Todd-Dawson-092

Transcription: 

Marengo County, August 19, 1861

Last night I received your letters of the dates of Aug. 3rd and 4th--the first news I have had since my arrival here. I thought it was dreadful but owing to the incessant rain and terrible roads it was impossible to send to the office for the mail. I am delighted at the idea of your being sent South this winter and hope you are correct in your surmise of army engagements for then we may see something of each other and be allowed to spend some of these pleasant, quiet evenings, which we were so suddenly deprived of by this dreadful war. I am thinking of this night four months ago--do you remember it? You were then with me, and I so happy, little dreaming of what a short duration it was to be and that two weeks from that time would place so many long and weary miles between us and surround you with danger and many trying privations and trials and leaving me feeling sad, lonely, and anxious for your safety and fate. But I am getting accustomed to your absence and more reconciled, tho' occasionally the old feeling of rebellion against my fate comes over me, and I think myself the most unfortunate creature on Earth. Really you seem to anticipate my feeling and state of mind, for I generally receive a letter from you which dispels all my gloom and raises my spirits and cheers me almost to great bravery and my old patriotism. I wrote you a long letter yesterday as usual, but it was so full of complaints and its tenor so sad I concluded to destroy it and write another. I am determined to correct this bad habit of mine always writing you such complaining letters, and I hope you may soon be able to say I have improved in two aspects. I do not forget when I am enduring all my great trials that you have so much to discourage and try you and expend a great deal of sympathy on you that you are not aware of, and think of you very often, and wish I had wings that I might visit you sometimes when you write me that you would be glad to see me. But I have then to revert to sending you a winged messenger in the shape of a letter, one of those you consider so beautiful.

You ask me if I have learned your character. I can tell you I have learned you are a great flatterer, and you do not seem to know that I do not value and appreciate flattery as much as some of my sex. Did Mr. Dennis give you lessons in trying to make "people feel good?" It is a mania with him. We have not heard from our old friend for several weeks and his silence causes us to think he has departed for Europe. I would enjoy seeing him so much. Indeed I do not intend sewing or knitting for you who have Mrs. M. to keep you supplied with such beautiful specimens of her needles. I will knit you a pair to prove to you that I can knit, but all the rest must go to the young soldier I am so anxious to befriend and who is really in need. I have almost completed two pair and think myself exceedingly smart and industrious and suppose I will return to Selma just in time for my share of Fall sewing for the companies. I expect to make my appearance there the last of this week. Altho the sun has only made itself visible twice in thirteen days, I have had a pleasant visit and believe I will be better for it. I find it a relief to be away from Selma. I am getting tired of the place and long to return to Ky, and if I did not expect to see you before next May believe I would go back and be content to witness the fighting there, provided the secessionists came off victorious--otherwise with my free speech I would fear for my neck. But you know I feel a confidence in the success of all engaged on that side. My mother has not written since her arrival there. I am anxious to receive a letter from her giving me all the news. Kittie thanks you for your kind message and reciprocates the desire to meet with and know you but fears she cannot tolerate Selma long enough to see you. She is perfectly outdone with all Alabama, but I beg her not to judge all by that one spot. The citizens have not treated her with the same attention they did me or that a stranger is entitled to, but I attribute all to the war, which has made a change in every one and every place. She says she pities any one who lives in Selma who has never been elsewhere--so with such feelings I do not think we can retain her much longer in the South. I have not heard from my Jailor brother in Richmond yet but hope I may have a letter awaiting me in Selma. They only send me yours, thinking I suppose no others will prove interesting or worthy of my notice. I am vexed that he has such employment. I was anxious that he might have an opportunity of displaying his courage like the rest, and I would just as soon have had him remain at home as to be so engaged. [1]

I believe I wrote you I had sent the daguerreotype some time ago to Lizzie. She will soon write you very interesting letters and for her age writes very well. She is quite young yet I think. You know I have seen her. You seem to believe I am not like my sex as regards curiosity when you mention having such a beautiful present for me. I think as you have never given me anything I must claim it before the time you name as proper for its presentation, for should that time never come then I cannot be satisfied and think how terrible it is to have ungratified curiosity. I know you possess plenty of the article yourself and sometime I will retaliate in the same manner.

I hear Mr. B. Goldsby has returned. I hope it will be possible for me to see him before he returns as I am all curiosity to see some one who can answer some of the thousand queries I have to be propounded, and I think I will call on Mr. Daniels. I see from the papers that Mrs. Hardie is making herself a second Nightengale, but I must see all that I have read to realize the transformation. Do not find out I am envious of her place. I wish to keep it a profound secret. I hope as you are opposed to going to Western Virginia that you will not be forced to go, but as you are away I do not know that the place you are sent to makes much difference. But David is ready to go to Dayton, and I must hasten and finish my letter--and excuse me for saying it will be a relief for I mean my pen gives me almost a bad temper. It is so indifferent and I can procure no other. I will write you from Selma a long letter and hope to be able to accumulate some interesting details by that time. You will have your patience tried in endeavoring to decipher this letter. All those little details of camp life are very interesting and with a wish to see you soon and that you will pass thro the anticipated battle about the first unharmed, I am ever yours affectionately and truly,

Elodie

Footnotes: 
  1. David Todd became infamous during the war and after for his stint as commandant at what became Libby Prison in Richmond. See Berry, House of Abraham, 83-91.
Date: 
August 19, 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 County: 
Marengo

To

To State: 
Virginia
To Municipality: 
To County: 
Albemarle

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