr. Lake for some time but I hear that he is pretty well used up with liquor and that she is fretting her life away about it. What a ity it is that he should throw himself away so foolishly. I find he is very stubborn and will not take advice from anyone.
Mr. Van Doren was in my office this week. Says all is well. He is also coming home to vote. Mr. Ames will also come about the same time we do. James Sample will be home about the middle of the month for a short time. Mr. Cox’s folks are all well. Anna has not yet returned from her visit to New Jersey.
Hattie will return early next week. They have had a fine time up in the mountains. Their babe has improved very much. I think it was a good thing for the child that they went. Mr. Ludlow has not been very well for a few days but this morning he said he felt much better. His general health is not very good though able to attend to business.
…We must have everything arranged to leave [South Bend] the next day after the Presidential election and I do not want you to be worked down when we start [for Washington D. C.] and it must not be so. The nomination of McClellan produced no commotion here. I have not seen nor heard of any stir in relation to it yet. I suppose the Copperheads will get up some kind of meeting before long but as yet all is still.
Charles Speed was here the other day. His wife had a babe but it died. By this time they have gone to Indianapolis where they used to live. My love to Lib, and all the Marys, and all the rest. Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
Washington D. C.
Monday morning, September 12th 1864
…I seen a letter in the Chicago Tribune giving an account of the Copperhead Convention at South Bend on the 3rd inst, and the serenade to Mrs. General Sherman by the Union men in the evening which corresponds with your account of the same matter. It was a good winding up of the day, that Mrs. General Sherman happened to be there.
The Copperheads seem to be getting into trouble, so many of them are bolting since McClellan’s acceptance which will cause “one grand split” among them. The peace portion of them will call a new Convention and put up another man. And the late victories at Atlanta and Mobile puts long faces on the Democracy [Democrats]. They would prefer anything to victories by our armies. On the whole I think the cause of the Union is progressing finely. One good victory by General Grant which we confidently look for before election will consign the Copperhead Democracy to eternal infamy.
I want to find one thing right off—that is the amount of our taxes in South Bend for the year 1863, last year. Have Charles hunt up the tax receipt and get the amount from that. And also the amount paid last year for our insurance. In assessing me here on my salary for last year (I refer to the special tax of 5 percent I wrote you about a few days ago), I find I am entitled to have deducted the amount of those taxes from that part of my salary over $600. It will not amount to much, but every little helps. The rents we paid to Mr. Yetter while living in his house also comes out and all together will save about $6 tax. Don’t forget this. I want it right off.
Have you seen anything of Jacob Morrell or Aunt Charlotte? Mary says in one of her letters to Mr. Haynes that they have got back to Niles. I never was so surprised. I cannot imagine why they did not remain in California for I understood they were well pleased with the country. I would like to know the reason they did not remain.
You have learned through Mr. Haynes that Mrs. Lake is in a very interesting condition. The next day after I wrote you last, I was at Mr. Cox’s and Mrs. Cox told me about it and I determined to find out whether it was so, and in the evening went over there. She was in the back room and was lothe to come out but finally she made her appearance and I was satisfied at once that it was so. When I left, Mr. Lake followed me out and told me voluntarily that such was the fact and that little over two months from now would terminate the matter. They seem to be much alarmed and fear the result will prove disastrous. I gave him the best encouragement I could, advised she should keep very quiet, &c., but if all goes right, it will be a second epistle to Tom Thumb.
I have not found a room for us for next winter yet. I am waiting for Mr. Haynes to find a place and then I will get a room in the same house or as near it as I can. I think we wil have no trouble to get a room. We will get back here in time before Congress meets to find plenty of vacant rooms. It may be we can get one at Mr. Cox’s yet. He is to let me know when any of them are vacated. When I get home we can talk over the best plan for future operations, but oh! how anxious I am for the time to roll by when we will be off for home. A little over three weeks more. If nothing happens, will pack up and be off. Our present expectation is to be home for supper on Saturday evening October 8th.
James Ample left last Friday evening and went to New York. Expected to leave there this Monday morning for South Bend.
I should have been glad could we leave so as to be home for the County Fair but we cannot make it and remain until after the November election. Hattie and Myra have returned home all much improved—especially the baby, it is fat and hearty. Frank is going to Crawfordsville to attend the election there and it is probable that Myra will return home with him, but I do not see how Hattie can get along without her. A few days, however, will determine all about it.
Mr. Ames will come home with us. He is also very anxious to get off and says his wife shall not be away from him so long hereafter. Whether he will remain until after the November election, I cannot say but probably he will.
…Love to all. Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
Washington D. C.
