Todd-Dawson-058

Transcription: 

Summerfield, June 27, 1861

I have a few moments to write you this morning before leaving this place for a visit of two days to Miss Laura Mims and must acknowledge the receipt of two letters last night from you and the pleasure they afforded me. I have been, I will not say, positively expecting a letter for almost a week, but none came and I realized for once in my life what to be miserable was and all the horrors of true unhappiness. Knowing you had left Harper's Ferry, I was well aware of the dangers to which you would be exposed and would attend you every step and felt all the more because I could not know where you were, for even this information affords some pleasure. I did not think for a moment of your being sick and am afraid from your being so that you do not take proper care of yourself and all the privations and hardships you are now undergoing will prove too much for you. The oftener I think of your willingness to go and the ready cheerfulness with which you made all sacrifices necessary to such an event, the more is my love and admiration for you increased, and feel so proud of my soldier sweetheart, but would be very happy to have him at home nevertheless. I have missed the pleasure of writing to you for so long, but as I had received orders not to do so until I heard again from my Captain, I could not but be obedient, altho' I commenced two letters and would not have been afraid of disobeying orders had I know where to have sent them to. What would have been my punishment for disobedience?

Last week the ladies gave their concert in Selma and everything save Dr. LeConte's lecture passed pleasantly. He was hissed and all manner of ridicule made of him which of course made us feel badly. The cause enabled us to go thro with our parts well, and the applause which greeted my singing the Marseillaise [1] more than repaid me for all the trouble I had in practicing, and I believe Mr. Harman, who selected me to sing it, was more pleased at my success than I. The amount made was $175, and all were so pleased that they speak of having another. Last Thursday we were all so delighted by the arrival of my Bro. Sam from Pensacola. His term of enlistment had expired, and he was on his way to New Orleans to visit his wife and children and would leave then for Virginia. My Bro. David wrote from Richmond that he expected to leave in a day or two for Staunton and has been appointed one of Gen'l Holme's [1] aides. I hope you may meet with them for I feel assured you will like them both. I have also two young cousins in the N.C. Cadets [letter torn] Clarke, also a friend Theodore Bigot, a young Frenchman who was educated in Kentucky and spent his vacations with us. I think they have a new Captain whose name is Bond since leaving so if you are thrown in the same parts of the country with them you can look them up. My Mother leaves for Kentucky Tuesday or Wednesday but promises to return and spend the winter South. I regret so much to part with her but Kentucky has not seceded, and I think myself safer and better off in many respects down here and have declined accompanying her. I will miss her so much and feel as tho I am deserted, but the truth is I am a deserter myself, and you are much to blame for my becoming such.

I wrote to you acknowledging the safe arrival of your daguerreotypes and letters and wrote indeed several letters which perhaps reached Harper's Ferry after you left. Kittie, Mrs. Hagood, and self came out here Tuesday evening to attend the concert and will remain until next Monday I suppose. This is one of the most quiet spots I ever visited and the people seem quite fifty years behind the fashionable world, and it is such a pleasure to be with them for a little while, and as I am a favorite with Bro. Clem's relations I get a larger share of petting which will spoil me for Selma, especially as Mother is going away. I thought of so much a day or two since I would have to tell you of when next I wrote to you, but since I have commenced the noise around me (for there are only 8 or 10 children) and the hurry I write in has caused every idea to fly. Just at the last word I was again interrupted to go in the parlor to see company which, when I was writing to you, I regard as quite disagreeable and annoying, and have yet to write you a letter without having met with such an interruption, sometimes several.

I was much astonished when I read such intelligence of Mr. Averitt for I heard and believed him to be engaged to Miss Washington of N.C. He was more in haste than you and the young lady faster than I and I hope may be as well satisfied and happy and have Mr. A. never so far off as you are from me. Do tell me something more of her. Is she beautiful, intelligent, and all that she should be as a wife for Mr. A., and being interested in him I want to know all about her. Did he ever meet with her before? I think she will have a kind good husband, but I would not like to take upon myself were I good enough the troubles and trials of a minister's wife, for they are numerous enough to anger a saint, and none but a truly amiable and good woman ought to marry a minister. Such is my opinion. But my time is almost at an end for writing, and I must finish my letter, such as it is, for indeed as much mortified as I have been in sending you some others, I am more so at this, but it is only to show you that you are not forgotten and still loved for I believe the farther you go from me the better I love you, and I hope your next retreat will be a voluntary one to Alabama. When I think there are still left two months it seems impossible to be so long content without seeing you, and I imagine I could be satisfied with meeting you for half-an-hour and rejoice at the ending of each week and think well I am that much nearer seeing you again. When I read my own letters to you, it amuses me to think of your telling me to write to you just as I feel and with candor. Do you know I can write of nothing else and in no other style and if I did not feel and place sufficient confidence in you to do so, I would not write to you a line? I am very certain you do not love me for my beauty for let me assure you that all you see is imaginary, and if you say anything more about it I shall think you have seen some one's you liked better and thought more beautiful and desired I should resemble. But you have no idea how I have improved since you left. It was not necessary for you to ask me to pray for you as I have not allowed a day to pass without doing so, nor will not, altho' my prayers may not be heard, and I regret each day more and more that I am not a good Christian. As such my prayer might be of some avail, but I fear from the life I have lead does not entitle me to hope for much, and it is so hard to be good, and I pity all if it requires as difficult an effort and they meet with no better success than I do. But now goodbye. Write and soon and often to your ever and affectionate,

Elodie

Footnotes: 
  1. Composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in 1792, "La Marseillaise" was the national anthem of France and credited with rallying soldiers to the French Revolution.
  2. Confederate lieutenant general Theophilus Hunter Holmes (1804-1880) graduated from West Point near the bottom of his class and is usually regarded as having a mediocre military record as commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department for the Confederacy.
Date: 
June 27, 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: 
Virginia
To Municipality: 
To County: 
Frederick

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