This letter from my husband’s ancestor inspired the following passage in “The Prince in the Tower” (pg. 19).
Before moving to Fairfax, Effie had revered ministers as God’s mouthpiece, but her view had changed overnight, making all of them suspect. She winced at the thought of Rev. Baldwin parading around in clerical garb conning his congregation.
A three-way fireplace, jutting out from the wall, separated his sitting room from the bedroom. Should she cross the “line of demarcation” and enter his bedroom? A series of framed black and white prints decided the issue, and Effie ambled ahead to examine them on the wall.
The Currier and Ives prints depicted the killing fields of Manassas, Antietam, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor. Centered beneath them was a display case of Civil War artifacts that included cone-shaped bullets, a canteen, a bayonet, and a letter with faded writing.
She read the letter through the glass. The McClellan letterhead identified the writer as a Union soldier, and she squinted to make out the signature of Elijah Douglass. Next to the letter was a drawing of the family tree, which confirmed that Rev. Baldwin was the soldier’s direct descendant.