Frederick, July 1, 1863

 

My dear Hallie,

I have been thinking of writing to you for the last 3 days, to tell you how much I enjoyed cousin John’s brief visit judging of your feelings by my own, the most trivial circumstance of so dearly beloved a brother will be of interest to you.  We have been in such a state of excitement & confusion since our capture & recapture that I do not remember what I wrote Ellie but think I gave her particulars of the street skirmishes &c.  When we heard the Army of the Potomac was really coming, my first & constant thought was, now I shall see cousin J.

All day Saturday the Cavalry were passing up Market St. & I inquired of several of the soldiers who stopped to eat the bread & butter the ladies were sending out to them (some rode so fast they snatched a piece & in that process much of it fell in the street) if Gen. Reynolds would be through.  All who seemed to know anything about him said that he had gone with the Infantry by way of Jefferson, a shorter route than this, so I have up the hope of seeing him for the time, although had really been so confident he was coming as to prepare a nice dinner.  Saturday night we were kept awake by the noisy waggon trains & such a Sunday I never spent.  There was scarcely any possibility of crossing the sts. for the countless multitudes who came pouring through, quite unable to read for the noise & wearied with looking.  About 3 o’cl. I undressed to try to get a nap, a few minutes after Clara came up & said Gen. Reynolds was down stairs.  It really seemed in my hurry as if I never should get ready to go down.  I told Ann to se the table for a lunch.  Cousin looked very well; said he had returned from Jefferson at ten the night before & would have come round then but thought it too late (but I had a room ready for him & wish so much he had come).  He seemed to enjoy the extemporal lunch of cold roast beef, yellow pickle & cherry pie; said he had eaten nothing that morning being engaged in finding an encampment for his men (said the biscuits reminded him of home on Kate’s House); promised to return to a late tea, after he had been to see his new Commander in Chief on orders & spoke as though they expected to remain here for some time (whereupon I thought in that case you & Ellie would come on here to be with him & we should have nice times), but like many of my other plans, this was doomed to a disappointment.  We waited tea for him until 1/2 past 9 o’clock.  Meanwhile Anne & I have supper to 17 soldiers who came in at different times asking to buy bread as the shops had all sold out & they had nothing all day.  It was truly a pleasure to supply their wants.  One very intelligent old man said he had not eaten a meal at a table for 15 months before & that “they never would forget how kind the Frederick ladies were to them; so different from the Virginia ladies who used to throw stones after them.”  Another heard the church bell ring & said, “That sounds like home.  We’ve had no Sunday for a year.”  Ann’s gallon boiler of coffee seemed quite to rest & revive them.  I forgot to mention in the right place that the 3 members of cousin’s staff who accompanied him, remained mounted which he stayed & I sent them out a plate of sandwiches which no doubt amused our secesh neighbors, but no matter.

Cousin did not return to supper, nor have I seen him since.  Early the next morning he left with his Core [sic] & yet there must have been some confusion in the arrangements, for two of his officers came here about 8 o’clock on Monday morning (one I think the original of a picture in Ellie’s album), enquiring whether the Gen. was here & if I could inform them where his head quarters were.  The night before one of them enquired if the Colonel had been here & then said they must have remained in the country evidently ignorant of the fact of his having left here which I did not know at the time.

Cousin talked more than you led me to expect.  He was quite communicative, read me a part of Ellie’s last letter announcing the birth of little Chester Landis.  Laughed heartily when I told him that I had told Ellie it did not seem fair for her to have 4 brothers & me to have no one, & that I had since thought perhaps you could spare cous. Jim but as he was not much of a lady’s man, to which he replied, “Yes, I think they might spare you Jim.”  I expect he is in Harrisburg now, &c.  As usual with me I always remember things I wish to ask when the opportunity is passed.  The orders to march must have been very sudden & no news has yet reached here from them. 

Much love to all from yours truly,

M.C. Reynolds