If you were in Brattleboro on September 1st, 1902, there is a good chance that you might have worked your way downtown to the train station late in the afternoon in expectation of the arrival of a notable visitor.
Arrangements had been in the works for months for a visit to Brattleboro by President Theodore Roosevelt. The Young Men’s Republican club had sent an invitation and had been forming committees to schedule the visit, arrange a program of activities, decorate the parade route, and welcome him to town. As the President’s plans changed (his time available was increasingly short), so did Brattleboro’s. The reception banquet was cancelled and a more simple ceremony substituted.
The visit, Roosevelt's welcome, and his speech made headlines, and he spoke to those assembled on the topic of good government and Abraham Lincoln.
In additional to its historical Importance and preservation, one of the prime movers behind the redevelopment and renovation of the Brooks House is the economics of Brattleboro’s daily life. Historically, Brooks House was, and remains, the largest commercial structure in Brattleboro.
In the midst of The One and Only the Brooks House continues to be an important visual symbol of what makes Brattleboro so unique. Of all of Southern Vermont’s noteworthy landmarks none capture the quintessential past and renewed hopes for the future as this Main Street frontage in the center of downtown Brattleboro.
Hall Town, Aug. 27th, 1864.
I received a letter from you yesterday Hope you received my last. It was short but it was good, was it not? Warren's wound was not considered dangerous, though it was very severe. My old bunk mate at Brattleboro was wounded. The shot came from a flank fire and in some way passed between the heel cord and the bone without touching either. We fought all day. We drove the rebels back. Drove them up a long slope of a hill side, through a corn field; after getting up the hill the land was in ridges. About two hundred yards from the crest of one hill to another. We drove them one ridge too far. They were not driven back immediately on our right, and there was a wooded ridge that came in between in this shape.
Bolivar Heights, (Md),
Aug. 22nd, 1864.
Accept this. We have been in a hard skirmish. I am all right. Alva Warren badly wounded. Our regiment lost 35 men in killed and wounded. Our regiment. Col. Hale and Maj. Dwinnell both wounded. We held the Rebs though all day.
Aug. 19th. Near Charlestown, Va. I have just heard that the mail was going out. I must send this unfinished, as you probably wonder why you do not hear from me. We are going towards Harper's Ferry now. Have had a very hard march from where I commenced this letter. The rebs have got their heads rubbed pretty hard in this valley. What has been going on in the balance of the world I know not, as we have not heard one word. Have had but one mail, and no newspaper. In that I will give an account of the march when we get to a place where I can write. Came through Winchester. None of the second or third division have seen any fighting since we left Middletown. Have not seen Zopher but suppose he is all right.
Aug. 15th. Here in the same spot. When we came in here the supply trains were just coming
in. The report was that the whole of the cavalry train of thirty-five wagons had been captured by guerillas that came through Snicker's Gap. Our train was in the rear, the cavalry train in the center of the train guarded by hundred days men. They run without firing a gun, in fact, there was no firing on either side. That was all true, but last night we heard the rest of the story. Our cavalry in small force came up before they had time to remove the wagons or the supplies. There was a paymaster and his wagon, and money with the train. They had got the paymaster and had just got the money out and were opening the box but got none of the money. Others were taking off the mules. The cavalry retook all except the paymaster and a few of the mules. My informant said that he saw 16 of the guerillas that were captured and that there were others, so that and that Snicker's Gap region is an infernal one. They care but little for anything but the plunder.
New Middletown, Va. Aug. 14th, 1864.
I hardly know at which end of this march to commence this letter, but think I will begin where I left off. Well, in a few minutes after I sent off my last, Aug. 9th, went on picket. Did not go back to camp, but started to go up the Shenandoah Valley. I had a paper put up to send and told you where we were going, but had no chance to send it until yesterday. We followed and the rebels retreated, the cavalry occasionally skirmishing, occasionally a reb killed or wounded and quite often a few captured. Came through Charlestown, where John Brown was hung on the 10th. On the 11th in the forenoon left Berryville about a mile on the left.
(continued on the same page from Aug 8, 1864)
This is the morning of August 9th.
