United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865; Bruen, Luther Barnett--Correspondence
Washington March 24 1861 My dear wife: I am in the fix this morning that you were last Sunday,_ no letter from home. This makes an ugly, windy & dusty day. _ such as your Dayton experience furnishes you no example of _ uglier and more disagreeable still. *I trust* it is the last Sunday and letter-less day that I am destined to spend here. And when I get home again, it will be a long time before I leave again upon such a God-forsaken *frisinely* as office _begging. I wrote yesterday (23rd) to John Howard and the day before to you and expect him to answer by telegraph, having agreed upon a telegram that will not be understood by Mr. Kiersted no Bill Comly's hopeful son who is in the office with them. It is unfortunate that we have been deprived of this means of rapid correspondence. Mr Sherman called upon the P. M. Gen. yesterday and requested him to suspend action upon the Dayton P.O. until R.C.S. arrived. This was done at Schenck's request, who is expected here on Tuesday. I suppose the appointment will be made this week, & I would almost submit patiently to an adverse decision for the sake of getting home again. I shall breathe freer when the long agony is over. I chanced to get hold of the Empire of the 16th in which I read the announcement of the death of two of Sam Brown's children; and Bill Rouzer who came here yesterday with Luther Brady, says he heard their other one is dead. is this so? You wrote me about the death of the first but nothing about the others. How dreary a place the "old house" will be to them. If such a distressing affliction had fallen to our lot, I should never want to see again the place where we lived so happily. The enclosure you sent me would never have seen the eyes of the P., if it had been duly addressed to him and mailed. He receives several hundred a day and it keeps his private secretary, Mr Nicolas pretty busy in merely opening and filing them. He reads just enough of them to learn what they are about, & sends them to the Deparments to which they properly belong. The president, I suppose does not read one in a thousand of them. So you see it is hardly worth while to write to him. In fact writing to any body here, except me, does not begin to pay, and I therefore advise you to write all your letters especially for my benefit. I appreciate them and feel good all over as soon as I get one in my hand, and before I have read a word of it; and when I get thro' I always feel that I could read ten times as much and still want more. So you need not be afraid to write me long letters. Robert's Chief Internship still *having fine*. How it will turn out I can't tell. I am afraid he will be *un*, like the rest of us. I hope to hear from you and John Howard tomorrow. The time for action is so near at hand that I want full advice from home, and certain documents which I wrote to John to send. When I got the letter he sent by express I hoped it would contain some, but it did not. I had already got Mr. Chase rights so that I could not use the newpaper tho' I was very glad to read it. _ I went to the Department and waited two or three hours in the vain hope of seeing Mr Chase. he had gone to a Cabinet meeting and did not return while I remained. This friend Gallagher (What a good thing it is to have a friend at Court!) promised to ask Mr. Chase for the information I had called upon him to get, but I have not seen him this morning and so have not learned what I particularly wanted to know. As all action has been suspended until Tuesday, I suppose I will be able to get the information in time to answer my purposes. _ you can scarcely imagine the pleasure of doing business in this place. It is always from one to three miles from where you are to where you want to be; and when you get there, you generally have to wait from one to three hours before you can see the person you wish to. And when you see them ten chances to one you leave every thing in as unsatisfactory a state as you found it. By this time the dinner hour has arrived & that ends all attempts to do anything for the day, except in very few cases. The next day you have it all to do over again and make very little more progress. If Mr F. gets the P. O., I shall probably go home by Philadelphia, if I can do so without spending another Sunday away. I don't want to go back over the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. It is not very interesting at this season of the year and besides I thinki it is a dangerous road, tho' the trains are run with great caution and accidents seldom occure. _ Robert thinks of leaving this afternoon, but I don't believe he will get away for a day or two yet. I should be sorry to have him leave before my affairs are disposed of, yet I cannot insist on his remaining after his business is settled. It would be a matter of very grave importance that would keep me here after the Dayton P.O. is disposed of. _ I want you to keep on writing every day until you receive a letter announcing my departure definitely. This dreary town would be altogether unendurable, if I did not receive a letter from you every day or two. So if you can't write long letters, write short ones, but don't fail to write every day. _ This ought to reach you on Tuesday morning, as it will leave here this (Sunday) afternoon at three o'clock. Love and kisses to all, Ever thine, my dearest Luther.
Catharine Mitchill '31 Collection of Family Letters, Wellesley College Library, Special Collections