Edgefield, opposite Nashville Tenn.
Jan. 1st 1865
Ever dear Cornelia,
There is nothing that I can do today that seems more fitting or more in [unisoi ?] with my heart feeling than to write you.
For though I replied near a week since, to the last received from you, yet well I know that you have often remembered me since, and that your chiefest prayer is ever for my safety and welfare. Happy to assure you of my continued health and comparative happiness. Indeed I should be supremely happiness. Indeed I should be supremely happy this morning, could I only be assured of the well being of all the dear ones. The military situation is very cheering and it is to be hoped that war will not always cloud the prospects of our people. And indeed the prospects now seem to promise a more speedy and successful termination, than we could have hoped for. Even the most radical rebels, are becoming leading Abolitionist. May they not grow weary in well doing!
God is indeed causing the "wrath of now to praize him," turning all his selfishness to good account. While we laud the patriotism and philanthropy of our people it is well that we remember that with most, both are found in selfishness; and it is only necessity that makes us alive to either.
If there is one thing above another for which we should be thankful to the Great Ruler, it is for this unlimited and natural dependence. I need not commit a preach upon you however, did not intend to; but merely wished to express to some appreciative being, the gratitude that is ever welling up for utterance.
In one of your letters received a week ago, you say you "fear that I have doubts about salvation being free for all &c." I must confess to you, as I ever have, that Skepticism holds onto me, very firmly; and I hardly see why mortals should become immortal. Surely they are few that are worthy of such promotion. I cannot feel that I am, or [can be] sufficiently devout and pure to deserve it. Can only know that there is no wrong in well doing, and continue so far as possible to avoid wrong thinking and wrong action. Exercizing kindness, for kindness sake on the plan of the Golden rule, knowing that good actions are never a lost. Pardon me dear Cornelia if this does not all accord with your views, and if you would have me more hopeful of Eternity, for I could not feel right to deceive you by being silent, or by evasion of the subject. And remember too, as I told you during our early courtship, that I would not for the world that my blindness should come to see less clearly. These doubts come unsought and go unhidden. They are beyond my control and I do not feel responsible for them.
But there is one thing that is to me a sweet and tangible reality. A thing not dependent upon history or opinion, but upon the mutual & relative purety and devotion of our own hearts thoughts.
If there is a heaven prepared for immortal beings [escapen?] from mortal day, love is surely its earthly representative. Nor could I wish the Eternal, to be more real or unalloyed, than the [trav?] for what could make me more happy than to be with my wife and babe and not conscious of any suffering that needed our care.
Indeed Cornelia I have a kind of suspicion that I love you, and believe if I were with you I would convince you of the fact. And would you discard me? Oh! I couldn't hear that, niw that I have suffered it to gain such strength and fortify itself in my heart. But I do not fear; I know that were I to call upon you today you would bestow upon me a New years gift more precious than anything I have realized since I kissed you last at the old tent. But dear Cornelia; I cannot come today nor perhaps for three quarters of a year hense. Will you not keep for one a sweet loving New years kiss? I know you will though, and if I never come home please give it to baby, on each returning New year, as her fathers annual present. I dreamed much of you both last night and of being so happy with you. Perhaps sometime we shall realize some of these blissful dreams. But I must get to dinner. Good bye!
Night; Cornelia, allow me to draw before you home picture;
We used to draw some pretty pictures (that is we thought them pretty love blinded as we were) and I trust we can mutually appreciate this. I have been thinking all evening how sweet it would be on such an evening as this, to have a neat little cottage with several rooms neatly furnished. I have just come in from my daily employment you know In the sitting room there is a nice fireplace, carpet, and other things comfortable and convenient. A cheerful fire is blazing and I have taken baby for a play, while you make supper. The door is open to the kitchen and I see your happy face as you frequently pass & repass while baby is wild with glee. What fun! What, oh what joy!
A little later & supper is over; baby has fallen asleep and we are sitting at a neat round table reading and talking with perfect home delight. Everything dear is dearer now; everything sweet is sweeter too, because it had been so long delayed.
Now it is true that this may not all be realized, but will not the [custte?] with that this little additions imagination will readily supply pay for the building! Do you not often build such? I could hardly, live with out constructing one occasionally.
