Friday, May 27, 2011

1861 May 27 Leesburg [Virginia]

My dear girls,

I suppose
that you have ere this heard
that Alexandria was taken by
the Northern forces last Friday
morning, and may feel some un-
easiness as to what became of
me – Well after reaching Ma-
nassas Junction I took up
that road went to Middleburg
in stages, then with others tried
a spring wagon and came on to
this neighborhood Saturday. There
seemed to be great enthusiasm & ex-
citement among the soldiery in
prospect of an attack Friday
night at Manassas. But there
was a perfect panic here

[page 2]
Saturday evening when, as Lin-
cons [sic] forces were reported to be
marching on Leesburg – The
train on the road from this
place was taken by Lincon men
and bridges burned down, so that
we can get no news here from
the south – Can’t even hear how
the election is gone – You remem-
ber a secession flag in Alex: well
when Colo Ellsworth went to take
it down Mr Jackson shot him
and the soldiers under Colo E. shot
him and run him thro with their
bayonets. It is said that his wife
then took the flag threw it on
the dead body of her husband
drew her pistol and told them
she would shoot the first one
that touched it –

[page 3]
Well Bettie I gave the letters
to Miss Annie, and they were
very glad to get them and enquired
after you both with much affect- ^ ‘ion’
Tell Mr Simms I could not
get to Alex: and have the
money he handed me to pay
to Suttle & co $42.50 and
will hold it until he gives
me further direction. There is
at present no communication
between this place and that –
I did not see your Uncle Will
at Culpepper C.H. Expect he
is now at Manassas – remem-
-ber my injunctions children
about studying, working & C
Write to me at Upperville
for the other officers are almost

[page 4]
cut off – I will write again
from that place, as this
may not reach you – Give my
love to Mr. & Mrs. R. D. Simms.
[Several words are inked out.] & C
Don’t run about too much
and be kind & attentive to
y’r grand parents – If it should
be necessary for me to come over
at any time, tell Mr Simms.
Write to me at Upperville
and I’ll come as soon as I
receive the letter _

I’ve written this
very hurriedly and no time
for pains –

Y’r affect’e father
R.W. Watts

Robert William Watts, 1825-1910, noted Methodist minister, graduated from Emory and Henry, and served parishes in Orange, Loudoun, Warrenton, Amherst, Albemarle, Madison, Green and Nelson. He was a widower at the time he wrote this letter to his daughters. Mr. and Mrs. R. D. Simms mentioned the last page were his late wife's parents

MSS 809

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