February 19th. To-day arrived Mrs. Governor Curtin, with her bevy of Pennsylvania beauties. She is accompanied by her sister, Miss Wilson, who is expected to keep an eye on the charming creatures, introduced so suddenly on the field of Mars. Miss Curtin, a graceful, beautiful girl, is easily the belle of the party and attracted universal attention. She is certainly magnificent, dignified, sweet, and graceful in her demeanor. They were assigned to their quarters, and one servant placed absolutely at the disposal of each couple occupying a tent. The men had their quarters just in rear, and we arranged it so they could go in early in the morning, build the fires, take in hot water, clean their boots, and, in fact, take general charge of their domestic economy.
The girls thought the little canvas tents “just too lovely for anything,” and were delighted with all they saw. In the morning the band played in front of the quarters, while they were dressing, and the cooks prepared the breakfast. We arranged amongst ourselves who should escort the different ladies to the mess tent, and at the appointed hour waited upon them and took them in to breakfast. The general presided in his usual suave and graceful manner at the upper end of the table, while the ladies were sandwiched in between the officers. Such glorious breakfasts were these, such flirtations and conversations, where compliments flew like musket balls in a close engagement and batteries of bright sparkling eyes swept everything before them. The sweet strains of music ever rising and falling in rhythmic waves idealized the moments, and we lived in ecstasy.
During the breakfast hour the plans for the day were arranged; excursions to the front, to view the enemy; horse races, hurdle races, picnics, everything was suggested that would keep up the interest. Most of the ladies were horsewomen and had sent their saddles down. Those who were not so fortunate were provided with ambulances and driven to the appointed rendezvous. The cooks followed with abundance of viands, and wine flowed like water on every occasion.
Galloping over vast fields of canvas villages, skirting along the advanced picket lines, getting an occasional view of the rebel videttes or pickets, the gallant cavalcade attracted universal attention, and gave our guests the liveliest satisfaction, besides most excellent appetites. All appeared in full dress for dinner, which usually lasted a couple of hours, by which time the evening’s amusement in the hall was ready to commence.