William B. Rogers to Henry D. Rogers, August 21, 1861
August 21, 1861

In this letter to his brother, William B. Rogers calls for an "energetic prosecution of the war" and denounces "Democrats of the Breckenridge stripe" as "dangerous persons, easily connected with traitors."

1 Temple Place,
Aug. 21, 1861

My dear Henry:

***** We had one anxiety remaining for we had received no news from James for two weeks, but yesterday brought a letter from him in the heights overlooking Harpers Ferry giving a merry account of the hardships of their service, without blankets and tents and employed in all the most exposed and responsible duties of the column. Now that they have their tents, and the commission is well organized, they will have more comfort though not less laborious duty. As they form the watchmen and guard of Harper’s Ferry and the ford, they are likely to be brought into frequent collision with the scouting parties of the enemy, and have already had some skirmishes, but without injury on their side.

              You will see by the papers that our force is daily augmenting along the frontier, that is the line of the Potomac, and that the Northern States are pouring larger additional forces into Missouri. So that ere long we shall have from 3 to 400,000 armed men along the line of warlike operations. We have lost a valuable man in Lyon of the Missouri column but the action was a splendid evidence of the spirit of our troops.

              The Banks of N.Y., Boston and Philadelphia have promptly responded to the suggestion of the Secretary (Chase) and the subtreasury notes will all be taken up by the people. The whole immense wealth of the free states will be placed freely at the command of the government provided those in power will do their duty by an energetic prosecution of the war. Until recently some of our leaders in Washington seem to have been only half in earnest, while the rebels have not only been in earnest, but intensely vindictively and desperately determined. The contrast between the spirit of the two sections of the country has been very remarkable. Here as much of grief and pity as of indignation and rarely anything like hate; there passionate and savage dislike wrought up almost to fury by the gross lies and perversions which have been promulgated everywhere even by Davis himself among the Southern people.

              *****As to the Blockade, though certainly our Secretary of the Navy has been strangely regardless of the counsels of practical men, who would long since have made the Blockade complete, he is now making rapid progress towards enclosing the whole coast in a cordon of armed vessels, which will effectually seal up every inlet.

              He and Cameron have won no good opinions and the latter is commonly talked of as speculator who should be displaced. I shall not be surprised to hear that he has been dismissed from the Cabinet within a week.

              Pierce Butler has been playing traitor and has been arrested, and rumor says that William B. Read either has been or will be treated in the same way.

              Some of the Democrats of the Breckinridge stripe in the free states are so wedded to party and lost to patriotism that they are watched as dangerous persons, easily connected with traitors.




William Barton Rogers Papers, Department of Distinctive Collections, Massachusetts Institute of Technology