Mrs Mosely’s Franklyn Street

Saturday July 19th 1862


Dear girls, I should forfeit all claims to truth, were I to take a nap, as I my sleepy head prompts me, instead of endeavoring to give an account of my journey & what I hear in this place. To begin then where I left off. I got to Warrenton in time to follow the rest of the travelers to the depot, saw about baggage, & got tickets. Miss Dougherty & I sat together as far as Petersburg, & on the whole we had a very comfortable journey. good Mrs Jorden [sic] had provided a fine lunch also, & ice, which made me feel like a young eagle. At Petersburg, owing to something about passports, we were obliged to stay all night, I did not however sleep in the same room. Next day I got a hack all by myself, & then left the J’s, in great confusion. First I drove to the house, but was told Custis had left, & mama was at the Caskies. I then came here. at first Mrs M sent me word there was not a spare spot in the house, but I sent back so often that her compassion was excited, & she took me in for the night only; fortunately for me however, the old gentleman whose room I am enjoying will let me stay. My first care was to let mama know of my arrival so I sent Maria to tell her, hardly had I taken a little nap after my labours, when Mrs Irvine came to see me and as her acct of poor Bradfute’s death1 comes first in order I will commence with that. It seems his mother was in the cars on her way to Lynchburg when the conductor comes in & says in a loud voice, “Mrs Warwick here is a telegram stating that your son Col W is mortally wounded.” Can you imagine such a man. She poor lady could with difficulty be prevented from jumping out the car. She went almost crazy, fortunately Bishop Johns2 was there & he did everything in his power to soothe her. At the first station they got out & came to R[ichmon]d. on reaching town, the wounded man had not arrived. Dr. Conway on hearing of it, went after him & they got home after his poor mother, but it seemed the fates had determined to torture the poor stricken heart, for when she drove up to her door, there was crape on the bell, a young soldier who had been sick there a long time had just died. it was thoughtless of them to leave it under the circumstances, & it well nigh cost her reason, for she fell like one dead on the pavement, & lay for a long time in that state. When Bradfute came he had been wounded I believe two days, from the first he said, his knowledge of medecin taught him, it was not possible he could live. The ribs were broken in, & the liver shattered. Dr. Conway never had any hope, said twas impossible. But Mrs Warwick had because he eat & slept, & a day or so before he did, he seemed much better. he eat two eggs the morning he died, which was as early as 7 oclock, Mrs Irvin said. he was as patient and gentle as a woman, & his death was like the sleep of an infant. We told Mrs Conway once, that she had no idea of his torture, adding, it is like the torture of hell. She thought him prepared from his being so peaceful & calm, & knowing too his danger. I do most earnestly trust he has found rest in that house with many mansions. Just before his death he sent for his mother, & said, “kiss me” then added, “stand there where I can see you,” presently as if knowing his end was close at hand he said softly, “there you had better go now.” she lingered however, & saw him die. Mrs Irvine says Mrs W. looks like an old woman, & that her grief is terrible. She told her the death of her little girl was nothing to this grief, poor lady. The war has blighted her life. The manner in which he met his death is very gratifying to his friends. Col Marshall3 had been killed early in the day, his regt had been much exhausted, but was called upon in the end of the day to take with some other regt, or brigade a certain strong battery up hill three times had the colour bearer been shot down, when Braddy took it, rushed 15 yards in advance & just as he reached the top fell covered by the flag he fought for so nobly.

His funeral was very impressive, he was buried with military honors. Of Clarence4 Mrs Irvine could tell me nothing but that he was blown in pieces by a shell, but was in the cavalry, which was in reserve at the time. And now that I have told all I know about that sad event, I must go back to my arrival at Mrs Mosely’s. At dinner a Capt in the war office told me to write a note to Genl Lee, & he would send it by the curier [sic] who left for his head quarters at 8, so I wrote asking him to let Fitzhugh know I was come. Mama came down after a little while, & as it arrived staid all night, just as I was getting into a doze. I was awaked by a nice note from Papa, saying I should see F. next day.

Next morning sure enough about 12 Fitzhugh came, he said he had asked Mama to write for me & expected me but not quite so soon, so you see I was not rebuked by any one for coming, but it has all turned out very well. Fitzhugh staid until after breakfast to-day. Yesterday I had such a happy time, who should be in town but Gpapa, who came around several times. Leigh W. is as ever. I also saw Uncle Wm W. at a distance walking down the street.

