Want to save this letter now that you've found it?
It's easy - just create your own collection of letters after signing up for a free account.
... This is the fruit of war. Ah ! that greater ills did not attend it ! Compared with the distresses of some, ours are but slight and temporary inconveniences. We still live, and are even happy in the anticipation of future joys, while multitudes have fallen by the iron hand of war. How many tender, fond connections have been broken by it ! How many parents hearts have been rent with grief, how many widowed mates, how many spotless virgins (like the drooping lilies), have bowed their heads, oppressed with sorrow, at the loss of children, husbands, lovers ! And, my amiable mate, the possibility that that might be your lot has cost me many a tear. But God has spared me, in mercy to us both, in kindness to my parents and friends, in favor to our sweet babe, and, I hope, not without future benefit to my country. Let us, my dear, ever gratefully acknowledge God's goodness to us, and devoutly pray for the continuance of it . . .
... I remain well, and soon expect a summons from Congress to repair to the Board of War at Yorktown ; for, contrary to what I had heard, . . . that General Gates was gone to Boston, a friend of mine just from York in forms, that Gates had accepted his appointment, and was daily expected there, and that upon his arrival the Board would be formed. I understand there is a vast field of business to be laid open to the Board, so that I despair of seeing you till the spring. Then, I hope and expect to re turn with you and your boy. . . . The information of my friend, above referred to, renders your coming with me in the spring still more necessary than I had imagined j for, though flour at Yorktown is less than four dollars a hundred, and beef but about eight pence, lawful money, [eleven cents and one ninth,] a pound, yet the members of Congress give thirty-seven dollars and one third a week for their board, without a servant, and but middling fare into the bargain. This sum would be considerably more than the amount of my wages per week ; of course I cannot live in that manner. And, as the necessaries of life are so cheap there, tis plain this dearness of board must be a most abominable extortion, and enhanced chiefly for cooking your food and finding a bed. Before I heard this, I had thought of a scheme for living at such a moderate expense as would enable me to maintain you and our son, as well as myself. This was by taking lodgings two or three miles out of town. At that distance I imagine I can live at a quarter of the expense ; for I would buy my own hay and firewood, and then I should have no one to pay extravagantly for feeding my horse or my fire ; for Millet can do both, and cook, too, extremely well, if need be. And this distance would by no means hinder me in the general course of business. On the other hand, as I expect close application will be necessary, to ride or walk that distance daily will be extremely beneficial, if not necessary, for my health. Now, the principal necessaries of life being thus cheap, were you with me to conduct the family affairs, the whole might ... be supported at much less, or, at least, without greater expense, than I alone at board. ...
Tuesday morning, December 30th. I might have told you, that, since our arrival at this place, which was on the 20th instant, I have been at my own quarters, separate from the General's family, at whose quarters they are exceedingly pinched for room ; and, as I am in a house where there is a family, Millet borrows such utensils as are necessary for cooking. Had I conceived how much satisfaction, quiet, and even leisure, I should have enjoyed at separate quarters, I would have taken them six months ago. For at head-quarters there is a continual throng, and my room, in particular, (when I was happy enough to get one,) was always crowded by all that came to head-quarters on business, because there was no other cover for them, we having, for the most part, been in such small houses. Besides, at head-quarters much business passed through my hands, which is now done by the aides-de-camp, and I get rid of, being absent.
- The Life Timothy Pickering. by His Son, Octavius Pickering. Volume I. 1867