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Charles Fairchild's correspondence, 1862

Date: Jun. 01 1862 - Dec. 27 1862 | Identifier: 676.1.b
Folder contains transcripts of letters sent by Charles Fairchild to his mother and sister in Madison, Wisconsin during the Civil War dated June 1, 1862 to December 27, 1862. The collection begins with a letter in which Fairchild describes the ships being cut off nine miles above Richmond by piles driven underwater into the ground along with strategically sunken ships, all of which were guarded by Fort Darling (1 June 1862). Fairchild's correspondence also discusses the interesting naval "lingo," the Southern "rebellion," and the Wisconsin politics of James Rood Doolittle's senatorial campaign (9 June 1862). Also mentioned are the use of gunboats on the James River as a backup for McClellan in case he was repulsed before Richmond, the visit of several Danish naval officers to learn from U.S. Navy improvements (15 June 1862), his defense of McClellan's handling of the Seven Days' Battles (30 June and 6 July 1862), the ships guarding Fort Powhatan (the James River area) against reoccupation by Confederate forces (6 July 1862), a description of a visit to Jamestown, and McClellan's position and need for reinforcements (10 July 1862). His letters of August 1, 1862, discuss the Mahaska being used as a guard for shipping and the Army below Jordan's Point on the James River; the expectation of a battle with a "young Merrimac," Yorktown, and four tugs, which never occurred; a skirmish with rebel artillery; and a description of the slashing and burning of potential enemy cover (including a plantation) near Jordan's Point by Gen. Fitz John Porter's troops. Also of interest is Fairchild's letter describing McClellan, the town of Norfolk, and the discovery of the location of the 2nd and 4th Wisconsin Light Artillery at Fortress Monroe (19 August 1862). In additional correspondence, Fairchild discusses the possibilities of foreign intervention and gives detailed descriptions of the USS Brandywine-- then a stores ship for re-supplying the blockade--(22 August 1862), of James River Flotilla Commander Rear Admiral Samuel P. Lee (11 September 1862), and of the history of the building of Fort Wool (1 September 1862). Other topics of interest include Fairchild's seeing "hundred sail of merchant vessels" leaving Hampton Roads; the visit of Admiral DuPont and Assistant Secretary of War [Gustavus] Fox (1 October 1862); a detailed description and drawing of the "parallels" earthworks used by McClellan to approach Richmond (24 October 1862); a description of the tinder boat and two launches that accompanied the Mahaska (5 December 1862); and the process of cleaning the boat (25 December 1862). Political issues discussed in his letters include the rumor concerning North Carolina soldiers being jailed in Virginia to prevent them from returning home to hold an election to send representatives to the U.S. Congress (16 December 1862). There is evidence that the originals of some of these letters are found in the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in the Lucius Fairchild Papers. more...