Washington, June 17th 1838
My dear Sister,
Your letter came this morning, I am very glad you
are going traveling, & I hope you will visit Castle Fin & York.
I do not care where you get the stuffs or who you employ to
make the things, so that they will be ready for me when I come home,
and now I will try and tell you all that I shall want. 10 silk
handkercheifs, dark, like the one I bought for Grandmother at Myers,
if you can procure such, they are good colour & will show the
name plain, if marked in white thread, and I believe they are
not high priced, if you cannot hunt up any of that kind, why
exercise your taste & judgement: I want them for sea use, 8
pair of cotton drawers, stout, you must buy the stuff & have them
made, the red pair will serve as a pattern, mark them plainly
& indeed on every article you make. I wish you would put my
name conspicuously, 18 pair thin cotton sock, some white., most
of them coloured, you can get them low priced, 12 colored shirts
of good calico, dark or light blue ground. Such as the one I
had at home some time ago. you will know the kind of stuff these
I want made with collars, to button in front, with a light pleat
or two in the bosom, flannel under shirts I will buy when I come
home. I want that linen From Samuel, if he has sold it, I hope
will buy another piece, it is just the thing for pants cheap and
strong, these are all I will trouble you for. I hope you will
have no difficulty in getting them made up, the more you sew among
yourselves, the less it will cost me, as many as Aunt can and
will make, I will pay her for. you have until the middle or third
week in July, perhaps the last week, to finish all, so there is
not a pressing haste & now that you know my wants, you can proceed
at your leisure, make Jane & Kitty help, they can hem & mark
the handks & sock & c let them be useful.
I went to Mount Vernon last week, with Miss May & other
Ladies, we had an interesting & deligntful time, we enjoyed a
picnic repast by a spring in the woods, on our return. Miss
Preston, daughter of Senator Preston, a most sweet & winning p
person, was of the party. I staid all night at Mrs. Slocum's
in Alexandria, she is May’s Grandmother, there are a number of
beautiful young ladies in Alex & not one Beaux. I shall go there
again, shortly. I have become almost one of Dr. May’s family
I believe I have supped there every night for the past two weeks.
the two girls sing charmingly & I pass my evenings very pleasantly.
I have not been down on the avenue for more than a fortnight the
weather has been here so extremely hot.
Two of us are up one night out of three, assisting Captain
Wilkes to make his observations with the Pendulum, and to observe
the transit and altitudes of the stars. Thie is something new
to me, and of great interest. I have to sleep in the day time.
for it is sunrise, before we finish. May & myself sit up together.
4 other passed Midshipmen have the two nights between them, so that
we are not too much fatigued, I like Captain Wilkes very much,
he is a most wonderful man, possesses a vast deal of knowledge
and has a talent for everything, tomorrow night (Monday) will
be my time to gaze at the stars, the time does not hang heavily
for daylight comes before we are aware of it, there is a
temporary shelter for the instruments erected in the garden
they all go with us & the obsns will be repeated in Southern
I think I shall be home about the middle of July, be particular
in selecting the calico for the shirta, I do not want gingham,
it is too slight a material, let the pattern be neat, I think
those red drawers were too small around the waist, you can see
if the strings behind are not let out. I do not want the
cotton to be too thick, but stout, same the handks, try and get
the brown ones, with white spots.
I have written in haste, you must excuse blunders, & wait
until I see you for a more particular account of matters &
My love to all,