But now let us speak of realities. I have twice written to you on financial matters, but for some cause I have seen no response on the subject. Possibly you forget it; probably your reply has as yet, failed to reach me because of delinquent mails.
There is twelve months pay due to me now, but when I shall get it, no one knows. I fear you are much in need of it. I wrote you to draw the county bounty and use it for yourself and mother; but do not know whether you could do it or now or not. Please inform me on this important matter in your next. I have no later news from any of the friends. Hoping all the while to have letters bringing good news from the poor prisoners. __ yet it is a "fearful hope" Can't get time to write all the letters in demand at present. We have a drunken comrade in our tent tonight making more noise than the law call for. Think I never wrote a page [?] such a babel of confusion as has engulfed me while writing this. The line of battle behind the skirmishers where the bullets fall, is a quiet retreat compared to it. My table has come near being upset many times, whilst the thumps and jars, have been almost countless. Oh! that prayers, labors, kindness, love; any, or all combined could relieve us from this horrid curse of drunkenness.
Poor fellow now swallows water as though his very soul were on fire! Last night he promised faithfully never to drink again; to night he says the same, but is going to get a case of whisky to sell. The consequence need not be written. But it is time to retire Good Night
I love you Good Night!
| some damage
We arrived at this place an day before yesterday and while the command was crossing the bridge it floated away, carrying part of the 1st Wisconsin Cav. with it. All the men and most of the horses got off safely however. We were obliged to wait here for pontoons to come from Nashville and I hear they arrived this evening, so perhaps we shall go on sometime tomorrow.
Fearing I should not have another opportunity to write for some days I thought to intrude a little upon your time, patience and good nature by bothering you with an illcomposed, worse written, but well-meaning love letter. Pardon me Nellie, for I do not think I was to blame for loving you; more than Myrtle is for your, our loving her. You see I could not help it without doing violence to all my tenderest feelings and I was afraid they were not tough enough to [bear] it, so I just went and told you all about it, and said [("I] like for folks to love me.") So I did not try any more to not love you. Believe is you are still willing. I will just continue to love you; expecially as I cant help it and would not if I could.
But we had two perceptible shocks of earth quakes here today; the first I ever heard or felt. I have just written a long letter to mother B. and my candle is nearly out, so guess I will postpone, go to bed and think, ___ perhaps dream of my dear good wife at home numbering the hours as they pass, and wishing so much for me to come.
I will come dearest if I am permitted so to do so and shall love you oh! so much for your brave and patient resignation to this protracted separation.
Oh! It seems to me I will try hard to make life a sweet pastime journey to you. It seems to me that, though we must toil for ourselves, for each other and our babe, yet labor when sweetened with God's pure blessings and connubial as well as parental love, well be as a May day stroll in search of flowers.
I feel glad that there will always be something for us to do. But with a few good nights kisses to you and Myrtle I will spread my couch and fall asleep. Good Night!
How miserable the foregoing scribbling appears by daylight! But I trust your patience and perseverance, will enable you to read it; and perhaps your forgiving heart will find an apology for it, though I frankly confess that I ought not to inflict upon you, such wretched spider tracks for letters. I feel a little discomfited of late because I have found it impossible [to] keep a change of under clothes. Have had no less than half a [?] undershirts & drawers stolen within the last two months. Do not like to steal in turn, for fear of robbing some innocent person. But guess I shall look out some of these practical thieves, and show them that they know but little of their profession. If I only succeed in finding out the troublesome rascals, they will do well to keep a single suit for some time to come. Here to for, each draw they have made upon me, I made one at the Quartermasters; but think I shall not attempt to draw clothing for the whole train. Well the other chief vexation I have upon me at present is, this loathsome cutaneuos affection; caused by bad blood or camp itch. It makes one feel like he was bathing in a pond of lice; and would not be fit to appear in society for better than sometime. The Doctors have had no medicine adapted to its treatment until recently, and I had not money to purchase of druggist; so hunkey &c, I have just been curing it by scratching; which you know is only a temporary relief, besides being intensely laborious. There Nellie, I have told you all my troubles and of course feel better. Am sure they will ehut your sympathy, but let them not trouble you, for they are but natural consequences of soldiering, and temporary inconveniences.
