In a letter to his two daughters who were in Richmond, he writes:
"Valley Mountain, August 29, 1861.
"My Precious Daughters: I have just received your letters of the 24th and am rejoiced to hear that you are well and enjoying the company of your friends.... It rains here all the time, literally. There has not been sunshine enough since my arrival to dry my clothes. Perry [his servant--had been in the dining-room at Arlington] is my washerman, and socks and towels suffer. But the worst of the rain is that the ground has become so saturated with water that the constant travel on the roads has made them almost impassable, so that I cannot get up sufficient supplies for the troops to move. It is raining now. Has been all day, last night, day before, and day before that, etc., etc. But we must be patient. It is quite cool, too. I have on all my winter clothes and am writing in my overcoat. All the clouds seem to concentrate over this ridge of mountains, and by whatever wind they are driven, give us rain. The mountains are magnificent. The sugar- maples are beginning to turn already, and the grass is luxuriant.
"'Richmond' [His horse] has not been accustomed to such fare or such treatment. But he gets along tolerably, complains some, and has not much superfluous flesh. There has been much sickness among the men-- measles, etc.--and the weather has been unfavourable. I hope their attacks are nearly over, and that they will come out with the sun. Our party has kept well.... Although we may be too weak to break through the lines, I feel well satisfied that the enemy cannot at present reach Richmond by either of these routes, leading to Staunton, Milborough or Covington. He must find some other way.... God Bless you, my children, and preserve you from all harm is the constant prayer of
On account of rheumatism, my mother was anxious to go to the Hot Springs in Bath County. She was now staying at "Audley," Clarke County, Virginia, with Mrs. Lorenzo Lewis, who had just sent her six sons into the army. Bath County was not very far from the seat of war in western Virginia, and my father was asked as to the safety of the Hot Springs from occupation by the enemy. He writes as follows to my mother:
"Valley Mountain, September 1, 1861.
"I have received, dearest Mary, your letter of August 18th from Audley, and am very glad to get news of your whereabouts.... I am very glad you are enabled to see so many of your friends. I hope you have found all well in your tour, and am very glad that our cousin Esther bears the separation from all her sons so bravely. I have no doubt they will do good service in our Southern cause, and wish they could be placed according to their fancies.... I fear you have postponed your visit to the Hot too late. It must be quite cold there now, judging from the temperature here, and it has been raining in these mountains since July 24th.... I see Fitzhugh quite often, though he is encamped four miles from me. He is very well and not at all harmed by the campaign.
"We have a great deal of sickness among the soldiers, and now those on the sick-list would form an army. The measles is still among them, though I hope it is dying out. But it is a disease which though light in childhood is severe in manhood, and prepares the system for other attacks. The constant cold rains, with no shelter but tents, have aggravated it. All these drawbacks, with impassable roads, have paralysed our efforts. Still I think you will be safe at the Hot, for the present. We are right up to the enemy on three lines, and in the Kanawha he has been pushed beyond the Gauley.... My poor little Rob I never hear from scarcely. He is busy, I suppose, and knows not where to direct....