I have been in a state of shock and sadness. My husband has resigned his commission in the United States Army and has now joined the Virginia Provisional Army. I have told him that I would support his decision no matter what he chose but I cannot help but feel as though he has made the wrong choice. How can he turn his back on his country? The country his father fought to create? I do not want to know what my father would have thought about this decision either. His pride in the country and in his step father, General George Washington, would have made it impossible for him to see what is happening now.
Now that my husband had sided against the United State he tells me that I will have to leave my home. He has already left to go to Richmond and continues to write to me about the importance of leaving. I do not want to even think about leaving my home, the place I was raised and where I raised my children. My parents are buried here and my life is here. Where would I go? I do not believe that I will have to leave my home and that while my husband is thinking of my safety, he is being overly cautious.
My children are reacting to the news of their father’s resignation and his commission in the Virginia forces. Our sons are conflicted and do not know if they should follow their father or their country. I do not know what my daughters make of these events. At times I do not think they fully understand what is going on around them.
I cannot believe what God has wrought in my life. Last night my husband came down the stairs and said to me the question is settled. Here is my letter of resignation. I do not know how he can do this but I told him whichever way you go will be in the path of duty. You will think it right, and I shall be satisfied. But how can I be satisfied when I feel my heart breaking over my husband leaving the country of his birth and family. A country that his family helped build. He has worked so hard his entire life being of service in the military. How can a man so patriotic now have to fight against his country? What will happen if he sees friends on the other side of his gun? And what will the family think! I know of very few in our family that want to see war break out and still fewer who will be glad to hear of his resignation. My poor husband does not think of what faces him he only thinks of what his conscience tells him.
Now that their father has resigned from his post I do not know what my sons will do. They have always admired their father and tried to emulate him in every way. Two of them have had careers in the military and my youngest wanted to go to West Point. Will they now too join with Virginia and leave the United States behind? I can not bear to see what God had helped create now be destroyed by men. How can this happen?
My husband has told me that should war break out that we will have to leave our home. I cannot bring myself to think of leaving Arlington. It would bring to end all that my family has worked for. What would we do with all of Washington’s things? How could I know they would be safe from thieves? I do not want to believe that I will have to leave my family home, the home I grew up in and the home that I have raised my children in. This home has been a place of peace and reverence for the country and George Washington. My father worked his entire life so that people would never forget the work that George Washington did to bring the country together. To have defeated the British and won independence only to be torn apart by our own hands seems an awful fate for the country. I pray that God will intervene and save the land that I love so dearly.
Virginia has seceded and I do not know what will happen to my family. I am concerned and scared for my children and my husband. He has said over and over again that he will not raise arms against his native state but what of his native country? I have prayed and prayed for my family and my husband during the trying time that the country has gone through and I cannot believe that God would have abandoned me now in my time of need but how can He see this as the right path for my family? I do not want to think about what will happen if my husband leaves the United States military but that is all I can think of. And my sons! My three sons who are all in the prime of their life, what will become of them? What will happen if they have to fight in any war? And my beautiful daughters! They are all ready for marriage and yet here comes a war and with that all the young men will be gone and then what will happen to my girls? I do not worry about Mary, my eldest, but the other three I pray for daily.
My husband will not talk to me about Virginia’s secession. He spends his time thinking and praying. I still believe that only God can stay the waves of anarchy & disunion & make the passions of men subservient to His will. We of the South have had great provocation, yet for my part I would rather endure the ills we know than rush madly into greater evils–& what could be great than the division of our glorious Republic into petty states, each seeking its private interest & unmindful of the whole. This magnificent country that both my husbands father and my father and grand father helped create now seems to be coming apart at the very seams. For states to leave the union that was created by men and God is unimaginable to me and yet everyday that passes brings to me more news of the country I love falling apart.
I pray day and night now and feel sometimes as though my prayers are not enough. God will not desert me in my time of need but it feels as if He has deserted the country. Why must these men fight war and not find compromise in shared loyalties? How can they choose to put an end to what General George Washington started? Virginia has seceded and my heart aches for the pain that will come.
My husband has been promoted. Today he is now a full colonel in the United States military. His commission was signed by the president himself. He is to be the colonel of the 1st Regiment of Cavalry. On the 13th he attended a reception at the White House for 78 military officers. He still will not give me an answer on if he met President Lincoln. I am over come with happiness at my husband’s promotion. He has worked so hard for this country. I can only thank God for the blessings my family has received.
Virginia still has not declared if it is seceding or staying as part of the United States. With Virginia’s position still uncertain I wonder what my husband will do. He says that he wishes to do what is right but he is unwilling to do what is not, either at the bidding of the South or North. He also said that loyalty to Virginia ought to take precedence over that which is due to the Federal Government. I do not agree with my husband. My loyalty is to the country as a whole, the country that my family fought for and died for. I cannot begin to imagine what my poor father would think if he were able to see what was happening to the country he loved with a passion. For the sake of my husband and family I pray that Virginia stays with the United States. What is left for women to do now is to pray for peace and a resolution to this growing conflict.
As the threat of war grows closer, my prays turn towards my children. I do not know what my sons will do. I have a son in the United States military and my two other sons are of age to fight. I do not know if they will follow their father and their state or if they will choose their own path? I do not know and the uncertainty that rules my life makes living almost unbearable. The papers are full of news but at times I cannot decide what is truth and what is conjecture. I pray daily now for a peaceful united country. Only God can bring secession to an end.
My husband has returned from Texas today. The sad news that Texas has seceded from the United States causes me great pain. My husband sees no good coming from secession. I myself do not see any good coming from secession, both parties are in the wrong in this fratricidal war there is nothing comforting even in the hope that God may prosper the right, for I see no right in this matter. What is to become of this country that Washington built and my father spent his life glorifying? The North’s rabble rousing and the South’s insistence to secede has created such a rift between brothers.
I am now worried about what my husband will do. He has spent his whole life serving the United States, but now he shall have to choose between his country and his state. He says he will never bear arms against the United States, but it may be necessary for him to carry a musket in defense of his native State. What does he mean by this? How can he defend his native state and at the same time be passive towards the United States? But for right now I do not have to worry overly much on this topic. He is still with the United States Army where the loyalties of our family lie.
The possibilities of war and the secession of Texas after South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana has caused no shortage of problems. Presently the banks have closed their doors on Virginians. I am unable to withdraw money to buy my youngest warm clothes. The changes that are occurring will forever change my family’s way of life. Right now my husband says his fate is tied with Virginia. My fate is tied with his as is our family. Until he makes his decision none of us know what the family will do or where we will become of us. My faith in God shall provide me with the fortitude to confront the future. We can only pray that in His mercy He will spare us.