. A four page letter, in brown ink on thin paper, approx. 460 words. The accompanying envelope is lined in black, as Letitia was evidently still in mourning for her father President John Tyler who had died in 1862. A thoughtful letter, including the effects of the war on her southern compatriots, from one Confederate woman to another.
Letitia Tyler Semple writes to her friend Ada Currier, in care of General [Thomas Jefferson] Green, at Esmeralda, in Warrenton, North Carolina. She mentions she has not heard anything from them since she made her trip from Henderson to Richmond the previous October. She asks after the General, and says she thinks of them often "since the tide of war set in towards you and of the suffering and anxiety from the occupation of the Eastern portion of the 'North State' by her enemies." She says the papers indicate that the General's son Col. Green has been wounded very recently and she wishes to ascertain his condition and hopes it is not a dangerous injury. She asks about several other friends in the area, and mentions that her husband "Mr. Semple is still on duty at Drewry's Bluff and [?] and myself have been, since the 13th of November, at this place twenty miles from a R-Road...." She is hopeful that "our cause has now a most encouraging prospect of success," and that if they can hold Vicksburg during these weeks of high water, it will be a "triumph of triumphs." [Vicksburg fell to Gen. Grant and the Union Army less than three months after this letter was written]. Item #63646
Letitia Tyler Semple, daughter of John Tyler (1790-1862), spent part of her early married life acting as hostess in her father's White House after her mother died. Her husband James Semple, a purser in the U.S. Navy, was often away. A Southerner, James Semple resigned from the U.S. Navy at the commencement of the Civil War and joined the Confederate Navy. Drewry's Bluff where Letitia mentions he was stationed, was seven miles south of Richmond and a major Confederate fortified position on the James River, a training ground for its naval academy and marines. [see: the National Park Service history of the battlefield].
Letitia directs her letter to the Esmeralda Plantation belonging to Gen. Thomas Jefferson Green (1802-1863). Green moved to Texas in the 1830s. He served in both the Texas Republic's House of Representatives and in its Senate, and became a Brigadier General in the Texas Army. He returned to North Carolina where he had been born, but was considered too old to join the Confederate Army. His son Col. Wharton J. Green served in the Second North Carolina Battalion. He apparently survived the wound mentioned by Letitia Semple in this letter, only to be wounded and taken prisoner at Gettysburg in July 1863. Col. W.J. Green spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner at Johnson's Island in Ohio.
Letitia Tyler Semple lived most of her married life separately from her husband. Following the war, she moved to Baltimore, Maryland and founded a boarding school for young ladies called the Eclectic Institute, located on Mount Vernon Place in the city.
OCLC lists both William & Mary and the Virginia Historical Society as having collections of Tyler family papers, including some personal and family correspondence from Letitia Semple.