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Inside View of the Fashionable Secesh of St. Louis.


September 1862

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, September 10, 1862.


Inside View of the Fashionable Secesh of St. Louis.

The richest expose of the season will be found in the following letters, which were captured a few days ago in the rebel mail bag:


ST. LOUIS, Aug. 28, 1862.

DEAR SAM:  Your letter of the 12th was received on the 20th.  We have not been able as yet to learn anything about Mr. Wells.  Many thanks for what you sent me; I still hope it will come to hand.  I have your picture that was at N. G. Armory’s.  Gamble ordered the National Guard to re-organize.  Some of the old members still continue; John Blood, Phil. Taylor, Frank Parsons, L. Quinlan, and B. MacQueen are all that I know of.

At one of the meetings, John Gray offered a resolution to expel all the members in disgrace who had gone South.  Hazeltine and F. Parsons voted for it.  Henry Senter is Captain of the company.  John Gray has been promoted a Brigadier General, having command of all the enrolled militia of this county.  All the stores are closed at 4 P. M., in order for the militia to drill.  S. Laflin, Joe Cabot and Hatch are on Gray’s staff.  A week or two ago officers were appointed to go to every house and enroll all the names of men over eighteen and under forty-five.  They say they are going to commence drafting next week.  The last two days they have been impressing men by going to different drinking shops and theaters, and even the jail, and taking men from them and obliging them to enlist.  Gamble, in a speech made a few nights ago, advocated shooting the “guerrillas,” “the non-combatant secesh” to be assessed and then sent South.  Picot’s property has all been confiscated; his family ordered to leave their house and everything in it.  They lived in Carondelet.

I have heard a great many say they do not think L—-e G—-s deserving all the praise given her; at any rate she is full as kind to the Federals.  She is walking, riding and flirting with them all the time.  I can assure you there are not many Southern women in St. Louis would speak to a Federal.  Her mother has done a great deal; and so have a great many others in a quiet way.

Last winter L—-e G—–s and some other young ladies, visited families where there were prisoners every day.  They would kiss some of the prisoners every morning and quarrel which should have such a one to walk with or for a beau.


FRIDAY, 29th.

I enclose you an order which appeared in today’s paper, which speaks for itself.  I was up to see mother to-day.  Mary is out at Mr. North’s.  Sue was up from the farm.  They intend to come up to the city to live this winter, on account of making it easier for McAvry’s business.  Sue is every bit as black as he is.  Mother sent you a package a week ago, which she hopes you have received.  We are all rejoicing over the news from Virginia to-night.

A great many negroes have been freed in the city lately.  Mrs. C—-‘s (Jim Shaler’s mother-in-law), has had a great deal of trouble with some of hers.  They have been freed; also some of Colonel O’Fallon’s, etc.

I saw Mrs. McP—- a few days ago, and told her what you said of her husband.  She was looking well and as cheerful as possible.  Mrs. W—- is with her friends in Kentucky.  Ned Martin has been banished to Massachusetts.  His health is very poor.  Jim Douglass is in prison in Alton, for saying at one of the National Guard meetings, that he considered himself a prisoner of war.  Mr. Nelson holds forth every Sunday—preaches abolition, etc., every week.  One of the things brought against father last winter was his not going there to church.  Father is first-rate secesh, but does not like to give anything to help the cause along.  You know Father well enough to understand that.  Mrs. P. is in daily fear that the authorities will give her trouble.  Mother sees her most every day.  I wish I could write you more news.  I never look at the papers for they are not worth reading.

Your loving sister,



ST. LOUIS, August 28, 1862.

CAPT. BREDELL:  You see your letter was appreciated, that I answer it so soon; and I hope this mail will get safely through.  St. Louis is very stupid now.  We have nothing in the way of amusement, and there is not the visiting there used to be, for we have no beaux to visit; indeed, our streets would be deserted if it were not for shoulder-straps.  Your friend, Mr. Fullerton, is fourth sergeant in the Hallack [sic] Guard, and went up to Lexington; but succeeded only in burning and sinking some little boats belonging to private individuals, for which the DEMOCRAT urges they should have some public demonstration for their personal bravery.

Mr. Allan P. was yesterday expecting to have quarters furnished him at McDowell’s College [McDowell Medical College, a.k.a. the Gratiot Street Prison].  He has had three notices sent him to report for active duty, but not feeling that way inclined, he paid no attention to them, and was expecting the consequence.

Mr. Pittman has gone to Kentucky to get married.  I do not know what we are going to do without him.  There were a number of gentlemen left here about the time they thought of drafting, but they are gradually coming back.  Mr. Bryan returned yesterday.  I suppose the attraction at Glencoe was too strong to allow him to venture far.

Mary L. and I were out last week a few days with Mrs. C.  Mrs. Sue B. came over to see us, looking as pretty as ever.  Mr. McDowell, I hear, is still devoted.  Mary and I had a grand time.  We had all the beaux St. Louis could muster, out with us—Mr. Clarkson, Pendleton, Russell and Tennent; and none of us having quiet dispositions, you may imagine what a time we had.  Mary and I spent the day last Tuesday with your mother.  She read us your letter, where you thought the young ladies should take care of the “little fellows.”  We are very much obliged for the suggestion and think of forming a society immediately.  Miss Fannie B. has been for some time this summer in Kentucky, but is now at home.  I expect you have seen her brother, as he left for the South.  Miss Eliza was down to see me night before last.  I delivered your message, and she sends her kind regards in return.  I have a good joke on her, which I should like to tell you, but I will have to wait until I can see you.  Mag and Mr. Thompson arrived safely last Sunday from Baltimore, after a very pleasant visit.  They have gone to housekeeping and are very nicely fixed, but she is fearing her husband may be ordered off to the wars.