Fitzhugh got me some peaches & little bits of apricots & I was happy all day. I see mama constantly. She & I are going to H. Hill & on Monday 21st if nothing prevents, where Leigh says they have plenty of apricots. Agnes don’t you imagine the prospect? I met your brother Fitzhugh, Annie, yesterday afternoon on the street looking very handsome in his uniform, he knew nothing particular about home matters, but said the enemy had taken every vegetable out the garden, & they had nothing but bacon. Mama heard the wretches that your dear mama nursed so faithfully called her “Auntie” & “old woman.”, but what else can one expect from a Yankee. This is all dear Annie I can learn. Fitzhugh took your letter to Hilly, & said he would send it, that Hilly was near the W. House. Last night dear girls to crown my happiness Papa came in. he has his beard but is as sweet as ever, he is a good deal burnt. My big husband looks too sweet with his hair clipped close & beard too. he is as red as a beet, but the picture of health. Stewart’s Cavalry is going to-morrow or next-day to Hanover Ct H & to recruit themselves. if Fitzhugh’s regt is not detailed on picket in the direction of Shirley, he will be at Wickhams crossing to meet us. if not, I shall see him to-morrow & then for 11 days he will be away. Tho Papa says he thinks he might possibly find a house near for me to stay. Last night Fitzhugh of the 4th Cav took tea with us, he says he has a way to keep himself perfectly safe, that he always carries a spade, & if he sees the least danger falls to work, & digs a hole. he as well as Papa & Mama asked about you all & what you were doing. Papa was in a few minutes ago & brought me a beautiful peach, given him by the President. he sends a great deal of love to you & asked if Mildred has grown. I told him I thought she had a little. he mentioned having given up all hope of his cherished match between Agnes & Mr Warwick. I was obliged to agree with him in the hopelessness of the case. He is now at the C’s to see Mama, from thence again to Jeff’s. Did you know Dids was dead? The paper said the 8th. I must go out now for a short walk if I am not interrupted will tell you about the “child” on my return. he you must know, is once more in his favorite spot King Willaim [sic]. Mr Collins, the Romancoke overseer came to see me to-day, said Mr Jeter looked very badly, that he was kept in the Rip Raps,5 fed on very dreadful food, until two days before they released him, when they fed him well & gave him ice water, whereupon doubtless, the child rejoiced. Mr Collins said a good many of the serv[ant]s are still left. several have been sick from wearing yankee clothes, one man died in consequence. Besides the servts mentioned by mama as being at the W. H.6 they say there are several women in the neighborhood. Also two of the old men John, & George Crump are in the city cage. Mr Collins said they seemed rejoiced when he told them he would let their master know. Of our own boys none but Moses & Scott are left. Billy took himself off, leaving his dear Susan, who Fitzhugh saw & says looks very sad.

Master Billy went to the W. H. & told Capt Ingols [sic]7 that he was Fitzhughs body servt, that he had seen his master shot, also his horse, & that he could not stand the sight, therefore came & waited on Capt Ingols. George & Jim also took themselves off. Gdpapa lost 28 & at H Hill 17.8 None of the house servts. Gdpapa lost little Bennie. perhaps Annie, you may remember the boy that waited on the table, except taking his buggy horses & a mule or so, they did little mischief. Fitzhugh & Leigh says Gpapa’s is the best place they know of now. The war has no effect, plenty of tea ice, &c. At H. Hill provisions are abundant, therefore Mama & I are going with clear consciences. After staying there, propose going to N. Wales.9 Stuarts cavalry is going to Hanover Ct House, & unless Fitzhughs regt has to go on picket it will be charming. Mama told me to-day she had heard Fanny Webster10 was sick & both the children with a dreadful irruption, one child not expected to live. I feel so sorry for her, Papa says Eugene behaved so bravely & was killed in advance of his men, some 60 yards I believe.

