Here we find James enjoying winter quarters in Caroline County, Virginia. In this letter James speaks of visiting Jourdan Woolfolk (of Mulberry Place) and meeting the daughters of Matthew Fontaine Maury. He also mentions contacting Henry Keeling Ellyson about his slave Fanny and her children. Concerned for their wellbeing, James continually tries to find them a good home.
Camp near Milford, Caroline, Jan. 6, 1863
My dear Wife,
I wrote your letter from near Port Royal the day after Christmas, and have not received an answer yet, but I am daily expecting to hear from you. Since writing, we have moved down here, where it is supposed we will spend the balance of the winter, as we have separated from the rest of the division, and are at work building shelter for the horses and ourselves. I spent a very pleasant day last Sunday at Mr. Jourdan Woolfolk’s,29 about a half mile from camp, a relative of ours, where I was invited, and found a very pleasant party there. There are two daughters of Lieut. Matt F. Maury30 of Washington, staying here, one of them a Mrs. Corbin31, of Stafford, who I found to be very agreeable ladies. It being the first visit I have made out from camp for some time, I enjoyed it very much, and shall probably shall repeat the visit if we stay here long enough. I was in hopes, as we are so near Richmond, that we would spend the balance of the winter there, or at least further down the country, but our camp is not more than thirty miles from Mantua, I think, and if I could only get permission, I think I could walk the distance in a day. At any rate, I would attempt it. Mr. Woolfolk told me that Uncle Achilles passed by his house on his way to see his sons after the battle of Fredericksburg, and also stopped on his way back. I thought, my dearest, that if I found it impossible to come down to Mantua, which I will write you word, I would get you to try and get sister Columbia to come up with you to Uncle Achilles’s as you spoke of some time ago. I don’t think it is more than 14 or 16 miles from here, and if I could not then you might possibly come up to see me and bring the children. Oh, my dear, I am indeed anxious to see you all, and I hope the day is not distant when I will have that pleasure. I want to see my sister Columbia also, as she is the only one I have left, and feels dearer to me than ever. Some people seem to think that the war is approaching its completion, but I have been waiting so long that I almost despair. It’s true we have had a good many successes lately, but the more successful we are, the North seems to be more bitter and energetic in carrying it on.
I mentioned to you in my last something about Fanny and the children. I did not know whether you had made any arrangements about them or not. I wrote to Mr. Ellyson the other day to attend to getting a home for them, but have not heard from him yet. I am very anxious about them, as there is a great deal of smallpox in Richmond, I am told. I also sent fifteen dollars to Vernon, as I think that was the amount you borrowed from him and your pa. I have not heard anything yet from Willie or the Dr. except through your letter. It is now raining quite fast, and the prospects are that we will have some bad weather now, which is to us very disagreeable, especially after having so much delightful weather as we have had since we have been in this camp. I think we are entitled to a furlough after going through as severe a campaign as we have, and think if I don’t get some I shall be apt to take French leave32 soon. My health continues pretty good, and I have been living rather better than usual lately, as we are separated from the bulk of the army now, and we occasionally have a chance of buying a little something out of the usual line. I don’t know what we will do for horses when we start out again, as we have lost so many in battle and otherwise, that we will have to get a fresh supply. You must excuse this paper, my dear, as it is the best I have at this time. And now I must stop, as it is very disagreeable writing here in a tent, surrounded as I am, by so many talking on a variety of subjects. Direct your letters to me, thus: “J.H. Campbell, Crenshaw Battery; A.P. Hill’s Division, Milford, Caroline Co. .” Write immediately, as I am anxious to hear from you, and I don’t think I shall make any application for a furlough until I hear from you. Kiss the dear children for me, and remember me to sister Columbia, and tell her she must take you up to Uncle Achilles’s, I cannot come down.
Your devoted husband
J. Harvey Campbell