Near Stephensburg Va
November 11th 1864
I received your kind favor of the 28th ult. yesterday.
I am happy to hear of another surprise party given to Mr. Meeker who has always kindly expressed such an interest in my welfare (Note: Conklin was married by a Rev. Meeker of the Old Bushwick Reformed Church)
Ma's illness worries me considerably. It seems to last so long without getting any better but from late accounts continues to grow worse. You must try to take the best care of her and insist upon having her take as much rest as possible.
We have received no definite report of the result of the election except a dispatch circulated from Army Headquarters, to the effect that Lincoln had "carried almost every state by increased majorities." We have had no doubt of the result. The latest papers are of the 8th.
Why we left our position at Cedar Creek I do not know. We are nine miles from our former position there. Our 1st Division now hold the advanced position on the left of the pike. A line of field works have been built and everything looks like an occupation of this line for some time.
The Colonel's trial progresses slowly. They have not examined all the witnesses for the prosecution, yet. No session was held today on account of a little trouble on the picket lines occurring at the hour of meeting, which threatened to be more or less serious.
Tell me what father thinks of the political position of John A. Dix and other prominent men of the Democratic Party; as set forth in their meeting of the 1st inst. Perhaps he did not think it was undemocratic to oppose McClellan after hearing what the staunch democrats thought of "the position".
I have received a package of papers from George Hickok - dates of the 2nd.
The subject in which you are most interested, When I am coming home, puzzles me as much as it interests you. the Regiment is small an no recruits have arrived, nor seem likely to arrive. Our officers are largely in excess of a fair population to the number of men. All attempts of an officer in health to resign is met with most decided checks, the objection being that the Government cannot spare good officers, now that everything depends on keeping up the best possible state of discipline and drill, to ensure the quick and effectual conversion of the new men into soldier; which cannot be accomplished in as short a time without retaining all the talent, possible, in the army; of course to be preferred to depending on junior or less experienced officers. No notice is taken of the fact that ll officers do not have a share of these men or could, if they would use their brains in instructing them. The orders seem to be based on the supposition that the recruits are to be distributed so that every organization will have some.
Every regiment from new York could have been filled up to the maximum number of no new regiments had been formed, but to allow him to have the appointment of more of his friends, Gov Seymour has authorized the raising of so many new regiments that the State's quota of 500,000 will fail to fill over half of the regiments now in he field. Seymour by this appointing new officers practically defeats the aim of the Government to bring the new men under the instruction of the old officers and thereby retards the work of bringing these men up to a state of efficiency.