BOND & EDWARDS Civil War Letters 1864
| [the following letter was badly
Camp Smith NashvilleTenns.
Feb. 21st 1864
[ ]oun dear Cornelia;
This is a beautiful sabbath afternoon and I am alone in the tent. [I have] just been g[azing at yo]ur miniature [and] the tiny lock of hair. I did not receive your letter today but I am drunk with [ ] for you and must be doing [ ] that will contribute to your pleas [ ] I will write. But what shall I write? Nothing of note has transpired here that I know of since my last, except that I received a letter from Daniel, Father & cousin L Roberts. Daniel was well and hearty on the 21st of jan. and expected H. would soon join [th]em. Father was well on the 10th inst. I answered Daniel's letter and wrote to [your] brother at Nashville last week. Things here are much as they were, some recruits coming in and some going out but I rather think we will [remain] here till after next pay day, [ ] is not far off now. Since I last wrote you I have [not been] doing quite so heavy a business in station[ary] as I had do[ne with] the two previous [ ] Cleared enough however to pay five [dollars I had] borrowed when I was sick, and have something left. Since I got well [ ]to make money I spend nothing[ ] but while I was not able to earn anything I was costing from one to two dollars a we[ek.] I am indebted to Capt. and Will. for $7. Do[llars] which they furnished me during those [times] of need. Would if I could send it to them now, for I fear they are not faring it well as we do here. I sent you five dollars by srgt. Fort [the] other day. He is discharged and going ho[me] Promised to visit you soon after his [ ] I have sent you two letters containing five dollars each and one containing a [ ] dollar bill on an eastern bank. Did [you ge]t all these letters?
[ ] what shall I write now? My[ I want] tell you that I have a beautiful [ring] on my finger which I just finished [ ]ing for Harry [ ] to send to [ ] He wished to buy one (?) me to send to her, but I told him he could not buy [ ]or that purpose even if I was married. [ yo]ur letter did not come today, [perhaps] it will come tomorrow; so I will not hurry to finish this but keep it on hand until after that time and perhaps I shall have the pleasure of receipting for yours. But this writing does seem a [ ] business to me this evening, I want [ ] just lash you in my arms and kiss you and talk to you many hours. I cannot remember at all how you look, and only know that you are the most beautiful and lovely creature to me that the world contains. Myrtilla Leona is to my mind a beautiful name and I should be pleased to behold the dear little creature that bears it.
But away with all thoughts that lend to prolong this necessary but un willing absence, I will try to do my [ ] earn what I can besides, that we [ s]ome hour of sweet joys together "When this [ ] war is over.' Well guess I must leave you until tomorrow evening when perhaps I shall have time to add a line or two. My love [ to a]ll and remember [ ] my wife a [ ]the object of [ ] during many many silent hours.
Your letter [ did] not come today but about 4 [ ] cause for the second Ind. and [a ] George McPherson & (?) . Murrer. [ ] had a long talk with them and [ ] write a few lines a mail my letter.
Have had rather a busy time today as My assistant (Mr. Watson) was gone to the [ ] and we had a little more than our ordinary amount of work on hand. Must soon go and draw rations now so you see I am obliged to cut my letter short. But I'll write again some d[ay ] nothing happens to prevent me from [ ] doing. I wish I could see you thoug[h ] instead of making these unseemly word for you to read. All is well with Ty. though so please write soon and [remember] that I love "Neal Ederds" and [baby]
April 17th 1864
Yours of the 31st of March was duly received and answered; Since that time I have been growing more anxious daily to hear from you again; Do not remember when I ever needed a letter more than now. You know that baby was sick the last I heard from you. We have had no mail worth naming for four days and perhaps when it comes in to day it will contains yours. This is a beautiful sabath morning, a little cool but pleasant with all, and I cannot help thinking of you all the while. Hope Bob has visited you before this and told you all about us. I could not send particulars in minutia by him, but thought he could tell it all. I dreamed so sweetly of you a few nights since that every remembrance of it seems a new reality. I thought you were sleeping on my arm in that wanted but unconscious immocence while I was lying wake almost in extacy of love and admiration for you. Had I never before loved you that dream would ever linger as one of the sweetest garlands of memory. When I think of your love and pure devotion in contrast with the average apathy and indifference of wives in this country. I am filled with a deep reverence and humility, gladness and gratitude. I know that you love me but I could never know why, nor do I feel that I can ever be sufficiently thankful or sufficiently kind to rewards you for that sweet love and truth which filled to overflowing my sad and hollow heart. When I hear or see the word love, you are to me its personification. Goodness, truth, fidelity, charity, affection, tenderness and all words and expressions that tend to convey an idea of exaltation bring you in memory before me, and yet it is rarely that I can bring to mind your appearance. I only know that you were all to me, that in our early love I could have resigned all else for you, and dear Cornelia, there has never been a time since, that I loved you less than then, even if I did call you "a thoughtless girl." But now you are a sweet and lovely mother; oh! how I should delight to se you holding our babe in laughing health to your loved cheek. I is a sweet thought and one that if God willing shall someday be realized. But should I chance to never behold, The lovely babe that God hath given,
Oh! teach her Dear, in thoughts of gold, I prayed to meet you both, in heaven. I do not know what to say Nellie, it is no use hunting for language to express the heartfelt emotions of the soul when every tissue of the physical being is aglow with feelings which demand utterence. When all is said and reduced to its firmest constit[?] it ends thus__ I love you.
But now allow me to leave this sweet theme for a short time least it absorb me. The day Bob, left here nearly all our officers got on a big drunk and kept it up for several days during which time our gallant Liut. Colonel Stuart performed a number of "overt acts" which if acted upon would (will) send him in disgrace from the service. Some of his performances were by all odds the most "Quixotic" I ever witnessed. He ordered the Band dispersed and the boys to their companies. This secured at once the hate and malice of the whole Regt. and his ears were everywhere harassed with hisses and groans. Of course this was too much for the drunken blood to bear, so he ordered his horse saddled and with company A, under arms he sallied out to suppress the "mutiny" The men were all out to see, and as he rode in triumph along the parade ground one disrespectful wretch yelled out 'what Regiment is that." The Colonel was not thus to be insulted so drawing his revolver and wheeling his horse he rode furiously to the rear in search of the delinquent. But imagine his mortification and [?] at hearing the command "charge" from another quarter of the camp. Thus the Colonel and his men harassed each other till becoming weary, discouraged or disgusted he dismissed his guard, dismounted and retreated into his tent. Capt. Will and I sleep close beside his tent and scarcely had he disappeared when sticks, stones and other missiles began to fall thick and fast all about Head quarters. While cartridges were exploding in all parts of the camp mingled with fierce yells of insubordination and defyance. We laughed and expressed our willingness to risk the dangers of our location rather than have the shelling cease. It was a hideous night and no night since has failed to bring expression of perfect contempt in some way. yesterday morning a small stake stood near the Colonels tent door with a letter to his address held in a split at the top. The contents of the letter have of course not been made public. What the final result will be no one can tell but we have little fear of things getting worse. The boys have done too much hard service since the Col. went home last summer to have much respect for his tyranny now. And they don't mind a [?] one bit but rather like it. I will write more when the mail arrives.