My little one is taken from all this trouble, & I would not have him back.11 My little stainless one. dear girls I did not talk about him, because I do not feel able, but I hope someday to tell you everything about those last few weeks I had the entire charge of him. He is still our baby tho’ we do not see him. About the Macons, Mama saw them en route for Charles Burwell’s, going to see Mrs Temple who is very sick, Fitzhugh said the Dr was scared to death. I do not know, but Mama says his color is not so brilliant, so I suppose, unless Mr Caskie is beforehand, poor Mr Kepler is the favored one. So miss Mildred prepare yourself. Mrs Caskie says she believes Mama & Mr C[askie] have some idea of going to the Hot, & seemed much amused at the idea of those two starting off together. Mama goes to the hospitals every day, carries things. I saw Mrs Maria Nicholas. She says Lizzy, & Mrs Col Lay12 & the two Campbells go every day in an ambulance two miles out of town, & that they accomplish a great deal of good. Dr Conway was out of town to see Phoebe Warwick I suppose she was very sick from that. Mrs Braxton was not injured much I believe, but I will tell mama to write about them. Albert did not go off, but Samuel did. F says Maria can’t possibly go home now. Sunday 2 P. M. Only think of my nearly fainting to-day in church. I did not however, nor did I do anything to excite remark except leaving just after the service, & Papa & Mama came down to see me afterwards. Papa is going to dine at the Caskie’s but promises to come & see me before going to camp, he had just got a letter from Jackson which he did not read, as you may imagine, & one from some one, saying the Yankees were on the central R. R. which he said he did not believe; but I am afraid Mama & I won’t be able to go to-morrow. I got a note from Fitzhugh just before going to church, saying he was on Picket till Aug 1st near Haxall’s. I am very sorry of course but feel so happy to be near him & hope to see him, in 10 days certainly.                                 

Who was here before going to church, but Washington Lewis13 he is I think very handsome he is just from cupulo [sic] Mississippi, says he has not heard from home for 6 months, & asked Papa if he thought he could get thru, the Genl said he had better not try it. Mr Lewis says he has had any quantity of melons peaches &c but that nothing compensates for the dreadful heat. While Mama was here before dinner Uncle John & Annie’s brother Robert called. I was too unwell to see them, but hope they will come again. While Gpapa was riding on his farm some yankees asked him, “Well old man! are there any rebels here?” “I am the only rebel,” answered Gpapa, his overseers at that moment being hid in the barn. Agnes you will be glad to hear from Chapman that Mrs Leigh’s husband has gone to stay a few days with her. I really am very glad. Chapman concluded he would not mention the Psalmist to his Papa. My mantle has been fixed with serge to look so nicely. Mrs Caskie said that shape was much prettier than Jack so I let it stay. I put out my dresses. Mrs Macon told Mama she never wanted to live at her home again, it has been so desecrated, & ruined, & that altho “most of the servts are there, she will never be able to have them in contentment again. Mama thought she looked badly. The Yankees left that handsome kitchen & the house behind it, at home, I wonder if they touched Fitzhugh’s pet meat house. Fitzhugh says he can never live there, but Papa says “why not?” Mr Collins saw the[y] buried one man in the yard in front of the house. Fitzhugh gave me a purse, he got from a sutlers store at home, said all hear the pines & over on Mr Hills were stores & sheds. Scott was dressed in a N. Y. coat with fine buttons, found in the carriage house, old Uncle Lou the hog minder was there. what will Othelo do without his occupation? Alfred Randolph14 read the service this morning. Lawrence Wms told Mrs Macon he had boxed up all our furniture & was going to send it to Tudor place,15 but after he was arrested it was unpacked by the yanks & used by them. Mr Wms said he found a bouquet on the table which he sent to Markie. I should think he would have felt so badly. As long as he was there things were protected & the farm carried on as usual.            

Mrs Macon saw the first that came, took all my greenhouse flowers on the gunboat & carried them off. My pictures are safe. I am so relieved no matter how humble my home if I have them, it cannot be ugly. Annie Mrs Mosely is so kind, & I am so comfortable here, a nice large room. With bureau & closet, if R[ichmond] is invaded, I have not seen such nice things since I left it. Maria assures me she has not had such nice things since she left home, & adds contentedly, home is the best place no doubt about that mistress. Julian Carter16 was standing by Clarence when he was shot, only I think girls how dreadful his stomach was shot off. I must not dwell on so fearful a subject. Let us whose dear ones are preserved, thank God daily & hourly. Mama says I had best not go to the hospitals, & F said I should keep away, but I have some notion of going with mama once. she takes them such nice things. Yesterday a pitcher of baked apples, one of which I eat, being the sick soldiers wife. My complaint has kept me very much in the house, & I took a pill last night which “did me very badly.”

