Pattie B. Cowles to George S. Bernard, May 27, 1861, George S. Bernard Papers, Acc. 31760, Library of Virginia.
During the first weeks after Virginia men marched off to war, eighteen-year-old Pattie B. Cowles, of Petersburg, corresponded with George S. Bernard, a twenty-three-year-old attorney who during the first months of the Civil War was stationed in Norfolk with a company of Petersburg Rifles. She told him on May 27, 1861, when mentioning the arrival of soldiers from North Carolina, "I consider every man who fights for Virginia my friend." Cowles also reported to Bernard that "the ladies of Petersburg have made an attempt to raise a company to learn the drill and practice shooting."