United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865; Peirce, Elizabeth Hannah--Correspondence; United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Women
Home, Saturday eve. May 1862 My dear Sella, As I have not owed your mother a letter for a long time, I will write one to you and try if you will not answer one nearly as soon as she does. I am very sorry you and some of your little cousins cannot exchange letters, for then we should have many more. Sarah would like very much to write to you, though she would rather run in the woods, then do her copy on the slate. They all like their lessons better in cold weather than now, and so do I. Your mother says you are learning to read very well, and I am sure she is pleased with that. The children are all in the room just now, but they are soon going to bed; so Edward and Nellie are a little noisy with their last game of marbles; for their papa is not reading to them this evening, but has gone to lie down, and sleep off a bad head-ache. Elizabeth is very busy with a family of black dolls and an India rubber one, not much whiter. You remember the *Unit* men, do you not? Just now they seem to be real Africans; for they hunt gorillas, and little monkeys, and wild bulls and do many stranger things than the traveler she hears of. One of them does not behave well for he puts into his mouth, such a large pieces of hittumpotamus in order to grow fat, that his mother is not pleased. She very often has 'pretended' Sella's and Franky's and Robbie's in her plays, and wants to see you all very much. She begged her father this morning 'to write for Aunt Augusta to come to her old home so that you may all go to Massie's Creek when the 'long days come'. She would like to show the little lambs to Frank, and have his help every morning to drive them down to the gate. Then there are the three little chickens she feeds, and the old hens, that will soon have so many more of them. Henrietta and Sarah are busy with a book and a newspaper and cannot hear anything that is said. Elliot is fast asleep in his little wagon and he is such a great fat boy, with such a big curly head, that you would not know him, even if you should meet him someday at Grandpapa's. He is very sweet and cunning and good-humored, and I am sure you would like him very much. Perhaps you would think as we do that he acts something like Robbie, though he has not learned to run away yet, not even across the room, except on his hands and knees.
Your old friends Mop and Pop run down the road to me to their acquaintance, just as they used to, you, and the big dogs bark still, from their yard, at all who come near.
You remember pussy I am sure: this spring we found one day a pretty little lot of kittens, and she seems to be as much pleased with them as the children, which was a great deal; but after a while she grew tired of staying always at home, and grew quite too fond of lying in the kitchen, and playing with Pop, and though Amelia boxed her ears and send her back very often, she neglected them so much, that the poor little things died. Then nobody was pleased with her, though she fussed with them a great deal when it was too late. Still she caught a great many mice, and that is the use of a cat you know. But one day Edward brought in the feathers of a pretty red bird; whose father and mother have been our neighbors and friends these three years, and there was no doubt that Puss knew more about it than anyone else: so that very day she was packed in a basket, with a bottle of milk and your uncle Jere took her away to spend the summer at the factory. Now that is a long story about a cat, but I wanted you and Frank to know all about her, as she was an old friend of yours, and I think Robby too used to like her; but I am afraid your mother did not think so much of her, and if she had hears of this conduct, will say 'I expected no better of her!' But now about the birds, that is pleasant. Every bush is full of little brown things, very tame but very watchful too, lest someone should disturb their nests full of little green or white eggs. Best of all are the active cat-birds, who have a great deal to say, and say it very well, there in the honeysuckle over the summer play-house; you could see the nest if you could stand on the bench by the kitchen window where you all used to sit: and that shy brown thrush and robin red-breast in the evergreens, and the red-birds we know so well. There sits the little mother so happy with her new nest and the eggs in it that she cannot help singing every little while, and her red-capped mate who sings so loud, and is a very fine fellow, though he will fight with the cat-bird. However he is civil enough to a little brown bird, who is content to live below them and make less noise, and be a much smaller bird. Now do you not know nearly all about us? I hope your father and mother and all of you may be here this summer, or you all and we will grow so old, we shall not know each other again. You must send your cousins word about the fort, and how you live and play in it, for they want to know all about you and your home; give our best love to your father and mother and brothers, and as soon as
Catharine Mitchill '31 Collection of Family Letters, Wellesley College Library, Special Collections