Extract from the Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson Coolidge

October 12. Left for Washington with Mr. Bartlett, William Amory, and Fred d’Hauteville. In New York called on General Burnside with Mr. Amory. He struck me as a very handsome, kind-looking man with the nostril of a race-horse,—what you call a fine fellow.

At Washington, where we found Willard’s Hotel very crowded. We drove over Long Bridge. At Fort Albany, which was situated about a mile from the tête de pont, we found the Massachusetts Fourteenth under Colonel Greene. This gentleman showed us Fort Richardson, which was a mile farther out, and explained that although Fort Runyon at the bridge was the lowest, it commanded Fort Albany, whose five magazines were so planned that a shell from Runyon would explode them, whilst balls from Albany would either bury in the ground or pass over the fort into the water beyond. Fort Richardson was commanded in the same way by Fort Albany. Thus if the enemy took the first or even the second, the colonel could retire to the lowest and could not be driven out. We returned home over the ferry, stopping at the Custis house. This is a beautiful place with a magnificent view of the Potomac and Washington, but very much out of repair. It is owned by the Southern General Lee. On our way we passed through a good many encampments; amongst others, three Wisconsin regiments. The men are splendid, healthy-looking fellows. I do not believe that for bone and muscle any army corps in Europe can compare to them.

Published in The Autobiography of T. Jefferson Coolidge, 1831–1920 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1923), 30–31.
Author
Thomas Jefferson Coolidge
Date Range
Date
October 12, 1861
Repository
Autobiography of T. Jefferson Coolidge