I Have Left My Family Home

Since my husband has left,  he has been writing me urging me to leave Arlington.  I do not wish to leave my home.  This is the house my father built and the house where I have raised my children.  It is my deepest hope that my grandchildren will come here.  But now with civil war I do not want to think of what could happen.  In April I recieved letters urging me to leave.  I resisted leaving for sometime; the spring has been so beautiful and the flowers in the garden so lovely, but last week my cousin Orton Williams came rushing up to the house exclaiming that the Union troops were getting ready to take Arlington.  I was in a rush then to get everything together for an immediate departure.  Thankfully the Lord took pity and Orton returned saying that the army had been delayed.  Several days later my cousin resigned his commission and joined the Confederacy.  This war has torn my heart in two.  I am angry at the North for forcing their beliefs on us and for pushing us until this war broke out.  At the same time I love the united country that my family fought so hard for.  I am disheartened to see another of my family forsake the unified country. 

After Orton left I had to move quickly to make all of the family valuables as safe as possible.  I have sent the silver and many of Washington’s papers as well as my family and my husband’s family papers to Robert who is still in Richmond.  I have locked books and engravings in some closets while carpets and drapes have gone into the attic.  Washington china has been stowed away in the basement.  I pray that these beloved family treasures will be safe for as long as I am away from home.  I have already sent my daughters Mary and Agnes to Aunt Maria at Ravensworth.  I feel that there is still so much in the house that should be sent away or locked up for safety but there is no time. 

I have written to my husband several times about the difficulty of leaving our home.  The weather is so nice and the flowers have never looked as nice as they do this spring.  I would greatly prefer to remain at home and have my children around me.  But this is not to be.  I have turned over the house keys to my trusted servant Selina Grey.  I have gone to join my daughters at Ravensworth and I wonder when I will ever see my family home again.

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Filed under Civil War, Family Life, Women's History

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