W-MCP4-6.065 TO ISAAC B. MCQUESTEN from his brother, Dr. Calvin Brooks McQuesten
Jul 10 1864
To: Isaac B. McQuesten Hamilton, Canada, West.
From: Columbian Hospital Washington, D.C.
My Dear Brother,
I am very tired this evening but will write a few lines as any day may be the last on which our mails leave the city & perhaps this may fall into Rebel hands.1
The report this evening is that the Baltimore Road is cut five miles this side of the City, but the papers issued say the mails are all right. Sunday although it is yet it is but a fair average of army Sabbaths, and I assure you we are near the front now. Three Corps of Grant's army have passed through here in three days & today have been passing all day.
It was very refreshing for our men to have a word with their fellow comrades as they passed, & the salutations were frank and manly. We never little men wanted to be sent back to duty before the raid, now all would like to join their regiments and "have one more dab at the Rebels." President Lincoln has been passed here four times in the twenty-four hours which indicates some excitement.
I have now 100 men under my care and most of them are doing well, but my nurses have been sent away & I have all the work to do myself except the extra diets which my new! nurses have provided. The two lady nurses I now have are from the best families in N.Y. City so cannot expect the labor from them that old nurses can do that have served two or three years in the hospitals. Have had two lady nurses or Female nurses as they are called in contradistinction to the Lady nurses, who could dress the common flesh wounds as well as I can.
There is another regiment going past & probably more will be on the road tonight. Army waggons & ammunition are passing continually, so you see although out of the City, I am on the road where all new can be learned & seen. My mention of the troops from Grant's army would be contraband, but guess no one will see it. Banks has sent 20,000 men to reinforce Grant, and Grant has punished the Rebels severely for thinking he had weakened his army so much so that they could fight him on his own ground. You will learn some of this news by papers by the time this reaches you. Love to all & believe me,
Ever Your Brother,
Act. Asst. Surg. U.S.A.
P.S. I was disturbed in my slumber by an order from Surg. General to report all convalescents able to defend Washington in the last extremity & have found some still who could do something for their country. It is the most exciting time this city ever saw, & more rumours are afloat than one can listen to let alone believe. Rebel raiders are 6 miles of here as 12[?] were captured on Saturday afternoon. I went to bed last evening at 12 o'clock & was up at 3:25 and have only this few moments after breakfast.
1 The American Civil War began in 1861. In January 1864, Lincoln declared the final proclamation of emancipation of the slaves. In March 1864, Gen. Grant began the final attrition of the Confederate forces that brought peace on April 9, 1865. Abraham Lincoln had been re-elected President in March 1865; he was shot on April 14, 1865, and died the next day (CBD 898, CBE 572, W-MCP4-6.064, W-MCP4-6.066).