My love to the folks and write soon______often too Ty.
Morning; I have a cold this morning but am very happy. The officers last night voted that Capt. should go home with the vetrons. So if there is no intrigue in higher circles than this, you may hope to see him in about two weeks from this date. I have nothing to send you but love, but that is all - all for you. I would love you even more if I were capable.
Thursday june 2nd 
and my letter not get mailed! I cannot help it. It is no fault of mine but you will not be the less anxious because of that. I Know how you all want to hear from us. I learn that we will get to send out mail this evening and I have several letters written to mail. We hold the same position as when last writing. Have built breast works for the first time though have not needed them. Skirmishing continues all the time on the right of us, and occasionally the enemy charges our lines this far only to be repulsed and his dead and dying lie rotting in the (?) between the lines. (it rains) Friday morning;
No time to write; All well as common:
I love you
|On picket three miles west of Ascott
June 15, 1864
I mailed a letter to you on day before yesterday but yesterday. After we had moved camp and I had erected my tent and constructed an easy bunk I lay down and fell asleep. Was aroused by something falling upon my breast. It was not a shell or solid shot nor indeed a missile in anywise dangerous. It was your sweet and interesting letter of the 5th. I cannot tell you with what pleasure I read it and then because you said Lizzie was lonely I took out my portfolio and wrote her immediately for the 3rd time since the campaign began. I wish she had been well while you were visiting there for then you would both all have enjoyed it more. I think you did well to ride a man's saddle and carry baby. I hope you will not do much of the same kind though, as it must be very laborious as well as a little hazardous. And just here I will remark that I was sometime since made to feel an additional thrill of pride on hearing a disinterested witness, remark in a very disinterested way, that you were the most graceful woman on horseback that he had ever seen. Horseback riding is a charming and healthful exercise, but we cavaliers sometimes destroy its utility in that way by excessive indulgence. I have nothing to write and am just talking for fun so here goes. I have no doubt I shall get to writing excellent letters after a while as you still continue to receive the "best on you ever saw." What fun! I have just been reading Chattanooga paper of the 12th in which I found such a beautiful poem that I have clipped it for your collection. Oh! I shall never while life lasts forget the melancholy frowning aspect presented by old Look Out on the morning when our army war worn and beaten, retreated backwards along the valley below. You know twas Autumn time when nature had put on her robe of mooring and then her dress seemed doubly appropriate. I would give much to hold you by the hand where we stood that morning and repulsed the enemy. And then if it were Autumn and some artillery practice going on in the valley that we might hear the rocks of the mountains send back the crashing roar we could complete the picture but never could one who had not seen and felt the original, comprehend it all. The battle referred to in the poem of course was some months later and inspires one with gladness instead of sorrow.
Yesterday and day before were both spent in hard fighting. Our Regt. yesterday dismounted and went out to charge aline of works on the rest of a mountain, but fortunately for us the wall was to steep to ascend. Whilst we were lying near the base of the mountain the enemy opened on us a terrible storm of shells (cutting us all to pieces of course) causing us to scatter, take trees and lie down but hurt no one. How they all missed us I cannot tell, but miss they did, and when they had exhausted their venom a little we got up and retired when over little guns began a counter shelling which seemed to disturb the quietude of the enemy considerably. But why need I tell anymore. The fight goes well so far as we are informed but we have no hope of a speedy termination of the campaign. Our men do not rush headlong to destruction as they used to but advance by regular approaches fortifying to protect themselves and make sure work. What a strange wild life this is. What run! We eat (letter faded out to next line) We were secure in Eden's garden and unconscious of the wiles of the serpent. Why this is I cannot tell but it surely is the (word faded out) On Yesterday the mail brought a letter for Darin Wales which I opened thinking it came from a mutual friend but in this I was mistaken it was from a young lady unknown to me but as she expressed a fear that some evil had befallen him, and prayed that "whoever reads this will write a few lines to me." I felt myself fully justified, wrote her immediately making explanation why she could not hear from Darin. We have not been ordered out yet this morning Sebe is well, sitting near me rubbing his gun. He is a brave good soldier. You should see him when the reds get to shooting it (letters faded) them soot till they expose them selves from cover then he takes his turn with them. We exhaust but little ammunition at long rangeI must clean my gun. Good bye!
Another hard days work yesterday but no fighting by the e. and we have been sent back to our old camp at Acworth to guard the rear. The "easy bunk" mentioned on the 1st page was still in its place and never was a bed more welcome than was this last night. We arrived here late in the night very hungry, but more weary, and for myself I must. Sabbath morning and still raining. Had a letter from Lizzie last night. She wishes if there was anything of Wills here I would send it to her. Please tell her all he carried on the campaign was with him when captured but his ordnance chest is at Chattanooga with the other Regimental stores and if we ever see them again I will do all in my power to comply with her wishes.
| Jul 1864
Do you remember dear one, how you used to tell me you could hardly" wait to clasp our babe to your bosom?" Yet the time slowly but surely rolled along, you passed softly through the great perils and became a happy mother. Day by day - ( there the general sounds, we march) good bye!
Afternoon; seated where I was this morning. After getting ready to march and awaiting orders for sometime "recall" was sounded and we unsaddled and pitched tents as before. I have been having some good reads in Chesterfield and the Bible.
I now want to talk awhile to you. You see "the general" cut a sentence off this morning. I was going to say that day by day the terms of my enlistment wears away. This long suspense must be broken in time and I feel that I can say from my heart "God's will not mine be done!" I may never see you again- on earth, but in the happy hope that we may not only meet but spend many happy years together, I wish to say a few words about the source of our highest and holiest employment and pleasure. The care and culture of our Myrtle. Will it not be a great privilege to be teaching her to speak clearly, to be good, kind, loving, industrious and wise? And will we not try hard, very hard, to never permit her to hear a word uttered by us, that we would blush to hear from her own innocent lips? I trust that we shall; and that we will endeavor with God's help to lead her both by precept and example, along the sacred paths of virtue, truth, fidelity and love.
