From the Washington Times, 5/7/1901, p. 5, c. 2
LETTERS FROM GENERAL GRANT
Several Found in the Van Lew Mansion in Richmond.
RICHMOND, Va., May 7. – Castle Thunder, on the James River, furnished shelter to more than 3,000 Federal soldiers, who were shielded in the Van Lew Mansion, a historic structure on Church Hill, this city. The recent death of Miss Elizabeth L. Van Lew, who owned the place, has been the means of revealing to the people here something about the career of the woman who risked her life caring for Federal troops in the capital of the Confederacy. Hundreds of Yankees escaped from Libby Prison and went to Miss Van Lew’s home to find protection. They were hidden in a secret chamber and were never discovered by the Confederates, although they searched the building time and again.
The Times representative visited the mansion today and was shown through the dark apartments by Mrs. Garrett, who now lives in the old mansion. Piles of letter written by Federal general to Miss Van Lew were scattered about the floor. Several of these epistles were from Gen. U. S. Grant. One of these began as follows:
“Dear Miss Van Lew: I have received your letter informing me that you have eighty-three of our men secluded in your home. Accept my thanks for your kindness to them,” etc.
Miss Van Lew had several large tin lamps in the secret chamber, in which letters from Federal officers were hidden. One of the old lamps hung on the slanting wall. When it was opened today it was found to contain several letters and official war documents.