This is a bright and beautiful day here; just such as the finest we had at Fortville when you were with me. Do you remember them, and how happy we were when you were well? But next time [we] go to housekeeping, I trust we shall have a house where the soot will not soil our clothes so fast, and with a floor easier to sweep than that was.
But we cannot hope to be happier long at a time, than we were then & there.
How sweet the memory of those days are hours of life with the loved one alone!
And how I long to repeat them, many times multiplied. (that is the days and hours) Suppose you do not desire the loved ones multiplied much further, as it cost you to much pain & suffering.
Just as you like about that Dearest, (if you can have it so) for I do not wish to be exacting, when it is only you that suffers.
Besides, one baby may be as many as we can properly care for. Wish I could see her though and help you romp with her, teach feed and clothe her. It would surely be a pleasant task in your sweet company & presence. But every day brings us nearer together, no matter in what direction we travel. So I will endeavor to be content, and labor to return to you quite as good as when I left you, that you may not feel despondent repentant and disappointed in the husband of your choice; for you had a world of men to choose from and it would be a pity if the one you [?] should [?]. I will try Dear Cornelia with all my heart, I will try, to be just, kind, clever, rough,___ slovenly and uncouth thou I be.
And with your better taste to [?] me, and your ever kind suggestions, I hope even yet, to conquer some of my feelings of stubborn, haughty pride; and to be perhaps, not quite so excentric in every respect as formerly I was.
But you know I promised none of this before we were engaged, so you have the assurance that it was your own good heart, and not my coat, that won you for me. Yes! it was all you, and I thank you for allowing me to approach you in my own way, for otherwise I never could have woed, I pray, hope & trust that we do and ever shall understand each other so well as to avoid the many breakers that lye hidden beneath the flacid waters of the [notriouwoial?] sea. That we may sail lifes entire tempestuous voyage; without foundering upon the rocks, or capsizing by the winds. We have long been on the ocean "paddleing our own canoes" respective; may we soon take rooms together.
But why I have written such a letter of wondering musings I hardly know. Several months of toil and danger must yet be passed e'er we can hope to meet and then who knows whether it will be possible for us to remain together without forsaking our friends in captivity & our country in the hour of her greatest peril? [?] I could only tell you half that comes crowding hard for utterance I hear [?] say "patriotism is played out" I would [not] enlist again to save the [country??] &c.
Allow me to say that such are not my feelings or sentiments. Dearly as I love life, and as much dearer as I love you; much as I long to see you and our dear innocent babe. If I know my own heart I would reenlist for life; forever forswearing the sweet pleasure of home, comfort, society and your sweet company, rather than see devastating war sweep over our beautiful country as it has over this.
But I hope and sincerely trust that after the [?] of any present term there will be [??] for my [?] in the field. God grant that there may not be more!
We do not expect any mail until we arrive at East Port Miss. which will require six or seven days according.
Be good, be happy, remembering that I dearly love you. Kiss Myrtle for me and tell me all here sweet love [?]
I am happy and may this find you likewise.
I love you Good bye!
Write once a week.
Here is a nice little letter from Cousin Sarah. Does she not talk like a good girl? [do not have the letter]
Waterloo (Near Bridge Port Miss.)
Feb. 7th 1865
My dear affectionate wife;
Your good long and affectionate letter mailed 25th Jan. was received a day or two since and has been read several times giving renewed, and new pleasure. But first; why should we ask questions of each other. Have you not noticed that frequently if not always when one of us asks a question we find it anticipated and answered before it reaches its destination. This is surely evidence of a great sympathy and symilarity of feeling and to me seems to indicate sameness of purpose.
In my last to you, I asked whether Myrtle walked as though her limbs were strong &c. In your last, written some days before mine, gives the desired information. But surely in your last effort you have concentrated the sum of all praise and lavished it upon our babe. I never read anything before in my life, that affected me as did your exclamation of, "Oh! she is the merriest little sunbeam you ever saw." Dear Cornelia; you need try no longer, for surely this is the climax of beautiful similie.
