United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865; Bruen, Augusta Forrer--Correspondence; United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Women
Dayton O. May 13th. 1863 Dear Husband, Your letter came this evening, but I nearly missed it, for I expected Henrietta to get it, fearing she might forget I rode to the office in time to secure it. I was so anxious to tell you all the town news, that I neglected to tell you how much pleased the children were with their presents; Sella could scarcely keep her hands off of the doll for some time, and was highly indignant at our neighbor's children for saying it was wasn't pretty, and that Mary *Gorman's* was a great deal prettier; she said she had seen Mary's doll and it wasn't anything like as pretty. There was a general quarrel. I believe one of the boys did something to Frank and I heard that Rob knocked his brother's assailant down! The pop-gun pleased Frank exceedingly, even the noisy part; Rob was no less pleased; you know he had not seen it previously. Poor little Frank is almost as feeble as when I left him, in consequence of the heavy cold; Lib says that before that came on she thought he was really going to be *fleshy*; and told him she didn't think his mother would know him. He now coughs a good deal and lies down frequently. His appetite is poor and very capricious: today I have given him oranges which delighted him, and I have promised him prunes and figs. These things he likes and will suit his constipated bowels. His Grandfather takes him to ride a great deal, and I hope soon to report him better. We stopt at Eliza's door this evening and found several of them sick with this prevalent cold. Dr. W. says it is not Whooping cough, but it closely resembles it in some cases. Poor Tommy was standing, looking disconsolately out of the window. He lost his voice entirely for some days. Bessie Peirce is quite sick with intermittent Fever. - The children both at Lib's and 'the sisters'' seemed to like their pictures. Mellie was particularly pleased when she found her butterflies were named. Inadvertently, I put a picture of China in Bessie's collection, which just suited her, as you may recollect she proposes to visit that country when she has dug deep enough. The children were in bed when I got home, but quickly aroused, and could with difficulty be persuaded to remain in bed till a reasonable hour. *Then* Frank had been accused of wanting to see his *way* more than his Mother, and told not to ask immediately for it; he said, no he would wait half an hour; this he did and then stood quickly up and whispered his question very softly indeed; It would have been too bad not to have had it for him. He cuts and moulds at a great rate. Sella has quite a talent for the Art, and surprised me with three or four small flowers of her own manufacture; but I was particularly gratified with her last production; two evenings she worked hard at a *Callensia*, the little blue and white flower that grew so profusely at the Conver house it was a difficult flower to make, nevertheless she persevered, pulled the flower to pieces, cut her own patterns, and produced a flower that Mary says is better than those she was taught to make! She is very quick to learn; affectionate with almost every one, particularly so with Robby and me; but really ugly at times with little Frank which is a sad thing to me, I believe it is best to keep them apart as much as possible, and not allow their interests to clash too much. I have put Robby to sleep with Sella, and keep Frank with me. The town is quiet now, but all are anxiously awaiting the Vallandigham decision. Mary says she sent you a paper containing an account of the Riot, have you received it? I will send you a Cincinnati paper containing an account of Howard's expedition. I fear this was the only successful part however, as later news announces the captain of *'Shaits'* forces, and Col. Sprague was cooperating with him in the first place. We had another letter from Howard last evening dated May 7th. - He merely wrote to say that he had started $200.00 home. The "Major" had been obliged to send in his resignation, wherefore he did not say, but promised an explanation sometime. We found out accidentally that H. had been sick, but I believe he is all right again. - I saw Uncle John this evening and he promised to come in but has not done so. What shall I do about the fence, Father said the price for painting or priming was so high that he wished to ask you first, $20.00 for painting; $9.00 for priming. The taxes, are not yet settled, Father thinks they will be much higher than usual, and that it cannot be helped. We have been talking over our expenses and are going to try the following plan. The rent for whole house is taken at $300.00. I have, my room, Sella's, bathroom and storeroom, with use of all the house, so that takes off $150.00. Then I pay the washwoman, which is now $1.00 per week but will probably be $1.50 after while. My own fuel and if gas is introduced into the whole of the house half of that expense, I should burn it in my room at any rate. We inquired of Mrs. Holt, and found her has bill never exceeded $2.75 per month is generally much less. - This is smaller than ours used to be, and we will try to be as economical as she is. - I wish besides this to give Betty .25 per week as she is expected to wait on my room, and sometimes look after the children. This is the plan we will try, I hope it will work well and be satisfactory all round. I know it is cheaper for me than boarding elsewhere would be or than keeping house alone would be; and I hope our real expenses to Mother and Father will be covered more than that they do not wish. Be sure you tell me what you think of this and answer all questions. Mary has just rushed down stairs to tell Mother that you didn't send her a kiss; you wrote "and smother Sella, Frank and Robby with kisses for me", I read it "gets Mother, Sella Frank and Robby kisses from me." Mary said she thought that leaving her and Father out was very pointed and pretended great anger. hence her pretended joy and triumph over Mother. - All send love, and Mother says tell you that they are trying to keep your 'treasures' for you. The Colonel came to see me twice the day I left; the first time he merely handed in a paper of candy for Robby, the next time he sat and talked some minutes, and sent word to Mary never to marry an Officer. He sent his orderly to see about the cars and behaved very well; was however feeling badly about the news. - Mr. Stacy called and offered his services. Remember me to these and the Captain also to Mrs. *McElrath* the Vanderpool's, *Stampers* and any who care to inquire for me. If you ever have any opportunity, do send us or bring us small plants of the Polonia here (it looks like *Catalpa* but has the purple flowers) seeds may do if you cannot get plants. Mr Phillips has not succeeded with his but Mother and Mrs. Stevens wish to try different situations. It is late Dearest, - do write very often, it will help us both to bear this separation better. Tell me just how you are situated, and how well Emma cleaned the quarters for you. Robby was very busy writing a letter to Emma Bruen yesterday but I did not think it necessary to send it. #Robby asked several times to go back to you, and said, "yes, Mamma I do want to go back to Papa." God keep you darling, and bring you to us soon, never to leave us again while we live on earth; eternally ours in another and better world. Goodbye dear Husband, Augusta# [May 14, 1863] Thursday - Uncle John has just been in and says he will do what you wish. I don't know whether I have made the boarding business clear - We give the house and pay what may sometimes amount to $10.00 a month. I have the run of the whole house, and the only one who is not crowded in my private rooms receive board for myself and children, washing gas & fuel and such attention as pleases me best and that I could not get elsewhere. Is that clear and is it satisfactory? - Send on the *machine* for I have stepped right into Summer, and not one of the children prepared for it. I scarcely know where to begin. Have been very busily and fatiguingly engaged since my arrival in unpacking and arranging my effects. - Frank seems brighter this morning and is sunning in the yard. *There* more Goodbye Dearest, A. How many stamps are needed on such letters?
Catharine Mitchill '31 Collection of Family Letters, Wellesley College Library, Special Collections