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1862 July 25: “George May came down to introduce an army cot he has recently invented”

July 25, 2012

A letter from our River Falls doctor, Abraham D. Andrews, printed in the August 6, 1862, issue of The Prescott Journal.


We take the following extracts from a private letter from A. D. ANDREWS, Assistant Surgeon of the 6th Wis. Reg.

“Things are moving some, here.

The war that for a space did fail,
Now trebly thundering swells the gale, &c.1

Capt. DILL [Daniel J. Dill, captain of Company B of the 6th Wisconsin] made a swoop on Fredricksburgh [sic] night before last, with his company, and arrested four of the richest and damnedest secessionists the city afforded.  The thing was elegantly done.  They were extracted from their comfortable beds in the slumbers of the night without any stir or commotion, marched to Gen. King’s quarters, and forwarded by the first train to Washington, thence probably to some one of the stone palaces which Uncle Sam keeps for the accommodation of all “sich.”2  They were considerably “taken down” of course.—One of them, an old man by the name of Barton, has seventeen sons and grandsons in the rebel army.  Rumor hath it that they are to be held as hostages for the safety of certain Union citizens of Fredricksburg [sic], now held in durance vile by J. Davis & Co.  They doubtless deserve a swivel joint in their necks on their own account.     *     *     *

Among the recent distinguished arrivals in camp, are ex-senator STEWART, of Green county, of the Allottment [sic] Commission, and GEO. MAY POWELL3 Esq., of Washington.  Both are stopping at my hotel.  As I write, they are performing a duett [sic], stertatory, in the most brilliant style. They find it disagreeable to conform to the camp custom of breakfast at daylight, prefering [sic] to lose that rather than depart from their regular habits.—George May came down to introduce an army cot he has recently invented.  It is a good thing and takes well.  All the field and most of the line officers in this brigade have ordered it.  If he gets it generally introduced into the army, he has got a “big thing.”     *     *     *

Our regiment started for this morning (July 25th) with three days rations.—Four regiments advanced yesterday , and it is supposed as many more will move this morning.  I am left in charge of the camp and sick squad.  If the regiment does not return in a few days, I shall probably rejoin it, and send the sick to Washington.  The object of the advance is not known and I will not stop to speculate about it.

The recent order of Gen. Pope [John Pope] for the arrest or benishment [sic] of all rebels within our lines, and for foraging supplies, carries more terror to the hearts of the rebels in this region, than all the marches and displays of armies we have ever furnished.  It is a move in the right direction, at last, and it will tell, too.

1.  From Sir Walter Scott’s “Battle of Flodden.”
2.  We’re used to seeing this spelled “secsh.”
3.  George May Powell’s public career started in his 20s as a noted statistician in the U.S. Treasury Department during the Civil War. After the war Powell became very involved in publishing companies and founded several social reform organizations. He was a noted public speaker, writer, and cartographer. In later years he organized a trip to Egypt and Palestine. Upon returning to the United States, he gave lectures about his experiences dressed in his “Oriental outfit.”

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