Lynchburg, May 6, 1861

We reached this city last night after three days of most uncomfortable travel from Dalton. It was pouring down rain, and we were placed in a tobacco warehouse and slept upon the floors with our blankets without supper. I slept upon my shawl between two hogsheads of the Va. Weed. This morning it is raining again, and our men are very uncomfortable. We go to our quarters at the Fair Grounds as soon as the weather will permit. Under all these privations, I am supported by the will of my own loved angel, Elodie, which whispers me to bear all and hereafter to be rewarded with her love and her affections. Oh God, how deeply I love you, nay worship you. This is the anniversary of the death of one whose place in my heart you have supplied, and I am sad and dispirited. [1] Her image, clothed in the habiliments of immortality, is near to cheer and comfort me and beckon me on to a purer and better life. You must excuse me for alluding to this, but you are to comfort and soothe all my sorrows, and I know you will permit me to dwell sometimes upon the virtues of one who deserved all the devoted love I gave her while living and whose memory will ever be sacred in my heart.

I went to the Post Office, expecting to hear from you but was disappointed. Please write me and tell me all of your thoughts. You have no idea how much you are loved.

We will remain here in our quarters for several weeks to be drilled and equipped. And now Goodbye. God bless and preserve you, my own angel.

Affectionately yours,

N. H. R. Dawson

  1. Nathaniel's second wife, Mary E. Tarver, had died in early May 1860 following complications after the February birth of their daughter, Mary Tarver Dawson. Nathaniel's grief was especially fresh because it was the second time he had lost a young wife. In January 1853, his first wife, Elizabeth Mathews, had given birth to a daughter, Elizabeth Mathews Dawson, after which she gradually weakened and passed away in October 1854. Both of Nathaniel's daughters were living with him before the war but had to be parceled out to friends and relatives after he left. His first daughter, Elizabeth, was staying with her maternal grandparents, the Mathews. His second daughter, Mary, was apparently under the care of Nathaniel's senior legal partner, Edmund Winston Pettus.
May 6, 1861


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


Residence (County): 
Dallas County, AL


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