Category Archives: Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks

1862: Unidentified Author to George D. Anson

Unfortunately the author of this letter is lost to history but the content is worth preserving. The author captures a general sentiment held in the North that the Lincoln Administration was moving away from its original intent to preserve “the Union as it was and the Constitution as it is” to one in which slaves were to be liberated and made equals to the whites which many Federal soldiers and their families back home objected to.

The letter was addressed to George D. Anson who was a private in Co. A, 1st Vermont Cavalry from November 1861 to November 1864.

Transcription

Keeseville P. O. [Vermont]
July 7th 1862

Dear Friend G. D. Anson,

Your last letter was duly received for which favor I cannot begin to express myself when I consider the circumstances under which it was written to me, instead of someone else more worthy and connected to you with natural instincts of love, but do not understand by this that I have no love for you, interest in your welfare, or personal regard. I entertain all of these for you, and trust that my opinion never will become less, but in the contrary, increase astonishingly. You deserve it, not only from me but from the people of the place you left without an exception, & in fact the people of the whole country.

Your letter contained nothing but National principles which are democratic only. About Banks taking Negroes into his wagons and making battle-worn soldiers walk, is the most disgraceful thing that he could do, let one but just meditate & look at the thing as he should, he cannot fail to observe something wrong in him. Certainly you will see his sympathy is not for the poor white soldier but for the contraband and as long as white men are served thus, the Negro thought more of by Generals than his own men, what is the first idea formed of such a General with his men in particular. They all think certainly he would wage the war as an abolitionist for the freeing of the slaves instead of waging it to restore the Union as it was and the Constitution as it is. This is undoubtedly what produces a bad feeling in the whole Union army to make them think that they went down to free Niggers instead of freeing the country of rebels.

Such generals with the present Congress agitating the slavery question are enough to make the Union men of the South rebels and there were a good many there not long since. They are becoming rebels on account of the continual agitation of the Negro question, confiscation of property in the halls of Congress, and I have no doubt the agitation was a strong auxiliar to make the rebels desperate and fight with greater determination in the recent battles befre Richmond which were destructive in a great degree to McClellan’s entire army. Indeed, it was a bad defeat, but I hope we shall be able to reverse the whole scene ere long.

I have not quite as much hope now in regard to the termination of this civil & barbarous war. It may last longer than anyone would naturally suppose because the rebels are becoming more sanguine & they expect foreign intervention even if they have to go under… [rest of letter missing]