Pattie B. Cowles to George S. Bernard, June 28, 1861, George S. Bernard Papers, Acc. 31760, Library of Virginia.
During the first weeks after Virginia men had 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 wrote to him on June 28, 1861, that her brother "is now in Richmond, to see some of the 'rulers in the land,' to get commissions for a regiment he wishes to bring to Virginia or to some other place of which 'Old Abe' is trying to get possession." She also expressed her sympathy with the soldiers because "You are subject to all these hardships to protect us."