St. Simon’s Island, Ga. [BCF]
My Dear Clem.,
You have probably heard from Annie of our adventures since we left Boston; that is, if my many letters reached her. We are entirely isolated here, and know nothing of what has been going on in other parts of the country for the last two weeks. We have only just heard that General Hunter, in our own Department, was relieved.2 It is such a short time since you and I have been so nearly related, that I hardly realize it as yet; and now I am back in the old track, and routine of camp-life again, the three months at home, with their great pleasures and little troubles, seem to have been passed in dream-land. I don’t believe I think much more of Annie than I used to, but the great difference in our relation to each other seems very strange.
Now that General Hunter is relieved, I may say, without danger of being overhauled for it, that I am very glad. He does not impress one as being a man of power. General Gillmore, I hear, is not a friend to black troops, but I don’t mind that, for as long as there are so few regiments of them here, they may as well lie quiet as not. These little miserable expeditions are of no account at all; that is, as regards their effect on the war; but they serve to keep up the spirits of our men, and when successful, do a good deal towards weakening the prejudice against black troops, especially in this department, where, hitherto, absolutely nothing has been done.
… I read Mr. Ward’s present (Thiers’ Waterloo) very carefully, on the way down, and found it very interesting. Since I came here I have been reading “The Campaigns of 1862 and 1863,” by Errul Schalk. He shows what he thinks are the mistakes that have been made, and lays out an imaginary campaign, which he thinks ought to be successful. It is a good thing to read, but I don’t know how much humbug or how much solid stuff it contains. A former book of his—”Summary of the Art of War”— is quite interesting. There, he makes several prophecies that have been fulfilled. I wish some one like Napier could give us his opinion of the war.
You can’t imagine what a spooney, home-sick set we are here, after our pleasant times at Readville. Major Hallowell lies on his back singing,—“No one to love, none to caress,
None to respond to this heart’s wretchedness”;
and we all feel just so. It is very demoralizing to be at home for so long a time. I felt quite sorry to deprive you of my old sword, but I wanted my Mother to have it, as I hadn’t given her any of my discarded shoulder-straps, sashes, &c, &c. I think of you every morning and evening when I put on my slippers; they are a great comfort. When you see your father, please give him my regards. I was sorry not to see him before I came away.
With much love to your Mother, and yourself, I am, dear Clem.,
your affectionate Brother
p.S. — If you read Thiers’ Waterloo, I advise you to get Jomini’s also, and compare them. The former is infinitely superior, I think, so much more clear and exact; there is something of the romance about it, though, which you never find in Napier. The latter seems to be the perfect historian.
June 17, 1863
A letter from Shaw to his his wife’s sister Clemence Haggerty:
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