Todd-Dawson-063

Transcription: 

Confederate States of America, Selma, July 7, 1861

I have just read your letter of the 30th, and it is needless to express or endeavor to do so the pleasure it gave me as you must well know that a letter to one who is anxious always--and such a kind, affectionate, and long one as yours--is quite a relief. Friday and Saturday telegrams were received giving us information of the battle at Martinsburg, but none of the particulars made known and consequently my anxiety has been and is still great, and for two days I have been unfitted for anything and cannot be the same until I am relieved either by a letter or telegram telling me of your safety, for we are all in Selma of the belief that the Cadets and Guards were in the affray, and well I know fought well and bravely. You, I know, did your part, as it should have been done by a brave, Southern soldier and will upon every occasion that presents itself. I have never doubted but earnestly hoped you would not have an opportunity to display your courage and have hoped against hope for peace.

I cannot tell you nor can you imagine what I have suffered since hearing the war has actually begun, and I feel now like giving up and away to my sorrow. I who up to this time have been complimenting myself upon bearing up so bravely and thought I realized all the uneasiness and unhappiness I possibly could, yet all past is not equal to my suffering now, and I have just discovered how deep my love for you is and how essential you have become to my happiness, and what a blank life will be without you. I did not dream I was so much in love, or that my feelings would so completely overpower me, but I believe every day and mile that has separated us has but increased and strengthened my love for you, and I can easily solve what you call the enigma of loving a poor Captain like yourself and can tell you furthermore that I would prefer being loved and admired by that Captain than by all the men in the world and am not extravagant in my expressing myself so, and you need not remind me of what I have been guilty of for I am well aware of having placed in your possession and entrusted to your keeping my heart, overflowing with the first warm and youthful emotions of love, awakened into life by yourself, and so far from regretting it or fearing the entire confidence I have given may have been misplaced would act again in the same manner without a moment's hesitation, nor will I believe that I shall ever come to regret such an act and hope that neither of us may repent the step. As I told you before, I would make no promises but would always endeavor to do what was right and all that was in my power to add to your comfort and happiness, and it makes me happy to think I can do so for you tell me I am capable of increasing your happiness and softening your cares and sorrows thro' life, and it will be always my pleasure to alleviate them.

One trouble causes me to think of another, and I turn from you to my Mother who leaves us tomorrow. For many reasons it is necessary for her to return to Kentucky, but at such a moment when all is excitement, tumult, and alarm will make us all anxious for her safety. My Bro. [1] wrote me, does not think it possible for Ky. to remain neutral much longer and that the fighting there will be terrible and soon. My troubles seem to be coming much heavier than I can bear, and I can see no bow spanning the dark clouds nor catch a faint glimpse of the sun hidden by them. All appears sadness and gloom, and I feel disposed to murmur and repine, altho' I know it is wrong and that all the troubles are sent by an all-wise hand and much too light for our numerous sins and transgressions. ‘Tis human nature to err and sin, and it is right to be punished. Yet notwithstanding, we cannot bear it or will not as we should.

I have written you three pages somewhat as I felt and should be ashamed to give way to my feelings to you while others fill their letters with words of encouragement to those who are exposed to danger and called upon to suffer so many privations, but you are one of the few who does not need it as you bear all without a word and will never have to be encouraged to fight for a cause you have sacrificed so much to engage in. Now don't I excuse myself nicely? I am glad to hear you are all so well provided with clothing and think the uniform you have selected will be beautiful. It would be a pleasure to see them parading with it on. The ladies have not yet begun the fall work, and I hope the concerts will prove so successful that there will be no difficulty in [] the money to procure the materials that will be necessary. A concert is in anticipation for Friday night. I have promised Mr. Herman to assist him but think five days too short a period of time to practice for it in. This to me is an agreeable manner of making money, and I enjoy singing for the soldiers. I must say, much more than saving for them. Bro. Clem will accompany his sister-in-law Mrs. Dan White to Livingston tomorrow and proposes remaining there a short time for his health and to be with brother who speaks of going to war. His company is accepted, but Mrs. White so much opposes his going that if she can [she] will influence him not to go. I hope the 3,000 troops that Gov. Moore has called for are intended to defend Mobile, which I am told is not defended at all, and the citizens are much alarmed, but I think rather late. It would have been better to have been less ambitious in sending away such a number of troops and kept sufficient at home to protect themselves. I am interested in having Mobile placed in a state of safety for we are near enough to be frightened by an invasion of that city. I wish I could lift the veil of the future, just a small corner, and see what is to be, for the uncertainty and suspense is insupportable, and I grow more and more impatient and anxious to know even the worst.

I am so glad Mrs. Mabry is so kind to you, and I will not be jealous if you write Miss Gertrude a note in place of her mother next time occasion demands such a piece of politeness from you. I think for your own sake it was a pity you did not fall in love with her as she is one of the loveliest persons in every respect I ever met, and the only one I would be willing to resemble in every particular, but at the same time I am delighted you did not for then I would not have been so fortunate or happy in being your choice. I wonder if Miss W. feels like I do. I believe I’ll write and find out by comparing feelings. I would not object in the least to saying a kind word for Mr. Averitt but think after they know him better he will speak for himself, and that a word from a friend would be unnecessary. I already feel that I have not a place in friendship’s corner of his heart as he has not written me but one letter since he left Alabama, and I know he has no better friend than myself, unless I except you, but then you get vexed at him sometimes. He behaves better since he is engaged, does he not? Or did he before he left the Cadets. But no matter if he ever should misbehave again, I’ll… well, never mind, you know I’ll take your part, but I’ll be getting myself into trouble if I tease you any more, and you won’t have anybody to tell on me to, will you? But then you know I don’t mean anything by my remarks, and you can just imagine me in a teasing way, and I wish I had you here to indulge and did not have to resort to paper.

How I wish I could divide with you some of the nice fruit which is beginning to be plentiful in the shape of watermelons and peaches. I always think of and wish for you. Mr. Hagood sent me a splendid melon on the 4th and came up to help me eat it. That I could have accomplished without him, if he had thought so. I see from the date of your letter you employed a portion of your Sabbath writing to me. I scarcely ever omit writing to you Sunday evening. I generally go to church in the morning with Mother who has made me go to the Presbyterian with her, and I am now almost a stranger at the Episcopal but would not be surprised if I found my way back there after she leaves. Much to my surprise I heard her say she intended writing to you, that really she had become quite pleased with you, altho' determined not to like you. So you see you have spoken for yourself, thro' occasional portions of your letters to me and writing so often, and I expect playing the devoted. She ought to know it won't last long. Do you not think so? But what a long letter I am writing you. I do take into consideration that your time is limited and you cannot always devote so much to me. You see I direct my last two letters to Mr. Williams. I thought you might be absent from Winchester some time, and he would know what to do with them. Your letter giving a description of that place was very interesting, but I imagined after drinking from the same well that Gen'l Washington did you signed your name larger than usual. But I must sign my own now hoping I may soon receive a long letter from you giving me a description of the battle or battles you have taken part in and that God will watch over and protect you and soon restore you safely to your own ever,

Affectionate,

Elodie

Footnotes: 
  1. Probably Alexander Humphreys Todd (1839-1862), Elodie's youngest brother, who had remained in Kentucky. A favorite of most of the Todd girls, including Elodie and Mary Lincoln, by 1862 Aleck had joined up to serve his brother-in-law, Benjamin Hardin Helm, as aide-de-camp. See Berry, House of Abraham, 96.
Date: 
July 7, 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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