Todd-Dawson-074

Transcription: 

Monday Morning, Selma, Ala., July 22, 1861

Yesterday evening I commenced as usual my Sunday letter to you but was interrupted by Mr. Hagood who brought me, however, our last letter, and a few moments afterwards Dr. Gee came up to bid us goodby as he left last night for Fort Morgan. You have no idea how much happiness your letter afforded and the thought of seeing you at the distant time you mention even makes me feel more like myself than since you left, and I feel that I can endure almost anything if I am to be rewarded by your presence before the long and weary year of your enlistment expires. With such a happiness in anticipation, time will appear longer and days glide but slowly away, and altho’ you express but a hope to be able to accomplish the visit, yet I have seized the hope and cling with all my heart and fondness to it. Not quite three months have elapsed since you left, but it seems an age. Time has dragged so heavily, and I have like so much in that time, and notwithstanding my endeavors to place no confidence in the telegraphic column, I cannot help but be made anxious after seeing them and find they make their impression.

The last news of the battle near Mannassas and that Patterson’s forces will reach Winchester by tomorrow night. I cannot express to you my feelings and could those who are rather inclined to doubt my love for you see my heart their doubts would be speedily removed, but I am not what the world says concerning that subject, so long as you continue to have the confidence as now in my protestations and believe in me as I do in you with the utmost faith. No, do not think such remarks make any difference whatever and above all never believe me possessed of that meanest and most unhappy of all traits, jealousy. Had I for one moment such a feeling, I would ask God help to crush it out sooner than almost anything else for I think such a disposition is perfectly incapable of receiving happiness. Bro. Clem left for Livingston several days ago and Sister Matt accompanied a friend to Summerfield for a few days visit, leaving Kittie and I to manage affairs during her absence. I am endeavoring to preside with a great deal of dignity and grace, but you would laugh at my entire ignorance in housekeeping and Matt’s thousand directions to be observed while she is away and the trouble and trials I have in order to have them executed. Saturday evening Mr. Hagood took Kittie and myself out to the woods to learn us how to shoot and complimented us so very much on our first efforts that I am determined to try again and see if Kentucky’s daughter cannot have hidden somewhere some of the celebrated aim of her sons. I can fire without flinching. (Now, do say how brave!)

I was surprised to receive by mail so many packages the other day and will promise you indeed that the letters shall be well-kept and out of your way too. It made me feel ashamed and sorry that I could not do better. I am certain that I have written you more than those sent or perhaps received and intend to do better in the way of writing oftener, which if I get up to do as I did this morning a few moments after five o’clock will do me good. Does it not seem strange Mrs. Mabry and I should write you the same day. I would prefer taking care of her letter to burning it as I think it will afford you pleasure perhaps in after years to recall the pleasure her expressions of friendship gave you when far from home among strangers and surrounded by dangers but if you still desire it will accede to your request and consign it to the flames. Last Monday night I went to Cahaba with herself and Miss Faitt to attend a concert, then met with and made a few acquaintances, saw Judge Pettus but had only a short conversation with him. Mrs. Mitchell who was there told me Saturday that I was pointed out as Mr. Dawson’s sweetheart. I had congratulated myself that as Mrs. Pegues would not be present, I would not be known but don’t care. I am getting so very independent about it now that I did not deny it but laughingly tell persons who accuse me of it to believe all they hear as it is true and all but themselves know it. There is to be a concert in Newbern tonight to which some of the pleasure goers of this city intend to be present at, but I think Kittie and I will decline going tomorrow [ ] at Summerfield and Tableaux, but I am satisfied at present with such entertainments.

I am employed now in knitting for the soldiers and wish you would find for me some poor fellow in your company who had neither mother nor sister to care especially for him, and I will try and attend to his wants myself, and if I only know his name will knit with more interest than for no particular one. Mrs. M. told me that your friends were remembering you in this way. I am mortified to say I have not sent the ambrotype yet, and as it seems impossible for me to find any one going it would be better to send it by mail. I have sent word several times to know when Mr. Watts or Mr. Blackwell were going to Cahaba, and they promised to let me know but did not, so it has not been my fault and I will have it sent as soon as possible as I know it will give the pleasure mine did, and notwithstanding all I have said about your regimentals, the last ambrotype receives more looks that the first you gave me, and I believe I am prouder of the soldier than the lawyer just now.

