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17 January 1865 [Cynthia Beverley Tucker Washington Coleman], South Boston, [VA] to [Charles Washington Coleman]
South Boston Jan 17th 1865 Tuesday morning
My dear Husband
To-morrow will be my birth =day, and were you a regarder of “days and seasons” I should not fail to write to you, (You see I am still unforgiving on this point) on so important an occasion. My dear Mother will think of me and fancy I am feasting on a ham, cooked, at home which she gave me for that occasion. I would produce it here, but that it is packed away in a big box with a thousand other things on top. I have promised Mr Bright, however, to bring out a bottle of wine which, though made by Mrs. Berkeley he no longer [ ? ]. I would like to know that my Husband remembered me with especial interest. But what is the use of saying any thing to you on the subject “Ephraim is wedded to his idols, let him alone.”
I am in despair about getting to Clarks
[Pg 2] =ville. I came here desiring to go down on the Government boats (Capt Haskins having given me permission to send down my baggage in the boats before I left C_) thinking it would be both cheaper, and more advisable for me to go along with my baggage which is very valuable. I have been detained her a week and more waiting for the boats which have not yet come, though daily expected. I could be, at least, contented[underlined] could I hear anything from our precious boy from whom I have had no tiding in a month[underlined]. I am longing, too, to hear from you, my dear Husband, tho’ my not having done so can attach no blame to you, as I feel sure many letters await me in C_ which I shall be rejoiced to read even though you should scold me. My time has passed pleasantly here with old Williamsburg friends. I had never thought I could like Mr B_ as well. I didn’t know whether the change is in him or myself. Had I known of my
[Pg 3] probable long detention at this point, I should have yielded to Mr. [Morerock’s] suggest =ion of a visit to you, could I have been sure of meeting you in Columbia. You would have been too glad to see me for unkind looks or words, not that I feel that I deserve them, far from it, for I feel that my efforts to see my Mother, and to secure your books, tho’ I failed to accomplish this last, entitle one to the highest consideration and praise. I spent all day yesterday in cutting out shirts for a soldier’s box Helen and myself are fixing, and in which I have received considerable aid from Refugees, indeed, almost all the aid has come from them. Listn, (Mrs. Berkeley) gave me two pounds of wool, while the rich farmers around us have not furnished a thread. After Sally’s school closed on Friday we went to Mrs. John Canington’s and spent the night most delightfully with that truly charming family, the next day
[Pg 4] we spent with my friend. Mr. Claiborne and his wife, who are most hospitable and friendly, and who would not consent to our returning to Mr. Bright’s till Sunday, after giving one many and pressing invitations to return to them should I be longer detained. Mr. C_ is an old student of my Father’s and venerates his memory in a manner truly gratifying to me. Last evening we spent at Mr. Hodges’ brother’s. I never could have believed the y[crossed out] persons I met there were of his blood, had I not been told. It must take all of his goodness not to feel the condition of things too painfully. Mrs [Cornika?] I [Carrie?] would not be equal to it. The poor old lady was evidently charmed by my account of her son – his excellence, his kindness to refugees &c &c. It is said she cannot read – imagine the Mother of the first Theologian in the Church so ignorant. She is a good old soul. At this point Mr Bright stopped me with a long genealogical account of the Skipwith family, which is still in progress. I have a copy of the oath the Yankees
[Marginalia – Pg 1 right side, top, left side] propose for our people to take. It is a fearful thing, but I should not feel it binding should I take it. My heart sickens over the constant talk of the evacuation of Richmond. I understand, Genl Lee says [I?] our cause is bright as ever but that our people are too despondent . I don’t know what possesses the County. I heard no talk of evacuation while in R_ but the idea seems to pervade the mind of all outsiders. When R_ is evacuated the State will be , and then what will
[Marginalia – Pg 2 right side, top, left side] become of us. Are we to stand or run? I have had enough of running It is reported that Montague wrote to his Sister to take the oath and remain in W_ She never got such a letter – can it be true? There is every appearance of
[Marginalia – Pg 3 right side, top, left side] falling weather, and I am becoming daily more and more desperate about my return. When are you coming on? Have you sent in your application to the Surgen Genl. Don’t delay. I hope,
[Marginalia – Page 4 left side] I may find a dozen letters from you on my arrival at C.
[Marginalia – Pg 4 right side] Your devoted Wife Love to Montagu.