Winchester, Virginia, June 18, 1861

I read last night, my dearest Elodie, your long and welcome letter of the 7th and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your expressions of love and affection. Have you received the ambrotype sent you from Harper's Ferry by Mr. Fiquet? The package was directed to Mr. White. Please get him to call on Mr. Fiquet at Marion for the package. Did you receive the letters by him?

Just here Mr. Averitt interrupted me. He comes to take leave and to eat breakfast with me. Dearest, I also tell you what he has told me as a secret--he is engaged to Miss Williams. [1] The event transpired last night. He is very happy. He has also accepted the chaplaincy of Col. McDonald's regiment of Dragoons. [2] Col. M. has given him a beautiful horse to outfit. I think he has done right to accept the place as he had no position in our regiment. We will still see much of him. I feel this morning, dearest, that we are to live to enjoy the love we bear for each other so strongly. There are moments of joy which succeed hours of depression. So it is with me this morning. I see your image in the beautiful morning and in the beautiful country around me. You color everything. I have written you almost daily from H. Ferry [except] on the march, [and] in the wagon I had no opportunity of doing so but was there, sick and lying down, [though] I made out to write you once. I am glad that you speak so properly of bearing any trials you may have. I will always share and divide them with you, my own dearest, and I hope God will send none so heavy that you will not be able, by the exercise of Christian faith and grace, to submit with resignation. I have had my share of them, but God has enabled me to bear them. The will sun will come from under the clouds, and now I am again blessed with the light of your love.

What more can I say, my dear girl, to cheer you up under the painful suspense in which you are. I will take every care of myself that prudence and honor will dictate and will not needlessly risk my life as it belongs to others. I will try to be a better man, to be a Christian, and it is pleasant to know that you will join me in this effort. I have no time now to reply to your lecture upon napping over your bible. I can only say you have a happy faculty of imagining. And now, dearest, I must tell you goodbye and command you to the protection of an all-wise God who doeth all things well. I hope you will soon be well. I wish I could have been your nurse in your recent sickness. I will write frequently, but you must not think I have forgotten you if you do not hear regularly.

Ever affty & sincerely yours,

N. H. R. Dawson

  1. Mary Louise Dunbar Williams was the daughter of Philip Williams. She was twenty-seven years old when she and Averitt married on February 26, 1862. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Winchester, Frederick, Va.; marriage certificate, James Battle Aiverett and Mary Louise Dunbar Williams, Winchester, Frederick, Va., Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940.
  2. Angus William McDonald (1799-1864) had been educated at West Point and became wealthy in the fur trapping trade, earning the sobriquet "Big Knife" from the Native Americans. In the spring of 1861 he agreed to serve as the first colonel of the Seventh Virginia Cavalry, to which Averitt would be assigned. For more, see Flora McDonald Williams, The Glengarry McDonalds of Virginia (Louisville: G. G. Fetter, 1911).
June 18, 1861


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


Residence (County): 
Dallas County, AL


From State: 
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