“I fear greatly our President lacks firmness and decision.”

Delaware, Ohio,

Sept. 9th, 1862,

from “Calvin”, to his mother, Mrs. Mary N. Mateer, at London, Mercer County, Pa.

It is, I think, a great neglect of duty on the part of the officers that a chaplain has not been chosen. It is no wonder – the chaplains are a disgrace. The trickery and electioneering that a man must resort to get a chaplaincy forbid a good man from trying. You need not flatter yourself that preachers will get clear of a draft in this State, however they may in Penna. It is said the draft will take place this day week, and if I should be drafted, I will have to go. Of course,  I do not expect to find a substitute, unless indeed Willie should gratify his desire to go by going for me. I am not certain that there will be a draft in Delaware, but I think it is likely…Of course, you know best about Willie going to war. I judged very much as an outsider. I should be very sorry indeed to see him go and then get sick almost immediately. I can appreciate, at least in some degree, the difficulties you feel in the way of his going. I know they are serious.

What is coming, I know not. The tempest is blacker now than ever. We have clearly been out-generaled. I fear greatly our President lacks firmness and decision. He does not seem able to throw off the crowd of advisors that beset him, and act out himself. He is afraid of his generals, or at least he is too tender hearted to dismiss the worthless ones. It is a critical time. A few months more of disaster and indecision, and all is lost. A despotism will be the only hope. The people are able and willing to crush out the rebellion, if they only had good leaders.
I know not how to express my contempt for McClelland and Buell and McDowell, and I fear Halleck is but another of the same. Providence must surely have some great purpose to work out by our signal defeat. Surely this great nation has not yet wrought out its destiny. Surely this great Republic has not yet accomplished all God had for it to do. I have in the Republic as I have faith in God. But ‘the end is not yet’….

The writer of this letter is CALVIN W. MATEER, (1836-1908), a graduate of Western Theological Seminary at Pittsburgh, Pa., and at this time, a Presbyterian Minister at Delaware, Ohio. Mateer was a pioneer Presbyterian missionary in Shandong Province, China. Arrived in Tenghchow, China in 1864; Founded the first Christian College in China (1898), finally known as Shantung Christian College; Translated the Bible into Mandarin (1907); Author of “Mandarin Lessons” (1892), and other textbooks.

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