June 30th, 1863
My own darling Mother-
I am at last settled in my little new house and am very comfortable indeed. I wish you could see us. We moved in last Thursday and every thing is finished about us except the little bedroom to be taken off the back porch and the kitchen which is to be built out. I suppose to you just coming from our sweet beautiful home everything would look homely and plain enough but to me who have for the last six months been staying in such poor little places this looks quite charming, it is a dreary situation having no trees about it, but the beautiful view we have of the river nearly compensates for the want of them. I do no miss them at all as the house is so well shaded on the east and west by very wide piazzas and over our two windows to the south we have an awning which extends out about twelve or fifteen feet and we have constantly a breeze blowing through the house that keeps it very cool indeed. I have hardly felt warm this Summer, our sitting room is very nicely finished off with white hard finish and a Stucco piece in the center of the ceiling – the doors and all the wood work is Southern pine varnished – a very pretty carved wooden mantle piece painted black and the windows consist of two very large panes of plait glass, there is also a pane in each of the doors. I have plain white cotton shades to all the windows. I have no carpets of course – but we have clean floors – let me tell you of our elegant furniture. In the sitting room I have six or eight pine chairs with rush bottoms, a wooden sofa painted black with a fancy cushion of silk patchwork – a table opposite the sofa- with a pretty red and black cloth, and my books and fancy things thereon – between the windows is a black walnut extension table which when closed makes a nice small center table on it is our silver pitcher and tumblers, three pictures on the mantle piece and two rocking chairs complete the room. My bed room has a pine bedstead with hair mattress, which when made up neatly with white quilt looks very well. A pine bureau and looking glass above – a pine wash stand, chairs and wardrobe, the children’s room has much the same – on my back porch is a store room, or closet which is well filled with tea, coffee, flour – cheeses, preserves – pickles all kinds of sauces, sardines, white and brown sugar, flour & c., &c., our crockery is all white – what little we have, we have some pretty tumblers and wine glasses. We have just as few of all sorts of household things as we can get along with. All the silver we have is six old tea-spoons Mother gave Rob for Camp – three or four table spoons – 6 or eight plated forms and a pretty, plaited castor. I sent to Bermuda for some bedding we needed but did not send for any table linen I thought we could do without it, and I did not wish to encumber myself with too many things in case we are driven from here in a hurry. We should not attempt to take anything but our clothing, so what we leave would not really be much loss to me. I have a nice little cellar under the back porch where I keep meat and vegetables, butter, lard, wines & t. and we have also on that porch a safe and a dining table. We frequently take our meals out there, so you see I am quite comfortably fixed, and really enjoy my little home very much it is so cool and quiet our rooms are high and we keep them clean and fortunately are not infested with fleas like our neighbors though we have a few. We have quite a large lot fenced in but nothing growing but grass. As soon as I get my other little bed room I can have some young friends come and see me. You don’t know how much I miss ladies society. I get so tired of seeing nothing or nobody but men – though I meet some very agreeable ones, there is seldom a week passes that I do not have several men to dine, one or more at a time. Will is going to have a negro boy as a servant and I shall then be quite fine.
I have been thinking of going to Shoco Springs, NC for a little change as I get so tired here sometimes. Bettie Chamberlain is there and last week shoe lost her little baby – she has only one child now, but I don’t know whether I shall go or not.
We have not heard from you or from Norfolk in a long long time. You don’t know how eagerly I look every night for a letter. We hail the courier as he passes and search his mail bags diligently but always in vain, how I do wish I could hear. I am so uneasy about my Willie so afraid he may be sick – teething this hot weather. I am almost craxy to see him. I feel as if I could not wait much longer, don’t let Frances leave him and do make her so careful of him. Kiss him dozens of times, and dear Ma please do send his likeness and write often. If you enclose your letters to me in an envelope directed to Miss Emma Bashum, St. George, Bermuda, (do not put our address on the envelope – but on the inside) they can not fail to come in that way – she is an old friend of Will’s and knows all our Blockade running Captains, do not mention this to any one.
I have had a dress maker with me nearly a fortnight, making up my summer dresses. I do not need much here but I like to have my things ready and nice in case I shall have to go elsewhere.
We are very anxious to hear from Norfolk we have heard that persons there not taking the oath of allegiance to the US are to be sent South, and so are expecting Father and Mother to come through, I should hate to have them give up their property there, though would be glad to have them nearer us, if they should have to leave couldn’t you and Pa secure some of the Will’s books – it seems such a pity, there he has over two thousand books – it would be a great loss and I wish you had my bedding and table linen to save for me. The furniture will have to all go I suppose.
I have been thinking so much of you for a few days past, little Ria and I sit down and talk over old times with so much pleasure. Dear sister Ria I know she does not miss me as I do her. How are Uncle and Auntie, and all the dear ones? Give oceans of love to each and all.
With quantities of love to Pa, Ned, Ria and yourself – from us all.
Ever your dear daughter
Dearest Mother –
I do so with you would send me a photograph of the dear old place. You can send it to Bermuda as directed, it would please me so. Will says you could send a package by one of Tucker’s vessels. NY to B directed to Miss B and we could get in in a week easily.
Source: Cornelius Thomas, Editor, Letters from the Colonel’s Lady: Correspondence of Mrs. William Lamb written from Fort Fisher, NC CSA to her parents in Providence, R.I. Original letters in the Lamb Collection, Library of the College of William and Mary.