Stickney, Charles W.
Autograph Letter Signed, as Private, 1st Regiment, Illinois Light Artillery [Taylor’s Chicago Battery], Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi, Near Alexandria Virginia, May 10, 1865, to his mother

quarto, 4 pages, in very good, clean and legible condition.

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Stickney writes his mother one month after the surrender at Appomattox and just 25 days after the assassination of President Lincoln:

      “Dear Mother,

            The grand review of the Army takes place on Wednesday next. This afternoon I went to Washington on business and saw the workmen engaged in building an ampitheatre in front of the White House for the accommodation of the President, Senators and etc. during the march of our victorious armies down Pennsylvania Avenue. The City is jammed full of people from all parts of the Union. The Hotels have telegraphic orders for thousands of rooms which they cannot fill as they are already full. Gen. Sherman arrived this morning and our quiet camp has assumed a very animated appearance. Carriages are coming and going all the time from Washington. I rode into town with Senator John Sherman, brother of the General and he seems to be a very nice hearty old chap.

           I met Clifford [his brother] day before yesterday and went into Washington with him. Clif first complained of my personal appearance… I had not intended to buy any clothing until I was mustered out but he … advanced the Greenbacks. So we first rushed around among the Jew Clothing dealers (about the only kind), and I first found pants and vest but it was a long time before I found the right coat. Then the man asked me if I was discharged. “No”. “Then I could not buy the Coat.” You must know there is an order prohibiting sale of citizens clothes to soldiers, though officers can buy them. Then Clif said he would buy the coat. Then the man said he knew he would give the coat to me and couldn’t sell it. Clif then sent me to the hotel and tried the coat on himself and said he would take it. But the Jew was so afraid of having his stock confiscated for an evasion  of orders and having his suspicion aroused, he absolutely refused to sell the coat. Clif, then said “Well! I’m going to take the coat. If you want the $ 7 I offer, you take it. If not I’m going to take the coat anyhow.” This brought him down and he thought it best to sell it. Then I bought a hat and he would even buy me gloves. I tell you when I sat by a nice young lady at the theatre that night I felt like a resuscitated Gentleman who had been buried there years and lately arisen. Clif is encamped only a few miles from me and I have shall see him often. There came a telegram today ordering the muster out immediately of all men whose terms of service expire prior to Sept. 30, 1865. However it will be some weeks before I can get out I suppose. It is very easy to get into service but harder to get out than for a Presbyterian to get to heaven.”

24 year-old Charles, a Deputy County Clerk in Chicago before the war, was a bugler in an Artillery Regiment. His older brother Clifford, a Chicago civil engineer, was a Lieutenant in the Signal Corps; he died of yellow fever two years later while still on Army service. Both brothers had been present at the Siege of Vicksburg.