Monday morning, September 26, 1864
I feel somewhat disappointed in not getting an answer to my last letter by this time. By Friday next, at the outside, I must make my tax returns whether I receive an account of our taxes at South Bend or not, with amount of insurance, &c. But perhaps it is on the way & will have it in a day or two. But if not sent before this reaches you, it will be too late. If I had it, it would save me a dollar or two taxes…
I see by the Register that the draft in South Bend is over and that Charles was not drafted. I am glad for this for I know he would not be able to stand the fatigues of an army campaign. The draft is not completed here yet. Frank [Heaton] is very uneasy as to the result. If he should be drafted, it will take all he can raise to procure a substitute. Some are paying from five to eight hundred dollars for substitutes and every day the price is getting higher. This week will determine the matter with him.
Mr. Haynes, I believe, has secured a place for him and Mary to board. They are to have two rooms in a house with a private family, Rooms and board $80 per month. This includes Daisey. I shall secure a room for us if I can and shall get one as near Mr. Haynes as I can. Mr. & Mrs. Cox is expected back today or tomorrow. It may be I can get one in their house but of this I am not certain. Soon as they return, I will see them. I could keep a room at Frank’s but can’t find board nearer than four or five squares and that won’t do—must have them closer together. I will look around this week and do the best I can…
I see there is a meeting advertised at South Bend for Saturday, October 8th—the day we expected to get home. I should be very glad if we could get home in time to attend it. I have said nothing about it to Mr. Haynes but I intend to make an effort to get off one day sooner, but do not know that it can be done. If we do, will either write you or telegraph from some point along the road…
The late victories by Sherman and Sheridan seems to revive up our Union folks all over the country & it is believed will have a good effect on the October elections in Indiana and elsewhere. And I believe from all I can learn that General Grant will make another grand effort to take Petersburg within the next ten days, perhaps this week. The rebels are more discouraged than ever and if Grant whips them at Petersburg or Richmond—which he surely will—the rebellion must cave in. And it may be before this reaches you, you may hear that Petersburg has fallen. And when this is done, Richmond must fall as a matter of course. Let this be done and McClellan is no where.
How does Mr. [Schuyler] Colfax’s health and strength hold out? When did you see him last? I have been very fearful that his strength would fail him. What do you think of his prospects? Every clerk from our district will go home to vote. Mr. Van Doren is coming when I do. So is Mr. Stokes. I know of none but what is going. Mr. Towles went a week ago. I suppose you have seen him ere this as he promised to call and see you.
When does James sample start back? I see we are to have no county fair this month as was expected. Under the circumstances, I suppose it is as well to discontinue it. I hope you and the rest are all well and that your girl holds out to suit you. Next week I hope to see you. Love to all. Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton
Washington D. C.
September 30, 1864
Yours of the 26th inst., by James Sample received. James looks very thin. Says he has been sick most of the time he was at home. I was sorry for this for he anticipated a glorious good time at home. He seems in good heart however and thinks he will soon be all right again.
I am very busy and will not have time to write you a long letter this time but I write you expressly to say that we have determined to stat next Wednesday evening instead of Thursday and if we meet the connections all right, will be home Friday evening. Hurah! Ain’t that better? Will telegraph from Toledo.
Yesterday evening I went over to Bladensburg to visit Mr. and Mrs. Van Doren. Found them all well and had a nice visit. Left there this morning at half past 7. It is only 15 minutes ride. They all send love to you and Mary.
Frank Heaton was drafted yesterday. We all feel bad over it but cannot help it. We think, however, when he comes to be examined, they will release him for he has a wretched set of teeth—hardly a sound tooth in his head. He could not live on “hard tack.” He is to be examined tomorrow.
It does me good to hear you speak in such cheering terms of the prospects of Mr. Colfax and of the good time you had when Long John Wentworth made his speech. Say to our Central Committee that I seen Gov. Randall of Wisconsin, now 1st Assist. Post Master General, this morning. He is to let me know tomorrow whether he will not speak at South Bend at the Mass Meeting, Saturday October 8th. I think he will come. When I see him in the morning & find out about it, will write to Wheeler or telegraph in time for next week’s paper. He is a splendid speaker. All well. Look out for us Friday evening. It will not be necessary for you to write any more after receiving this as I would not get it.
But I must stop to finish up some other business before dinner. I may write you a short note tomorrow to tell you how Frank comes out, &c. Love to all.
Your affectionate husband. — Charles M. Heaton
Washington D. C.
October 4, 1864
Mr. Haynes has been promoted and a new desk assigned him. He will not be able to stay but a few days and this change also makes it necessary for him to get off soon as possible that he may get back the sooner. Hence, we shall start tomorrow, Tuesday evening. I write this in haste to let you know it. We hope to be at home Thursday evening.
Your affectionate husband, — Charles M. Heaton