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Family concerns

Date

12-12-1864

Keywords

letter, McIlvaine, Du Bois, daughter, family

Transcript

Cinc. Dec. 12, 1864

My own precious daughter,

So far away, + the winter between us. When shall I see you again, my own darling. I write you from the ship, We got up to your Uncle’s on Friday morning the 25th. Mr Hewson + Annie were there to meet us. He + [Emmence] came right home. Annie is just in Phila. Charly has gone to his [parents]. I did not tell you in my letter what danger I had been in + how the Lord delivered me. (The account in the W. Episcopalian is somewhat too strong. I was not “half drowned,” but near going where no deliverance could have come by man.) WE had 13 days out of 16 of almost [?] head gales of great force. On the 9th just as I had come on deck for breakfast + when I was standing as marked in the drawing enclosed, looking at the sea. Suddenly there came a crash over the whole ship as if all the ocean were upon it. An enormous sea the union of two cross seas had broken over + in the [hurricane] deck just before the cabin part. It broke in the windward bulwarks, + the windward door of the cross passage between the saloon + the stewards pantry, two [parts] of it [?] where I was standing, the ship [/] + leeward + the deck was filled on that side to the height of the bulwarks. I attempted with another passenger who was standing with me to reach the door of the saloon. I was [?] by the tide that poured through the broken door + thrown [?] I got up + was thrown again + it seemed as if I must be carried to the leeward bulwark + go over. The other passenger was thrown down with me. Just [??] afterwards appeared the Captain’s servant, a dear little boy in whom we were much interested was carried over + lost. I had risen the second time in the passage + was grasping out for the handle of the saloon door to hold by. The other man was before me + I could not reach it for him, + I would not try to support myself by him. The ship was just going to leeward again when I should again have fallen when two of the cabin servants ran to me + caught me + I got into the saloon. The other man was thrown [where] I expected to be +carried to the bulwarks + up + down the ship, sometimes swimming till he caught some support. When I got into the saloon (which is on deck _ under the [?] deck), I found it the floor covered with a flood. It took an hour to get the water out there so that we could have breakfast. Charley was there + did not see my danger Emmy was just coming out of her room below, + had she been a half minute sooner would have been in great danger. Every sailor on deck was hurt, two severely. The water went down the stairs to the state room deck, + the rooms on the leeside where [?] was, were a foot + some two feet deep in water. [?] on the other side excepted. It was an awful time. The Lord delivered me from an awful death, for during 13 days no boat could have lived in the sea, + for the ship to [slip] or [?] round to save any body would have been destruction. Charley was quite undisturbed in his courage + dear Emmy was wonderfully calm. I found after a few hours that I had strained the [?] of my right foot so that I became unable to walk. I still feel the foot very tender. Charley + Emmy are the best of sailors + travellers. Neither of them had any sickness on the ocean or the channel crossing.

When I got home I recd a most sweet, affectionate letter from your darling Emmy. (N. ?) addressed to me in N.Y. but [such] did not get there till I had left, most earnestly begging me to go to N.J. + see her + the Doctor. A letter from the Dr. to the same effect. Had I recd them before I left N.Y. I think I should have gone, though I was very lame. Dear sweet Emmy -- how I want to see her. My darling Mary I [need] to think of something to get for you abroad that could be easily sent you + I could not think of any thing but more fine handkerchiefs, which (six) I will send by mail.

[?] I want to know from [w] how his health is - how he is situated at Dubuque, whether you are pleased with the parish, what they do for you, how your helath + the children’s is - Are you keeping [house]? What has been done with the house at ? Parish? Bp. Whipple was in England before I left, but not in the part I was in, so that I did not see him. Your Mother is not very well. Give a great deal of love to [Warw] + George + Ogden + their sisters, whom I would give so much to see - Oh! that you were near me. My Mamy, you are dear to me beyond all expression. No [Father] were loved admired, humbled in, rejoiced in a daughter, for what God in nature + grace gave her, more than I am your [?] shall be ? where we shall be separated no more. Blessed be God that so early He made you His child, + his [?] on His gracious work in your heart to this day. To His love + help + peace & joy I commit you. Blessed I am bless my most precious daughter + all her[s]

Your dearest Father -

I want you to write me, darling [?] Washington too, + George again.

Letter to Maria Du Bois

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