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William Latham Candler

Papers, 1861-63, Ms1997-007

November 2, 1861; letter written from Camp "Hooker" near Budds Ferry

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Camp "Hooker"
Doncaster Charles Co. Md.
Near Budds Ferry
Nov. 2 1861

My dear Brother
I wrote you a short note a day or two since informing you of my whereabouts and promising to send you a full account of our position, I should have done so before this but I have had a great deal of work to do and have not had, up to today, a moments leisure. I was yesterday released from command of Co. C and reported for duty to Capt. Wild1. The cause of my release is, the return of Capt. Walker, Col. Wells, wanted me to remain but I preferred throwing the whole command on Capt. W. His return placed me in a very unpleasant position, I have succeeded far better in the command of the company than I anticipated, and when Walker returned there was a great deal of dissatisfaction expressed by the men at being put again under his charge. They came to me about it, but of course could get me no satisfaction and then went to Col. Wells, to see if I could not be retained in the Company. I talked with Wells about it and expressed my opinion that it would be better for all parties and create

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less hard feeling if I should leave the co. altogether, for I could not remain in it without conflicting greatly with Capt. W. and then by creating party[?] feelings in the Co. which can not be done without trouble following. There is little doubt but that he will resign very shortly, in which case I can have an captaincy if I want it. Col. W. is desirous to have me accept it, but as yet I have not decided to do so. I do not want it, as I am really not strong enough to take charge of a company like that and give it the attention and labor which I could not help giving it were I in command. It is a company, which is noted as being the hardest and poorest in the Regt, but is composed of a rough, hardy set of men, who have been neglected and abused shamefully; so far I have been connected with them Any have been most wonderfully obedient and orderly; anxious to do well, but have never been taught the first principles of a soldiers education. I can stand a tremendous amount of work and fatigue, not from strength of body but from determination never to give out; but after the excitement is over, I feel it tremendously, more on every march, and if I can get a position which will be easier than that of Captain (known to be the hardest in the service) although of not higher

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rank than a Lieut, I should feel very much like taking it. I can get on Cowdin's staff if I want to, but as no one can tell how long I may feel it my duty to remain ---- the service, I do not want to take a staff appointment except under some thorough military man, from whom I can learn something everyday. I would like much to get on Genl Hooker's staff, but he has one young man from one Regt - Billy Lawrence, Co. G. and will probably want men of more experience in military matters than I am, for the rest of his staff. Don't let Frank Howe try to get me onto Cowdin's staff; I am much obliged to him for what he has done, but I don't care to have Col. C. offer me a position; I could not get out of it well. Although I do not have a high opinion of Col. C. as a man of sound military judgment and knowledge, yet as a man of kind heart, and good intentions I can't help liking him. Never in the world was there a man who tried harder to do right by everybody than Col. C.; but he was too tender hearted to command a Regt with the firm hand requisite to bring a thousand men and keep them in a state of discipline. I really hope he will get his commission a Brigadier, if he only has

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wit enough to select his staff affairs with an eye to their ability, he will do well. At present Lieut. Johnston Co E. is his act. ass. adj. Genl. he is a good glass maker and a good Lieut; but the general opinion is that his knowledge of the world has been confined too much to crucibles and hot fires, for him to make an able assistant. Lieut Henry of Co F is his side, a real good fellow, and so far as I have known him, smart enough to fill out that position satisfactorily. We have a man in command of us now, who thoroughly understands what he is doing; Lt. Col. Geo. D. Wells, you never saw such a change as there has been in our Regt since he took hold of us. The men seem to have a different life infused into them, the effect is visible in every man's appearance. He is very strict, and when he says a thing the men know it will be done or not done. They one and all would work their fingers to the bones for him and never grumble. It is the first time that our Regt. has ever seemed to be really what it should be. One good thing is that Col W. is not the slightest afraid of his officers; and for the first time since we have been in service, we know that if we don't do one duty as it should be done, we shall be hauled over the coals.

[No sign-off; letter ends abruptly]

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