1862 February 28 Charlottesville, Va

Charlottesville Feby 28th
I have very unwillingly put off answer
-ing your letter until this time, dear Papa. It
was written from Charleston, and you spoke of
returning to Camp next day, so I know it would
be useless to direct my letter to you in Charleston
while I did not remember (if I ever knew) the
number of you Regiment, and the name of your
Company. I have several times asked Mother
for your direction, but writing in haste generally
omitted giving it and I was delighted to get your
two pencil lines, and hour since, telling me where
and how you were. Please sit down and write me
an account of yourself, all that you have been doing
seeing and hearing, since you wrote last, you say
you are in Savannah ready to meet the Yankees.
does that mean that you intend to remain in
Georgia and fight for her? I hope it does. Mr.
Barnwell delights in giving my State pride a sly
rap now and then, implying that he considers

[page 2]
a lamentable circumstance my having been born a
Georgian instead of a Carolinian, but I tell him
I see no reason to blush for my state yet, and expect
before the war ends to feel still more self-satisfied
even, perhaps to be able to turn the tables on him.
Yet, under this resumed repose of mind, I feel genuine
anxiety as to the result of the attack upon Savan
-nah which seems determined upon, and near at
hand, not that I fear anything like cowardice or
treachery (a la Roanoke, Hatteras, etc) on the part of
our officers or men, but I know that earth works
[hole in paper] best that could be erected. and manned by the
[fi?]nest troops of my State, can not be held under
an iron rain of Bombs. Savannah in the rear, I
have no anxiety about. Savannah from the River:
I almost dread the arrival of the Telegrams from
Richmond half expecting to see that it has shared
the fate of Elizabeth City. Father, I think
when the War is over, if we all liver to see that
happy day, we will have to return to our State
to live. We belong there. Habershams in Carolina
are as bad as Irish Absentees. I want Ned to grow up

[page 3]
among his own people and Kindred.
But I am afraid the end of the War is further
off than ever now. These reverses in N. C and Ten
-nessee will exhilarate the Yankees sufficiently to
make them fight hard in the next battle, where
-ever it may take place,–some here are expecting
it to be at Norfolk, some at Centreville, some at
Nashville, and there is every reason to believe that a
reverse at Manassas could make half, perhaps two-
thirds of the men in this post of Virginia come
forward and offer to take the oath under the U.S.
Government. There is even a rumor, much canvassed
that the line of defence is to be narrowed down to
the Rapahannock, on this line of Railway, Gordons
-ville, Charlottesville, Staunton and Lynchburg. Another
cry is that if
Norfolk falls, Richmond must go
and so on through every imaginable and possible
disaster. People here were “blue” enough to disgust
“us” Carolinians (excuse a slang phrase for once) but
Mr. Barnwell coming back from Richmond after the
Inauguration, reports them a shade darker there
so much discussion and confusion, when we never needed
more to be quiet among ourselves, in order to concentrate
our forces against our enemies. It is said, on good

[page 4]
authority that your old friend General Lee will
be appointed Secretary of War, whereupon the
Examiner comes out “If the president cannot find
a better substitute for Mr Benjamin than the des
-pondent personage who is said to be his destin
-ed successor, no rational observer can fail to deplore
his retirement.” Another of the apples of discord!
as the Examiner opinions carry great weight, in
Virginia, at least. But no one ever expects it to
speak favorably of any person in, or destined for
office. I have set down its Edition, in my own
mind as a dyspeptic, who eats a hearty supper
of hot Virginia breads, and then goes to his office
[hole in paper and line partially erased by crease in paper] for quareling with himself and all all the
world Reading over my letter, I am half-vexed to
find what a feeble sketch I have given you of the
interesting conversations I listen to at every meal–half
-amused at myself for attempting to sketch them
at all. My excuse must be the unvarying routine
of my daily life. Between meals, my thoughts have
no time to stray from housekeeping or nursing. At
meals I am glad enough to shake off those trains of
thought, and listen to the conversation of from six
to twelve as intelligent, highly educated, or plain
sensible practical men as could be found, all official or semi-official
characters, and more or less behind the scenes, I shall

remainder of letter from Essie Habersham to her father Richard Wylly Habersham, Jr., is missing

MSS 15091

One thought on “1862 February 28 Charlottesville, Va

  1. The more I read about my Great-Grandmother, the more I discover a complex yet gentle and fun personality torn asunder by that terrible war.

    Ironically, she did marry the starry eyed little Carolinian boy 10 years younger than she met at So-Cal Hospital in the middle of the worst part of the war, right about the the time of this letter. They had seven children. She’s buried at Laurel Grove in Savannah.

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