Archive for the ‘Sarah Chaffee Lamb’ Category

Thursday July 16th [1863]

I have finished helping Violet to clean up the house so now am at liberty to amuse myself. I wish some of you were here to spend the day with me. I am so lonesome. Dear Will did not get home from his expedition till yesterday morning and he has gone off again this morning to be gone two nights. Brother Rob went to town this morning and my cook went away yesterday and the Surgeon my most intimate friend is gone, so we are quite alone. Violet has everything to do for us. You would have been amused could you have seen Ria wash and dress herself this morning and then wash and dress Dick. I was so glad to see dear Will: he was so black and dirty I hardly knew him. He has saved the cargo of the ship and engines – which are very valuable and drove off eight Yankee boats or ships with one little gun, he and his men got lost in a swamp and were under a terrible fire. One poor fellow got into a bog up to his neck, but they got him out and the sun was so hot many fainted. I can not tell you all the particulars of their excursion, but they had a hard time and when the Yankees left the ship and Will went aboard behold it was mined and on fire, but they threw the powder overboard and put the fire out. Will would not allow the cargo to be touched by his men, but they helped themselves to the stores. Will sent me a few things, and two beautiful easy velvet chairs and a mantel mirror, they do not correspond very well with the rest of the things but are comfortable. I will try to send an account of  it all from a paper.

We have had the most terrific storms at night since Will left and Oh I did miss him so much. I shall be so glad when he gets home. Yesterday another steamer ran aground here and the Yankees commenced firing on her one shot fell not far from here. Will sent me word to take the children and go up the road away and he would send the ambulance.  I started, but after going a little bit of a ways I remembered the ambulance was gone to town so I turned back home.

Alice Beale and Laura Daughtery sent me word they were coming to see me.

Will has a bad cold I am quite uneasy about him, they had to sleep out doors in all the terrible storms, but he was wrapped up in the rubber coat I brought him and says he did not get wet at all.

Saturday is little Ria’s birthday. I’ve promised her a cake.

I wish you would send this letter to dear Ma as it is more recent than hers.

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.

Read Full Post »

[July 12, 1863]

My dear Mother,

 I have been meditating for the last half hour whether I ought to follow my inclinations and write you – or adhere to my principle of not writing on the Sabbath day, and finally decided as you perceive that under the circumstances there could not be any harm in my having a little chat with you and it might do me considerable good. This has been an exceedingly long and tiresome day to me. About three o’clock this morning Will was called up to help one of our Steamers in. Sometimes he is on the parapets nearly all night – so solicitous is he for the safety of our friends and as soon as one signals the fort Will is sent for and waits till they get safely in. This morning he returned a little before Six, and undressed to take a little nap when he was aroused again by the intelligence hat another of our Steamers was off somewhere (I have not found out yet where) and the blockaders were firing upon her. He went off immediately and I have not seen him since. I sent him some breakfast, and about noon found out his boat and crew were going to him so I sent him his dinner and tea. I heard that a small steam boat had taken out one of his pet guns – and two or three companies were with him but I don’t know where. There has been almost constant firing all day but distant so you may know I am quite anxious – just before commencing this I got quite a start. Several officers rode up to the door, and my first thought was that they had brought me bad news and I felt so badly that I ran off to my room but they only came to bring me some nice cake and rode away before I could see them to ask about dear Will. I never knew such a long day in all my life. I have read to the children, wandered about all day feeling so unsettled, finally I took out yours and Ma’s last letters and read them and looked at the precious pictures of Ma and little Willie, and finally thought of a chat with you. I wrote a long letter to Ma a day or two ago – it will go out with this. Just after I commenced this letter – little Ria came in and wanted to know who I was writing to, I told her to Grandma Lamb – said she Well, tell my Grandma that I is barefoot today and that Father is away and we are very lonesome, and soon after she came in and said Dick wanted me to send his love to you and to tell you he was building a boat.

Ria is a great comfort to me she is so sensible and bright. To-day she came in from her little room and looked up at me so archly and said she had been saying her prayers to God and asking him to take care of her dear father. I was pleased and amused at Dick to-day at dinner, I put him in Will’s place and I asked him if he couldn’t ask a blessing like a father – not thinking he would – he blushed very red but put up his little hands to his face and said “God keep us good all day and all night Amen.” So much for the little ones.

