November 26th, 1862

Loudon Valley, Nov. 26th

Dear loved Wife,

My heart was made glad last night by the reception of two letters from you, one written the 17th and the other the 20th1. I was most discouraged, it had been so long since I received one, but I knew that you had written them. Last week I did not write you but one letter for I was not in camp long enough but this week we are having easier times as I told you we should in my last, but we have reports of Stonewall’s being in the valley again and of course have to strengthen our pickets. It is curious how that old fellow manages to be in so many places at one time. We thought we had got [rid] of him but his last farewell still lingers o’er us and like a tom cat dies by inches. If we ever do get shet of him we can have a little rest, but I don’t want rest, I want action. If I stay in camp a day and have a little time to think it makes me blue. I have no patience to rest a minute ‘till this war is ended and to do that in an honorable manner I am willing to march through mud and snow until spring without rest, but things don’t look bright to me. Still there is time to do something yet if Burnside only goes ahead and I think he will.

War always has its ups and downs, we have been down long enough perhaps we shall come up now. Tomorrow is a day set apart by the powers that be as for thanksgiving and prayer. It is a day of many happy associations to us all and you can judge how it makes us feel to be away from home and deprived of all it’s privileges but thanks to your kindness I shall have some mince pie and walnuts for my dinner, but the turkey is minus. You say you shall not make any Thanksgiving, I am very sorry for I should like to imagine you around a well loaded table enjoying yourself as becomes a New England wife and mother.

I have just discovered that I have skipped a page, but I guess you can find what I have written. It is not very light here, I have to write by guess.

You seem to feel bad over one of my letters. Now, I have the same excuse for writing such a letter that you had viz. nervousness for when I received yours to which that was an answer. I was tired out and much depressed, the effect of such a letter at that time was ten times what it would have been when I was in good spirits, but I repented of what I wrote long ago and now humbly ask your forgiveness. I would not for the world cause you a day of sorrow, and you well say that you never appealed to me in vain for sympathy and I am sorry that you have so much to worry you.

I thought you would hire someone to dig the garden since it would have been cheaper for you. A man could have done it all for twenty five cents and saved you much time and strength. It is no use for you to try to be so economical, you lose money by it. I think you will not lose that 8 dollars but I can’t tell we don’t get any pay yet and I don’t know when we shall. I have not seen anything that looks like it, some were foolish enough to suppose that Uncle Sam would do as he agreed to but I was not one of them. I wish we might get paid for I should like to send home some.

You wanted to know why I wrote with pencil2, it is much more convenient than ink and I am out of that. The only time I have to write is in the evening (now the days are so short) and we crowd around the fire without any table or chairs or seats of any kind except those we carry with us. Under such circumstances ink is very liable to get upset, in fact, I [would] have had set mine up two or three times since I commenced this. There is many reasons in favor of the pencil but to please you I will write with a pen when I can and I can if we don’t have to move.

Dear Wife, I hope you will forgive me for all that is amiss in my letters for I am obliged to write with reflection and in a good deal of commotion, but my heart is ever with you and I look forward to the time when I can again be with you. It looks gloomy to think that we are to pass this long and dreary winter away from each other, but if it should please God to unite us again in the spring we shall forget all our troubles in that happy meeting. I must close this by thanking you and mother for what you have sent. Give my love to all and kiss the baby for me.

Yours with much love,

C. A. Burleigh

  1. Unfortunately, neither of these letters exist anymore. 

  2. About half of Cecil’s letters are written with pencil instead of pen, predominantly those written on campaign.