Stafford Court House, VA, March 10th, ’63
Dear loved Wife,
I received a letter from you last Sunday night, written after you got home from the Soldier’s Aid Society,1 and a precious letter it was too, it filled my heart with gratitude to you for writing it.2 The assurance of your everlasting love and sympathy (though I knew I had it before) was sweet to me, and it will cheer me through whatever trial, and difficulties I may be called upon to encounter, with these words ever in my mind “be of good cheer my Husband, you have all the sympathy, love, and untiring devotion, of one heart, at least.”
I will cheerfully perform my duty let what will happen, and my dear wife, rest assured that you have my whole heart. I am thinking of you continually, and oh, how gladly would I return to you, and give you that support and protection you seem to long for, and I trust the gulf that separates us is not wide, or deep. It does not seem as though I was as far from you as it did before I went home, some way it has brought you nearer to me.3
It is one day sooner than I intended to write to you, but it is stormy and chilly and consequently I have not much to do on such days. I always want to write to you it is a comfort to me to be able to converse with you even at so great a distance when the outward world looks cheerless and gloomy. I have passed many pleasant hours with my pen in hand that would otherwise have been unbearable.
We are well situated now we have a fire place built of sticks the inside plastered with Virginia mud about three inches thick to prevent its taking fire, this mud bakes as hard as bricks and is perfectly safe.
If the boys did not have to go out on picket and guard duty we should be comfortably situated but the details for that duty is pretty heavy so that they have to go on once in three days making it one third of the time without shelter and it storms here almost constantly. They say one extreme follows another. If that is the case, we shall have a long spell of good weather sometime.
You spoke of my having some pancakes to eat my molasses on when it gets here. I have the honor to report that I had pancakes for supper last night and for breakfast this morning. We got ten lbs. of flour from the Brigade Commissary and can get more, we have cooking utensils enough to get along with but we have nothing to raise them (the pancakes) with, but we like them better here when they are heavy than we do at home when they are light.
I warrant you if I ever get the molasses I shall enjoy eating them, and they will taste all the better, because you prepared them.
I think we shall stay here at least two weeks longer, and then? Aye that is the question that we can’t answer, but we know the future is in the hands of an all-wise providence who will do justly though all the earth should perish.
Gen. Hooker is showing himself an able general and is gaining the confidence of his men every day, there are thousands of little reforms which we see every day that show his care of and interest in the men, and if he fails I shall be slow to lay the blame to him, but generals or governors are nothing, the power belongs to God alone, and I believe that after He has punished this nation enough He will restore its former blessings.
Let every man who loves his country be honest and just to his fellow men and he will do his country service, for God has a purpose toward us, and it will be better for us if we provoke not His anger.
We get no news here now, is there anything going on in the outward world, or is there a calm, that presages the tempest, which is about to burst, and I trust crumble the Southern Confederacy to dust.
Darling Wife, I can write but little more at present, but you shall hear from me again soon. The boys are all well and the health of the Regt. is good. Joel is out on picket today, he will have a rough day of it, but he went prepared. Brained is not on duty today. He is well.
You must write me often I want all the precious letters you can write, and I will try and send as many (though I can’t send as good ones) as you. Tell Loola that Papa come some time and give his darnie daughter a ride after the Fanny horse.4 Give my love to mother remember me to O’Brian’s folks and all other friends, tell Blanda I have heard what a left-handed compliment she gave my poor head, and if I could get at her I would kiss her for it. Remember me to Elford in particular with much love and many kisses I remain your devoted Husband,
There where many groups organized by ladies throughout both the North and the South during the Civil War to provide aid and support for the soldiers. ↩
Sadly, this letter from Caroline has been lost to history. ↩
In late February, Cecil had been on leave and visited his home for a short duration. ↩
Fanny was the name of Cecil’s and Caroline’s horse. In the period terminology, a ride “after” could also be called and ride “in the way of” the horse — so it could be drawn out that Cecil would be the horse and Louise the rider in this situation. ↩