I have not seen Rob to-day and do not know whether he went with Will or not. We had preaching to-day in camp but as Will was away I did not go. We have been so unfortunate as not to get a Chaplain. Will has tried hard to and I hope will soon succeed. Here comes Bob – bobbing along so I will not write any more – he says he has no news. Rob looks so funny, has cut off his mustache says it began to taste bad. He just informed me as I write that Will had soon driven the enemy off. The steamer ran aground that was fired at by the Blockaders – and so Will has saved the ship. I shall be glad to hear all about it, bless dear Will, is one of a million, I am proud of him, and love him so dearly. I don’t think he is well, he looks thin and badly. He says he enjoys his little home so much.

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.

ps|� at� �� has long since ceased to give us uneasiness & has merely been ravaging the country, burning & destroying with the usual Yankee wickedness, barbarity, and wantonness.


D H Hill has been more than a match for him & he is now gone back to his master Lincoln. I do not tell all the Yankees say of our pretended defeat. I shall have the truth soon from our own side. We are sad enough today without their lies to madden us in addition. What with the loss of Vicksburg & our crop, well may we say — “The King does not dine today.” At present prices we lose $30,000 worth of corn by this rise (Father, brother, & Patrick I mean), a heavy blow, but we are in God’s hands. We see Him in it & do not murmur, but when a human instrument like Pemberton peirces us, we feel it deeply & keenly, tho’ it is God still who allows it. We should remember that.

Suffolk has been evacuated, not a Yankee left in it after thirteen months occupation. An order was issued to burn it, but before it could be carried into execution Lee was over the border & fearing retaliation, Dix countermanded his barbarous edict.  So, we go. Grant’s army is marching on Jackson, “burning every dwelling that they come to on their route,” women & helpless children turned without food or shelter into the woods & fields. How long O Lord? how long?

Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979). http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html

Read Full Post »

 [July 12th 1863]

Rob is not at Caswell but Fort Fisher

You would hardly recognize the children though I am as particular as ever about their daily bath and their washing their little teeth, etc. Still they cannot look nice as they used to. I should like to send you a picture of Dick as he appears now in his homemade hat. I could get none for him, and made him a broad brimmed one of paste board and covered it with brown and white gingham, and it had gotten wet and is all kinds of shapes. He is badly freckled notwithstanding all my efforts to prevent. Ria looks much the same, only taller and thinner.

Please send me paper pattern of little boys pants and jacket or what is worn this Fall.

I am so sorry that I did not bring a straw bonnet with me, as I have nothing but my silk bonnets, which are not suitable for the country or travelling. I bought me an old-fashioned and very coarse straw hat and paid thirty dollars for it, prices for things here are awful, twenty dollars for a pair of shoes, calico four dollars a yard, glove five dollars a pr. Still people buy and everyone looks right nice. I don’t know how some get along – but money seems very plentiful with everyone.

July 12th. I send this out to-night, nothing new, we are all well. Love to each and all, write often.


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.

Read Full Post »

The Cottage

July 7th, 1863

Dearest precious Mother;

