McLaws was born on January 15, 1821 in Augusta, Georgia. James
and Elizabeth Huguenin McLaws named their third child after
Marie Joseph Motier Marquis de Lafayette, the famed American
Revolutionary hero from France. McLaws did not like his name,
pronounced 'LaFet' in Georgia. He preferred
'Peter' because the name was "one not so
calculated to annoy the sensitive child." (1)
met Emily Allison Taylor during a tour at Jefferson Barracks
in 1848. Emily, a niece of U.S. President Zachary Taylor, was
the daughter of John Gibson and Elizabeth Lee Taylor of Louisville,
Kentucky. The Reverend Robert M. Chapman, an Episcopal priest,
married the couple on August 9, 1849. McLaws was able to spend
only four days with his new bride before leaving on his next
military assignment in the Department of New Mexico. (2)
and Emily McLaws raised seven children. McLaws penned advice
and thoughts on family issues in each letter. Emily moved
the family several times during the War which prompted discussions
about their inability to create a permanent home. The letters
McLaws wrote his sons Willie and Johnnie illustrate the difficulty
in raising children when the father is not home. McLaws asked
about the boys' kite flying and sent new grammar books in
the midst of his court-martial.
general held a special place in his heart for his first daughter
Laura. I suspect young Lieutenant Ephraim A. Tweedy learned
a lesson on promptness in December, 1861. Tweedy failed to
deliver a letter and Larua's daguerreotype in a timely manner.
McLaws wrote, "It may happen that Lieut T may come into
my way and he will very probably learn the necessity of promptness.
I feel very much like twisting his neck for him." (3)
family pages introduce you to Lafayette and Emily McLaws's immediate
and extended family. In many ways, their story is similar to
ones we read and hear about today.
to ETM, December 8, 1861, ASG, 117.
(2) Entries for LM and ETM for
August 7, 9, 1849, Jefferson County Marriage Registers, Licenses,
and Bonds, Louisville, Kentucky.
(3) LM to ETM, December 23, 1861,
additional information about members of the McLaws family, feel
free to check the MENU.