Your letter of the 6th commencing with an
apology for such an early reply
came to hand on Sunday last. No apology was needed
for so doing as it a good evidence when a friend an-
never failing habit is, to answer all of my correspondents
immediately or within two days time after the receipt of a
favor from them. My duties in the quartermaster department are
rather onerous. Maj McLaws finding out my business ca-
pacities during one month stay with him, has turned over
all of his papers to me, and placed a young man under me
for an assistant. It is the first time I was ever "Captain of
the waiters" except when the partners of the Bank in which I was
employed were absent. The situation I have is indeed a most
pleasant one--made more agreeable by the interest major McLaws
takes in me, and his efforts to make me comfortable. He
has given me a tent to myself and a nice large stove to keep
me warm while writing. All I want now is my valise of
clothing, of which I shall make mention after while.
I have regretted that I did not send you a fuller and more
lengthy account of the late battle of Fredericksburg, since you
seem to have been interested in the brief account given. I've
been into town several times since I wrote to you, and witnes-
by my own senses the damage and destruction done
by the vile yankees. It seemed incredible to me upon the
affirmation of others, but I can truly state that they
did not relate the half. Words are too inadequate to
give a just and accurate account of all of their work. The
most of it was done during the first night after they
came over. Surely God visited them for it, heavily too,
on the next day. The battle field was a most horrible sight,
literally covered with dead men and horses. Although
we have had rain twice or three times, still as you walk
over the battle field you can see the stains of blood
on the ground from their dead and wounded.
You refer to my "particular friends" pleased at their escape from danger
They were none of them in danger but mother and father to be, who
fortunately did not get hurt. When the[y] heard of the interest I
took in getting them out of town, Mrs H. expressed as much joy at
meeting me as if I were "her own son." Wonder if she would say
that now knowing as much as she does. Miss W. objected de-
cidedly to telling her mother, but I ventured to demand that it
should be done by her. I informed her mother of the engagement by
showing her a portion of ther letter where she mentioned having
sent me her picture. If my good Major McL. will give
me leave of absence to spend a day or two with you I will
bring it down to give you a peep at it. It is good & excellent,
but still does not do her justice The principle beauty is not
exhibited in her features; it is in her heart. Her character is what
is most lovely. Nevertheless she is good looking, I think. I will
hear what you have to say when we meet again.
I am going to venture this by private hand. Mr or rather
Serjeant Harris goes out to-morrow morning on a foraging
expedition and says he is going to Frederick Hall, and from
thence through Louisa. If cousin Matt has not sent my valise
to Richmond she can give it to him.
You do not like long letters I believe, so will not trespass
longer upon your time. It is moreover late a[t] night and I wish
to scribble a few lines to dear Cousin Matt.
Miss Lelia Hart is here, and I have seen her very often. She
has done a lot of sewing and reknit a pair of socks for me.
She is very kind and good hearted and offers to do anything I wish
in the sewing line.___ Miss Bettie Goodwin is at Mrs
Thos Goodwins, in Caroline Co. I was mistaken about her being
near your neighborhood.
What is the message you have to send to Miss M? She would
not "think it strange." She shant do so, so let me have it
I still adhere to my old opinion in regard to the dura-
tion of the war; yet I confess there is more room for hope
just now, for peace than I have seen since the war began.
Still I do not look for it soon, only in this way: - when it
does come it will be sudden and unlooked for. O! but I do
pray with all the fervor of my trusting heart, to the Ruler of nations to
grant us peace. He will answer our prayers n his own good
time. --Sister Maggie has not mentioned lately anything about her
visit to the old dominion. I have not heard from her lately.
I hope that you have had a happy new year. Like yourself
I commenced the new year with more serious thoughts of the future.
I hope that cousin Matt is quite well again. Write soon
Sincerely your friend
James W Beaty
I would write you my reflections on the new
year, which is the opening of my journal com-
menced the 1st Jany 63, but for the length and seriousness.