Camp near Harrisonís Landing

                                                                                                       July 12th 1862

 

Dear Stephen,

 

Things have taken a little turn since my letter of yesterday though I am a little doubtful how it will turn out. In compliance with my request, Capt. Martin went up to see Gen. Porter and told him how I felt on the subject; that I felt that I had done my duty and as far as he knew, I had, and I did not wish to be compelled to resign. Gen. Porter said that I could keep my commission, that the company would be assigned to Capt. Martin, still retaining its company organization under my command. Yesterday an order arrived from Gen. Mc Clellan for officers and men of the Battery to report for duty to Capt. Martin, a sufficient number to be detailed to fill up Watermanís Battery, the company still retaining its company organization and Martin and Weeden recruiting up to the maximum regardless of us. Hyde and Dillingham have sent in their resignations and will receive their walking tickets today. Scott has held his back. Capt. Martin asked Gen. Porter how it would affect Capt. Allen, and Gen. Porter said he would have to take himself out of the way as quick as possible. One great trouble with us has been that Capt. Allen has always been very unpopular at headquarters. So you see how the thing stands now; we shall remain a battery without guns and horses, and most of the men detached for other duty. I shall retain my commission and be in command of the Battery, having our own muster and pay rolls and act as a kind of supernumerary to Martinís Battery. Scott ditto. How long things will remain in this way I canít say. Of course I shall not retain this dubious position forever, even if the government is willing to pay two useless officers.

 

        As I understand it, things will remain in this state to await the action of the Chief of Artillery. He may decide to start the Battery afresh in which case I should run for captain, or he may decide to disband it, in which case I should resign and come home. Meanwhile I shall be at liberty to resign at any time when I see a better chance, such as a new Massachusetts Battery. If one is started I shall try for captain or first Lieut. and I can back up my application by pretty strong references from the Division. Nobody here will dare to charge me with cowardice or incapacity. Our quartermaster was up at Gen. Martindaleís headquarters and his aides asked him if I was not going to be promoted as Gen. Martindale said great things about me. So I do not think I am too confident in trusting to recommendations. Capt. Martin said I ought to have no difficulty at home in getting a great deal higher commission than the one I now hold. So if you hear of a new battery please go in. I donít like infantry and donít know anything about it. Perhaps it would be as well not to say much at present about the state of affairs. It will get home fast enough.

                                                            (signed)  C. A. Phillips

 

P.S.  I donít suppose there is any chance of another battery being raised at home and I donít know whether this battery will ever be set on its legs again. The property is all being turned over today, and a general breaking up is taking place. Perhaps these proceedings make one feel rather blue but I canít help thinking that this is the last of the 5th Battery. It is possible that the State Authorities may dislike the state of affairs and urge its reorganization and it is possible but hardly probable that the Chief of Artillery may direct its recruitment. At any rate, I shall loaf around here and wait a little while, I donít want to abandon the men under these circumstances, and I shall try to the utmost to have the Battery started again. The only trouble we have ever had was with the officers and Gen. Porter knows the state of affairs as well as I do. Until our old officers get well out of the way, I shall keep pretty quiet. When things are settled down a little I shall see what chance there is to get started again. The Governor will probably hear of the state of affairs and his love of the state will hardly allow him to leave a Massachusetts Battery under the cloud in this way.  We have a pretty large supply of good men still and with fresh officers and a fresh equipment could start pretty well.  Will write more when I have anything to write.

 

                                                ( Signed )         C. A. P.

 

From the collection at the  Steven Phillips Trust House, Salem, MA