13 June 1862: “Mrs. Morris & Mrs. Greenhow have arrived here at last from their Wash’n Prison…”

Item description: Letter, 13 June 1862, from Edward Porter Alexander to his wife. The letter includes a brief mention of Rose Greenhow and Augusta Morris, Confederate women spies.

[Transcription available below images.]

Item citation: From folder 11 of the Edward Porter Alexander Papers, #7, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

[Mrs. E.P.A. Farmville, Ala.]

Confederate States of America
Ordnance Office,

Richmond Manassas, June 13th, 1862

Yesterday was a cheerful day for me, my darling Bessie, for after a famine came a perfect feast of your letters, four of them in twelve hours, & I read them all over & over again, & wished for four more. Your letters are really sweet to me, Wifey, not only because they tell me how you are, but because they also tell me that you love me, & that I’m never tired of hearing. I had heard, thro [Kimmie?] that Ben had the measles but Kim gave such a very good account of her that I felt but little uneasiness about her, & your letters make me hope more strongly that she will have a light attack, & then the fear of them will be off our minds. I was perfectly astonished to hear of Aunt Susan having anything to do with Gibbon – a despicable traitor.

I have been very busy since I wrote to you last, & have allowed a longer interval to pass without a letter than I ever will again if I can avoid it. On Monday last I went down with a rifle to shoot a Yankee Engr. Offr. that I saw building a bridge the day before, but he was not there, so I contented myself with shooting at their pickets, & then in the afternoon I fired at them with our Armstrong cannon, they answered very hotly with four 20 lb. Parrotts, & we had quite a little duel until at the 10th shot our gun broke a screw & we had to stop firing. They did not hurt any one, though they came very near it. I could not tell whether I hit anybody or not, but I think I landed a few shell in a big camp of theirs where the men were very thick. Our Washington Company manned the gun & behaved very well. Since then I’ve been getting up guns & projectiles &c., & doing a good deal of official writing but have not been out to the lines.

Yesterday Gen. Lawton was here on his way up to reinforce Jackson with 4000 men, I dined with him at the Spottswood & he sent love to you. Mrs. Morris & Mrs. Greenhow have arrived here at last from their Wash’n Prison, & Mrs. M., I think is not a model of virtue however patriotic she may be. I am going to give her a few hundred dollars of the Secret Service money & send her off to the South. I don’t think, Darling, that it will do for you to come back to Richmond at all. I could see very little of you, & the city is hotter & more uncomfortable & expensive every day, & moreover I am now much afraid that we will lose it. You had better stay at Farmville till something turns up – which must happen soon. My [?] bill is now $80 a month & washing &c nearly $10 more. Col. Gorgas proposed yesterday to make me a General of Artillery to command all that in our Army, except the reserves. What would you think of it.twould be heavy on my modesty, but it might [aid?] the country.

Kiss Ben ten thousand times for me, write me often about her. Love to the girls. All well here. May God bless & keep you both [?].

your loving husband, Ed

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