1863-02-18, Annie Adams Fields

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1863-02-18, Annie Adams Fields


February 18, [1863], Wheeling

My dear Annie

Only a word I have time for today—to tell you how thoughtful your fancy of giving up pleasure by a visit to you and Boston was. I would dearly love to see you both—but I cannot think of going now so I will say “no” without waiting to consult Mr Davis.[1] I preferred to go directly to Philadelphia Annie, without making the wedding trip ordained by rule, because you know I have new relations to meet whom I scarcely know, and I wish to know them soon and feel at home with them. You understand? We will board at first with Mrs Cooper,[2] Mr Davis’ sister, and I thought it would be far happier instead of travelling and seeing strangers to be alone with those who were to be so near to me, for the first month or two—

I’m glad you speak so warmly of the Christmas story[3]—Annie, though I confess I never wrote anything so hard or repugnant to my feelings to write about which, when done, I was more indifferent to censure or praise. I know I was right. I was sorry Mrs Frémont[4] did not think the effort one of [] utility—but I have Christ on my side. I am so sorry to hear about Mr Wasson.[5] I had a letter from him just before this attack of pneumonia. Give my love to Kate Field—[6] Oh Annie if I enclose cards to you, will you send them to my friends in Boston?[7] I will have them directed of course—but you know I don’t know their numbers. May I trouble you? You will keep the day? That is a fancy just worthy of you Annie. I hope the sun may shine on my bay as it used to—that day. As soon as I am settled in Philadelphia and feel at home enough to do the honours, you must both come to us, as you promised----

You’ll forgive me if I only write a note to-day Annie. The parlour is full, and my brain is in a sort of whirl. Write to me, though often, as this last note of yours—it was so earnest and friendly in truth

Yours sincerely
R. B. H.

Mr Davis keeps me supplied with English and Scottish papers—how savagely they do cut up Mrs Stowe’s ‘reply’—[8] Had she no friend to warn her off of logic[?]


1. L. Clarke Davis (1835-1904), RHD’s fiancé.

2. Carrie Davis Cooper.

3. “The Promise of Dawn,” in which the main character is a prostitute.

4. Jessie Benton Frémont (1824-1902), American author and friend of RHD.

5. David Atwood Wasson (1823-1887), Unitarian minister, poet, and Transcendentalist.

6. Kate Field (1838-1896), American journalist.

7. “At Home” cards, to notify family and friends of a change of address.

8. Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), American author, most famously for Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852). In January 1863 she published “A Reply to the Address of the Women of England” in the Atlantic Monthly. The statement from England supporting abolition had been received eight years earlier, but Stowe used the timeliness of the war and the need for the North’s support from England to respond. Stowe chastised England for its inconsistent response to the US Civil War (Joan Hedrick, Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life, 304-305).


S. M. Harris




Richard Harding Davis Papers, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia



S. M. Harris, “1863-02-18, Annie Adams Fields,” Rebecca Harding Davis: Complete Works, accessed August 14, 2020, http://rebeccahardingdaviscompleteworks.com/items/show/100.

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