Camp Davis, Lynchburg, May 11, 1861

We received marching order for Harpers Ferry last night at 12 o'clock to leave at 5 this morning. The camp was aroused and orders given to cook two days rations. You cannot imagine the bustle and noise of the night. At four o'clock our Col. who is slower than a Yankee clock arrived from town and countermanded the order and put the time at ten o'clock. We are all anxious to reach the scene of danger, and I apprehend that most of the regiment wish for a fight. I must confess, however, that I have no great anxiety for a battle as the idea of not seeing my own loved Elodie is not a pleasant reflection. I wrote you upon the eve of leaving to testify to you that even in such a moment of noise and bustle, I turn with feelings of devotion to that spot where my gentle and loved Elodie is, to tell her of my constancy and love and to convince her that under all changes and circumstances, she is the divinity of my life. How deeply I love you is known alone to you and to my creator. Tis sweet to know that I have your prayers and love for my safety, and I think I will bear a charmed life thro' the perils of war on your account. I met with a beautiful young lady yesterday evening at dress parade. A gentleman handed me a card with the compliments of Mr. Morly. After the parade was dismissed a servant came up and desired me to go to a carriage near by. I did so and was introduced to Mr. Morly and his daughter, a very pretty and sweet lady. She wore on one ungloved finger a rich diamond and if you had not already occupied my heart, I might have fallen in love at sight. Mr. M. was very polite and pressed me to take tea this evening, which I of course consented to do, but our departure today breaks up this very pleasant episode in camp life. Another lady presented me with a beautiful bouquet. Are you not jealous and afraid that I will wander from the influence of your charms? Never, never, my own loved girl. I would not quit you for all the women in the world. You are the soul of my life, my very existence, and it is all because you love me and have warmed it to life, the bruised and broken ruins of my bosom. Why do you hesitate to tell me that you love me? Is it a sin? Or do you fear that I may forsake you? Have no fears. I will be as true as the dial to the sun. When will you be mine at the altar? How happy will I be when you will lean upon my arm as my wife, the wife who is to guide and direct me to better pursuits and to whose counsels and persuasions I am to lend obedience. I wish I could feel as deeply of things in Heaven as I do of my faith in you. My heart overflows with love, and you must not think me foolish for giving expression to my feelings. I will never be fit for anything again until you have become mine. I know you would like me to write differently, to speak of scenery and such things, but my feelings are engrossed by you alone. I hear that much excitement prevails at Selma. I hope my home will not be burnt, as I wish to introduce you to it as soon as you will consent to be its mistress and circumstances will allow.

Write me to Harpers Ferry. It is a beautiful spot. Mr. Jefferson said it was worth a voyage across the ocean to see it, and I will try to give you my impressions of its scenery. [1] Goodbye my own, dear-loved Elodie. May God bless and preserve you.

Affectionately yours,

N. H. R. Dawson

  1. In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson described the view and then famously noted, "This scene alone is worth a voyage across the Atlantic."
May 11, 1861


4th Alabama Infantry
Residence (County): 
Dallas County, AL


Residence (County): 
Dallas County, AL


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