Hickory Hill Jan 1863

Your sweet letter, dear Hattie1 & this cap were sent to me from Richmond, so there was some delay in my getting them & just as I was going to acknowledge its receipt the owner of the cap made his appearance in an ambulance to take Charlotte to spend a short time near Fitzhugh who is somewhere in Essex. Rob was charmed with the cap, immediately put it on & we found it very pretty & becoming. He begs I will express his thanks in the most grateful manner for your kind thoughtfulness of him, & had some thoughts of writing them himself, but boy like didn’t know what to say! He is sweeter than ever, I think, & it was very hard to say goodbye to him once more. This was indeed a very different Christmas to us all; we spent it here with Mr Wickham & Cousin Anne. Every one is kind as possible. It is very sad to look back & think of all the light happy Christmas’ we have passed in our childhood & to know that never again in our lives can those feelings come again.  But I trust it will teach me to give all my thoughts to the holy senses so I can always keep it. I know dear Hattie how sad it must have been to you. But I feel sure that God who saw it was good to give you such severe trials gave you His grace to make you feel they were not greater than you could bear. It surprises me to hear some persons say, that friends that have left us are finally forgotten – cease to be missed. With you I feel years only make you know your loss. It is almost a comfort to me to think that I never can forget Annie, that her memory is always there hidden now away in my heart. feeling that no love, no friendship ever has or can fill the same place she occupied in my life. I know it is the same with you. We hear frequently from Mildred. And a gentleman brought one yesterday a letter from Mary, whose communications are very rare as she is still in the Yankee lines in King George – but very well & but little disturbed I expect to return to Mr. Abram Warwicks2 in Richmond next week. Mama is already in R. What do you all do with yourselves? I must say good night. Excuse this scratch, I have no paper with me except this.

Love to your Mamma & Rebecca4




Sincerely hope that this new Year will bring peace & happiness to you all.




1 Harriet Lee Powell (1833-1870).

2. Abraham Warwick (1794-1874). His daughter, Sally, was engaged to George Washington Custis Lee for a time during the war, but they eventually broke up.

3. Selina Lloyd Powell (1807-1871).

4. Rebecca Catherine Powell (1831-1921).



Source: Transcribed from original letter, Powell Family Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary
Transcribed by Alison Herring, 2022 February 17