Writing, although a pleasure, is still so unsatisfactory. I find it so. I never can say half that I want to or as I want to. I almost live with you all dear Mother, I think of you so constantly. I am afraid I think of you, and home too much, for it really makes me dissatisfied here and homesick.  I feel as if I must be with you all again. Your precious likeness and dear little Willie’s are the greatest comfort to me. I like yours more and more every time that I look at it. Indeed I think it is one of the best pictures I have seen, it looks so exactly like you dearest Mother. I feel as if it could understand and talk to me, and I look at it with so much pleasure. You cannot imagine, dear Mother, how much I do want to see you all. I think over and over again every pleasant thing that happened last Summer, and little Ria recalls so many little incidents that occurred; one’s life her is so monotonous – the same dull routine day after day, I get so tired of it. Still, I ought not to complain, for being in the midst of war, I am signally blest, and certainly am very comfortable, though very lonesome. Our house is cool and comfortable and that is a great thing now as I seldom go out of it. My horse has become so infirm travelling so much through these deep sands that I do not ride him now, and the walking is so dreadful that I never attempt it, so the only exercise I take is a promenade up and down my piazza of an evening. We breakfast about seven or eight, after which Will rides to the fort and does not return till dinner at one. I pick up things around the house and put in order my store closets or sitting room 0- and then sit down to my sewing. The children play about in the house or on the piazza. Sometimes Ria takes her sewing and sits a while with me talking of you. While I sew I am dreaming of home – invariably never tire of it – then I take up my reading or writing, for awhile, sometimes lie down and read then Will comes home and we have dinner usually a very nice one, after which he lies down on the sofa and I read aloud something we are both interested in then he usually takes a nap till five o’clock and I muse myself as I can run the changes on work and books, he then goes off and returns to tea about six or half past. I dress myself a little, and don’t know what to do with myself. After tea the mail comes – and it usually occupies Will and Rob when he is here till about nine o’clock when I get tired of promenading along the piazza looking at the stars and wishing this wicked war was over or I had more patience – then after reading and saying my prayers – I have a search for fleas – and retire. We very frequently have a gentleman to dinner or more, and also to tea. The Surgeon here is a great friend of mine and I am always glad to see him and enjoy my chats with him. Sometimes my neighbors – the females I mean call to see me – but I cannot say their society if very agreeable. We are enlivened considerably when Steamers arrive and I have large packages of presents to overhaul. As I had this morning, a barrel full of good things tea, coffee, white sugar, all kinds of sauces, pickles &c., besides fruit. The children have been quite unwell for a week past with a sort of Cholera Morbus, but are nearly well now; the rest of us are all well. I have thought some of going to some Springs for a while. Will wants me too but it is so warm now for traveling that I have nearly resigned that idea; he has sent to town for a buggy for me, which if we get will afford me some pleasant exercises and amusement.  How I would love to be at home this afternoon, to take a nice ride with you. I can imagine I can hear the ponies stamping before the door while we are dressing to go out, getting out of patience with dear Pa for keeping us waiting, and then we are all started on the Swanpoint road I can still hear the horses’ hoofs slattering over the hard road as we wind ‘round that corner just before reaching the cemetery. Then the handsome carriages we pass – there goes Clara Hoppin and Miss Wise in their buggy – and you and I sit back and sniff the new mown hay and listen to the children with us, then the nice supper we have when we get home, after which we stroll about the garden; sister Ria holding up her clean skirts so high and you with that horrid old hat on then upstairs how pleasant it is; how the moon streams in the big window in the Hall, and how cheerfult he nursery looks as we all go in to have a frolic with the little ones in their night gowns, then we go in and molest Pa a little bit as he rests himself in his slippers and shirt sleeves on the couch in your room, and Ned, how natural he looks in his old dressing gown, wandering about with his pipe – and at last I find dear Ria in her room just finished her reading, and sitting in the moonlight on the little balcony –from one of her windows; what a nice chat we have and then when we are all ready for bed, how nice that big bunch of grapes and that pear that you have brought to each of us tastes, as we sit on the window sill and eat it and talk. These are only few of hundreds of other pleasant things that I love to live over – my darling little Willie with his winning ways, Uncle Ned and Aunt Annie when they come, and our many pleasant friends, how I wish I had some of the nice books I left to read now. I wonder if you could not send me some by Bermuda – Cummings Works and the Country Parson, and others. I can not of course, get new books here, and am not very well supplied at present with any.

Dear little Willie what a beauty he is. I am so proud of my darling – how sweet that little picture of him is, bless the darling. I do pray so earnestly that I may see him soon. The children talk so much of home and of you all; nothing so much delights Ria as to have a chat with me about you. Ria told me just now to tell you that – “I tries to be a good little girl and perhaps when I come, I’ll bring her something nice, make her a pincushion or a handkerchief or something” and “tell Aunt Ria I’ll sew boff of them a pincushion.” Dick says “Tell Grandma to bring all the toys and family here”  – he misses his toys so much.

Beg Pa to come home early to-night and take us all out to ride. I hope  dear Pa is well. Oh how much I want to see him and Ned and Ria. How is George” Give my love to each and all the dear ones, and make them send me their likenesses. How is Elizabeth- my love to her, Ann, Patrick and Owen and Frances. Tell the latter I have left her a precious charge and I hope she will take good care of my darling. Kiss him dozens of times for me and always, night and morning, give him a kiss from his Mother. I wonder what there is about our dear home that makes it so enchanting. It is so unlike any other place in the world. I am looking forward with so much pleasure to another visit there. God grant that we may all meet there soon.

