Selma, May 23, 1861

You cannot imagine how happy I felt a few moments since when Bro. Clem handed me your two letters dated the 14th and 16th. I have not heard before for three days and feared you were indisposed. I hope now perfectly well. I know you must have been lonesome and missed the comfort of home and sympathizing friends. It is unnecessary for me to say how glad I would have been to have been near you and as much as possible administered to your comfort and happiness for you know well enough. You do not mention having received scarcely any letters from me. I have written regularly every other day until this week. My last letter was written the 19th and directed to Harper's Ferry and surely you should have received a letter from me enclosing one from Mother written quite two weeks since, which will give you I think satisfaction (I mean Mother's), altho' I could hardly prevail upon her to write you a line as she declared when Emma [1] married she would never consent to give up another and that when such an idea entered my own and Kittie's head we must run off. I think however in time she will get over all trivial objections, which she fancies, for in reality she has none. I will take the subject you propose into consideration and give it all due thought and will be ready with an answer whenever peace is declared should there be any war which I am beginning to doubt. Just see what a cheering effect your letters have had. I have been nearly all evening trying to cheer up Ella Watts [2] who is crying and grieving herself over the departure of the Blues. I imagine we are similarly situated, both with sweethearts gone to the War. She did not tell me, and I would prefer not knowing as keeping my own secret is enough. She remarked that were she engaged, she would never stay behind but go too, and if she had foreseen all this perhaps she would have been married. Altho' this conversation happened before two or three, I believe she spoke from the heart and is as deeply interested as her neighbor but in whom puzzles me. I cannot find out. Altho' report says Mr. Bruce Thomas, [3] I don't believe it. I had a letter from my dear friend Dr. Rodman who is anxious to know if I am not going to be married, from Mother and Kittie's coming down, and insists on my telling him all about it. I will some of these days, but I am going to be so silent that I will surprise everyone, and it would give me pleasure to outwit Selma for once and show the kind, good people I will marry whom I please and then without their aid and interference and that it is none of their affair but entirely my own.

I am out of temper with the people here for showing the Blues so much partiality and not noticing the Guards and Cadets, and Sallie Bell [4] and I speak our minds freely when we meet. You have a sample of my amiability. I am a Todd, and some of these days you may be unfortunate enough to find out what they are. I will send your pieces on to the Mercury and am sorry I get more credit than I am deserving of in regard to the flag. I can scarcely realize it is but a month since you left for the time has seemed so much longer and I believe I am getting anxious and impatient to see you again. What will I do if the war continues ten years, do you imagine? Pray do you think to inform Bro. Abe would do any good? He would make you suffer for yourself and my being such a secessionist too, and you must be too cute to get into their hands.

Well, it is growing late, and I must tell you goodnight hoping the morrow will bring me another letter. Are you in earnest about fearing a rival? If so I am provoked with you for doubting for one moment my constancy. I know there is more danger of your forsaking me, at least quite as much. How is George Mims [5] or do you ever see him? I think he is a deserving youth and think kindly of him for the sake of his family. My bro. David has been ordered I hear to North Carolina. Now, once more, goodnight and believe me yrs. Always.


  1. Emilie Todd Helm had married in 1856.
  2. Ella F. Watts was the seventeen-year-old daughter of Louisa M. and Edward T. Watts, a wealthy farmer in Selma. Ella and Elodie remained quite close throughout the correspondence. 1860 Census: Selma.
  3. Possibly Bruce P. Thomas of the Selma Blues, part of the Eighth Alabama Infantry. Regardless, Elodie was correct that the two did not marry. Alabama Civil War Muster Rolls, 1861-1865, Alabama Department of Archives and History.
  4. Sallie Bell was a dear friend of Elodie's, living in Selma, whose brothers, Benjamin and Burke, were members of Nathaniel's company. National Park Service, Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System,, accessed October 20, 2016 (hereafter CWSS).
  5. George Mims was a private serving in Nathaniel's company and was badly wounded at the Battle of First Manassas. He survived to become a schoolmaster in Louisiana and Mississippi and eventually married a woman twenty years his junior in 1884. George's sister, Laura Mims, was a friend of Elodie's. CWSS.
May 23, 1861


Residence (County): 
Dallas County, AL


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


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