I need not tell you that I think of these things a great deal, but always fail to find expression in words for half I would say. Myrtie is now going upon her eight month, has two fine teeth and I fear that I have not the remotest idea of how she looks. This might be funny to some folks, but to me it seems very awkward, for just think of it; since I saw you at Park Barracks nothing has claimed my attention that required more tender and special care, than a carbine and revolver. And yet we have a babe, the sweetest, tenderest thing that ever claimed or received the care of mortal mind! What a world of lovely and terrible things! all in such lose proximity just now we learn that four of the boys of our division's battery, have been wounded today. Dr. R. Shaz just gone up to amputate a limb. The battery is down near the river where we expected to go this morning. They have been firing more or less all day across the river. Three of the wounded were struck by fragments of shell, and one was shot by a sharp shooter. The mail just came in but brought but one letter for B company. I have just cut another nice little poem from a paper which I think quite applicable to Will; in sentiment and action; he was the hero precisely, though we did not charge with bayonets, nor he gave commands in particular that I know of.
We have had our horses saddled all day ready to march. Are only awaiting orders. But the mail has just been distributed and I received a letter from mother dated the 4th hearing the sad intelligence that Hezekiah, was severely wounded in the leg and Daniel come up missing, supposed to be captured; all on June 4th. This is adding much to our burthen of sorrow already great, but we must not, dare not in this hour of peril, when all depends upon strong hearts and strong arms, waste our strength in grief. May God be the friend of the wounded and of those in captivity. Be of good cheer and do not think our cause is costing more much as it is. I should like to hold you to my breast and weep for a season over the fate of our dear brothers, but not here. I am aware that a sterner fate may soon be mine; if so dear one, you have in your keeping all (or nearly so) that binds me to life; Namely, Your love, your virtue and our babe. I know that you will keep them ever pure, and divinely sweet, whether I live to have their joys or not. Please write soon and consolingly to mother and his wife, addressing the later at Osseo Minns.
Expect mother has written to you, but I can send her letter in this. I cannot express anything this evening; you know my heart Nellie, and thanks to your loved self, I know yours. Should be OK! so glad to see you, but I am happy because this seems my proper peace. Have been writing many letters of late and there is letters of late and there is now a necessity for several more that I did not suppose would be called for so soon. Please make the statement to Melissa and ask her to be hopeful of letter days. Perhaps you may have an opportunity to take lessons on the guitar during vacation. If so and you can afford the labor and like the instrument, in short if it should accord with your taste in every way you know how glad I shall be to have you learn. Music is a great agent in maintaining peace so well as in urging warriors forward and as we now " hope a family to keep peace in" it is important that no means be neglected which will aid in the work.
Aug 23rd 1864
I am more than ordinarily glad to have an opportunity of writing to you this morning. Colonel Lagrange has been exchanged and without ever going home he came and reported to duty. This morning I called on him to make some special inquiries. I said "Colonel do you know anything of sargt. Edwards of the 2nd Ind." He answered proudly, "Yes he is all right, is acting Emissary sargt. of his squad, hearty as a buck and mad as a March hare because they got him." Colonel says he and the other officers remained with their men till in June when the men were sent to Andersonville. Has since heard from them. The spirit of the men is excellent and all declare their intention to reenlist and fight the Confederacy to the last. Now isn't this cheering? I think it will raise mother's hopes a little and especially when I explain the reason of no letters being received from any of the boys. Whilst we were wandering among the hills beyond our lines we learned that mails are in the Confederacy, among the things that were, At Carrollton, a county site, there had been no mail received for months. So again I say be not in doubt about the safety of the captives, for though they must endure hardness, yet I trust that most if not all will live to see their homes again. As to ourselves we have nothing special to report. We are doing little but feeding worn down horses. Some talk that we will soon be relieved but it will bear talking of for a bet before being done. I have not been well since I last wrote you and my horse, being one that was deemed serviceable was given to another so that I have not even the care of a horse. Am feeling better now, and trust will soon be well. Fear nothing for me, I am very happy and I have just had a long talk with one of [ ] P. who just got in a day or two since, having spent 17 days in the woods so you see the yankee foxes have not all been caged. All have rich [ ]tic stories to tell and you should see the groups of eager listeners that gather about each weary straggler when he comes in, what fun! We hear but little from the front since we left it. The [ ] have been making some disturbance on the road causing irregular mails and hence we hold rather an isolated position and might be pardon for an occasional feeling of loneliness.
I have written twice to you since getting out of the "wilderness," and hope you have received the missives. I have no way to keep stationery now and couse greatly am very dependent in [ ] since. I wrote a few days since to Rev. Mr. Gage concerning that small but all important picture Hope to get it soon. And now dear Cornelia, let us go out alone and have a sweet old fashioned, confidential chat. In the first place,(in order to secure your confidence) I will make love to you, and tell you that for all this happiness of which I so often speak, I am indebted to you; and consequently am very dependent, though I have an abiding faith that as you did not discard me when first I pleaded love; you will still listen kindly and return every kiss with interest. It often occurs to me that I am quite unworthy of the rich treasure you have bestowed upon me in the donation of your affections, and I feel sorry that I can never [remunerate?] you. The small pay of a soldier and the once scattered but now concentrated affections of a rather indifferent loafer, being all that I have to return. And yet you seem to think that you receive an equivalent for the [ ] Perhaps it is well that we should thus feel each scarce worthy of the other, else we should love less, and become indifferent. Let us therefore continue to think just as blind love hath taught allowing baby to occupy as she does the place of a mutual pledge of fidelity. Dear darling pledge! how my heart palpitates to see her! and not less to see you; but not now, we must wait a little longer. Perhaps months but in love let us still be happy. I will turn the paper the other end up and finish. In my last I asked you to continue to write till I should meet you for no one knows how long it may be nor how many [ ] and counter orders must be endured before the Regt. will get home and then it is so very uncertain about my coming with it, though there are several good reasons., you hoping that we may all get to come home for a time at last. One ground of hope is, the election will come off in Oct. and it is to be hoped that the most loyal men of Indiana will not be deprived of the right of suffrage because they have the patriotism to leave their homes to fight for their country and as there is no law in our state allowing us to vote in the field we may reasonably hope that as many as can be spared will be furloughed. We also hope that when congress meets it will consider the case of the men who entered old Regts. in /62 for the unexpired time.
