Jeb Stuart writing to his wife after being notified of the likely approaching death of his little daughter, Flora, from typhoid

Stiles/Akin

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#1
Jeb Stuart writing to his wife after being notified of the likely approaching death of his little daughter, Flora, from typhoid --

November 2, 1862

My Darling Wife:

Your last letter received was dated October 16th. Then all was well and I was lithe and merry. On the 9th I moved to this flank to take charge of the very delicate operations entrusted to Lee's Brigade in Loudoun County, since which time we have been fighting all the time and yesterday and the day before were brilliantly successful against Pleasanton and Bayard.
Today, attacked by a heavy force of Infantry and Artillery, we have kept them all day advancing three miles and fought from position to position till dark.
It is McClellan's advance and there is no rest for me. Dr Brewer's first dispatch came yesterday and I answered it at once. The second came today, saying my darling Pet's case was doubtful, and urges me in your name to come. I received it on the field of battle. I was at a loss to decide that it was my duty to you and to Flora to remain. I am entrusted with the conduct of affairs and the issue of which will affect you, her, and the mothers and children of our country much more seriously than we can believe. I wonder if Dr. Brewer really thinks with you that I ought to leave my post under existing circumstances.
If my darling daughter's case if hopeless there are ten chances to one that I would get to Lynchburg too late. If she be convalscent why should my presence be necessary? She was sick nine days before I knew it.
My darling, let us trust in the Good God, who has blessed us so much, to spare our child to us, but if it should please Him to take her from us let us bear it with Christian fortitude and resignation. It is said that woman is better at bearing misfortune than man--I hope you will exemplify it. At all events, remember that Flora was not of this world, she belonged to another, and will be better off by far in her heavenly habitation. My staff are well.
Your devoted husband,
J.E.B. Stuart
53137539_10157394634514274_7309897044867416064_n.jpg
 

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Northern Light

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#4
JEB, you've just gone down in my estimation. I understand not being able to get away, and if he had left it there, fine. He goes on, however, to say that little Flora would be dead by the time he got there, so why bother coming and anyways, women bear these losses better than men do.:O o: Did it not occur to the dolt that his wife might need him? I probably would have writtten to tell him if he felt that way, he needn't come back at all, because all he was going to get from me was "hot tongue and cold shoulder". Idjit. :furious:

Sometimes I think that the wives of men like JEB and Custer never remarried wasbecause they had had MORE than enough with the first husband!!!!!:eek:
 

diane

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#6
JEB, you've just gone down in my estimation. I understand not being able to get away, and if he had left it there, fine. He goes on, however, to say that little Flora would be dead by the time he got there, so why bother coming and anyways, women bear these losses better than men do.:O o: Did it not occur to the dolt that his wife might need him? I probably would have writtten to tell him if he felt that way, he needn't come back at all, because all he was going to get from me was "hot tongue and cold shoulder". Idjit. :furious:

Sometimes I think that the wives of men like JEB and Custer never remarried wasbecause they had had MORE than enough with the first husband!!!!!:eek:
Oh, I can sure understand that feeling! Sometimes these guys said things that seem downright cruel to just read. But there is one thing not mentioned about this particular letter - there are a few odd stains on it that appear to be made by drops of something... like tears.
 
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#7
For JEB Stuart, Flora was the apple of his eye, his gem, his pet. Not being able to see her one last time must have been incredibly hard on him, but war is not just a business trip. My heart breaks for both JEB and Flora, but obviously Flora understood or at leadt forgave him, she loved him no less for that.
Here is little Flora's gravemarker from Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.
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#8
Just thought...
When he was fatally wounded and wanted to see Flora one last time, the officer who went to get her did not want to upset her and so they had breakfast together instead of hurrying to what would become JEB's deathbed. So when Flora arrived, JEB had already passed. Another missed last goodbye!
 

diane

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#9
Just thought...
When he was fatally wounded and wanted to see Flora one last time, the officer who went to get her did not want to upset her and so they had breakfast together instead of hurrying to what would become JEB's deathbed. So when Flora arrived, JEB had already passed. Another missed last goodbye!
That was sad. Chances are she might not have made it anyway due to deters, but she wouldn't have done some errands if she'd known the truth. Unfortunately, that was an ancestor of my husband's who gave her the bum steer! Walter Q Hullihen, whom Stuart called "Honeybun", delivered the message and thought it best to say Jeb was only mildly wounded so she thought it was not serious. He should have just blurted out the truth and she would have got a move on fast!
 

Cavalry Charger

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#10
What a tragic letter and story. How torn Stuart must have felt in that moment, and he gives his reasons as being 'altruistic', thinking of the bigger picture, trusting his young daughter to her Creator. Some of his sentiments may have had to do with his faith, and encouraging his wife to think along those same lines. He is trying to fortify her from afar and trusting she will have the wherewithall to understand his position and lean on her own faith to get her through. It is unimaginable not to be with a precious child when they died, but war leads to unimaginable circumstances and this sadly was one of them. I'm sure J.E.B. Stuart felt it in his heart even if he had to give all the appearances of being strong at the time.
 

War Horse

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#11
I think one needs to take into consideration J.E.B’s incredible fath. He looked at death deferently than we do today. Although losing Flora would be incredibly hard for him in his heart he knew the departed one was in paradise, Flora also shared J.E.B’s faith. The only pain and sorrow was felt by those left behind. His letter may sound hash but it wasn’t meant to be. He simply knew she would survive or die. If she survived he would see his pet again full of life and beauty. If she died he would never see his beautiful pet again but he knew she would be in a better place. He was needed where he was and his presence there would have no impact on what was to happen one way or another.
 
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