There was plenty to do on board, but in doing it I must see the piles of stores on the wharf brought there too late to be of service to our wounded, and now to be abandoned to the Rebels. There were certainly one hundred bales of hay, which would have more than replaced all that was withheld by United States bayonets from our own men in their extremity. I soon learned after entering Fredericksburg, that our Commissaries were issuing stores without stint to the citizens; went and saw them carry off loads of everything there was to give; and when those one hundred and eighty-two Union soldiers were literally starving in the old Theater, Union soldiers were dealing out delicacies to Rebels, while others guarded the meanest article of their property, and kept it from our men, even when it was necessary to save life.
I consulted several old Sanitary Commission men, who told me it was always so when Grant was at the front; that he was then in absolute command; that Patrick, the Provost Marshal, was his friend, and would be sustained; and that we must be quiet or we would be ordered out of Fredericksburg.
Gen. Grant may have been loyal to the Union cause, but it has always seemed to me that in fighting its battles, he was moved by the pure love of fighting, and took that side which could furnish him the most means to gratify his passion for war. His Generalship was certainly of a kind that would soon have proved fatal to our cause in the war of the Revolution, and only succeeded in the war of the Rebellion, because the resources at his command were limitless, as compared with those of the enemy. It was late in the afternoon when our boat shoved off, and as we steamed away we saw the citizens rush down and take possession of the stores left on the wharf. During the evening and night we were fired into several times from the shores, but these attacks were returned from the gun-boat, which kept our assailants at such distance that their shots were harmless. We must have no lights that night, and the fires were put out or concealed, that they might not make us a target. So I slept, as there was nothing to be done, but in the morning was out early in search of worms, and was having good success, when two richly, fashionably dressed ladies came to tell me there was to be nothing to eat, save for those who took board at the captain’s table. They had gone to the kitchen to make a cup of tea for a wounded officer, and were ignominiously driven off by the cook. What was to be done? We might be ten days getting to Washington.
I went in search of a surgeon in charge, and found one in bed, sick; waited at his door until he joined me, when together we saw the captain of the boat. There were two new cook-stoves on board, but to put one up would be to forfeit the insurance. There were plenty of commissary stores. The surgeon went with me, ordered the commissary to give me anything I wanted, and went back to bed. Our stores consisted