Faithful reader, you are so kind to grace these pages again! My simple words and phrasing shall hopefully express all of the sights and sounds to take in during the recent unpleasantness which took place at Huntington Beach, California. As we heard tell, troops gathered on the afternoon of Friday last, with hundreds encamping to fight to the very death protecting our fair town. There were many represented among us civilians, to include our esteemed President Lincoln, the traitorous Senator Davis, the Widow Peters, numerous shops and tradesmen, the hospital, the Georgia Relief and Hospital Society, D/D Tavern, and of course us, as we took refuge in Mrs Brewer’s Parlour.
Saturday the tensions between the opposing armies mounted as the temperature rose with the sun. I fear that many good soldiers were felled by the intense humidity, which hovered around 80% though falling. They did not engage until nearly half past one, and the fighting lasted through the rest of the day with a brief lapse mid afternoon. Twilight found the camps settled however, and music was apparently heard throughout.
Miss Melody spent the day Saturday exploring the town, collecting sticks and leaves, and entertaining us with music played with her plate and spoon. Her Papa took her walking and the two shared lemonaide, a hot dog, and a new fangled confection made of cake, cream and a chocolate coating, with the unusual appellation of “Ding Dong” although I am uncertain how this is to remind us of church bells ringing. Sunday however, she escaped the heat and humidity with Father, while Mother was tending shop along with Mrs Marshall. Mrs Brewer certainly endeavored to care for us amidst the heat and herself suffering from intense fatigue and ague. Mr J— spent the day in the parlour with us and escorted Mrs Marshall out shopping in the afternoon. Thankfully, the heat was relieved a bit and we were able to enjoy our day more fully. I spent a portion of the day reading to Mrs Brewer from Edgar Allen Poe, the story of Marie Roget. A frightening escapade, that! but I look forward to my next visit with her to continue the story all the same.
With the falling barometer, the tension between the two armies was also lessened and the battle between them, although continued from the day previous and skirmished and engaged throughout the day, was resolved no later than three in the afternoon, allowing a tactical victory to the Federal troops but a victory of morale to the scandalous Confederates who overwhelmed the artillery unit which had taken up position at the area closest to the the town. It was a fearful moment to see our boys in blue overtaken with butternut, gray and brown. Fortunately for us, the Southern men were gentlemen in their deeds and allowed the gunners to live, and they did not sack the town.
My dear, I must close this now, for Miss Melody begs my attention, as a young girl must of her mother. I hope that I will hear from you in the near future with news of home in New York. Until then, I remain,
Your faithful cousin,
Mrs Mattie Marvel
Post Script, I enclose herein a carte de visite which was made during this eventful weekend by a traveling photographer, of Mrs Marshall resting within Mrs Brewer’s parlour. The fatigue of this terrible war can be seen in her eyes. We are all tired of the uncertainty and pray to the heavens that peace will soon be restored to our great nation!