I should of course delight to see her
walking and hear her talking but "it is bliss to me, to know that thou
Glad to hear that Will's folks feel
so hopeful and may they not be disappointed!
Another & still another of our countrymen
is devoured, and yet the savage jaws and captious maw of the great beast
are not satisfied. But let him have his fill of human gore, and do his
worst to render the world desolate, there will be joy still, and happiness;
serene and pleasant quiet; friendship will still be free & the warm heart
of love will beat as truly for its object! But here is a question. I suppose
that I sleep as well as most of my comrades but I can't say that I should
be very loth to exchange my couch and bed fellow for a good bed and you
to sleep with. I often on retiring extend an arm for your pillow then
bring the other over as if to enfold you, trying to imagine you there,
as I go to sleep. But this looks very silly on paper. I am glad that you
are always so happy and as satisfied with your choice of a husband as
you have always assured me is the case; and I feel called upon to do all
in my power to be as good as you think me. Yes, yes; I know that a look
and a word sealed with a kiss, would tell much more than can ever be written;
but these little assurances are at last more valuable than gold or diamonds.
They tell of a heart, in a far off land,
But I have not time to extend this style as I could
But I had not finished responding to
your letter. The poem from which you transcribe one Stanza is indeed beautiful.
Hope that sometime you will be able to procure it for your scrap book
for I have by no means given up the hope of studying book keeping after
which we shall have several volumes to fill with choice selections. O
no! Cornelia, I do not, nor ever did, for a moment doubt the existence
nor the justice love and wisdom of an All Wise creator.
It always seems to me that we cannot
be sufficiently good and grateful for the blessings showered upon us here;
and that a man who is always indulging in a vulgar conversation disrespectful
of the opposite sex is ungrateful to the mother that bore him and unworthy
the blessed love of a good wife. Then how can such a one aspire to be
a child of Heaven; even though he vow the greatest faith?
Mind I do not claim to be one of these,
but I have heard such offering very devout prayers.
But now dear Cornelia I may be chilled
and hardened by this long estrangement from all that is tender and Heaven
like. I Shall try oh! so hard to be good and true both to you and God,
loving, hoping and trusting that all will be well and in accordance with
Give yourself not the least trouble
about me, for there is no such thing possible as to sin and escape punishment
or merit and not receive reward, at some time, or in some way.
So I must again bid you farewell! Be
good and happy, trusting ever that the Will of the Omnipotent will be
done. I have enjoyed so much in the last few years, that I shall never
be able to discharge the debt of gratitude. Kiss our babe and tell her
I love her.
Home, Friday eve. Feb 24th/65
I have been wanting to you every day this week but this is [??]pare moment I have had! I [suffice?] dearest that are this, or at best fare this will reach you, you will have [ecumed?] the sad new of dear brother Hezekiah's death; I have tried to write a letter of condolence to Ann but under the circumstances it is difficult to offer my consolations; Dear Ty. At such times when your heart is bowed down with sorrow, as I know it must be now, not only in [comseprence?] of the lost of your brother, but in sympathy for his dear little family who are left so [cusblate?] at such times. I say I would be with you to brighten your burthen of grief. Try to make the [warlse?] appear [?] again, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God," says that best of books and you have the comforting assurance that he was pure in word, thought, and deed. I know dear Ty that it is my very very hard to realize that your noble brother [??] on earth, but he is not dead, but gone [befare], and let the hope of a "happy reunion beyond the [bete] of time" be a solace to you. I could say much more to you dear Ty but you know it all. You are well aware that you have my sympathy, and that I would if possible make you forget the sad circumstances of his death, and have you only remember that he is happy now now, and let me beg you to guard against a melancholy feeling, oh I want you happy, but I must be brief I only have a few comments to write. The general heath of the family is good. Charlie came home [?etary] not very well. Myrtle is better today than she has been for a week past - sometimes I feel fearfull that she is not going to be as healthy as we [??]he would. I am sure she could not be more [cerfully ?neted?] than she is, and yet she will[?ate?] cold and be sick when I can see no [accusion?] for it. Ma says I am too carfull and [?] with her; but she is so much better now that I hope she will be quite well in a few days.
