United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865; Bruen, Luther Barnett--Correspondence
Fort Hamilton July 4th 1861 My Dear Wife: I am getting my first taste of military life today. I reached here yesterday at four o'clock. Maj. Stemmer was herein command; he is a very pleasant gentleman and as we all know an excellent officer. He left this morning and I took command of the fort. Capt Gilman of the infantry is here with his wife and child, a little thing about as old as Bobus, but living in the casemates has made it sick. He took very kindly to me this morning and I held him on my knee a while for the sake of the dear little Robert. We fired a salute today at noon, in honor of the day. The thirty two pounders made a good deal of noise but not as much as I anticipated. The Fort has been full of visitors all day, an incessant stream of people coming and going all the time. They all appear to think they own us & the forst too & do not hesitate to intrude into all the accessible holes and corners. While I think of it I wish you would see Mr McCanin & tell him the stripe on my pantaloons must be dark blue. He made it light blue in the one I have & I shall consequently be obliged to have them altered. You will have to do this immediately upon the receipt hereof, or it will do no good to see him. I am decidedly homesick this afternoon & could almost wish that the Senate might make somebody else Major of the 12th in my place. But while every body is congratulating me upon my good luck until I almost think I don't appreciate my position, I cannot help thinking of dear one I have left behind. And then I cannot turning the question over in my mind again and settle down again upon the conclusion that I better hold on to it until this war is over. After that, if we find that a continuance in the army will involve the necessity of a separation, I can give it up. In the meantime I trust you will bear the separation cheerfully, if you can; don't fret over it, but devote yourself to the children & occupy yourself as much as possible. Try to convince yourself that I am only performing a duty which I owe my country and you will th*en* more easily become reconciled to our separation, which I hope will prove but a temporary one. I shall call upon Mr Burrows in a few days. I have met several Cinti acquaintances here, among them Mr [Thard] who inquired about some Bruen's he had made the acquaintance of since he came. One of them is quite interesting. If I find that I am to remain here sometime, I will try to come home or have you come here for a week or two. If my experience for the past day or two is a fair example of what it is to be hereafter, I will not have much time to run about to see the city. Love to every body & an infinite quantity for thine own particular self. Thine Luther.
Catharine Mitchill '31 Collection of Family Letters, Wellesley College Library, Special Collections