May 30, 1861

I was unwell, my dearest, last evening when my letter was written and was disposed to tear it up, but as it was impossible to do better, I concluded to send it as our nearness should not require so much particularity. I am better this morning, free from the headaches which disturbed me last night. I feel when writing you as if engaged in some sort of devotion, like the penitent Christian when he kneels to commune with a superior being, and, like him, when the pleasant task is over I am a better and purer man. You must not laugh and think this the effusion of a mind diseased with love. It is the normal feeling of every man who sincerely loves and true and gentle maiden. You complain of my short letters and compare them with your long ones. Remember that any hour spent in writing to you is snatched and stolen from some hour of rest or of duty, and I know you will then pardon me, but I hope that you will not carry your threat into execution. Your letters are like the visits of angels and are refreshing vessels in the dreary path of life. And I know, as you love me, you will continue to lighten my life with them. I will not ask you to write me daily but hope you will twice or three times a week while I will pay you double as long as I can get the materials.

The day is bright and pleasant. Last night was very cold, and I found four blankets and a large shawl comfortable.

I am much troubled about the condition of the Regiment and fear the want of confidence in the Col. will be very injurious to its history. I shall have nothing to do with him farther than duty compels. This is the case with six of the captains. How will such a family prosper? I think from present indications that we will have no fighting for the present. I hope by the time congress meets that better and wiser counsels will rule the cabinet of Mr. Lincoln. Do you write frequently to Mrs. L? If taken prisoner you must get me released on parole, and I will return to you.

Dearest how blissful will be the hour when we shall meet to part no more, when you will be mine and when your smile will always lighten at my coming. I look forward with hope and confidence to a safe return. You must cheer up and have confidence in our success and in the ultimate safety of your friends. I am very prudent and careful and temperate. On your account, I have given up smoking, of which I was very fond, and seldom touch anything stronger than coffee. This is done for your sake. Our engagement has made me a better man as it has given me something to live for that I have not had before. See what a mission you have to fulfill and how well you have begun? I wrote to Mr. Wetmore asking him to get you the photograph or rather to send it to Mrs. White. There are two specimens, one standing in full uniform, which is the best. Mr. Averitt has gone to Winchester and will be ordained on Sunday by Bishop Meade. [1] How would you like him to marry us? You will have the selection of the minister.

I saw Judge King cry over a letter from his wife yesterday. Parts of it were very touching, exhorting him to remember his duty to God and his country. She is a true wife and noble woman.

When will I cry over one from my own loved Elodie? Must I confess that your experiences of love and affection have already brought them into eyes unused to weep. Dearest, goodbye. God bless and keep and preserve you from all dangers.

Every affty yours,

N. H. R. Dawson

  1. Bishop William Meade (1789-1862) was a U.S. Episcopal bishop and the third bishop of Virginia. He preached against secession even after Virginia seceded but ultimately acquiesced and became a convert to the Confederate cause. He died in March 1862 but not (supposedly) before giving his last blessing to Robert E. Lee. Virginia's Civil War, ed. Peter Wallenstein and Bertram Wyatt-Brown (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press), 82.
May 30, 1861


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


Residence (County): 
Dallas County, AL


From State: 
From Municipality: 


To State: 
To Municipality: 
To County: 

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