Dear Ty I did not get my letter finished & mailed as I intended, and perhaps it is well enough for I have several bits of news to tell you, first if best is that Myrtle is still improving, & is running around and seem quite well with the exception of a little cough. Sallie received a letter from Edwards a few days ago. Mailed at Indianapolis, he enlisted in the first Minn heavy Artillery which passed though Indianapolis in rout for Nashville. They only remained there one day and he did not get to [comey]. I received a note from him today [mailed] from Nashville, he was not well he said nothing about how Ann was getting along, but she must be doing well as he would not have left her. But here I have written almost a sheet full and have not acknowledged the [?] of your last dear letter of the [???] Yes dear Ty I have [nahcess?] ever since our correspondence began I had a great sympathy and sorrowness of feeling [ex?slted] between us and that are hearts were very closely [?] but I have not much longer to write and will [?] over your letters and [?] the last pagefor a moment As you say [?] are a great many [?] who [? ?] them [?] we get more fresh milk, she is such a [???] she has learned to always give me two kisses, one for Pa and one for Ma, is [?] to talk quite [?] idly.
I must close
remember I love you dear Ty if I have not told you so in this letter
write soon and often to your own
May 12th 1865
My own Cornelia;
I know the time must seem long and tedious to you, and your heart is filled with anxiety for my welfare. I would do anything to break the suspense were it possible to do it. But as it is, I can only hope that you are happy and hopeful. Since I commenced my letter at (?) there was one opportunity to send mail but i was on duty out of camp and knew nothing of it until it was too late. Gen. McCook was ordered to this post (perhaps as military Governor of the state) and he brought our battalion and the 7th Reg. as an escort and garrison. We were the first armed yankees that have arrived here. All is quiet and nearly all the people seem glad. They treat us with the kindness and respect. The climate is tolerably healthy just here, and it would not surprise me if we should remain here until the expiration of our term. It in now the height of harvest time here for rye, (They do not raise wheat) and the heat is so modified by the sea breeze that it is quite bearable.
I wish you could be here for a short
time to look at the rare beauties of the "summary south." Among these
I have seen none more superb than the gray moss which adorns almost every
forest tree hanging like the (?) locks of an old man bespeaking respect.
The trees are frequently bent with it (?) of the locks or bunches being
near ten feet in length.
The woods are merry with the songs
of birds all of which are made to seem double numerous by the mockingbird.
There are two or three of these interesting songsters now in the shade
trees around the house where I write and you would think that all the
birds of America had met to show to men how kind and sociable people of
different tongues could be. I saw yesterday an alligator about seven feet
in length. But I need not try to tell you all that is new and strange
to we here, nor is it necessary to say that none of these sights and sounds
are worth half value to me, because you do not enjoy them with me. When
I have looked upon you, all things were beautiful, though none half so
charming as yourself. A few more month Cornelia, and if God spares us,
we may hope to meet again. Since active operations ceased the time hangs
rather heavily over me, but could I hear from you my life would be quite
tolerable. Our baby too occupies my thoughts considerably. I wonder if
she is still well, and if she is learning to talk rapidly; how her voice
sounds and a thousand other questions about her; May God protect you both
and bring us all in peace and joy together!
Good bye loved ones till another hour!
Tuesday morning: 16th [of May 1865]
The other day I threw myself in a leaning
longuid posture upon the lounge when Mrs. Lee (the millers wife) ran to
the bed and brought a pillow which however I declined to use telling her
that my head should not rest on a pillow until yours should rest beside
it. There are plenty of blackberries ripe now and we have plenty of time
to gather them, so you know it is our own fault if want for same. We cannot
have pies though because there is no flour to be had at any price.
I do hope Cornelia, that this may reach
you in the course of a week or two and that you may be cheerful and happy.
Of course I may yet have many dangers to pass but I do not now anticipate
anything quite so terrible as was Fort Tyler. We are a long ways from
home and may be amoung the last volunteers discharged though I hope we
may get home during the summer.
Tell Mrs. Murrer that Free. is well
or was yesterday and although his gun was shot to pieces in his hand at
West Point yet as it was held exactly between him and the enemy he received
no injury save the jar.