Uncle Jeff. is at Niagara, and in yesterday’s paper I saw that Berney Farrar had set three of his servants free.  It only requires a word from a negro to have any gentleman arrested and imprisoned, so you see what we are coming to.

Our neighbor across the street is as savage as ever.  His daughter is Secretary to the “Ladies’ Union Aid Society,” and her favorite song is “John Brown’s bones lie mouldering in the grave,” which we have the full benefit of.  How some people fall to their proper level!

I suppose you have seen “Old Bogus’s” speech at the war meeting which was held here.

To your inquiry about the bricklayer, I have heard he is devoted to Miss B., and is very rabid and believes in crushing out the rebellion.  I don’t speak from personal knowledge of his views, as I have not even a speaking acquaintance with his majesty, who parades the streets in a Federal uniform, and his friend, Mr. L, has been dropped completely by the circle in which he once moved.  I hear he is devoted to one of the Misses R., and Lieut. Wherry to the other.  Ma and N. are still in New York.  I have had several invitations to join them, but have preferred remaining at home.

I expect them home next month, as N. has entirely recovered from her cough.  Sister and brother George sail for Cuba the 17th October.  Europe does not agree with him as he thought it would, and he is going to try to get back to his place in Texas.  M. is going with them.  What would she do if she had to live in the house with Jack and Mr. Hitchcock, who are such abolitionists.  The girls in St. Louis who have beaux are having a hard time with them.  Report says Miss Kate C. and Mr. Byron Cates are engaged and are to be married in October, but her father is very much opposed to it; but Miss Kate does not heed that, and says she is going to marry him anyhow; and another couple is John Harney and Miss Mary G., she is two years older than he is, and they are opposed by parents on both sides.  He will not be twenty-one until next spring, when they say they are going to be married and going to Germany to live; and Mr. Fred Beckwith and Alice S., (your friend) were married last February.  Mr. Beckwith told his mother last week and they have gone there to live now; so I believe the girls with beaux have the best time, though perhaps it is sour grapes that makes me think so.  We are all rejoicing over the news to-day; we have heard that Stonewall Jackson is crossing the Potomac.  I hope it may be true, and if he would catch John Pope there would be a general rejoicing.

Pope has written several times to Jimmie Yeatman, offering him a position on his staff, but he has not accepted it, as he wants to choose his side when he has to fight.  He has been in the country almost all the time for the past three months—something very remarkable.  We had a grand frolic out there some time ago.  We went out on the afternoon train, and danced all night, and came home in the morning.  Ze Chambers has gone to Ireland to visit his relatives.  He left very suddenly, as a great many others did.  Eugene Pendleton is up in Burlington, Missouri, having run off from the supposed drafting; and Mr. Haynes has gone to Canada.  I think it contemptible in young men who object to fight in the Northern army going off to such places, when they might go South; but perhaps they would not be much of an addition to the army, as I do not believe any of them are fighting characters.

Jim Wilgus was married last month to Miss C., in Philadelphia, but has come here to live, and looks as happy as possible.  I saw them in church last Sunday.  The news boys are crying this evening “all about McDowell’s death,” and it appears that Sigel rode up to him and shot him on the field.

Your friend Mr. Chouteau has been in New York for several months.  I thought he had gone to be married, but his brother here says he has not, and that he is expected back soon.

John Riggin is in town again, and I expect there is soon to be a fight, as he always leaves about that time.  He was up here before and brought a negro man that he had stolen from the South.

Oh!  what would we not give to see our old Hero marching through the streets.  We have waited a long time, but I trust that before many months you will all come to release us from the hateful fetters that bind us, for nearly every day they come out with some new order; and this morning a man signing himself “Justice” thinks the women and children should be sent, with all traitors, out of the Federal lines.

Poor Mrs. Dr. C. is having a hard lot; they have banished her from Missouri and freed all her servants.

Miss L. S. spent last winter in Washington where she caught a beau—Lieut. Foster—and is to be married soon.  She heard he was killed in the battle before Richmond and bought her mourning, but he is still alive (I am sorry to say as long as he is a Federal.)  Miss S. was in town for a day or two this week.  She is very well and Mr. Tennent is devoted to her; but I think she has concluded to wait until some one of you handsome staff officers some, and I hope you and your friend, Mr. Holland will soon give us an opportunity of having a big party, as one of your friends has promised on your arrival in St. Louis.  Remember me kindly to Generals Phifer and Armstrong.  I heard the latter was married, and was mean enough to write it to Mag last Sunday.

Remember me to all my friends South, and if that brother of mine is with you, tell him to send me word.  I had a letter from him from Springfield, in which he said he was going back to Mississippi.

I have set you such a good example that I hope to hear again from you, and with my best wishes and kindest regards for yourself,

Believe me your friend,                       MISS L.