In one of your letters some time ago when you were very hopeful that I would come, you said you were at a loss to know how we would spend this time &c. I will tell you what would please me if all should be well and circumstances favorable. [ ] a long round of visiting, [ ] at Mother's & continuing via of Uncle E's Will's, Bob's. or Fortville generally, Pendleton, Father's, Richmond, Kingstons, Greenfield and [ ] interested friends. How do you like the program? Or is there anything that you would like better? I know that it well take a long time to make this grand round but it will not cost much and perhaps would pay as well as anything we could do. But I do not lay this down as a foregone thing and it may be modified or [ ] to suit the times. I wish Daniel could get out of confinement now and be with us should we be so fortunate as to meet. His tern of three years expired yesterday, and should he be excharged I have no doubt he will call to see you on his way home. I often wonder whether he and Will have not become acquainted in some detestable prison. How romantic! But here I hope to change news again and guess I will close and write to Lizzie. Give my love to all and be happy kissing Myrtie often for me. I will kiss you both when I come. (If I come.)
Sebe is well & funny as ever.
I love you
Aug 29th 1864
I have something to tell to you which I am sorry to relate but I think you will do as I do, throw it off of mind enough to not allow it to trouble you for it is one of those unavoidable circumstances of war to which the soldier is naturally subjected. It is that I have heard nothing from that dearest of all worthy creatures, _____my wife__since your letter of the 4th in which you proposed to wait untill you should hear from me before writing more so, I replied on the 16th and hope soon to have a response. Things seem uncommonly dry here now and I scarcely know what to write. The chief talk in our camp is when are we to go home & who is going? Most all the recruits of .62 seem very worthy but I still feel like trusting to the justice and good judgment of my countrymen to right the wrong when Congress shall meet. At present the prospect at this end of the line seems very dark for us to get home. But patient and happy though for God only knows what is best. Even this painful suspense may be to us as a life preserver that we may live to love and be blessed for many years.
Oh! how often we see that which is endured as hardness by human beings ultimating in blessings upon their heads! The last papers we had and many of the late letters from Ind. speak of a deep laid plot of treason among those hypocritical peace bawlers in the north. Should they have the imprudence and the savage [barbarity?] to carry out their plans of [insurrection?] they can and will cause great distress among our poor families but [ ] crime will be theirs and the blood upon their heads. There is a hope here that many of the Indiana soldiers will be sent home to maintain order and vote for who ever they had rather trust at the helm. Should the worst come to pass and we be separated & without mail facilities for months, be not troubled for me, but do the best you can for my beloved wife and babe remembering that I love thee. I long to see thee above every thing but will not [murmur?] at a little delay while the knife is upon the throat of the nation. It is quite difficult to write to you I have so much rather take your sweet hand and talk. But times and things will change as they ever have done and those who live will know the result of this great struggle. We may not be amoung the survivors of the storm but if not there will live those who will hold us in grateful remembrance. And just here I think of a strong question that I asked you sometime since with regards to our matrimonial happiness &c. It is more than probable that did not add so much to your joys as it did to mine from the fact that your young life had not been so______yes I will say wretched. And now as the war [doud] seems to thicken over the free worth I sometimes fear that your being the wife of a soldier and the mother of a soldiers babe may subject you to additional insult and inconvenience. Now dearest, do not allow a hard thought to rise in your bosom because of this remark, for I know.______ full well how you feel, and that you will cheerfully, bravely, ah! proudly bear all and everything for our sakes, but I shall be very sorry if all does not end well. Perhaps though the dangers are not so great as they have been represented to be. It is indeed to be hoped that they are not, and that the northern people have too much intelligence and good judgment to engage in such a crusade against liberty and law.
But enough of this for the present. A few days since I learned that I had two cousins Underwood in the 48th Ind. which is stationed here. I visited the regt. immediately but both were out on picket. one returned the same day and came over when we had a very pleasant visit of some hours. Have not seen the other yet. They reside in [Warsaw Kosciosco] Co.
Dr. Rutledge has not returned from the raid yet, and we miss him very much as ballast to hold us level___A case in point___ Some days since there was five gallons of medical whiskey to be issued to each Regt. for special purposes. We had no surgeon hence it was necessary for Maj. Briggs to sign the requisition which of course he did very readily and when the whiskey came had it carried into his tent where almost every shoulderstrap and favorite in the Brigade found ample means of getting drunk. Several had to be carried to quarters. The hospital boys were much put out and I think it was finally reported to Colonel Lagrange but further [deponent?] saith not for want of information. We hear nothing from the front of late and can tell nothing. Are expecting Capt. Cornwell to join us soon. As for health my own is not so good as would be desired and I can scarcely hope that it will be till the weather becomes cooler as the heat greatly affects my head. Can do duty at night very well and am accordingly only detailed or such. Need not do anything if I did not wish too. but it is only a relief to stand guard occasionally in the refreshing night air. Sebe. is all right I believe though like me he has failed for some time to get the all important letter. had a brief letter from mother a few days since but it contained nothing of importance save that they were well. I have thought so often today of Hezekiah. This is his Natal day, on which he entered his 29th year. How I should like to see him! Not long since I learned of a neighbor of fathers who saw him (father) early in the spring that his beard and locks are perfectly white. How [venerable?] they must appear!
But it is almost night and I must soon close. Hope soon to hear from you and our dear though [ ] unseen child. How strange it seems to think of! You have told me so much about a sweet babe in whom I should feel as great an interest as yourself and yet what you have kindly told me is all that I know about her. My desire to see her is very great indeed; but certainly I do not think about her half so much as you do. I hope however that should I be so fortunate as to return to you that I can cultivate a capacity to properly appreciate your virtues and affection and baby's innocence and dependence. On looking over my letter I find many sentences very ambiguous and were you not totally well acquainted with the writer I should fear you would fail to catch the ideas intended to be conveyed
. But Good night!
I love you not a whit less than when I last kissed you seventeen months ago this morning. "Ever of thee I'm fondly dreaming"
Sept 2nd 1864
The long suspense under which we have [?] was happily broken this morning by the receipt of a package of letters & stationery from wives and sisters. I intend responding to all of mine immediately in the severest manner, so look out! Take shelter; for I feel as impudent and saucy as can be, and shall not be sparing with [?], epithets and retorts.
