Mrs. Dawes went with me to Miss Brigham’s where I got my Hernanna(??) dress cut & fitted. Left it there to be made. We then walked up to Judge Putnam’s, made a long call. Their grounds are very pleasant, surrounded by a well kept hedge of Osage orange. Mrs. Putnam gave me a holly, & some Scotch broom.
Mrs. Dawes went with me to take tea with Mrs. Sala Bosworth who engaged us yesterday. We called on Mrs. A. T. Nye who had called on me when I was out. ?? Mrs. Hildreth, Mrs. Brigham & Mrs. Raskin, they called on Mrs. Bosworth’s. I left Mrs. Dawes immediately after tea at Mr. Bosworth’s and went over to the Harmar depot & was soon joined by Lucy & William & arrived safely at home before dark. There is reported a terrible battle between Grant & Lee last Tuesday -- no particulars given.
The battle that Julia refers to came to be known as the battle of the Wilderness which took place in the dense woods west of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Julia's nephew, Rufus Dawes, participated in the battles at the Wilderness, Laurel Hill, the Bloody Angle, and Spottsylvania. In his book, Service with the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers, Rufus writes:
On the early morning of May 4th, 1864, the grand column of the Army of the Potomac was on the march to cross the Rapidan, the fifth army corps in advance. At the head of our division rode General James S. Wadsworth, gray-haired and noble in his appearance and bearing, and grand in every element of character and manhood. We crossed on the pontoon at Germania Ford, and marched into the Wilderness. Word passed over the land that General Grant was moving, and with almost breathless anxiety our people awaited the result. For days no word came from beneath the dark shadow, to relieve the almost agonized anxiety of my young wife. It was known that there was desperate and incessant fighting, but it was wholly impossible to get particulars from the front. Her kind father (Beman Gates) left his business and putting aside all else, came to Washington to get the first word possible from me, and to be at hand to aid me in case of need. My uncle, Wm. P. Cutler, almost equally concerned, sent the first word of encouragement that reached my wife.