Lynchburg, May 10, 1861

I have come on to the city this morning upon business connected to my company and am now waiting patiently at the office of the adjutant general for my time to come. Does my dear Elodie blame me for occupying the time in writing to her instead of reading a newspaper? Does she not tire of my long, foolish letters so frequently received that the P[ost] M[aster] will imagine the distance of our relations? But until you forbid it, I will continue to write you as frequently as possible, and I ask you to pay me in the same coin. I have no time for studied language, and you must excuse all deficiencies in style and rhetoric.

We are roused daily at 4 o'clock by the beating of reveille; officers drill from 4 ½ o'clock to 7. Breakfast at 7 ½. General inspection at 8. Drill for companies from 9 to 12. Recess from 12 to 2 ½. Drill from 2 ½ to 5 ½. Dress parade at 5 ½. Supper at 6 ½. Roll call at 9. Tattoo at 9 ½ when lights are extinguished, and we are all required to retire. I have so much to do and so many things to occupy my attention that I have little leisure, and you will be flattered when I tell you that most of it is directed to you.

As I was directing your letter yesterday, writing at my trunk upon your little desk, the top of the trunk fell, and the desk struck me upon the forehead, cutting it open to the bone. Your scissors were used for the first time to cut a piece of adhesive plaster to close up the incision, so you see how kind you have been. The wound is not at all painful, only on a bad place. It may leave a scar. I am quite well. I really have improved on the rough fare, and if I can get through as well as I have commenced, [I] will have reason to be grateful. I find that you have exercised a great influence upon me and that you have given me strength and will to resist the temptations of the campaign life. You have blessed me with your confidence and love, and I will try to be worthy of you in many respects. I wish it were so that the war had been put off until after our union, but we must hope for the best, and I at least will endeavor to be patient. Do you approve of long engagements under ordinary circumstances? If there had been no war or if I could have remained at home, I would have requested my loved Elodie to give me her hand at an early day for I see no reason why there should have been delay. The earlier hearts that love become united the sooner they enter upon the realization of happiness. "The briefer life the earlier immortality" expresses my meaning better. The day that you become the chosen partner of my [illegible] and home will be to me a day of infinite happiness, and I am anxious to have it placed at as early a time as circumstance will allow.

I gathered some wild violets for you this morning. I know you will value them. I send with them a piece of the gold lace from my sword belt which was torn off yesterday, which you may value hereafter. [1]

How amply, how fondly, you are adored, my loved angel Elodie. Should you never be mine from the [illegible] of fate, I hope you will find another to love you as well as I do for I am not so selfish as to wish you to be miserable on my account, and all I will ask is that he may love you as directly and truly as I do and that he may be worthy of your love. ‘Tis a wealth that is worth all the days of the earth, and, with you as the partner of my life, I will seek no other happiness. I have tired you with this long letter, and I must close it.

Will you think of me always at 9 o'clock at night when I will devote my thoughts to you? It will be pleasant to know that tho' distant we are united in our thoughts.

Remember me very kindly to your sister. I expect she thinks me desperately in love. If she could see how many flowers are sent me by the ladies, how polite I am in accepting them and in [illegible] my thanks, she might imagine that I was in some danger here, but I assure you I am made proof against any attack from any quarter save the battery of your own black eyes. Good bye, my own dear girl. May God protect and keep and preserve you from all danger and troubles is the constant prayer of your own devoted and affectionate friend,

N. H. R. Dawson

  1. Dawson's bit of gold braiding is still a part of the collection.
May 10, 1861


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


Residence (County): 
Dallas County, AL


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