22 May 1862: “I hope you destroy my letters.”

Item description: Letter, 22 May 1862, from Lavinia Morrison Dabney at the Union Theological Seminary (Farmville, Va.) to her husband, Robert Lewis Dabney, who served in the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, first as a chaplain with the 18th Virginia Infantry Regiment in 1861, then as an officer on the staff of Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson in 1862. Lavinia wrote of wartime rumors and the refugees who were arriving from Fredericksburg and Richmond, as well as the more mundane concerns of planting vegetables, feeding the hogs, and family news.

Item citation: from folder 59 in the Charles Dabney Papers (#1412) in the Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:


U T Seminary May 22.

My dear Husband.

Mr. Guthries son is going tomorrow to camp. & I hope to get your coat to send by him. I also send you 2 pairs of gloves & 2 pairs of socks _ I do not think the cloth is of very fine quality but it was the best I could do & I hope it will suit you. You never told me whether you got your shoes & wrappers sent by Mr Hopkins. I have a small hope of getting your horse to you this week. We have had such fine growing weather. Showers & sun shine I have been planting out sweet Potatoes replanting corn setting Tomatoe plants & c. every thing seems to be growing finely. Tom feeds the pigs with clover from the yard 3 times a day & they too are growing rapidly. Although I have a houseful of company now all of the time. I do not enjoy the house. it is desolate to me. & I miss you every where but feel better out of doors. Bessy & Mary Hoge are here with Aunt Lizzie. I think you had just as well let me take boarders at once: Bacon is 40cts now in Farmville & mine is going too fast. We have Refugees from Fredericksburg at Mr. Andersons. Farmville is literally full & many boarding in the country.

No one writes to me from Louisa. I suppose it is useless to ask them to write.

The children are as well as you ever saw them. so I am but I am getting very much sun burnt. Mr. Tom Whary is at home now & does not expect to return to camp life looks well. Good bye my dearest I am ever praying for you. Write often

You own Lavinia

3 o clock

Mrs Hage children & servants have just arrived Richmond in great danger. Mrs Hage says our troops are nearly starving on the Peninsula I received a kind letter from Mr Vaughan saying he would come down himself if Richmond fell into the Enimys hands & help to move me Mrs Hage says she is only going to stay two or 3 days.

I feel perfectly calm but do so miss you my dear husband. Mrs Hage says that Jackson Army was in Woodstock Tuesday. Where are you going? Some say to take Washington. .

I forgot to tell you that Dr. Willson has been very sick & is now. we have not much hope of his recovery some disease of the stomach constant neausia.. The darkies are running from Richmond in great numbers Mrs Hage says.

I have just hurd that Mr Guthries son is not going till Monday. So I will send this miserable letter by mail. I have been so much interrupted I could not half write.

May God bless you my dear

I hope you destroy my letters.

Ever your own


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