D.L. Hopkins in Lynchburg – His Wartime Letters
D. L. Hopkins, a clerk to the quartermaster of the “Rockbridge Rifles”, writes to his wife in Lexington about the pleasant ideals of life. The tone of the letters is happy and positive. He discusses various ordinary situations such as two friends who are going to court over a dispute. Hopkins’ discussions regarding church going illustrate the notion that some activities remained constant during the war. Dr. Hopkins’ instructions to his wife about the undertaking of home responsibilities typifies the relationship between military personnel and those working to preserve farms and homes. Various other letters written by him to his wife are very personal and talk of anything but the war.
His name is believed to be David L. Hopkins, age 32 in 1860 based on the 1860 census. His wife may have been F. Louisa Hopkins, age 27 at the time of the census.
Click here to view the census information.
Above is an image of the Quaker Meeting House. It played a pivotal role in the Battle of Lynchburg. D.L. Hopkins was in Lynchburg at the time of the battle.
Below are transcriptions of his letters
January 24th, 1864
My Dear Wife,
I received your letter of the 14th just several days since and was glad to hear that you were all so well and getting along so finely. I am and have been quite well since my return here from home.We are having most delight for wether at present and for the last few days. This day has been quite as pleasant as spring time. Ben has been out to Franklin County since I last wrote to you he returned here on yesterday and is quite well.
You speak in your letter of deciding on some things by Mr. S____, Mr. S is still here is quite anxious to get up here for a few days to supply himself with some necessary articles but will not go until the _____________ as he will have to bring down the articles on the Pacher Boat. He has promised to take charge of the articles you wish to send me. I wish you to send me the ___ also some catsup we have nothing in the way of meat except for fresh beef never see any bacon or pork and think the catsup would be a great ________ to the beef. Send me two or three bottles if you can spare or buy for me about a ½ peck or peck of onions send them also let me know if you have more turnips cabbage + beets than you will need at home if so we will buy them of you for ______ and send for them by some of the Government Freight Boats that are going up to Lex to bring down ___for us. Keep an abundance of vegetables for the family and don’t sell any unless you think you have more than you can consume at home. It is better for you to use more vegetables and less meat + bread as both meat + flour as so high + scarce, as soon as you get through with the Beef purchased of ________ kill the Beef ___ and keep the whole of it for your overuse thereby saving your Bacon for next summer where you will find that Beef Bacon and all kinds of provisions will be uncommonly high in price.
The hide must be tanned for the next winters shoes tel Mr. Fuller that if the Lexington Tanning Co. will tan on the shares to give them hide to tan as their is not much reliance to be placed in the ____ that tanned for me last winter. Tell Mr. F to see that the calf does not suffer for something to eat as it will be quite valuable to us when grown up. I hope you have succeeded in getting 2 or three prep by this time.
Ben says he did not get Horace’s letter. I regret to here that Mr. Campbell and Futwiler have a misunderstanding in regard to paying for the land. I hope they will settle it without going to the law as I shall I am certain be relied on by both parties as a witness in court in a suite between them for as a matter of courts my endurance would have to be argument one or the other of the _____.
Tell Willy I am glad to here he is well tell him to let me know how little sissy is and if he lets her play with his toys. Tell him I have the same horse down here that Mr. _____ used to ride. I keep him for a riding horse and will ride him up home someday and let Willy get on behind me and ride. Tell him he must not cut any of the trees with his axe has he got his new shoes yet?
Tell Mr. Fuller + George that the lots + garden should be ploughed + the fences be repaired during this fine weather.
Mayor Paxton has been about since Monday last in Richmond I look for him to morrow morning. If Mr. S_____ can bring me a bag of potatoes ____ by him out of the potatoes you bought for Ms. I will send up for the balance of the potatoes by some of the Government Freight Boats. Tell Mr. Fuller to have some hay handled from the sable out at the lot and fill up the stables at home. Hay is so scarce that it is liable to be to be stolen out there at the lot and their is not enough in the stables at home at any rate to last until new hay comes.
I suppose every person is suffered with ice in lex tell Mr. Fuller open the outlets to the ice pond and let the water off. Are the folks at Lex scared up about going to the army? We have a multitude of applications here for situations by persons who have to go under the new law.
Tell Mr. Fuller that if he can buy be 100 bushels good potatoes at $5 per bus to do so and store them in the cellar until I can get there down the canal if he cannot buy them at $5 let me know in your next letter what they can be bought at.
I suppose I have given you as many _____ in this ____ as you will get through with for a few days so I shall close here to Ma + all family
Your Affectionate Husband,
Lynchburg Mar 24/64
My Dear Wife,
I received on yesterday afternoon your letter containing the money by the hands of Mr. White (____) also the vest. And this morning sent down to the packet office and got the box. The articles in the box were all safe except the ___ containing the Crout was broken into fragments and the vinegar from the pickles had all run out. Our dinner was about ready when I opened the box but finding the ____________ and I ordered it to be cooked for fear it would spoil by tomorrow. So after wasting an hour longer I had crout for dinner and found it quite sound and good.