I really think I have fulfilled my promise of telling you all I can hear. This letter is to the two Annies[,] Agnes, & Mildred, being to you all. I fear none will feel called upon to answer it. If a letter from Papa comes for me, read it, & send it when you write, as some of you will, I hope. Mama says, when Rob first came, she would not have known him, had she passed him in the street. he had little whiskers, & was so dirty that when he took off his clothes he would not let them be washed, but has them thrown out. They say Jackson marches & counter marches to such an extent, that his men are dreadfully dirty, & have wretched food very often, owing to the haste. Fitzhugh says his men seem devoted to him however. What do you all think of Hugers17 being laid on the shelf? & poor McGruder [sic]. The R[ichmon]d people say is to be ct marshalled for being drunk,18 at the time he ordered the charge in which Capt Harrison19 was killed. his wife bears it very well poor thing, but his father is bowed down with grief. [End of letter]



Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L 51 c 369, Section 18, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 201 November 9


1. Bradfute Warwick (1839-1862) was a Virginian serving in the 4th Texas infantry regiment when he was killed at the battle of Gaines’ Mill. He was the son of Corbin (1792-1877) and Margaret Elizabeth Bradfute Warwick (1820-1898). He had lived in Europe before the war and served with Garibaldi’s troops in Italy. 

2. John Johns (1796-1876), the man who confirmed Robert E. Lee.

3. John F. Marshall (1823-1862) worked in newspapers in Mississippi and Texas before the war. He was commander in the 4th Texas infantry. He was killed at Gaines’ Mill.  

4. Sergeant Clarence Warwick (1843-1862), who served in the 4th Virginia cavalry, was killed at Gaines’ Mill. He was the son of Abraham (1794-1874) and Sarah Magee C. Warwick (1816-1846).

5. An area of Old Point Comfort, Virginia, not far from Fort Monroe, and part of the coastal defenses.

6. The White House, home of Fitzhugh and Charlotte Lee.

7. Rufus Ingalls (1818-1893), a quartermaster in McClellan’s army. He established a supply depot at White House landing during the Seven Days campaign.

8. Hickory Hill.

9. “North Wales,” a plantation in Caroline County belonging to the Wickham family.

10. Francina Lynn Webster (1834-1920) was the wife of Confederate soldier William Eugene Webster, who was killed on 1862 June 27.

11. Her young son Robert E. Lee, who died on 1862 June 30. He was born in 1860.

12. Apparently George William Lay (1821-1867), a staff officer in the Confederate army. His wife was Henrietta Campbell Mason, daughter of the Assistant Secretary of War.

13. George Washington Lewis (1829-1885), the son of Lorenzo Lewis (1803-1847) and Esther Maria Coe Lewis (1804-1885). A Virginian, he married Emily Contee Johnson (1832-1909), the Maryland daughter of Reverdy Johnson, the lawyer and diplomat who defended Mary Suratt and worked on other notable cases.

14. Alfred Magill Randolph (1836-1918).

15. House in Washington, D.C., built in 1815. It had connections to the Washington and Peter family. It was one of the last places Robert E. Lee visited before he died.

16. Julian M. Carter, who served in the 4th Virginia cavalry,  was mortally wounded and died on 1862 July 24. He was the son of Thomas Nelson Carter and Juliette Muse Gaines Carter. He was the brother of Thomas Henry Carter (1831-1908).

17. Benjamin Huger (1805-1877), who was transferred to an administrative post after his subpar performance in the Seven Days fighting.

18. “Prince” John Magruder (1807-1871), a native of Port Royal, Virginia, was never court martialed, but he did have a reputation as a playboy who liked to party and drink. After serving with Lee during the Seven Days, he was transferred to the western theatre of operations.

19. Benjamin H. Harrison (1828-1862) was a native of Prince George County, Virginia. He was killed at Malvern Hill on 1862 July 1. Magruder wrote of him, “The noble, accomplished, and gallant Harrison, commander of the Charles City Troop, uniting his on exertions with mine, rallied regiment after regiment, and leading one of them to the front, fell, pierced with seven wounds. Near the enemy’ batteries.” His wife was Mary Randolph Page Harrison.