October 24.—Since writing in my diary, our plans have been entirely changed. Our old friend, Mrs. R., offered us rooms in Richmond, on such terms as are within our means, and a remarkable circumstance connected with it is, that they are in the house which my father once occupied, and the pleasant chamber which I now occupy I left this month twenty-nine years ago. It is much more convenient to live in Richmond than in Ashland, so that we have rented the little cottage to another. One room answers the purpose of dining-room and sleeping-room, by putting a large screen around the bed; the girls have a room, and we use the parlour of the family for entertaining our guests. For this we pay $60 per month and half of the gas bill.
But this has been a sad, sad month to me, and I find it very difficult to bring my mind to attend to the ordinary affairs of life. On the 11th of this month, our nephew, Captain William B. Newton, was killed while leading a cavalry charge in Culpeper County. We have the consolation of believing that his redeemed spirit has passed into heaven; but to how many has the earth been left desolate! His young wife and three lovely children; his father, mother, sisters, brothers, uncles and aunts, have seen the pride of their hearts pass away. His country mourns him as a great public loss. The bar, the legislative hall, and the camp proudly acknowledge his brilliant talents. In peace, the country looked to him as one to whom her best interests would hereafter be intrusted; in war, as one of the most gallant officers on the field. An early and ardent Secessionist, he was among the first to turn from the delightful home circle, where he ever sought his happiness, to go to the defence of right. He came into the field as First Lieutenant of the Hanover Troop; shortly after became its Captain, loved and revered by his men; and the commission of Lieutenant-Colonel of his regiment, the Fourth Virginia Cavalry, was on its way to him; but, alas! alas! it reached its destination a few hours too late. God be with my precious and her sweet children! I long and yet dread to go to that once bright home, the light of which has faded forever.
I was shocked to hear that on the fatal Sunday on which my darling William fell, three of our E. H. S. boys had come to a glorious, though untimely end, on the same field— Surgeon John Nelson, Lieutenant Lomax Tayloe, and Private J. Vivian Towles; and at Bristow Station, a few days afterwards, dear little Willie Robinson, son of my old friends, Mr. Conway and Mrs. Mary Susan Robinson. He was but eighteen. I attended his funeral on Wednesday last, and there learned that he was a devoted Christian. These dear boys! Oh, I trust that they sprang from the din of the battle-field to the peace of heaven! Lord, how long must we suffer such things?