Todd-Dawson-005

Transcription: 

Selma, May 2, 1861

I received your last letter from Atlanta yesterday and felt gratified to know that amid the bustle & confusion attending the busy scenes thro’ which you daily pass and which must necessarily engross most of your time and attention, I was still remembered that tho’ each moment served but to lengthen the long and weary miles that now separate us, there were moments given to thinking of and writing to me, in order to relieve my anxiety, which has been great whenever I have had leisure to indulge in thinking of your going and the past few days. Miss Mims is still with me and, having other visitors, my thoughts have not been permitted to wander often or far, and perhaps it is well that such is the case for I assure you, when I do allow my thoughts to follow you and call to mind the perils you have to encounter, I am far from being happy and wonder at your asking me such a question as if I could be, when you are absent and perhaps surrounded by danger. It is not five days since the Cadets departed and I can recall the time when the same number of weeks were more rapid and swift in their passing, and there yet remain so many more to come and go before I can hope to see you again. It is wrong to think so much of you, but how could I, if I wished, avoid doing so when casting my eyes around, something which your kindness and thoughtfulness has provided for my happiness. Books, Flowers, and etc. are to be seen. What can I do to be more worthy of the love and kindness you bestow, and how can I express the happiness or gratitude I feel? Words are inadequate to the task, and I will not attempt it or dwell upon my own feelings but endeavor to touch on subjects more pleasing.

Sister Matt and Miss M. [1] have gone this evening to witness the presentation of two flags to the five companies. I did not feel as tho' I could go thro' another such scene so soon, besides preferred staying at home to write to you, which will now be my greatest pleasure after receiving your own communications. My brother [2] returned from Montgomery yesterday morning, remained with us sufficient length of time to bid us goodbye. He succeeded in getting the appointment or commission (I don't know which I should say) of 1st lieutenant with promise of promotion to a captaincy before three months elapse. Parting with him, together with the information of the departure of my two other brothers [3] for the war and the deplorable state of affairs in Kentucky, has made me sad. Our dear old state is poorly provided with arms and ammunition, and all attempts to supply the deficiency thus far have proved a failure, for what they ordered has been seized by the state of Ohio. Another trouble is the division in political sentiment. What is to be the fate of home? I cannot divine and will not think Kentucky, whose name has been written with pride and honor on History's page, must now be dimmed and dishonored, untrue to herself and her noble sister states. [4]

The Blues are making more music and commotion about going to the War than when you left. [5] The church bells ring two or three times a day to call the ladies together in order to form arrangements concerning the making up of 110 uniforms for the chivalrous corps, who are so determined to fight their country's battles that rather than remain at home they intend going on their own expenses and responsibility. I hope you and your company will soon do your fighting and make way for this noble band who I doubt not will return their brows crowned with laurels. Mr. Dennis leaves tomorrow for New Orleans. I dislike really to see him go as he positively declares Bro. Clem must accompany him, and I believe he has consented to do so. I would not give Mr. D. permission to carry out the order you gave him regarding the flowers. I think your sending Bouquets twice a week is sufficient to gratify my taste for flowers.

[illegible] Hagood [6] has made his appearance twice but takes especial delight in being agreeable and polite to all save myself to whom he is cold and haughty. I am only waiting for him to recover his usual good and amiable disposition before I retaliate with cool dignity. I am writing you a long, dull letter and am not conscious of what I have written, owing to the many interruptions which have occurred since I began. Therefore, you must overlook all errors. Do not speak of writing too often. That you cannot do, and I would like to hear from you every day. I have received a letter from mother yet in answer to my last but am expecting one daily and must confess that I am both anxious and curious to know what she will write me. I suppose by this time Mr. Averitt has reached your sister Matt and Miss M. both cried over him, but, hard hearted creature that I am, I did not shed a tear. My face only grew a little longer. I must not forget to tell you that you had better direct my letters to me, for in Bro Clem’s absence, all letters are opened by Mr. W. and yours will excite suspicious, and I doubt whether he would send them to me, but of course he would not dare break the seal of me, and I might possibly have a better change of receiving. Laura says I have been writing long enough to have accomplished 13 letters and must stop as she and Matt have talked themselves completely out just beside me all the time, but it seems as tho' my pen is as eager to continue as myself. However, I must now finish. Hoping to hear from you very soon, believe me

Ever yours,

Elodie

Footnotes: 
  1. Miss Laura Mims of Oak Grove, Alabama, was about twenty years old in 1860. Her younger brother, George Mims, was a member of Nathaniel's company. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Oak Grove, Perry, Ala.
  2. Elodie's brother David Humphreys Todd (1832-1871) ran away from home at fourteen to fight in the Mexican American War. He participated to some degree in the California gold rush in 1850 and in a Chilean revolution in 1851. By July 1861, he would be a controversial commandant of the Richmond prison system and would be relieved of duty. He commanded an artillery company with distinction during the siege of Vicksburg and settled and married in Huntsville, Alabama, after the war. Berry, House of Abraham, 44-45.
  3. It is not perfectly clear to which brothers Elodie is referring. Possibly they are George Rogers Clark Todd (1825-1902), who secured a commission as a surgeon about this time, and Samuel Brown Todd (see May 26, 1861, note 87), who had signed on as a private in New Orleans.
  4. Southern in its social customs, Northern in its economic interests, Kentucky was a unique hybrid of the two regions. It remains one of the war's enduring ironies that the two men battling for Kentucky were Kentuckians themselves--Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis were both born in the Bluegrass State. Ultimately, Lincoln would win this ground. "I hope to have God on my side," he supposedly said, "but I must have Kentucky." For more, see Anne E. Marshall, Creating a Confederate Kentucky: The Lost Cause and Civil War Memory in a Border State (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010).
  5. By the summer of 1861, the town of Selma had uneasily grouped itself into two camps, one associated with the men of the Selma Blues regiment, and the other associated with the men of the Magnolia Cadets.
  6. Robert Hagood was in business with Clement White. These two, along with Edward T. Watts and John W. Lapsley, incorporated the "Central Warehouse Company" in Selma, in February 1860. It is not clear why Hagood is snubbing Elodie, though at other points in the correspondence she seems vaguely aware that he likes her.
Date: 
May 2, 1861

Author(s)

Residence (County): 
Dallas County, AL

Recipient(s)

Unit: 
4th Alabama Infantry
Rank: 
Captain
Residence (County): 
Dallas County, AL

From

From State: 
Alabama
From Municipality: 
From County: 
Dallas

To

To State: 
Georgia
To Municipality: 
To County: 
Whitfield

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