Salem, July 14, 1862
My dear Sir,
I have received a letter today from my brother in the Fifth Battery, in which he states his officers have joined in a request to you to intrust yourself in favor of Sergeant Blake, who desires a commission in some new regiment. Charles says that he is a fine fellow, and would make a capitol officer, and though he does not wish to lose him as a sergeant, he has earned a right to promotion. I shall do all I can, and I hope you will.
This leads me to suggest one or two other matters confidentially; which should be understood, and which in justice to you N Bedford men, should be confided to some reliable man. I am confirmed in what I say by a recent conversation with Capt. Allen and by a conversation which I had with you some time ago. My attention was first excited by a little slip which Gov. Clifford sent me from the N.B. Mercury to the effect that in the action of Tuesday, Lieut. Hyde had to leave (!) and Geníl Martindale ordered Lieut. Phillips to take command &c. Both Capt. A. and & myself thought this ney queer, and I am now perfectly satisfied that H was guilty of rank cowardice, & that Lieut. Dillingham took especial care to keep out of danger. Your friend Lieut. Scott is as brave a man as ever lived and I fancy that he & Sergeant Blake entertain the same opinion about matters, although none of them wish to say much about it. I donít think my brother is quite willing to be mixed up in the matter, but if his superior officers are remiss in duty, I mean to look into the matter, - and if it falls in your way to get at the facts of the matter, I should be glad to be appraised. I do not think that there is any need of your quoting me or my brother Ė in fact, it is much better that you should not.
Capt. Allen is sick at home, and though he is determined to go back & report, if only for a short time, I am satisfied that his health is all broken up that he must resign. He informs me, in confidence, that Hyde has shown the white feathers before, and that he has been ney anxious about the battery for that reason. I make some allowance for what my brother may feel, as he is evidently ney much enraged Ė He tells how he called Hyde a coward before the whole battery, and that he had to stand it.
It was certainly ney strange that in a terrible action like that of Tuesday, the two principal officers of the battery should remain in the extreme rear, in charge of the caissons, and allow the third in command, to command the section in the field. Capt. Allen has just received a letter from Hyde, who seems to be in the depths of woe. Ė says he should have to resign &c. &c.
Now I do not wish to injure any body, but I donít believe in cowardly officers. I think therefore that you will not deem it intrusive in me, to call your attention to the matter, in the hope that you may find out what comes in your way. If you are at our class meeting, I will show you my brotherís letter, & explain matters more fully. I think some of these officers have got to leave, & if Sergeant Blake desires promotion he had better receive it in his own battery.
Stephen H. Phillips
From the collection at the Steven Phillips Trust House, Salem, MA