In the first place then, it was an insult to our poverty to be supplied with stationery in such a way. Sebe said he wrote of losing his, hoping to thus get rid of writing and "now" said he "they've flucked up." And so for myself I of course feel this kindness of yours only as a reproach to my [?] and ability to find "ways and means" to write a letter. (of course I am the more sensitive and the point when I think of a letter I once received from you) sewed in an old envelope turned wrong side out) Do you remember? But you seem to suppose me without expedients and unacquainted with strategy.
Again, you are jealous and afraid to send me a nice envelope without your own superscription upon it [?] I should enclose a letter in it and address it to some fair correspondent whom you know not. But I halt! I believe you did send one blank; well that will answer. I thank you for it and will try to send it to some sweet creature. Upon the whole perhaps I had better withdraw all these charges and conclude that all was done with the "best intentions;" [?], and I thank you from my heart for the kindness. But allow me to assure you dearest that whatever may have been the case with your regard to other correspondents, you have never failed to receive a letter in due time on account of scarsity of materials, and it would be difficult to convince me that you will. I would write upon a chip or a piece of hard bread, enclosed in a rag and label it "Soldiers Letter" rather than fail to report. But I am glad to say we are not driven to such a straight. The worst trouble is we have no means of keeping stationery. But here is one and a half pages wasted in picking a quarrel and smoothing it down. I hope you received my first letter after returning from the raid in which case you have learned how fully I sympathize with you in your anxieties. And here comes the baby nearer and dearer every time I hear or think of her; though to my eye and my lips a stranger to the mind and to the heart she is an old acquaintance. I should indeed be glad to be home when cousin Milt and Minnie visit but have but very - very slight hope of getting to come this fall. Be happy though, for I will love you the same and perhaps will get to come during the winter. Give my love to the cousins and tell Milt I am a very proud, jealous and haughty fellow, as he will find if he ever becomes acquainted with me.
Oh! here comes the baby again sweet, dear and innocent. I can almost imagine that I see her smiling and laughing as you are talking and playing with her extacy of joy. What fun!
I know how you wish for me to see her, and perhaps,__ possibly, that wish is slightly cancured in at this end of the line; but wait a little longer. The weather is somewhat cooler and my health proportionally better than it was some days ago. My duty lately has been to take care of one sore backed horse, (not severely) and stand guard two or three hours every other night. In the day I loll about my tent and read and rest as lazyness or interest may dictate.
I had such a good laugh here all alone yesterday, I must tell you about it. I was reading an account of California when the auther suddenly digressed to relate a little anecdote which run thus. judge B____ of ____ met a girl returning from market when he said to her "How deep did you find the stream? And what did you get for butter?" "Upon the knee and nine pence," was the prompt reply. The judge on reflecting a little said to himself, "ah! that's the girl for me! No words lost there! He accordingly turned back, proposed, was accepted and married her the next week. The honeymoon never waned but grew brighter and brighter still till it set in deaths horizon. Now is not this at first laughable? and then it ends divinely beautiful.
Yes, yes, dear Cornelia; I feel that I can appreciate now more than ever before why you love me. I chanced some months since to show your miniature to a certain Capt. of our Regt. who was quite profuse of compliments a thing to which I had no objection and was only sorry that he did not [?] as many as he bestowed upon you, or rather your likeness. He is more than ordinarily good looking as I would think, (though you are aware that I always protested against men judging of man's beauty) is worth perhaps two hundred thousand dollars and is well educated, sharp, shrewd &c. But I was never raised to a more egotistical appreciation of myself and a firmer resolve to be all that you deemed me, than I was by a remark this Capt. made in my hearing a day or two since. He said to another, half to tease me, and half in earnest (speaking of you) "I don't see how he ever got her." I replied coolly that " To love too well was the only art I used," and then came a thought that he the Capt. might yet be the unworthy husband of some good and loving woman. How I should pity her! What a life of pampered misery she would lead &c. I have told you some of his good qualities now read this. He lay back in the rear for months with a loathsome disease which unfitted him for service; He drinks to excess whenever liquor is accessible; he lies so much that whenever any report is found to have come through the mouth of Capt. _____ it loses all force; he is so profane that one would wonder if he was brought up under the fostering care of a mother (a being for whom he professes great reverence) and so obscene that one would doubt whether he ever felt the blush of shame. When a detachment of our Regt, was ordered a few days since to charge the Rebel lines and we started with a yell that told of nothing but victory this pusillanimous ____ Capt. wheeled about and led his company out of danger and when about to be arrested for bad conduct came off by declaring he misunderstood the orders. A thing under the circumstances, absolutely impossible. There are private soldiers in these ranks who own not a foot of land in the world nor property to the value of a [horse or house], and yet one such [?] is of more value to his country, a finer ornament to society and a greater blessing to mankind than would be as many such Captains as could stand on ten acres. But enough of this. Tell mother I am not forgetful of her, that I do not write more frequently to her in person. The last I wrote her, I have never herd weather she received. No doubt she learns all particulars from you and Kate. I must now write a few insults to Sallie What should I say to such mischief of a sister. They tell us [Wheder?] is on, or near the Road again so I do not know how slow this will travel. Yours was a great while on the way and surly it is time for more already. I could head there now.
My love to all and as many kisses to yourself and baby as you can wish.
I often think of you.
Fletch returns his greeting with thanks to you all. I wish our army had a few thousand of such officers as he and Sebe.
Read this and accept the warmest love of a sincere heart all your own.
Pelatiah Bond & William Edwards both transferred on 14 September 1864 from Company B to Company D
Sept 25th 1864
My dear, dear Cornelia
This is such a delightful morning that I feel as though only yours and Myrtillas presence are wanting to complete my happiness. The boys started home yesterday and most likely before this will reach you, you will see Sebe and receive a note by his hand. I am at present pleasantly situated in the basement story of quite a good family house. We have a good fireplace and large hearth about which cooking is much easier than it might otherwise be. Cook for from six to eight persons. Bake salt rising bread most of the time. Have a horse to take care of and to ride when I wish. He is strong, gay & sprightly the first good horse I have had since last fall. I have a thousand things to tell you that cannot be written and hence must be indefinitely postponed. I want to kiss, caress & console you: to tell you how happy I am , and how happy I should be could I feel assured that you were well and suffering no heart pangs on account of my absence. Time passes very rapidly away, and almost before we are aware of it, another year will be numbered in the past. Perhaps the war will be virtually at an end before that time, and we may meet to part no more on earth. The bare thought thrills my heart with unutterable joy, for indeed Cornelia there is nothing else I love half so much as my wife and babe. That miniature becomes dearer every time I see it. But what next! Why I had a letter from Coz. Artemus Roberts a few days since. He is gone with Pleasant Bond to the University at Ann Arbor Michigan. Coz. Eunice went with them to attend the Normal School at Ypsilanti. Coz. Wilma Harvey (formerly Garret) has recent lost her husband and two children. How lonely she must be with her only remaining child. Our relatives about Pendleton were well. No late letters from any other source lately and it will probably be some time before our mails will reach us again as I understand they have been stopped at some point because of most of the Regt. going home. I have little hope that I shall hear from you again until I receive your answer to this; so please write soon, directing to
Headquarters 1st Cav. Div.
