Sunday [27 October 1861]
Nannie Belle has the measles and I’ve been so closely occupied attending to her that I have had not time to write in my diary. I am afraid it is getting too voluminous. Nannie Belle will not read it with interest when she grows to be a woman if it is so long. But these are such eventful times and there are so many interesting incidents that I do not know which to omit.
I hardly know where to begin so much has occurred since last Thursday.
The battle at Leesburg was a more signal victory that at first reported. The enemy killed are not less than five hundred and we took upwards of a thousand prisoners.
Papa recieved a letter some days ago from Col Huger at Sewells Point stating that cousin Jack Maury was so drunk on the two nights appointed by him to blow up the enemy’s vessel that the Pilot and boat’s crews refused to go with him. That he took great interest in the success of the expedition and hated to see it fail through the negligence of an inefficient officer. If cousin Jack would only keep sober he is the best man that could be found for such service. He is entirely forgetful of self, bold and daring and cautious too. He came up from Richmond last night to report to Papa. Wonder what he said.
We all went to Nanny Herndon’s wedding on Wednesday night. After the ceremony we had a dance. The supper was very elegant. Will and I carried home two platefuls to Mama. The ice cream and jelly was the first we had seen since we left Washington.
A North Carolina troop of a thousand horse passed through here to day.
Mr. Randolph had to postpone the service until they had passed. The congregation would not assemble.
Papa has received orders to report in Richmond tomorrow.
I have kept my best news till the last. Last night Will, Molly and I went to uncle Brodie's to spend the evening and tell Nannie Mercer good bye. When we returned we found the party in the parlour in high spirits. Nanny had got well and come down. Mr. Corbin was there and Papa and cousin Jack were roasting oysters.
Papa just received a letter from the Russian Ambassador in Washington inclosing one from H.I.H. the Grand Duke Constantine of Russia inviting him to make that country his home.
Mr. Stoeckl sent the letter through the British Consul at Charleston and says Papa must send his answer in the same way. Papa put it to the vote to know whether he should go. Mama and I said 'yes". He is not appreciated here and is allowed to be of little or no service. He ought to go where his services will be appreciated and where he can do the most good to mankind.
Nanny, Mr. Corbin and Will said 'no'. That he ought not to forsake his country in her hour of need. He ought to stay and do the best he could.
Copy of a letter received in Fredericksburg October 26th 1861 by Captain M. F. Maury. [newspaper text illegible]