Letter written by William Robinson to his Mother from the Astor House in New York on December 6th, 1861. Describes Washington, D.C. and mentions Jim Lane of Kansas. William Robinson was around 16 years old at the time and had an appointment to enter the Navy or Naval Academy. He was traveling from Montgomery County, Missouri.
I arrived here last night at 6 O'clock and went to Barnums Museum and saw a great manny strange things among which was a whale_ I will start for New Port in about one hour and a half[.] all was right at Washington only I had a little trouble at first of seeing and finding out where the person's lived but I did so after some little trouble_, and I have got my appointment with me at least in my trunk. I have not got robbed yet nor do I expect to. I saw two men get robbed of their purses at Washington[.] They did not open the Ticket Office at Washington untill it was very near time for the train to start and when it did open there was a great rush for tickets and such pushing and scrambling you never saw in your life[.] That was the way in which these Gentlemen
came to be robbed but I stood to one side until the rush was all over. In coming from St[.] Louis I fell in with a congressman from Platte County and (also one of Jim Lane's Colonels) I saw Jim Lane in Washington and heard him speak also I over joy one of the (Rep) from Ill. When I got to New York I got in with some old Gentlemen and they showed me the way to the Astor House. I will have no more trouble now[.] I will get on the boat here this evening at 4 oclock and not get off untill 4 or 5 oclock at Newport. Willards Hotel Washington is not as fine a Hotel according to my notion as Barnums or Planters St. Louis[.] Washington has no houses in it of any consequence except the States Houses[.] Oh Ma you ought to see the Capitol and go through it you have no idea what a fine building it is. Some of the finest pictures and statues you ever saw it is magnificently furnished you ought to see the rooms where the Congressmen and Senators sit[.] You have no idea how finely they are
[Page 3] furnished the finest chairs and desks you every saw in your life and they have it filled with little boys about Lucious's size to wait on the congressmen[.] They are the nicest little boys you ever saw in your life dressed as nice as a top and they bounce around like they were made of India Rubber, Tell Lucious and the Girls they never saw any soldiers at all yet tell them they will have to go Washington to see soldier's you have no idea Ma what fine uniforms they. Ma I wish you could see a regiment of Zouaves in their Parade dress. It is the nicest uniform you ever saw. I dont think I will have any trouble at all_ They will examine me in numeration and addition, Subtraction & Division, & multiplication & Fractions also Spelling and (writing I believe) I think I will go through very easily. Give my love to all and keep a good share yourself. Give my love to Lucy and tell her I will write soon.
Your Son William Robinson
William Robinson Letter, Page 1, William Robinson Letter, Page 2, William Robinson Letter, Page 3
Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
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