[from the diary of Matthella Page Harrison as transcribed at a later date]
Thursday, February 5th - It was snowing when I awoke this morning and has continued
ever since. I scarcely recollect such a bitter spell. Dr. H as usual made his
rounds. He brought a paper, the Pine Hills, yesterday, full of Yankee boasting.
Verily they ought to be called a nation of contradictions. Burnside has left the
army with disgust at not accomplishing anything yet on their progress towards
Washington, declared, "The army is a good one, they can win a victory almost any
day they choose. If properly wielded they can administer a most crushing defeat
to the Rebels, drive them pell mell to Richmond and capture that wicket city."
Gen. Franklin, who was one of the defeated generals in the late battle of F, in
his farewell to the army (from which old Abe has withdrawn him) exhorts them by
the memories of many battles and the proud recollection they have never been driven
from any, to fight gallantly in the future. I also trust these memories will in-
spire them to do likewise on every debatable ground. Gen. Hooker desires to take
the contract for begging the whole Rebel army, infantry, cavalry and artillery. He
is spoken of as a fighting man, predicted he will move immediately to victory or
defeat. God grant the latter. I cannot think we have much more to fear from people
whose seat of government presents the disgraceful scenes that Washington does.
Robert I. Walker, one of their legislators, declared that the Union is going to
ruin with railroad rapidity unless the finance bill is amended, no power earthly
or divine can save or even help. This is certainly a comforting view of things.
Their Secretary of War has authorized a raising of black regiments in Massachusetts.
Wendell Phillips, Gov. Andrews and W. Bird etc., have been engaged in this mission.
They report large bodies of troops at New Market. If so, I trust our release
is near at hand.