Well, I tell you I don’t like Miss Williams having the flag at all for I don’t see what business it has in her trunk and why Mr. Averitt could not have given it into other and more proper hands to take care of, for I should be much grieved if that flag should have anything to happen to it and never expect to help to make you another and am vexed at Mr. Averitt for giving it to his lady love to carry in her trunk over Virginia.

What are we to think of Mr. Breckenridge’s behavior in congress just at this time? I did not expect anything from the rest and am not surprised at Mr. Crittenden even dining with Gen. Scott and hope sincerely he will yet pay for his conduct so unlike a not only honourable man but a true and native-born Kentuckian—altho there are many with him untrue to her, yet from those who are considered her pure and honorable statesmen I expected better. I yet hope for Ky. and know there still exists many on her land that are still worthy to be called an old fashioned, true Kentuckian. I belong to that set myself, and trust I may ever be like them in their nobleness and bravery and honor and can say with my heart full of pity and love, “Kentucky with all thy faults I love thee still.” We received a letter from mother on Wednesday from Nashville where she intended remaining for several days with some relatives she has seen but little of for several years. Capt. Montgomery and his flying artillery left Saturday evening for Montgomery. Friday evening I went out to the camp when Mr. Siddons presented them with a neat and small Confederate flag. Mr. Wetmore presented the Bibles. Mr. Bancroft made a beautiful prayer, and I never witnessed a more affecting solemn scene than every member of the company kneeling, their Bibles in hand, in God’s first temple which was just overshadowed enough by the faint rays of the setting sun to make the scene more impressive and in harmony with the saddened and tearful faces of many. I feel like shedding tears over every soldier I see and think they are entitle to everything of earth, and if I had my way they should have it. Mr. Hagood speaks of going to the war. I made him quite angry by laughing when he told me so and promised to sew and knit for him when he did, which he remarked that from my saying so I seemed to doubt his intention, and I told him oh no, but then you have not gone yet you know. He is so unhappy and curious about your letters and cannot divine the reason all those were returned the other day and is now aware indirectly for the first time something has been going on that he knew nothing of and cannot find out and tho I feel right sorry for him [and] do teaze him sometimes unmercifully but am just paying him back for some of his conduct to me which causes him to retaliate now with kindness. He sends me fruit, is ever ready to attend me when I have no escort, sends me birds. What makes you all think that something nice in the eating line will ingratiate you with my good opinions?

I have not heard of your sister being in Selma and hope when she does come to have a visit from her as I would be glad to meet with her and know her. I have heard a good deal of you from Ella McCraw lately. Her brother is so fond of you and writes so much of you to her that she says she wants to see you. She is a superior girl, and I think one of the most cultivated here. I like her exceedingly, also Miss Serena Parnell, who tho’ I imagine is much older than myself, is so very very agreeable that I am anxious to become better acquainted with and would like as a companion, if to be such would ever make persons regard me as being older than they think me now and think to pass many pleasant hours would compensate me for being less youthful in their opinion. Mr. [] Hall and Miss Coleman are to be married Wednesday night I understand and also that Mrs. Watts and family have left Selma to be present on the occasion. If it takes all as much by surprise as it did me they will not be complimented to know they have escaped Dame Rumor’s long tongue so well, if they desired it to be known at all.

But I have written you a long letter and fear will not get it in the office in time to go if I do not hurry. I will write again in a few days. John still remembers me and brings me over a nice waiter of peaches and apples. I am afraid you cannot decipher this and suppose I would find some difficulty in doing so myself. I do remember how many disadvantages you labor under when you write and how kind and thoughtful you are to write so often and know I am selfish in asking you to do so, but won’t you excuse me when I assure you it is my love and anxiety that makes me so. But goodbye. May God bless you and the holy and sacred cause for which you are fighting, granting you success and a soon return to your ever true and affectionate,

Elodie

Date: 
July 22, 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: 
Prince William

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