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More about mission to Europe, letter from Seward, chaplaincies in the Union Army
letter, McIlvaine, Du Bois, son-in-law, Europe
McIlvaine, Charles Petit, "Letter to G.W. Du Bois" (1861). Charles Pettit McIlvaine Letters. 234.
Cincinnati, Nov. 10. 1861
My dear son,
I wrote you about a week ago from Chillicothe. Yesterday came a letter from dear Mamy enclosing one from you to me (that which speaks of the [?] and his mischief) and one from you to Mamy describing the state of your camp under the fire from the Rebels on the hills. What experience you are having, what strange life you are seeing, what [scenes], what suffering, what destructions, and what dangers you are continually exposed to, but blessed be God that he feeds your soul with such [?] peace and enables you so quietly to trust in him. How bravely dear Mamy bears up under the anxiety and separation (darling child), but she must suffer very much from anxiety about you. You have found where your faith is and what it is. God is your Rock. Blessed be his Name for thenotes of his grace.
I am glad you have your Colonel again and like him and that he is so good in discipline. He is said to be a good officer. I heard well of him at Cleveland where he was drilling a company of [?] at the beginning of the war. He went with it (James Sterlings Co.) as captain to Camp Dennison. There he became disconnected from it, and went on Gen. Cox’s staff. At the General’s Quarters I met him. It may be of use to you to let him know your nearness to me. He was some years in the French service in Algiers and before this war, lived on a farm (I think) in Michigan. What [?] came it is to allow the Suthers to sell liquor. If I get a chance I will speak to McClelland about it. I should think he could prohibit it in the whole army. Chaplain Price, I have hoped to see, but have not, perhaps he will come out tomorrow. I am so very busy about my unsettled English mission of which I wrote you from Chillicothe, that I cannot purchase the books you asked me to get. I shall have to leave it with Mr. Price. It will gratify you to know that in the last Lond. Ch. Obs. an English edition of your brother’s Review of the Essays and Review is advertized as edited by the Dean of Carlisle (Close) and published by [Hatchard] and Co. Lond. I will write to the Dr. and tell him.
About my English Mission. I had given it up last week because Mr. Seward thought a visit of 6 or 8 weeks would answer, and I was not going to make two winter passages for what I could do by quiet domestic conversation in that time. Then on Friday I received a message from Mr. Seward saying “Please come hither at once, prepared to proceed to Europe.” But I have written that if I go I must be unlimited as to time within 5 months (through I do not expect to stay longer than to escape a return winter passage) and that I must have a credit in London equal to that of either of the laymen going, Mr. Everett and Mr. [J. P. Kennedy] of Baltimore, whether I use it all or not. I expected to hear tomorrow what they say and if they come to my terms, I believe I shall consent. My doubts are very much removed by the very strong urgency of nearly all of the diocese clerical and lay who have heard of it and who think that for the country’s sake I should not hesitate. My great doubt has been as to the aspect of secularity it may wear. But it strikes people to my surprise as just what, as a Bishop. I should do for the country. I do not want to go abroad when our dear land mourns, nor to meet foreigners when our faces are so bowed down and then often so different from what they have been towards us. But if I can serve the country I will go. My access to high religious society in England is a talent and perhaps this is the way to improve it. I pray to be prevented if it be not according to God’s will. If I go, Nain and Amma will go also, and either we sail by the [?] on the 20th or in one of the [??] on the 23rd. I want you to write me care of George Peabody Esq. London on as thin paper as you can find, and leave me to pay the postage, after you got the letters to Mamy. Foreign letters require no stamps. I shall ask Mamy to keep a running abstract of the chief parts of your letters to her, to be sent to me. I have written her to come down this week, for if we go, it is the only time we can see her. Precious aching!
Now about the Chaplaincies. Capt. Ball says you told him that Col. [Carroughton] had offered you the Chaplaincy of his Regt. If it be so, I have not heard of it. I sent to W. Andrews one of your letters, that he might get it before [Carroughton], (as his doing not mine) to give his some idea of what sort of Chaplain you are, the best I think that ever was. He tells me that it was read by [Carroughton’s] [mother] & [Suton] who was delighted & said he ought to have you. I learn also that Mr. Day whom Carroughton thought of having & who wanted the place has been told that the pay of the Regular Regt. is not that of the Volunteers - but only that of a Post Chap. which at the most is only 60 a month with quarters &c. That, he could not take + he gives up the object. Now I think it is probably a mistake. Under the old army Regulations, each Regt. (Regular & Volunteer) was not entitled to a Chaplain. Now there is the same regulation in that respect for Reg. + Vol. Volunteers receive pay as Capt. of [?]. The only provision as to pay for any other is for Post Chaplains, so that I infer that Regimental Chap. in the Regular service are expected to receive the same as those in Volunteer Serve & that the want of specification is a negligence only. But you should not accept an election to a Reg. Regt. without being clear on that head. The very large size of such Regt, 24,000 is an objection, especially as not unlikely the 3 [?] will often serve separated from one another. Each is enough for one man. If your Regt. comes home to [?] it is a service question whichever having so [gamed] on the officers & men & [?] such a character, you should leave it for another. Your bulletin board is a capital invention & it must give Mamy great pleasure to supply the [?]. we are constantly waiting for great news from the fleet & the army of the Potomac + hoping to hear that your army has got in the rear of Floyd & cast him off. I sent two of your letter to Mr. Chase in which you spoke of Gen’s Cox + Rosecrans + described the retreat from Sewell Mt. Mr. Chase is very friendly to Cox + he returned the letter with expressions of pleasure for what was said of Cox.
The only provision in the Revised Army Regulations (a copy of which I have) as to transfers affecting your case is this
“The transfer of officers from one Regt. or Corps. to another will be made only by the War Dept. on the mutual application of the parties desiring the exchange.”
Does your Commission [?] from the Gov. of O. or the Sec. at War? If the former, I should think that article did not apply at Chaplain’s of Volunteers. & that your transfer would be made by the Gov. If I get any more light on that or the pay, I will write before I sail, if I do sail.
We constantly pray for you, my dear son, & have you in our heart. Good bye. The Lord make his face constantly to shine upon you, + bless your men. All here send love.
Your most affectionate Father.
Tuesday 12. A dispatch from Wash. settles it. We sail if the Lord will by the [Penia] on the 20th if we can get ready or the [Brewan] packet on the 23rd.