With love to all my friends,

Good bye for a little while,

Ever your devoted daughter


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.

Read Full Post »

July 2d, 1863

Dear darling Mother –

I can not tell you of the delight I experienced yesterday when I received your precious letter and those still more precious pictures. I was sitting on my front porch thinking over Ria’s account of her fun at Abbington last Summer with the Arnolds, and laughing to myself when Will rode up and soon after the Courier stopped on his way to the fort with the mail and emptied the letters all out on the porch, which I overhauled at once, and came at last to a thick package wrapped in dirty brown paper directed to Col. Lamb. I never supposed there was anything for me – and was feeling very disappointed, when I hear Will joyfully exclaim “here they are Daisy” and I was so delighted with the picture, it is a pretty picture, so well colored, the children knew it at once and wanted to kiss it, which I could not allow for fear of soiling it. Will is very proud of his boy, but says he does not look like his child, but thinks him a noble looking fellow. The children were very much disappointed that Frances did not have her face taken – as they want to see her. How well and fat little Willie looks. Your letter was written June 10th and I received it July 1st, quite quick. Now I must have dear Pa, Ned’s and Ria’s likeness do make them send them to me, you don’t know what a comfort they would all be, I know Ria will send them. I want them to show to friends – and when gets some of George I want on then I shall have all the family, tell Pa and Ned they must send me theirs. I am so lonely here. I am sorry dear Sister Ria was disappointed in getting to George. It is a hard trial for her but I know she bears it patiently bless her! And I do hope this wicked war will soon end so that we can all meet again, but we must be very thankful so long as our dear ones are spared to us.

What a nice trip you and dear Pa must have taken, how I would have enjoyed it. I long for home, there is no place so sweet as our home. I wish we might always have it tell Pa he must but it as soon as he can afford it. I love to think of it, and all I enjoyed it. I sit for hours living over all that happened there and take so many pleasant rides in imagination. I am glad you are well, how I would love to go to Bridgeport with Ria and my Willie. Love to all there. What a nice time you must have had the Evening Charley Hopkins and wife and all our friends met at our home. I shall sit and dream of it all to-day give my love to each and all those dear friends.

We are well comfortable and contented but it is very dull, do write to me as often as you can and tell me everything about home. All you do and see, &c., &c., and of all my friends. If you send your letters as I directed I shall be sure to get them.

I sit and sew or ready nearly all day. I once every day go into my neighbor Mr. Craig’s and read the newspapers to try to entertain the old man who has been very ill and will never recover even though he may live a year – but I go no where else. I walk up and down my porch every evening for exercise.  I see plenty of gentlemen but seldom or never a lady.

The children are a little complaining to-day. They are constantly talking of you all and I had to read all your letter to Ria.

Will was much pleased with your note to him and sends love to you all. Take precious care of your dear selves and I do trust and pray most earnestly we may all meet again soon. God is kind and good to us more than we deserve.

I write very often.

With oceans of love to all

Your loving daughter,


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.

Read Full Post »

The Cottage

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.

Read Full Post »

June 4th [1863]

I have just watched Will go off for town in his little barge with its Colonel’s flag flying and I feel quite lonesome.

Dick was so anxious for me to write you to send him a fishing line – that though I know it is useless I promised I would do so – he is getting so mannish it is quite amusing to see. I was pleased with a remark of his this morning – his nurse has lately been in great trouble because her husband ran off and married another woman – and he has heard her say that she was not happy – and he asked her this morning is she was and she replied no, “Well said he – I have done all I could to make you happy – but I can’t and Mammy there is no one but God who can make you happy – My little sister Ria tells me so” and last night he heard it thunder and said “Oh I am so glad God has got a big gun”  – but a truce to Dick’s smartness. Last evening I had a very pleasant gentleman a Clergyman and his son take tea with me. I like him because he liked New England so well.

There has been a great fire in town and my good friend Mrs. Dawson has lost her house and furniture – burnt to the ground. I feel sorry for her.

It is really cold to-day.

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.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »