Bolivar Heights, May 20, 1861

Again have I been deprived the pleasure of hearing from you, your letter of the 9th inst. being the last received. I am sad and low-spirited today but will not allow the disappointment to prevent from keeping my promise to write you daily. You have no idea my own loved Elodie how dear you are to me, how essential your love is to my happiness, or how deep would be the anguish of my heart did you turn from me your smiles. If you were to do such a thing, which I regard as impossible, I would still love and worship you, though it would be necessary to still my heart to the bitterness of the blow. But why do I allow the disappointment of not hearing from you make me utter such complaints? I must content myself and hope tomorrow to receive one of your long sweet letters. I am satisfied that something has prevented you from writing and in my love for you, I will make up my mind to hope that I will soon be gratified and cheered by your cheerful letters and to ask pardon of my fair enchantress for having been guilty of any offence towards her ladyship.

I write, and yet I am ashamed to send you the letters as they contain little beside my protestations of faith and love. I fear you will be wearied with their frequent repetition, and I will therefore turn to some more interesting topic.

It has been raining here since last evening, and I have spent the day under my tent in reading military books and in thinking of you. The weather still continues bad and will probably continue during the night. We had no alarm last night and slept without disturbance. Two large regiments from Miss. came in yesterday and today and are encamped in front of us. Troops are coming in daily, and we will soon have a large force here, too large I hope to allow the place to be taken by the Republicans. The Northern papers, however, teem with the most [] articles, and, if we were to be persuaded by them, we will all be killed in a very short time. I hope that in some inscrutable way, now hidden by the dark clouds that obscure the sky, peace will yet be obtained and that we will all be safely returned to our friends. And oh, my dearest, how happy will we be made when peace will unite us not again to be separated but to live in the wealth and joy of our natural lives. Do you not think that the circumstances which will prevent our marriage at any certain time will have a tendency to strengthen and increase our love for each other? When tried and made to pass thro’ an ordeal, we generally come out stronger and better. So I hope will be my case and yours so that when we are joined in the holy bonds of marriage we will have discovered in each other many latent qualities of head and heart that otherwise would have been known only after long years of association. In you I see expanding the blushing beauties of an early spring [] under the teachings of a loving mother whose voice and hand have trained you in the duties and precepts of Christianity. I know you will not [] the promise of this spring but the budding beauties of girlhood will be developed into the admiring qualities of womanhood. I will be so proud of you as my wife and in our home it will be such a delightful task to welcome your friends and mine and to see you dispensing a generous hospitality. The picture when enthroned by your image is gilded with all the rich colors of the skies and when that future is reached and you are mine, all these bright visions will be realized. Then our home, instead of being dreary and desolate as you describe it and as it has been to me, will become the abode of peace and comfort. You, dearest, are all powerful with me, and you must shape me to some good end.

I have just paused here to look at your beautiful miniature, to press it to my lips, and to pray for your happiness. Mr. Averitt had service yesterday evening and read a beautiful sermon. It was a touching scene to see the soldiers seated on the ground, listening attentively to the beautiful religious service of the Episcopal Church. I confess that it brought tears to my eyes, and all my thoughts turned to you. If you have as much feeling as I have with so much less to excite and engage your attention, you must be miserable, and I can understand the allusions to the subject in your letters.

Continue to address me at Winchester, Va. As Captain N.H.R.D., 4th Reg. Ala. Volunteers. It will be one month on [the] 26th since we left Selma, but it seems a year. I pity some of my comrades who left their wives and children at home. I think so much of you that scarcely do I think of the two dear little girls left me as pledges of love, but I feel that it is wrong in me, and I try to give them a place in my thoughts. Mr. Mathews writes that Lizzie has several times cried over my absence and in trying to pacify her, he has been forced to join in her tears. How gratifying to have such friends as Mr. and Mrs. Matthews. Will you permit me to tell them of our engagement? They will be prepared to treat and receive you as their own child. You will never want better friends.

I have got in better spirits during the progress of my letter. Tis the effect of conversing with you and opening my heart freely. This is the value of a female friend, the sympathy extended to the troubles and wounded spirit, and I will draw deeply upon yours, my dearest. And now goodbye. May God bless and protect you always.

Ever aff’ty yours,

N.H.R. Dawson

May 21, 1861 I am quite well this morning and am compelled in place of six pages to send you this brief note, being very busy. My love still burns as brightly as ever for my dear Elodie, and she is the Egeria [1] of all my thoughts. I am now about to go to the town to have my weapons sharpened and repaired but hope to have no occasion to use them. Goodbye my dearest. May God bless and keep you.

Ever aff’ty yours,

N.H.R. Dawson

  1. Egeria is a Roman nymph, known for her role as advisor/counselor.
May 20, 1861


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


Residence (County): 
Dallas County, AL


From State: 
From Municipality: 
From Note: 
Bolivar's Heights


To State: 
To Municipality: 
To County: 

Transcription/Proofing Info

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