The army of the Potomac is advancing slowly upon the enemy in Virginia. A battle may occur at any time. God is the judge. He alone giveth victory. We are in His hands. He knows our necessities.
It seems like William is definitely recovered from typhoid. During the 1860s, approximately 10% of those who contracted typhoid died from the disease. The morbidity rate was as high as 30% for Civil War soldiers.
Kate Dawes, was 31 years old in 1861. She was unmarried at the time and lived with the Cutlers in the Old Stone House. She had spent most of her childhood there as well, and was a good friend to Lizzie Cutler, William's wife. She wrote frequently to her brother Rufus, who was serving with the Sixth Wisconsin.
Julia had a particular interest in the movements of the Army of the Potomac in that her nephew, Rufus R. Dawes, (Kate's younger brother) was serving with the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers in the Army of the Potomac. Rufus is not yet on the move, however, and seems somewhat impatient in this letter to Kate:
A military life in camp is the most monotonous in the world. It is the same routine over and over every day. Occasionally we have a small excitement when on review. . . .If you have stockings and blankets for the soldiers, send them where they are needed, not here. If you could hear our men complain about being pack horses to carry the clothing forced upon them, you would not think they were suffering. Every man in my company has one cloth uniform coat, one overcoat, some men two, three pairs of pants, three to five pairs of stockings, two woolen shirts, one undershirt, and most of them two pairs of shoes, and the regiment has been forced to send to Washington a large amount of good state clothing, (gray). Take the above mentioned articles in connection with two or three blankets, and pile them on to a man, in addition to his Belgian musket, cartridge box, and accoutrements, and you can appreciate the just cause for complaint of our knapsack drills. The plea is, that these drills make the men tough. Knapsack drills, reviews and inspections are the order of the day. General McDowell reviews us, then General McClellan, then General McClellan, and then McDowell. Every member of the Cabinet has been present on some of these occasions, but we have not yet had the President. How soon we will move, or what the plan of campaign will be, are subjects I have long ceased to bother my head about. . . .
Rufus has not yet seen action beyond a few skirmishes. Indeed, many were concerned about the great length of time preparing the troops to fight; Rufus quoted Horace Greeley who called it "rooted inaction".