Free. seems much nearer to me than
does any other man in Florida. He is so childlike in appearance and manner
and yet so manly in everything that pertains to manhood. All the (?) boys
from our (?) (?) well I believe
Well I do not know what else to tell
so I will say be careful of my wife and child and do not let them work
too hard so that they will be well when I come home for we shall want
to go visiting I hope that our mails will be brought up some of these
days that I may here from you.
Till further orders address Co. D.
2nd Ind. (?) . Tallahassee Florida.
Give my love to all and when you write
our friends aboard tell them I am well but can not write often now. I
shall perhaps write none but you this summer.
Kiss Myrtle for me and tell her Pa.
will come Soon now. If Will. is home tell him it was hard to reconcile
myself in his absence, often thought when hard pressed, of surrendering
and going to see him but as I could carry no comfort with me I always
resolved to wait to meet him where we could be free.
Oh! how can I contain myself if I have
the joy to meet Daniel, Will., & Sam! But I must close, I love you very,
very dearly. Good bye,
| damaged, faded & marked on
by a child
June 24th 1865
My Dearest Cornelia,
I know the time seeming long to you, but still I must beg your indulgence you for an indefinite period. There is no good reason why I could not have been home near two weeks ago save the perfect indifference of some of those whose business it is to muster us out. For three successive days now, we have marched through the heat to Div. Head Quarters to now be mustered out, and now we are told that it cannot be done until they get a coppy of our original muster rolls which cannot be had this side of Indianapolis.
So you see we shall have need of great patience for it must require much time yet. I told you some days ago, you need not write me more but letters pass so [??]now that should you be able to mail one [??] 30th please, please [??]for I doubt that we shall get to spend [??] with you.
It is very taxing on the patience when 15 minutes work of an official would enable us to join our friends and families, it is very taxing on the patience to see him gayly flirting with a lewd woman on the streets and highways and drinking beer at the sutters.
But as I have so often said before, we never know what is best for us and this delay, so seemingly unjust and useless may be fraught with infinite good and most delicious joy. If on the other hand it brings great grief and deep set sorrow, a spirit of sweet humility and perfect resignation will be it surest atidote.
So very many of our comrades have fallen in the last hour of the conflict and since the strife has ended, that it almost seems to good to hope to meet you, before some additional heavy sorrow should fall upon us. And get the hope however checked, will rise and bear me with it to some sweet shade on a bright day like this (or on some pleasant night) when we shall meet and spend an age of bliss in a single [??] Love's sweet dreams do long past are fresher[???] there seems a prospect of again reading [them?]) than they [had] been since. I bode you adieu at the [??].
It seems to me that I am a hard looking piece of flesh for a woman to love, but you always say you love me and suit the action to the word so I guess I have no right to dispute it (and do'nt want to) for your sweet love is worth more to me than all else. But you are wondering why I do not speak of Myrtle. I have never seen her it is indeed difficult to realize that she really is, although I know that she receives many kisses and caresses for me. I am over anxious to kiss her myself.
Think the first work I do when I get home will be to spend a week or two playing with the babies. What fun!
Do you think I can ever again live the tender and beautiful as I once did? I hope so, but indeed I do not know; I fear there are some changes not for the better. Well my dear girl I am tired writing, as I sit flat upon the ground without so much as a board under my portfolio upon my knees. I have written once to mother and thrice to you, is all the writing [???] this summer. Should we not s[??]e before a week I will try to write [??].
I feel [the]deepest grief at the murder of our brother, but have little indination to speak of it. There[??]e who feel it more deeply than [I] possibly can and I only wish I could offer to them some practical consolation.
Please give my love to all and tell them I hope to see them within a month (provided there is strength enough in the liquors here to raise steam to muster us out) when I will humbly apologize for not writing them.
Be good and happy (and patient as Job!) for time will wear out even an [alist] in the U. S. Service. Kiss baby often for me, but do not give her all of them, for remember I have not had any lately and it will exhaust quite a treasury to bring up arrearages.
It is great fun to love you and I want that love to last as long as I last. Do [not] you? Some night I will come and kiss you!
Dearest Good bye