Todd-Dawson-035

Transcription: 

Harper’s Ferry, May 28, 1861

I received yesterday your letter of the 29th, “my own affectionate Elodie,” and devote an early hour before breakfast to you in reply. I wrote you on the 26th gloomily, and I must try to make amends today. While I regret that you suffer so much from suspense and dread of danger, it is flattering to know that it has been occasioned by the situation of my humble self. You must not always look at the dark side of the picture but must sometimes turn to brighter pencilings and look into the home that you are to bless and cheer with love. You know I regard you as a messenger of Peace and Love from above, sent to brighten and cheer me on in the path of life. I feel for you a devotion akin to idolatry. Indeed I love you more than all earthly beings and can find no language adequate to my feelings.

I have never communicated any intelligence to Mr. H. or his family, nor have I to Mr. Averitt. I have not regarded it as my duty at all in the first case to consult their dispositions, and I do not intend to trouble them with any matters of mine farther than is necessary. Besides I thought it might occasion you some inconvenience for them to know from me the fact of our engagement. I have made it a rule in life to endeavor to do nothing wrong but at the same time to be the arbiter of my own actions without regard to the opinions of friends. I have feared—I speak to you my dearest, candidly—that Mrs. H. would be opposed without reason to my marriage to any one, not because she has any special regard for me but simply because she would wish me never to marry for some foolish reason. This is my opinion, and I hope I may be mistaken. At any rate, it is not necessary for me to consult them in the matter, and while unwilling, unnecessarily, to wound the feelings of any person, I am entirely indifferent if they are not pleased. Mr. and Mrs. Matthews occupy to me a different relation. They love me and are anxious that I should add to and increase my happiness, and they will be very anxious to have your love. And when you consent, I will inform them. You see, my loved Elodie, I am letting you into the [] of my bosom. Mr. Averitt, I am sorry to say, asks very improper questions that are not warranted. He asks, for instance, whether I hear from you and speaks of hearing himself from you. And on Sunday he came into my tent and took the bible you gave me, before I was aware of it, out of my hands, and looked to the flyleaf where he saw the inscription of my name from you. Whether he has communicated suspicions to Maj. H. I do not know. I think that some female friends of the post master and friends of the family who are always on the qui vive for something new may have communicated the fact that you receive frequent letters in my handwriting. But what has this to do with our happiness? I love you, you are satisfied, and if we live we will be married, and I will promise to love, honor, protect, and obey you. Is this sufficient to please you, my dearest? My term of service is for one year, commencing on the 26th of April 1861, and unless I feel it to be an imperative duty I will retire to home and you at the expiration of that time. I will, at all events, consult your wishes and promise to be controlled by them.

There is a good photograph of myself at the Mosser’s gallery in uniform. I will endeavor to get a friend to obtain a copy and have it sent to you, though I am really at a loss to know to whom I can apply, unless to Mr. Wetmore. I will write him and ask him to present it to Mrs. White and you will know it is for you.

The rumor of the fight at Fairfax Courthouse proves to be incorrect. We are still receiving reinforcements here, and I do not think we will leave soon. I hear that Col. Greggs So. Ca. Reg. arrived last night. I hope it is so as I have a number of friends and relatives there.

Our Col. is very ordinary and yesterday a petition signed by 500 men was presented him requesting him to resign. I do not see what he can do otherwise than to resign as his refusal will put him in a very awkward position.

Yesterday we had a terrible west wind which threw sand in our eyes and threw down many of our tents. Mine stood it out, however, and kept me dry from the rain. This morning is clear as a bell, but the wind is still moving and the air is as cold as in our November weather. My Dearest, should be but see each other and to be married, I intend to bring you over all the ground I have passed and to point out the localities that have most interested me. I wish to stand with you on the banks of the Potomac where we drill and have men paddle at six o’clock every evening. At that hour my position is facing the sun which is sinking under the mountain, and I always think of my far distant loved Elodie. At 9 regularly, my thoughts are bent to one subject, “my own affectionate Elodie,” and her sweet miniature is opened, frequently pressed to my lips. We then commune with each other, and I am at your side [] like an infant upon the pensive face of my affianced bride.

The cadets are the right centre or color company, and we always go to parade with the music in advance of the other companies which form upon mine.

The ladies from Huntsville have joined their husbands here. One of them is a young bride and is very interesting. We had them to supper two days since and it was really pleasant to converse with a pleasant lady. Being in here I can appreciate the feelings that have induced this young wife to come on and share the fortunes of husband, and I am proud that I have a dear one who is equally willing when I would be selfish enough to ask her to make the sacrifice.

I am quite well. Thank Mrs. White for her receipt. I have procured a pair of shoes which will save me from future trouble in marching. Ask Mr. White to take care of the boxes from Charleston sent me by express. They will be valuable should I ever return to you.

And now, dearest, cheer up, and I hope our unions of happiness will be realized. Write me here instead of to Winchester. Goodbye. God bless and preserve and keep you, my dear Elodie, is the sincere prayer of one who adores you.

Ever and affty yours,

N.H.R. Dawson

Date: 
May 28, 1861

Author(s)

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

Recipient(s)

Residence (County): 
Dallas County, AL

From

From State: 
Virginia
From Municipality: 

To

To State: 
Alabama
To Municipality: 
To County: 
Dallas

Get in touch

  • Department of History
    220 LeConte Hall, Baldwin Street
    University of Georgia
    Athens, GA 30602-1602
  • 706-542-2053
  • history@uga.edu

eHistory was founded at the University of Georgia in 2011 by historians Claudio Saunt and Stephen Berry

Learn More about eHistory