US Flag Ship Tennessee
At Sea – Thursday Night September 28th ą76
My Dear Sisters,
We have not been to the Centennial Exhibition to-day, as you may have been, but we have been walking on the łGreat Wall of China˛ and now for the first time I feel compensated really for our absence from home during this Centennial year; so I feel obligated [ ] over the excitement of the day; I will not say that we will not continue wishing ourselves in two places at the same time, particularly if we should ever have the pleasure of receiving an interesting account of your visits to the exhibition.
We have not had letters from you often since your return, from Jamie] more than the rest of you; suppose at Chestnut Hill, there has been too much to do, and Reynolds home and in gossip, kept all busy. I hope none have been sick, Kate was so often sick in Europe I trust home has cured her.
We left Yokohama the 9th of this month stopping only a few days at Nagasaki had some very beautiful weather coming through the lovely Island sea, łThe Sea of thousands of Islands,˛ one night was rather threatening, the Pilot anchored and will not go on till after the next day, waiting then for the night and would be in a wide stretch of sea.
We anchored and remained parts of 2 days [ ] a dirty Chinese town it is - the weather was beautiful Autumn sea weather; smooth, till suddenly it blew furiously; that was day before yesterday and all gave up hopes of ever getting near enough to land to see the Great Wall from the ship, the poor little Ashenlot (little towards the Tenn) was jumping about sort of wildly; William had signal made to her, łto make the – best of her way to the Pei-ho River and anchor; the Tenn run into an anchorage to-wards evening , as she was wasting coal without making headway, a rough ugly night, about day light another sudden change, cold as could be most, but sunny and smooth, by noon we were underweight, in China again under The Wall , and this A.M. five boats with all who wanted, or could, landed on a sandy
[ ]remained two days only, going to the Races, one day, the officers both days, winning and losing money, the American Consul is a rich Scotchman with a pretty Scotch wife, only one American lady here, excepting some pretty pleasant missionary ladies whom we did not have time to see; ships have to lie two miles from the shore; [ ] in command of the Ashuelof, Capt. Matthews, left Chefro with us to go to Yin-Koa; the trading town of Newchuang. (I am not sure yet where this fits. This was at the top of page 2)
beach, it was a smooth welcoming beach, the barge has run up to it, the bow dry, stern afloat; we could all get out without getting a wet foot, tho we were prepared, W & I, with dry stockings & shoes. Did not need them – We were two miles from the ship had some brandy & sandwiches, and the day was exquisitely pleasant, we landed close to the Wall where it is built out in the sea, a great mass; of [ ] fallen; huge great stone blocks under the water, in a very few minutes we were all on the top, easily getting up by the broken [ ] making steps. William says there is very little if any doubt about my being the first foreign feminine, that has trodden the Chinese Wall at the sea end of it -- There are not many houses near to this beach, but a large city Ning hai or some such name, a mile or so off. Chinamen soon were about us, but were well disposed and quite ready to accept cigars &c. There were two or three very large handsome Temples near bye, one very old, several modern, blazing with gilt & silver, as are all their Temples; blue and scarlet & pale green are their favorite colours for adornment The wild flowers were every where, single pinks dotting the whole surface of the plain, and the same sort of wild flowers that are [ ] of home in autumn on hills or roadside; you can read a more interesting account of the wall if you care to do so in any encyclopedia or other works which I can give you, I only wanted to tell you how we spent the day, we brought off bricks, flowers, and temple ornaments. Those who could, you know bribery & corruption will accomplish too much. We wandered on more for hours, the day proved warm tho the early morning was so cool. We went back to the ship rejoicing that we had accomplished on łthe Great Wall˛ so easily, we sailed back in the barge flying a nice breeze right for the ship, and were soon under way tonight is moonlit and ship quiet enough to write without any trouble but I must quit because I am tired.