General Sheridan is in command of this department now. I know not how long we shall stay here. Am thankful for the good that come, and make the best of the bad, but I must close, so good bye. Have more leisure than I have had since I joined the regiment, and at such times think more of home. If I could just get home; if it was just for one day, say next Sunday, it would be pretty nice I can say.
The celebrated travelling mail dog was in town yesterday.
At the same old place,
Aug. 8th, 1864.
It is now 6 o'clock P.M. and will try and write you a few lines. Spent yesterday in visiting. Is it not often that so many Vermont regiments are brought so near to one another. The 3d division is a little from us on the right of our Division. Went to see Zopher. Found him well. He now looks well, much better that when I first saw him at Reams Station. Told him that the 8th was on our left. He went with me. Saw Henry Holt, Asa Moran and Charley Barrett. Found them all in first rate health, then came back and Zopher went to see Orrin Bartlett in the 11th. He had supposed that Orrin had gone with the other boys until I told him. It is too bad that the other Morgan boys are not here, but it is all for the best. The hard marching might have killed them.
Aug. 7, 1864. Here we are back in the same old place. West of Harper's Ferry. We had our tents nicely
fixed and some had gone to sleep and all were congratulating themselves on having a good nights sleep, when we had orders to pack up and fall in and at about 11 o'clock we did fall in and marched to the Railroad near the City where from appearances we were to take the cars. The whole column laid right down in the road and slept for 4 hours, or I did for one, except twice, when a horse or mare that had got loose ran over me, but could not afford to keep awake long. At 10 o'clock we were making our coffee on the heights West of Harper's Ferry. At about 12 noon we came here.
Monocacy Mill, Aug. 5, 1864.
Another move, but a short one. We are now about seven miles from Frederick City, near a large grist mill. Came here the 3rd, and such a quantity of Griddle cakes and things of that kind as have been cooked since we came here! The flour and meal is not dear, meal 3 cents per lb. And a 3 quart pail full of flour a ½ of a dollar. I have a little frying pan, and it is in use most of the time, so is my pail. Hard tack is at a discount. I had some cheese yesterday. It is the first that I have had. Yesterday we expected to stop here some days and we had quite a time rejoicing. This morning at about 3 o'clock we were called up and ordered to pack up and move, at daylight. Got all ready. Daylight came, but we did not move.
1 ½ miles from Frederick City, on the Harper's Ferry road,
August 2, 1864.
I think that the last letter was written on the Hills west of Harper's Ferry. In a few minutes after it was finished we all started for Maryland, again marched all night or rather we were marching all night. It took a long time to cross the river. We had no cattle and came along as we were a mind, bathed in the Potomac and stopped where we pleased, calculating to keep near or division. That part of the 8th corps with us led the
column across the river, the 19th corps next, our Corps next, the first division of it leading the 2d ours next, the 3d bringing up the rear, the 2nd Brigade of the 2d, -the one Zopher is in were in rear of train as train guard. I believe the world knows nothing of the number of troops here, or what they are. No newspapers ever mention us.
2 miles Beyond Harpers Ferry, on the Virginia Side of the Potomac, July 30th. I did not have time to finish this before the troops were in motion. Crossed the Monocacy, went to Frederick City, then took the road to Harpers, got to Jefferson at 12 o'clock Midnight. You may guess we slept sound. Crossed the Potomac at the Ferry yesterday at about noon on a pontoon bridge, and came here on the Second ridge from the river. It is now 10 o'clock A.M. And have not moved yet. Hope we will lie still today. May move in the afternoon. The stragglers are coming in, limping along. The men need a little rest sadly. It is sore feet mainly. Health otherwise good. I am all right.
Near Frederick City, July 28, 1864.
Here I am out in orchard, a little west of the battle ground of Monocacy, pronounced Mo-nox-y. I received a letter from you yesterday and sent one. Had to send it by a citizen I met in the road. The last three letters I have sent to be mailed just as I could. One of them I am glad to hear you have received. We left Tenallytown day before yesterday a little afternoon. Came just through the town of Rockville; stopped over night, the country very fine. Yesterday came through Nielville, Clarksville to Hyattville to this place. The country yesterday was poorer and quite broken.