Care of Capt. W. A. Rankin A.B.H.(?)
It is now late in the afternoon and I wish to grate some corn for mush; hence have but little time to write this evening. My love to all and be happy for I am never so happy at any other time as when I feel sure that you are so. I thought when I sat down to write this letter that I should try once more to do a decent job of writing (as I now sat at a table to write for the first time since we left Cleveland.) But the table is attached to posts which touch the joists and the constant walking on the upper floor makes it seem almost like writing on a car which is under way. Good bye! Remember I love you . I will now take a refreshing ride to the river (two miles) to water my horse then get supper.
Good bye~! My dear Nellie, Good bye.
Oct. 8th 1864
Dear "Neal Ederds;"
I am happy to inform you that, though the [ ][?] [?] [ ] high waters, have [ ]naturally discommoded us for the past ten days, we still live, and are growing fat. At this "shebang," we were compelled to fall back upon a barrel of flour that had been discarded, and that requires much persuasion, face and "strategy" to make light head of it. And yet by some means, I succeeded yesterday in making a couple of loaves that were complemented at breakfast as smelling much better than the flour. You will no doubt have heard e'er this reachs you, that the enemy attacked Allatoona, and were beaten off. A. is but a few miles from here and we were expecting every hour to be under siege, as the bridge here is of great importance. But we now hear that the enemy has left the Roads and that communication willshortly be restored. Hense I feel justified in attempting to renew correspondence with,_____No word seems sweet enough to call you bye! I want to look you in the eye, to express my feelings; and to take your dear hand in mine and press it to my lips; then my heart softly says Cornelia!
Perhaps you are [ ] hour writing to [ ]ing ever so many sweet things about our babe; who is today, ten months old. How I should like to see her! I had wrote you a little more than a week since, and the last received was mailed on the 20th. Home to hear from you again as soon as communication is restored. (Some of the bridges are washed away.) The weather has been warm and rainy here ever since the regt. left, untill yesterday, when it was bright and beautiful, and last night turned cool; this morning we have a beautiful sunshine and a sweet autum breeze. No frost yet, worth raining. Capts. Hacklman & Hess, and Lieuts. Sepenbock & Osbern have been exchanged and have all gone home except S. who commands the 2nd Ind. now. Liut Holiday was well, would have been exchanged but for some mistake about the name. None of those returned got to see Will or our other friends. Nor do they report very favordly of prison life in Dixie. I must confess my ardent hope of again seeing our brothers, considerably im[probible ] . So many [ ]te living seen the ex[ ]ption. For instance there were 7 of Co. C. taken on the 9th of May, and of these, Ben. learned that [?] were dead. My mind has letterly been troubled very much about the captives, so that I have ugly dreams of seeing them in distress; especially Daniel.
These things make me want to see you more, and yet they seem to make service more pleasant, for how could I live as a citizen, while a heartless Joe was is torturing my brothers to death by starvation? I think I can serve my time out with little complaint if you can only fare comfortably. But it is time to prepare dinner so good bye for a while! I'll come again loved one; after noon.
Dinner over; We fared sumptuoidly on bread, roast pig, lye-houing & coffee with milk in it. There are a couple of officers of the 4th Iowa Cav. supering temporarily with us; having been exchanged and got thus far toward their regiment which went back to Nashville after the raid. I think their superior [men ] Perhaps I should tell you that Capt. Rankin[?] and two of his clerks are from Lawrence Kansas and were among the sufferers at the time it was sacked. They escaped death by hiding in the bushes. Though they are all strangers to me I like [ ?(???] of them) much because they are temperate and steady and love and respect their wives. I think it possible that the Capt. Has too many sweethearts to be "just [??lears" but at best [?????? ] But one tells a little joke on his [?] and Harriot H. got our one at ?] It uses some very hard words to tell it but I [???] His name is William Saule ( pro???)] He was city Martial of Lawrence and was going to be married. There was one of those creatures [???] or sporting women in town, who perhaps [??] beauty or powers of facination was known [??]Well Queen Ann got a drunk, and [??] martial had to take her to jail. When they arrived [?] to the chief [Hotelle?] on the front piazza of which a number of ladies; and among them the affianced bride of the Martial, this Queen deliberately raised her garments to her breast and said " D___n you Bill Saule, if you want to ____ me take me down here; I don't want to go way off there in the bushes." O! wasn't that cool though? And wouldn't it be axhelerating to the feelings of a modest young gentleman who was ardently in love? Perhaps the ladies all blushed at the time but I bet a guess that Mrs. Saule has not heard the last of it. But here my paper is full and I have taken space for this yarn, which perhaps you had rather I had not have told, but it is so illustrative of how one object may be misrepresented that I think it worthy of its [?] And now Cornelia; be happy and well assured that wherever I may chance to be, or what [?] [?]ure or if [?] surround [?] my wife and child will be the theme of my thoughts. And if we live I may say as you did to me in [??] these sweet [Billetdows] written at Nashville; "I will be yours next September."
Meantime be good and happy and take care of my dear little wife and baby. With my love to all and my whole heart to yourself as you kiss our babe,
Oct 23rd 1864
I intended writing a long letter to you today but had several others on hand unfinished and have spent so much time with them that I shall not be able to complete this tonight. No doubt you are aware that the enemy has been amusing himself at our expense again, tearing up the R.R. so we can hardly get our letters. I was among the favored however an day before yesterday for a light mail which arrived per carrier contained yours of the 5th I had received and answered the two previous ones. Last wrote you on the 16th. I was very sorry to learn that you had been sick but so glad you were getting well that I concluded to not get gloomy over it. Please still be as careful of my wife as circumstances will allow for I love her very much and desire her continued good health good looks and good temper. I know that which is unavoidable cannot be avoided and will not blame you for anything you cannot help I cannot guess why you cannot sleep. Wish you had part of my sleeping abilities. Nothing is easier for me than to sleep from half past 8 o'clock till 5 or 6. But I cannot tell you how glad I am that our babe discovers such a disposition to talk. Glad too that she is mischievous; not because it is annoying to you to watch her so much but because as you say "it is her active brain that makes her so." Be as patient as you can and perhaps I will come home sometime and then I'll help you mind her. It is indeed cheering to hear so near directly from Will. But we have heard in the same way, that James Scott is dead and that Robert Brooks has lost the use of himself.
