Todd-Dawson-043

Transcription: 

Harper’s Ferry, June 6, 1861

I have been expecting your long letter, promised in your of 26th, my dear Elodie, and hope that it will come by today’s mail. I am always anxious to hear from you. In fact, your letters are the only pleasures that now cross my path, and they seem “like angel’s visits,” “few and far between.” The weather has been dreadful for five days, no sunshine with a cold north wind accompanied by rain. I have made use of this leisure in writing to several friends and in writing and thinking of you. You say that I have too good an opinion of you and that you fear that I will too late awaken to my error. Dearest, you must not prepare me for such a discovery for I assure you if it is ever made it will be unexpected. Would you have me think or believe less of you than I tell you? Is it not my duty to see no faults, rather than my duty to look out for them and to anticipate them? If you insist upon my admitting that you have faults and will not be satisfied, must I, for the sake of peace, agree that you have them because you tell me so and that you know yourself better than any one else? I will tell you that in spite of all your faults and weaknesses, I love you, and that my love will increase in warmth as I see our faults. But, dearest, if you have faults, I will always endeavor to be blind to them and to correct them by correcting similar weaknesses of my own, for I am certain that I have a multitude of every one that you have. You must be prepared to find me full of faults, for if you can detect your own faults as easily as you say, you will certainly see mine. I will end this episode upon sin by telling you that my love for you is like yours for Kentucky. If you were steeped to the lips in little weaknesses, I would still love you, and love you more ardently. You need not expect me to be afraid of you for you have not the power, with all of your influence, to lessen Miss Elodie in my esteem. I wrote to Maj. Haden and Mr. Clem White yesterday, and, as you suggested, told each of them what the company required, and I hope the representatives of others to the contrary will not be regarded by the ladies.

I can form no idea of our future movements. Very properly we are ignorant of the thoughts of our leaders. The routine of camp life is becoming very irksome and monotonous. I much prefer the quiet of a law office, and really when I asked your opinion about my future course of life, I had hoped that you would have decided in favor of the law. I have had a desire to engage in politics, but unless I could hope to rise higher than the mere surface, which, to say the least, is doubtful, it would have no charms for me. By perseverance and from assistance in stimulating me, I can make a good lawyer and may reap some of the honors of the profession. Then again, it is a less exciting life, keeps a man more at home, and confines him more the bosom of his family. My home, when you have become a part of it, will be my world, and I will hardly be willing to [] anything within its sacred precincts that will deprive me of the happiness of your presence. For this reason, I am sometimes inclined to prefer a life upon the plantation to any other where I could devote myself to you and the pursuits of domestic life, which are not incompatible with literature and books. But, my dear Elodie, all of these hopes and dreamy pencilings of the future are based upon the foundation of your love, are inseparable from you. The picture without your image as its principle feature would be blank. I wish this war to release me only that I may be near you, only because it will unite us in the bonds of love, and that I will live in the bright sunshine of your presence and in the silver beams of you love. Dearest, would you have me have other dreams, other desires? If so, tell me what they are, and I will endeavor to entertain them. And now goodbye, dearest. May God bless us with the realization of all our hopes and keep you.

Ever affty and sincerely yours,

N.H.R. Dawson

Evening, June 6, 1861

No mail reached us from beyond Winchester this morning, and you long letter was of course not received.

Mr Averitt came from Winchester but returned to be with one of my young men, who is quite ill. His name in John Overton, from Summerfield, a boy who has made a fine impression by his behaviour and bearing. I sent his brother down with Mr. A. to be with him. I hope he will get well but fear the chances are against him. I will feel his loss much more than if he had fallen in battle. Poor fellow. When the sick were sent to Winchester under an apprehension of an attack, he was very loath to go and said that sick as he was he was able to fight. We form strong attachments for those associated with us in danger.

Mr. A. was ordained at Staunton and seems well-pleased. He is the recipient of much kindness and attention wherever he goes. He brought me a large military cloak made of grey cloth. It was made for me at Winchester and will be very serviceable. The next time I have my likeness taken for you it will be in this cloak, tho’ I would much prefer you to see me wearing it in person, and I hope one of these cold winter nights to have the pleasure of presenting your dragoon, in [] persona, full six feet high without the loss of a limb or his head. I hope Mrs. White’s prediction will not come to pass. Do you feel as if I belonged to you and that you have a property in me? If you do, you should give me full directions how to behave myself.

Col. Turney’s Tennessee Regiment has arrived. We came on from Bristol to Lynchburg together and have the pleasure of hearing each other speak several times at points on the route, but unless my speeches had a better impression on him than his did on me, he did not form a favourable opinion of me. He is a terrible dandy, the equal of Col. Duncan.

By the way, I heard that your friend, Mr. Johnson of Tennessee, has become a worthless sot. What an escape you made. How fortunate to catch as precedent and proper a man as the writer. Tell me now, my dearest, do you not think I was an easy prey to your charms. Were you not taken by surprise when I addressed you? Do you think it was right in me to address you on the eve of leaving home for an uncertain time? Should I not have suppressed my feelings and not have interested [] little kindnesses, books, and flowers, with an occasional note and couplet of poetry?

It is ten years this morning since my good mother died, and I have been thinking of her virtues. I love to think of the dead, those treasures who have gone before to wean us from this world. She must have been like you represent your mother. Do you know that the manner in which you spoke of her was one of the first pleasant impressions you made on me? I was devoted to my mother and when she died, I felt all alone and yearned for the love of someone to supply her place.

June 7, 1861.

I have just risen. The morning is damp and gloomy. The mountains are enveloped in fog and fear we are to have a continuation of bad weather.

I am quite well, and my prayers have ascended for the health of my loved Elodie.

I will expect a letter from you even at Summerfied, for I do not see how I could pass two weeks without writing you. You must cheer up and continue to hope for a happy issue from all of your present anxieties. I begin to feel an assurance that we will meet to be united and that happy days are in store for us, my dearest. You must smile again. I love you because you are so much of a Spartan. Hope on. Hope ever.

Believe me affectionately yours,

N.H.R. Dawson

Date: 
June 6, 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

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