Harper's Ferry, June 2, 1861

We are relieved from drill this morning, being Sunday, and I prefer to commune with my loved Elodie to attending the service of our chaplain. Another day has passed since I wrote you, no attack has been made, and I now wish that my letter had been couched in different tones as it was written in a spirit to make you sad and gloomy. But you have taken me for better or for worse, and I wrote you simply as I felt, desiring always to be treated in the same way. This letter, with the likeness, will be borne by Mr. Fiquet and will reach you in advance of my letter of yesterday. I heard from a gentleman yesterday, who was direct from Montgomery, that the whole state was excited upon the subject of a battle at this place in which we have been victorious. I regret that there was no foundation for the rumor and do not see how such intelligence had its origin.

A friend told me yesterday that he received a letter from Selma in which, with other news, it was remarked that you had become quite a recluse since my absence, which was the cause of your sadness. While this is a flattering circumstance to me, I regret that others have noticed it as it proves how deeply you feel on my account. The cause of your seclusion of course was only surmised. How much I feel that you should have so much anxiety upon this subject. Indeed, it troubles me and at the same time is pleasant to know that a fair and gentle star watches and looks down upon the pathway of one who loves and worships her with an eastern idolatry. This love is immortal, will survive the wreck of time, and will be realized in another world if not attained here. I wish I could describe my love as eloquently as Bulwer has made Claude Melnotte declare his for Pauline. Get the play and read it, imagining yourself Pauline addressed by me. [1]

If we are ever married, my dearest, I will endeavor, with your permission, to travel over all of this state with you, to point out the places where we have passed, to enjoy with you the beautiful scenery. You are very unwilling to tell me which calling to pursue, Law or Politics. I will ask you to add the profession of Arms and select one for me. Do you think that you will always be neutral in such matters of opinion? You cannot be for you love me too well not to express an opinion when asked, and you will be unlike many of your sex if you do not, but I think you superior to your sex in many qualities and have made up my mind not to be disappointed. Who is Dr. Rodman? If he is a minister & a friend of yours, you must request him to marry us. I would prefer any friend of yours to perform so interesting a ceremony. I envy some of the beautiful places here and would have a home for you like one now occupied by Gen. Johnston. Have you any desire to live in Kentucky? If she secedes, I would like very much to have a farm there to spend our summers! Or somewhere in the mountains of Va. or Tennessee. When I dream of such things, it is always in connection with your dear image. But the humblest cottage in the confederate states would be a Paradise if you were the one to share it with me. Yesterday the ladies again visited us and brought niceties of all kinds--pickles, pies, cakes, and butter. One old gentleman brought the regiment forty bushels of meal and quite a number of hams. The ladies also have some smoking caps but did not give me one. I will be more provident the next time they come, but, as I have told them I was to be married as soon as the war is over, I am not so popular as I was. I was pleased with a young officer here. A lady at Winchester commenced a flirtation with him when he told her he was engaged. This was candid and well, and if one was begun with me, I would act like him. I am not over anxious to be taken prisoner and carried to Washington. I would prefer to go there after the war as a Confederate officer. We will have peace in one year, I think, and probably in three months, but I will return home at the end of my enlistment. I have written you a long letter literally with nothing, but you must be content. It is the best I can do. Please write me as often as you desire and as long as you will. Goodbye. May God guard and protect you from all danger and trouble.

Ever and sincerely yours, my own loved Elodie,

N. H. R. Dawson

June 3.

No fight yet, but great preparations are making to meet the enemy. We expect an attack now in the course of a few days. I will telegraph the result so as to remove your suspense. I am quite well today. Goodbye my dearest Elodie.

Ever and affty yrs,

N. H. R. Dawson

  1. The Lady of Lyons; or, Love and Pride, written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1838, is five-act play recounting the story of Claude Melnotte, the son of Pauline's gardener, who disguises himself as a foreign prince so that Pauline will marry him. When she discovers the trick, she annuls the marriage. Melnotte then joins the army and becomes a war hero, and Pauline realizes she really does love him.
June 2, 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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