I have long been expecting a letter from the Major but fear I shall have to inflict another upon him before I shall get one. Just now I hear that the mail will go out tonight so I must just cut this short and send it for we may have no others opportunity for a long time.
Some vague rumors afoot about the command moving to Chattanooga. If you did not read cousin Melissa's letter it is your own fault, and that exquisite little billet doux signed "Belle" and claiming cousinship you should have read. I will send it back to you to be put on file with our other important letters. Perhaps we shall someday learn who its author is. I have responded to it in the best manner of my capacity and sent the response to Coz. Melissa to be forwarded.
It is time to close and get supper. I will write again at the earliest opportunity. With love to all and my heart all yours I am glad to greet you and sorry to say good night!
Nov 1st 1864
My ever dear Cornelia;
Your very welcome letter of the 23rd has arrived and though it contained some unpleasant information, yet the tone was hopeful and hense made me glad. I was not surprised to hear that you had not received my letters though they were promptly written and deposited in office; for I learned some days ago, that the mail had not gone out from our Div. for several weeks, or since and the Road was torn up. I trust you have or soon receive five or six letters from me whose siccessive dates will vary from 4 to 8 days. Then you will know that all is well with me and that I am one of the fattest and happiest fellows that ever was miserable. I am not, nor have I lately been troubled for myself in the least. It is all for you, our babe, our captive brothers our aged and fond parents, sweet kind sisters etc. that I am personally unhappy, if I can call myself so at anytime.
After quite a narration of incidents of in which Myrtle was the heroine you ask if it is "interesting" to me. Allow me to assure you that nothing could be more so except to hear it from your lips while liking with a fathers affectional pride upon the little prattling actress. Ah! how truthful your imagination! I do indeed gaze upon the pictures with just such thoughts as you speak of. But "a life of love" will pay" me; it has, and does pay me for more than I can ever do or suffer. Blessed is he that hath such love. It is somewhat painful to learn that our babe is sick and that you have to be awake when you should sleep, to labor and not have sufficient rest; but as she was better when you closed I will hope all is well now, but shall be always prepared to have my hopes blasted for nothing seems sure but death and that is an ordnance of God. Yes! yes! Cornelia! I cannot tell you much I should enjoy that fireside of ours ( to be) when the war has passed and can be spoken of in the past tense, should we be spared to consumate the wish. But war is the order now and let us nerve ourselves to meet it still. I do not feel that I could rest at ease and be happy even in your loved presence for a great length of time, while our brothers are in prison or our flag in peril. I know dear Cornelia, that you love me with a wifes pure devotion and that you would fain have me at your side, though not at the cost of neglected duty. We will surely welcome with thanksgiving and praises the day that will permit us to return to the loved ones without prejudice to the cause of freedom or humanity. But now a little news & rumors. Bushwackers fired into one of our foraging parties a few days since ( a frequent game) by which means they lost three killed two wounded & one captured. We had one horse killed. The R. R. was completed three days since and within 4 hours there after, from 40 to 60 trains had passed down most by blue with soldiers. The rebs fire into the trains occasionally in consequence of which Gen. McCook received from Gen. Sherman a very significant & characteristic order, the substance of which was ---"Send out ---to---with orders to burn half a dozen houses, kill a few secessionist, an random, and inform the citizens that this will be repeated every time a train is fired upon." The command is being paid now but owning to the officers of our Regt. having carried to end. the (?) rolls we cannot be paid. I fear you will need but I am helpless in the matter. If you can make a draw upon the countr please do so. There is a rumor afloat that our Div. will turn over wagons, horses, & c. and return to Nashville to reorganize and equip. The rumor seems to have some foundation but is not officially proclaimed as yet. The 2nd Ind. Cav. yesterday heard an officer pronounce "little better than a mob" ( whats left of it here") and I am sorry to say the sentence is correct. I am glad to be away from the miserable (??) that now compose for too heavy a portion of the detachment. The papers you talked of sending, have not arrived . It is time to get supper and I must say for the moment farewell!
I love you dearly, farewell
Tuesday we are to start on a march towards Nashville immediately and perhaps I shall have no opportunity to write for a fortnight or more. Please write often for I shall be thinking much of you as I ride over manor grand old hills and across their intervening valleys. Hope that baby will be well next letter. Be happy Nellie, and good for indeed I love you.
| [some damage]
Nov. 19th 64
Would if I could tell you how glad I am to once more attempt to write you a whole letter and that with the hope that you will get it. I wrote you about the 2nd inst from Calhoun, on the 6th from Chott. and yesterday dropped a note at the City that you might know my whereabouts. Last night I received yours of the 4th together with one from father & one from mother. They were both well but Samson had been drafted and after having been accepted was discharged on account of a crippled foot from a cut in boyhood. They have lost their babe lately. Edward was expected home soon. Nothing late from the other boys. I do hope that even this you have received some of the many letters I have written to you since the last you have noticed in return. I know you do not blame me a[t all] I am sure that the fault is not mi[ne ] for previous to starting one that long [ ] tedious march I wrote regularly. And I cannot tell you how glad I a[m ] that you continue to write not withstanding you could not hear from me, for I got all your letters. I know you feel very anxious but now please laugh and say he is a happy fat fellow, full of laugh when others swear at bad roads, mountains and raining weather; always glad to hear from his wife and babe, ever longing to be with them but contented and resigned. These sweet dreams you speak of must be quite refreshing; at least they always are to me. I so very glad that our babe has recovered and surely I have never wearied of reading whatever you would write concerning her. Well I know how much you wish me to see her. But you say Melissa is going to Lebanon. Where is Lebanon? Please tell her I have written twice to [her] since receiving anything from [her ]. I suppose as your letter was mailed [ ]at Walpole that Bob. failed to come down. Should he or any other person come down here I can be found at Head Quarters of the Div. Train near Camp Smith I am not half through talking to you but I am in a cold tent with no fire and the ground is very wet under foot. (Yet I shall spread my bed upon it as I have done all the time for near three weeks.) What fun to soldier when it includes such marches as the last and such camps as the this. How you would have pitied me, could you have seen me since we came here, cooking where every step my feet were buries half way to the top of the boots. to day we moved to s nice grass plot and are just rejoicing that when we spread and bed it will not go under. Good Night my love!
