Sunday, October 12, 2008

Letter from JEB Stuart to Flora Concerning the Illness of Daughter Flora

Last week, I published Stuart's letter to his cousin regarding his grief at the loss of his daughter. I thought I would publish the letters he wrote when he first found out that Flora was ill and then Flora had died. The first was written November 2, 1862, while Stuart was in Upperville, Virginia. There is much in the letter that reveals the personality of Stuart... Like I said, it was when I read this book of letters that I came to love Stuart.

My Darling Wife:

Your last letter received was dated October 16th. Then all was well and I was lithe and merry. On the 9th I moved to this flank to take charge of the very delicate operations entrusted to Lee's Brigade in Loudoun County, since which time we have been fighting all the time and yesterday and the day before were brilliantly successful against Pleasanton and Bayard.

Today, attacked by a heavy force of Infantry and Artillery, we have kept them all day advancing three miles and fought from position to position till dark.

It is McClellan's advance and there is no rest for me. Dr Brewer's (Stuart's brother in-law) first dispatch came yesterday and I answered it at once. The second came today, saying my darling Pet's case was doubtful, and urges me in your name to come. I received it on the field of battle. I was at a loss to decide that it was my duty to you and to Flora to remain. I am entrusted with the conduct of affairs and the issue of which will affect you, her, and the mothers and children of our country much more seriously than we can believe. I wonder if Dr. Brewer really thinks with you that I ought to leave my post under existing circumstances.

If my darling daughter's case if hopeless there are ten chances to one that I would get to Lynchburg too late. If she be convalscent why should my presence be necessary? She was sick nine days before I knew it.

My darling, let us trust in the Good God, who has blessed us so much, to spare our child to us, but if it should please Him to take her from us let us bear it with Christian fortitude and resignation. It is said that woman is better at bearing misfortune than man--I hope you will exemplify it. At all events, remember that Flora was not of this world, she belonged to another, and will be better off by far in her heavenly habitation. My staff are well.

Your devoted husband,
J.E.B. Stuart