System Number: 06524
Date: 7 June 1864
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler
Recipient: James H. Gamble
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: Whistler W518
Document Type: ALS
7 Lindsey Row, Old Battersea Bridge
Tuesday June 7th 1864
My dear friend
I have wished & endeavoured to thank you by my pen for your tokens of remembrance, but tho I live secluded I find my strength unequal to the demands upon my duties. Another kind letter has reached me from you & I must write a hurried promise to answer it & others when more able. My eyes are sadly weak & I am expecting for a wonder a guest to share my room from this afternoon until friday, Miss Cammann is to embark in the Persia on the 18th D V to return to our native land & spares me this short share of her remaining stay at our beloved neice Mrs Fred Rodewalds where she has spent a year. Jemie is quite well but too closely confined to his Studio. I never [p. 2] am admitted there nor any one else but his models. So you perceive dear friend you might as soon let him be at your side in your Country House, as he to give you a place as spectator at his Easel. he unites with me in the most hearty friendly greetings & thanks for the ticket of admission at the Museum. Thanks too for the carte de visite, which looks so natural! I rejoice in your prospect of a tour into Scotland. oh that I could send you the address of our mutual favorite Ann Clunie! she too has passed away! How comforting that you are with dear kind relatives in your absence from Homeland, & so pleasant that a Cousin is to accompany you on your visit to Edinburg. I feel that I ought to make a change for health, but as yet have no plans. The distressed state of my beloved native land depresses my [p. 3] circumstances, but the Lord will order all as most to promote my future & eternal interests. The struggling South is not fighting for Slavery! but in defence of its homes[.] Jacksonville surrendered / my brothers place is 8 miles from it, the churches were immediately burnt by the federal troops, its shade trees cut down & its homes seized by the soldiery. Yours is a beautiful theory my dear Mr Gamble, but I have been at the south & you have not. My daily prayer is that God will bring North & South to repentance for it is His rod of indignation has taken away the pride of Union. I hope to have to report something more cheering of my own darling Willie, God has so far encouraged me to hope he is protected that I have heard of all I have sent him having reached him safely. But only one of his letters has come to me as yet. Another draft lately re - [p. 4] assures me. God has always been a help to me. I can truly say ["]hitherto hast Thou blessed me" and my faith does not fail.
With affectionate remembrance from me to your dear "Muz" & sweet Sister, I close with the hope of soon addressing you at Edinburg. how favored that you can avoid the bustle & excitement of "the Season" here.
Believe me as ever dear Mr Gamble
Truly your attached friend
A M W.
Written on paper with a narrow mourning border.
Steamer Persia (1855), Cunard Line (2,697 tons).
The American Civil War.
On 7 February 1864, the Union forces landed in Jacksonville and launched a major expedition westward into the interior of the state. They issued a proclamation, calling on the people to take the oath of allegiance, and declaring that the State had now passed under Union control. Union objectives included cutting off Confederate supply lines, locating recruits for black Union regiments, and establishing a pro-Union government in east Florida. The Union expedition was commanded by Brigadier General Truman Seymour (1824-1891). To counter this move, Confederate Brigadier General Joseph Finegan (1814-1885) gathered southern troops (about 5,400 men and 12 guns, under Finegan, at Ocean Pond on the Olustee) sent from north Florida, southern Georgia, and South Carolina. On 20 February 1864 the fighting was raging between approximately 11,000 soldiers altogether, being one of the bloodiest clashes of the war. The confederates won and Seymour retired to Jacksonville; this ended his attempt to bring Florida back into the Union. Jacksonville remained in Union hands. See John Formby, The American Civil War, London, 1910, pp. 299-300; Shelby Foote, The Civil War, A Narrative, London, 1992, pp. 104-105. For the Internet website of the battle at Olustee see State Library of Florida Collection, http://dlis.dos.state.fl.us/stlib/civilwar.html.
Charles Johnson McNeill (1802-1869), brother of AMW [more]. He inherited land, Beauclerc Bluff, from his uncle Zephaniah Kingsley and lived at Reddie Point, on the St John's River, Florida, where AMW visited him in March 1858 (see #06495).
14. hitherto hast Thou blessed me
'And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the Lord hath blessed me hitherto?' Josh. 17.14.
16. the Season
The London social season ('The Season'), where young women were presented at affluent social gatherings (parties and balls), usually in search of a husband. It was also called the 'coming out' season. The preview of the Royal Academy exhibition in May was a highlight of the social calendar. JW exhibited the Wapping (YMSM 35) and Purple and Rose: The Lange Leizen of the Six Marks (YMSM 47) in the 96th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1864.