This letter was written by Capt. Louis Augustus deBarth Walbach (1814-1853), the son of Gen. John Baptiste DeBarth Walbach (1766-18xx) and Mary Harburger (1781-18xx). Capt. Walbach was married to Mary Louisa Lucas (1818-1847) in 1841 and the couple had three children: Eliza Lucas Walbach (1843-1905), Mary Walbach (1845-1929), and John deBarth Walbach (b. 1847) before Mary’s death in 1847. The following biography of Capt. Walbach was lifted from his obituary:
Capt. Walbach was a, 1834 graduate of West Point, and had served with distinction in the Florida war. He was, at the time of his death, commandant of the U. S. Arsenal at Pikesville, where he had been for several years engaged in conducting a series of scientific investigations relating to gun metal. As an officer of ordinance, he was highly appreciated for his skill, zeal, and application to service. He inherited a spirit of military talent from his gallant and respected father, Gen. Walbach, commander of the 4th military department of the U. S., and was in a fair way of high advancement when cut off at a comparatively early age.
Walbach wrote the letter to his brother-in-law George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909), — an 1845 graduate of West Point who began his career as a civil engineer building railroads in New Jersey.
Addressed to George A. Lucas, Care of Fielding Lucas, Jr., Baltimore, Maryland
May 12th 1849
My Dear George,
I thank you most kindly for your very acceptable letter of the 9th inst. The interesting details you give of my dear children and all their sayings & doings is extremely gratifying & I only wish myself once more with them to realize what you describe.
I am again disappointed in the day of my departure from this. The very mischief (to speak respectively of his Satanic Majesty) seems to be in the way, and it is now almost certain that I have yet to be detained here another week! Poor children — am sorry to disappoint them so frequently but the fault is not mine. I have too much work ahead of me in getting things fixed at Pikesville in time for the warm season to delay here one moment longer than necessary but the work for which I was sent must be done, and if we are to have a week of storms, easterly winds, and rains as has been the case since the 1st of the month, making it impossible to do our out door work in proving cannon, the consequence is that another week must be taken to make it up. Instead, therefore, of leaving this Monday the 14th inst., I may possibly be detained here until the following Monday 21st May. So, should the children again ask when Papa is coming, you may safely say to them, next week!
For this reason I have to countermand the request in my last relation to the retention of my letters in Baltimore and have now to ask you to forward me all letters that may arrive there up to Thursday next — private as well as public.
Your brass artillery is in progress of completion. I go out to the Watertown Arsenal this evening and will probably find them finished. I have had two pieces cast and turned off for you. You have therefore a complete section which I will see mounted for you on proper carriages at Pikesville.
Apropos about Pikesville I have had intimations of the movements of the Dept. in that matter which are quite satisfactory to me. I have no doubt in the case now though I do not care to have anything said about it until I have the order to take the command of that post.
Tell my dear children I will not forget to bring them all they ask for in your letter and when they go to Pikesville they shall have their nice swing put up for them under the trees, a nice horse & carriage for Johnny to drive them about the country in, a pretty cow and a little calf for Eliza, and a pet lamb for Mary with plenty of strawberries & cream, and a garden full of beautiful bright flowers to walk in.
I must now close this for the mail. Don’t forget to write again to West Point about the books belonging to the course. Those youngsters are apt to lose their memory upon matters of fact as they are about being relieved from their four year thralldom, so please attend to it in time.
Remember me kindly to your father & mother, Ellen, Miss Kate & the boys, and all at home. Kiss my dear children for me and believe me sincerely & truly your friend, — Augustus W.
The youngsters complained that I did not send them a kiss in my last letter so here is one apiece for them. A kiss for Eliza. A kiss for Mary. A kiss for Johnny. Write me as soon as you can. Yours, A. B. W.