United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865; Bruen, Luther Barnett--Correspondence


4 pages


No 17 Fort Hamilton July 17. 1863 My dear Wife: I have received two letters from you this week, on Thursday and Saturday. They relieved my anxiety about you and gave me a great deal of comfort. -- We are having great times here just now, but entirely different from any we have had before. On Friday night about *11 1/2* four hundred of the 11th N.Y. Col. Artillery arrived here. McElrath and I had both gone to bed. I was reading in bed. We both had to get up. I went to bed in about an hour and a half, but he remained up much longer. The new vols. are decidedly the dirtiest and miserablest set we have had here yet. They had been sent to Harrisburg to defend Pennsylvania, but were ordered to go to Carlisle. The rascals to a *war* refused to go and were sent here because they were utterly worthless. They wandered all over the village and some of them slept on *Gilston's* porch! The Gigadier was utterly disgusted and so were the rest of us. The officers know but little more of their duties than the men. Of course the Gigadier had to do something equal to the occasion, so he ordered that there should be a Field Officer of the Day as well as the regular Officer of the Day, and Officer of the barracks. Accordingly I have been playing Field Officer of the Day, this *swelty* Sunday. It is perfectly ridiculous to have a Field Officer of the Day but it had to be done. The thing, however, is about played out, as there is but one Field Officer here besides myself and he will probably go away to-morrow, if he has not gone already. This annoyance therefore is not likely to last any longer than the other one. -- The Gigadier had all the officers in his room this morning and gave them a very paternal lecture. He had got over his fury but his lecture was very cutting. I don't think it will do them much good tho! We shall probably have a good deal of trouble with the scallawags but as they have behaved so shamefully I have no pity on them. -- As to the doctors I must say that I have precious little confidence in any of them. None that I have ever met has seemed to me to know enough to know what was the matter with their patients. They generally guess that the disease is one of three or four, each of which they propose to cure with blue mass or quinine, so they commence with prescribing one or the other, and if the first prescription fails, they try the other remedy, but the time the patient has recovered from the effects of the medicine, he has probably got well. If he hasn't, he will probably be kept on his back a month or more with a fair chance of going out of his house feet *foreshort*. These general remarks apply to all classes of physicians, tho' I think the homeopathists have the greater number of remedies, and that none of them interfere quite so much with the efforts of nature to remove the disease as the allopathic remedies. If I relied upon my reason I should not the slightest confidence in homeopathy. But I know the effect of some of their remedies is instantaneously curative and observation teaches that they cure quite as many patients as the other side. As then, the recovery of a patient, seems to be a matter of luck quite as much as skill, I see no reason why we should not use the remedies which are least unpleasant to take. I think Dr. *Webster* is a pretty good physician and so far as I know he has been quite as successful as any of them. In ordinary care of sickness I should undoubtedly employ him, and I believe I would as *likely* trust him in serious cases as any of the rest of them. But I shall leave the matter wholly with you hoping you will never have occasion to exercise your judgment in the matter. The letter in which you acknowledged the receipt of the first $20 has never come to hand, so if you remember anything in it which you wish me to know you had better repeat it in your next. My health is excellent, but I have nearly melted away to-day. Now, darling, I must stop, for I have nothing more to say and it #is so very warm I can scarcely write. Capt. P. desires to be remembered. Love to our dear ones, most of all to you. Good night. Thy Luther#



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.