Frances Marvin Smith Webster1847-11-13Lucien BonaparteFort McHenry, MD39.2641151-76.5798874I have already written to you dearest husband twice during the past week and have enclosed several papers to you and copies of letters which I thought would be interesting to you. We have no more news from General Scott's army than you will find in the papers I send.A great many officers are coming home (mostly on sick leave, in consequence of wounds) but I expect to see none of those dear to me. Mrs. Martin is in Baltimore awaiting her husband, who you know has lost an arm. Colonel [James] Bankhead has gone to Vera Cruz as Governor; his family are to pass the winter in Baltimore. I see Mrs. Magruder frequently; she is most kind and affectionate.I have succeeded in obtaining a copy of the reply to the notice of Donaldson which appeared in the Sun. It praised Donaldson even more than the first piece to which it purports to be a reply and many persons have supposed it to be written by Donaldson's family, who from a sense of honor and justice must be unwilling to have him receive praise not his due, particularly when it detracts from another, and in fact makes a perfect cypher of his Captain. However I am told that his sisters particularly Mrs. Van Linden are very indignant at its appearance, and that they say it robs their brother of all the credit which is due to him, and moreover that it must have been written by Mrs. Belton or her son for that no one else here would interest themselves about you. They have been to the editors of the Sun and demanded the author, but the editors either could not or would not give the name of the writer. Mrs. Belton and Winfield both, and I believe truly, disclaim it and if you have any conversation with Donaldson about it you had better tell him this. Entre nous Donaldson's family are determined to obtain a brevet for him, and even say that he shall have it, and I have also heard that it is proposed to get a sword presented to him.These things are it seems all done by the interest which friends make and most of the brevets I am sorry to say are obtained by the same inglorious means. I fear that you my dear husband will not obtain much distinction in this way, for your friends have neither the power nor the will to obtain them but we must and will be satisfied that you have a clear conscience, and a reputation carved out byyour own good deeds without the factitious aid of friends at court.What did Donaldson and [William] Shover do at the battle of Buena Vista for which both claim the honor? I am told that Donaldson's family-- NA --blames you for not reporting that Donaldson claimed the credit for something which is awarded to Shover. . . .My poor brother's unhappy wife -- I have received the most touching letters from her. She says that though destitute of the means of support she does not feel uneasy, for she trusts in God, and is sure that he will relieve her and provide the means of sustaining her children. My poor poor brother! it seems so hard that he should have been taken just as success and prosperity dawned upon him. I hope we shall be able to do something for his children.You will see by the papers I send you that poor old Colonel Churchill has lost his son. There is or should be a general mourning throughout the land, for the voice of weeping and lamentation is everywhere to be heard. The officers have I am told sent several hundred dollars to Mrs. Capron, and Mrs. Drum has received $2000 from the same source.The last letter that I received from you mentioned that you had been dining with an Englishman (Mr. Boultbee) who was talking of going to St. Augustine to reside. Why do you not offer him your property there, Bellavista, as it is called. It is certainly the most desirable spot for a gentleman's residence in or about St. Augustine. Was the residence of the Spanish governors, and is capable of being made a most beautiful spot. 1I wish you could write me precisely the nature and amount of your claims on Peter Sken Smith; he is residing in Philadelphia and I will make it my business to see him and see what I can obtain from him.I see everywhere (at least among the friends of officers) Mexican trophies. Mrs. Magruder had a pair of shells (bomb) from Palo Alto I believe mounted on American marble with three bronze branches and glass drops, for girandoles on her drawing room mantel and they are really very pretty. Someone has designed a pair of andirons to be formed of one large shell or ball supported by two Mexican bayonets which rest on grape shot for the feet. General Worth has sent a complete suite of drawing room furniture to Mrs. Worth -- crimson embroidered with silver. The Mexicans will be stripped of their splendor in all probability.The children are quite well and are very good. I cannot make Josie study much on account of her eyes, but she is very intelligent and in most respects a very good child. Fanny is a sweet little merry creature and wins everybody's affections at once. Mary Mills is still with me and is improving in some respects. I have not yet positively decided to remain here all winter but think I shall. How I do long for a home with you to preside and make it cheerful.Edward Townsend called to see me yesterday. He says there will be no more fighting but that has been the constant cry of those who stay at home. I have just received a long and very kind letter from your brother Horace. He says that there is a prospect of his going to New York to reside.-- NA --Remember me kindly to all friends. Josie says do beg dear Papa to come home, which God grant soon. . . .