Frances Marvin Smith Webster1848-02-08Lucien BonaparteFort McHenry, MD39.2641151-76.5798874By this morning's mail dearest husband, I received your letter of January 9th. Your letters now come with some regularity, and much quicker than they have done heretofore. I am rejoiced to hear that your health is so good and that all is quiet in your neighborhood. . . .A home of our own will certainly be a very great comfort to us all. I shall not look upon myself as anything more than a homeless vagrant until you do return and we have a home with you. Or until I go to Mexico which I do not consider at all improbable. Many ladies have already gone to join their husbands and many more talk of doing so. Mrs. Magruder says that she shall return with the Captain in the spring. I shall await your orders on the subject. . . .Kirby's poor wife has written to me begging me to go on to Syracuse and keep house with her, she thinks this would be an economical arrangement for us. She is said to be a good manager, and we might make the arrangement a pleasant one. I am convinced that I can keep house with much less expense than I can board, and if I were certain that I should not see you this coming summer either by your coming home or my going to you, I think I would endeavor to make some arrangement that would enable us to keep house together as she proposes.I wrote you about my expenses last year. They greatly exceeded the year before, owing to boarding, travelling and sickness. They amounted to $880, 300 of which I received from Mr. Davies, the remainder was from your two months' pay accounts received in Pensacola and the sale of household articles there. I hope that my expenses next year will not be quite so great.Mrs. [Edwin] Babbitt and Mrs. [Joseph] Haskin are living together at a place called Mexico (New York) near Oswego. They rent a house for $60 a year with outhouses, a garden, an orchard of various kinds of fruit and a pasture for a cow. They have a church and good schools there, and I suppose the most necessary articles of family consumption are equally cheap.I mentioned a monthly allowance to you, merely because I felt a little delicately about calling upon Mr. Davies, and then I thought that if I had a specified allowance, for myself and children I should feel more at liberty to-- NA --do with it as I pleased, and that from that sum whatever I saved might be devoted to an especial object I had in view. Because you give me such unlimited control of your means is the very reason I wish to be restricted to a certain amount. I never intend to give you any cause to complain about my extravagance, but I should not be sorry if I had two or three hundred thousand dollars at my disposal just now, not for my own use, so much as for the benefit of those who have been deprived of everything by this cruel war.I heard yesterday of Captain [James] Irwin's death. He died of disease in the city of Mexico. How few of our old friends will be left when the Army comes out of Mexico. I received a letter from Mother today. She says that Mrs. Nauman is expecting her husband home. Captain Hardee is already on his way to St. Augustine; they are attempting to get Edward (Buddy) Dummett transferred from the 13th Infantry where he is a 2nd Lieutenant to a 1st Lieutenantcy in the 2nd Dragoons and think they will succeed. I wish Edmund could be transferred to a 1st Lieutenantcy in the Artillery.I have written to you once or twice about Peggy. I begin to feel very uneasy about her. You know I left her in the care of Burguin Williams (Mr. Strong being absent), son of old Williams who lived in Mr. Strong's neighborhood. He engaged to receive her wages and transmit them either to me or to Mr. Putnam according to my directions and was to deduct any expenses he might be at for her from her wages and make a suitable charge for his trouble. In case she was sick or discontented and could not earn her wages in Pensacola, I furnished her with an open letter to Mr. Putnam's agent in Key West, Dr. D. L. Whitehurst, and directions to send her by some safe opportunity to Dr. Whitehurst, to be forwarded by him to St. Augustine. Mr. Williams was also to let me know once in three months how Peggy succeeded, etc. Now although I have written to him three times I have never obtained any answer from him nor any tidings from her. I also wrote to Sergeant Gardiner since I have been here and requested him to make inquiries about her. I wrote to Mother telling her what my arrangements had been and her letter today says that they have not heard of her. I really feel very anxious about her. I was very much attached to her, and dear little Santa loved her almost as well as she did him. I hope and pray that no evil has befallen her. The condition of a slave is hard enough, even if there is nothing else to contend with. I think I will write tomorrow to Henry Whiting and request him to ascertain what has become of her and why Mr. Williams has not fulfilled his engagements. . . .