I am under great obligation to finish the letter th[ ] I confess I hardly know what to[ ] I had been indulging the hope that[ ] most of the division had gone to Louisville, we would also go there, when it would be possible for you to come to see me. But alas ! the train it to rem[ain] here and I with it; but it may be all for the best and so let us be resigned and happy. Nine months more will quickly pass and then should all be well with us, we may meet perhaps with greater joy from this protracted sepparation. I shall endeavor to be cheerful at all hazards and hope you will do the same.
We learned that Lincoln is reelected and of course we hope for the best final results. The rebels can hardly fight four years longer and probably they are aware of it. I could write all day to you if I had half a chance but we have no stove and I have to write to father & mother so I know you will pardon me for this brevity. Oh! there is so much that can never be told till we meet. It would cost too much and be entirely too hard a journey for both you and baby to come here, so just be happy knowing that all I can ever have or be, is yours. Save your lives, health, money and love, till we can meet in some more congenial spot. The time will com[e ] if we live to need it; and I hope we shall. [ ] remember me to [ ]er and the others and [ ]ccept to yourself the richest and purest love my heart has ever known. Kiss our child and keep her passions mild. Tell her all her father's love and how he longs to see her. But I know you do all this daily. You are a sweet girl Nellie and I am very lath to leave you even here; but dinner must be made soon and much else must be done. Good bye till another day.
[Dec 25 64]
Edge Field opposite Nashville
My own Dear Cornelia (Sweetest [ ] to mortal given!) I yesterday received seven letters, three of which were from my darling wife, & mailed Nov. 16th & 24th and Dec. 2nd . One dated Dec. 8th recd. & answered a week ago. They were much behind time, but still important. I cannot answer them as they should be for it would require a large book to write all that is now crowding up for utterance, and then having just finished one letter there are five after this, that should be written tonight. But first & must talk a little while to you. I feel quite tired tonight. having roasted a turkey and got a Christmas dinner generally. I humbly trust in God that next Christmas may be spent with my wife & babe. far from this whirlpool of revelry. How often today my thoughts have flown to you and how my heart has yearned to caress you let your own soul tell you. But there is one thing that I am sure to think of several times daily. I milk a cow regularly, and the question comes home to me every time I approach her,_____Does our babe have plenty of good cows milk? If she does had you not better allow that soon to constitute her principle food.? Do not injure my dear wife by nursing too long for babys own good.
You spoke of sending some little articles to me soon; how did you send them & about what date? As to Mr. Shorts case, I have learned but little through a friend that observes informed me that Jo. was a small thief who was in the way of some much larger ones. Mr. Judkins is certainly dead; died oct. 14th. His report to Cor. was in keeping with the man and should not be condemned in him or Will. Wales. By the way I recd. yesterday a joint letter from Mr., Mrs. & Miss Judkins. Part of the old ladies letter was private & it would astonish you to read the confidential appeal she makes like a true mother to a faithful son. I cannot tell here though, what it is all about and were it not that it is my fixed purpose to tell you all I should not have mentioned it. She is only asking a favor of me that it would be my joy to grant were it in my power. She fears that Irene will marry a copperhead and she wishes me to dissuade her slyly from her purpose. Now does not that beat all you ever heard of? And what on earth can I do? I am a married man and cannot go and cut him out! In short I fear the case is a bad one but Mrs. J. has been as a mother to me and I ought to do something if I could. Nellie this is all for you alone, and as a word dropped might spoil all, please not know a thing about it. You shall hear all if I live to return. Think I have a plan by which I can say something to the whole family which Irene well take home without discerning its object. Take notice I do not think she really lives a traitor, but having been unfortunate in allowing her affections drive where they should not have gone, she may be a little wreckless now; and with the same pressure still bearing upon her, she might commit an act that would make many miserable. (for her parents do not allow him to visit her.) All to you Nellie , what do you think? A long good letter from my old good friends Newt. & Minerva Wales, give many particulars. Singleton W. was drafted but heard of it in time to enlist before being notified. Is at Chatt. now.
Several of my old friends have had quite serious tryals. Emma Bartlow had lost one of her boys & an adopted daughter. Her husband is in the army. John & Linda Wales have a daughter which is considered one of beautys boasts. (I fear it will not shine so well mentally) Newt & wife talk of coming to Ind. for a visit next fall in which case they expressed a hope to see us. Minerva seems much grieved that Singletons folks did not visit you last winter. I know too that if Jane could have had her wish she would have done so, but you know there were no men over there that S. was acquainted with our house his interest was not very deep. Newt. & Minerva are going to send us a photograph of their little boy soon as they can get it taken.
But you spoke in your letter as though you thought I was coming home soon and was trying to surprise you. Sorry to say that such is not the case and that if we fore as many others are faring here, we shall not get home before Oct. or Nov. next. Hope however that some arrangements will be made to [smister] men out a little more promptly. If I should some dark night slip up stairs and steal a kiss though, it would surprise you too much would it not? And you would [ ] yourself [ ]baty to death and then I should regret that I ever came home. After I took you by surprize as at Coz. Josh's I thought I should never risk such an experiment again. But when you caught me at Louisville was the sweet surprize. Oh what would I give for another like it! But not now though; we must wait eight or nine months together and then if God be willing we may meet again. I wrote Sebe a few days since and must write to Kay again soon as I received one from him yesterday as also one from Melissa enclosed with one from little Nancy Brown. (I correspondent not dreamed of before.) She was so young and bashful when I saw her that I had not thought she would write so good a letter in ten years as the one she sent me. I shall of course respond & will ask her if she had your leave to correspond with me. By the way she [ ] quite a tribute to our baby. Just as I expected! My sheet full and nothing told "at all at all." Cornelia, I shall never tell you all, but could I look at you and kiss you occasionally it seems to me it would be mutually a greater satisfaction. My bed fellow is off on a drunk or per be "heaven itself" to be with you.
We have had another cold snap here and no doubt you had a hard time keeping yourselves and babys warm. Wish that I could help you but that is all vain at present. I feel tired and somewhat sleepy and think I shall stow off those other letters till another day.
Be good, be happy, be contented humbly hoping all will yet be well with us. I am very anxious to hear from the prisoners and somewhat hopeful [that we will] soon. May God deliver you from the fate that avails me tonight!____mainly sleeping with a drunk man. He is here now and with all the pity my mind can muster I can but feel somewhat contemptuous.
But Good night!
I love you!
My love to all