Wednesday, December 3rd 1862


Dear Father1


            Uncle George reached here about nine o’clock Sunday night and I felt considerably relieved to hear that nothing had happened at Home, though I was very sorry to hear you were so unwell. I had begun to feel very uneasy about you sometimes I would imagine that you were very sick, and then again that you had started over and the Yankees had captured you, indeed some man from Westmoreland crossed over here and actually reported as certain fact that you had been taken. There are so many rumors in circulation relative to the Yankees in the Northern Neck, that it keeps me constantly uneasy for fear they may go down in our neighborhood and treat the citizens badly, I do wish it were so that Col Beale could take his regiment across the Rappahannock, and drive them all out of the Northern Neck. I suppose of course you have heard before this time, that the “bloody 9th” had been removed to Essex, as to how long it will remain here there seems to be a variety of opinion some think all the winter and others again think, it will be moved in the course of a week or two.

Brother Gordon is down here and Wat2 is on his way down we heard that he staid at Mr. John Miller’s last night and that he had received twenty six days furlough to recruit Sallie Peyton, who had the scratches right badly. When brother Gordon got here his horse, or at least the one he was using for I believe it really belonged to that, was completely broken down had the scratches dreadfully and was entirely blind in one eye and nearly so in the other. I don’t reckon you ever saw a person in a greatly quandary than brother Gordon was then, he wished at least one hundred times a day that you would come over, didn’t know what to do about buying a horse, for fear you had already bought him one in Westmoreland, finally he got tired of waiting, said his furlough had almost expired and he was afraid you would not be able to get over at all, so he borrowed some money of Dandridge Sail and started to Caroline Sunday morning to look at a horse, Dick Corbin had for sale, and got back last night, didn’t buy the horse, he went up to look at but one from George (Boulware) at $2.50.  Brother Gordon says it is a very fine horse but rather small for him.

            It is certainly a very pretty one and travels very finely I wish I knew some news to write you, but I haven’t heard any at all for several days, every thing is very quiet at Fredericksburg, but the two armies are still confronting each other, ours on this side and the Yankee army on the other side of the river, the opinion of a great many is, that the Yankees will not advance and give us battle, while others again think there will certainly be a fight Gen. Lee is certainly making every preperation for one, he has torn up the railroad from Fred’g to Guineys and made an iron battery of it, and has forty large guns there. It is reported that Jackson and A. P. Hill reached Fred’g Sunday, if that be so, let the Yankees come when they will, Lee Longstreet & Jackson will give them a terrible threshing. 

            As soon at Burnside meets with a defeat, the cabinet will displace him and put Fremont in his stead, and then I’ll agree to make any bet, the machine will be smashed up. Four or five gunboats are lying off Port Royal, and the other day, one Pickets at Port Royal and theirs from off the gunboats had a meeting and agreed not to fire at each other. The 9th Regiment is encamped about two hundred yards below Essex church and we see Pickets and couriers passing the gate every two or three hours, Brother Gordon says he heard that General Stuart was in Port Royal yesterday and twas supposed he would be down here in a day or two I should like very much to see him if he does come, I was so sorry to hear of Dr. Rose’s horrible death, it makes me shudder now when I think of it, and they say Lewis has been let out of Jail by the Yankees, indeed I think he ough [sic] to have been sent to Richmond and confined there, as soon as the affair occurred. I expect Mrs. Rose is dreadfully distressed, should think she would be Uncle George told me Will Chowning came over with him, but stopped in the lower end of the Country I wish he would come up this way for I should like to see him. I hope the Yankees wont find their way to Sandy Point and take Grandpapa’s horse’s off with them. Please give my love to him and all the family and tell the girls they must certainly write to me when you come over. I wish I would see them all now but I suppose that will be imppossible as long as the Yankees have possession of the Northern Neck

Kate is very well and says I must give her love to you and grandpa and all of ’em and tell aunt Susan she wants to see her mighty bad. Papa I wish you would try and get her a pair of shoes while you are in Westmoreland, she is dreadfully in want of repair. The cloth for yours and the boys clothes is coming on very well, it will soon be ready now to put in the Loom. Uncle George told me you intended killing your hogs as soon as he got back. I wish, if it be possible you would bring over some grease, so that Aunt Nancy can make some soaps. I do not mean to imply by this that we are out soap, for we have that you bought in Maryland, but would like very much to have some soft if I could get it.

            Cousin Sallie is very well and desires me to give her love to you. She is perfectly happy, now that she has Clay so near her. Papa I hope you are better now than you were when Uncle George came over, and that you will come over yourself as soon as you can. Give my love to all at Kirnan and tell Ella to write to me. I shall send this letter in fear and trembling lest the Yankees should get it. With much love to all I am

yrs affectionally,






Source: Taylor Family Papers, Series 1, MG 33, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall


Uploaded by Colin Woodward, 2016 August 24


1. Nannie Simpson Bowie (1846-1892) was the daughter of James Barbee Bowie (1817-1891), who was the husband of Ann Louisa Forbes Bowie (1821-1861).

2. Walter R. “Wat” Bowie (d. 1900), who served in the 40th Virginia Infantry. He practiced law in Richmond after the war until this death.