Letter. [Oliver Waldo West], near Suffolk, Virginia, to [Sarah Stilson], Rochester, New York
West discusses military preferment, and the regiment's need for drill. Fears the Emancipation Proclamation will lengthen the war, because it will make many Southerners "still more furious and full of fight." As for emancipation itself: "I wish . . . that every human being on the Earth had the utmost possible extent of liberty—if that would add to the sum total of his happiness and the happiness of his fellow men . . . . But come down here and see with your own eyes the 'poor, oppressed, benighted slaves' in their 'native land' so to speak, as I have done, and then say if you think your own happiness and their own happiness, compatible with investing these menials with the toga of citizenship or even of 'freedom.' Expresses his agreement with McClellan's "noble, soldierly, manly, and loyal" response to the proclamation in his general orders of 7 October, reminding his officers of the necessity for military subordination to civil authority.