I write to let you know that we are safe. The fighting came close to town as the Union boys are quite infused with the fervor to trounce the Confederates quickly and send them back home. We were saddened to see many of our good friends forced from their homes and living in small tents and lean tos to keep themselves away from the danger of stray bullets and cannon fire. We had set up our bookshop and unloaded our parlour furniture by the side of a small country lane in the town of Prado, where we camped overnight with the Bowlins, the Coffins, and several others as neighbors.
The tide of civilians wandering toward the action was good for our business as those not yet shocked by the explosions of cannon fire and the destruction of muskets were still in a festive air. Soon they returned past our small camp, sombered by the great loss of life and the threat to our Union, yet willing to acquire a book of poetry or patriotic songs to gird their spirits.
And yet through this deep sadness and fear we found the camaraderie of good friends and family. The children played on the old living room rug thrown down on the ground with blocks and dolls, while Sister and Mrs. Marshall and I entertained one another as best we could by reading aloud and singing songs. Widow Peters and her niece found their way to our humble shelter and assured us that even though the armies are involved in death while on the field, they quickly find their way to her mercantile and others to spend their wages on trinkets for loved ones at home and the necessities for daily living. This I take as a good sign that this engagement will be one of few and the war quickly settled.
Once the armies passed on from our location we were able to return to our home, to find it had but one broken window and a few extra holes for ventilation that cannot be found on the original plans. A traveling photographer passed through as well and I am just received of the enclosed photographs which were delivered with to days letters.
Stay well, Mother, for I send you our love. Should the battles wander close to home perhaps you could retire to Aunt Elizabeth’s home in Pennsylvania.
Your loving daughter,