Winchester, Virginia, June 21, 1861

I have not had the pleasure of hearing from you my dear Elodie since your long and welcome letter of the 9th inst. I fear you intend to put into execution your threat not to write me as frequently as you have, but I must protest, my dear pet, against your depriving me of the greatest of all my pleasures.

We removed yesterday to a place about one mile from the city, and I came in this morning before breakfast to put myself in better trim and to take a good breakfast. I have done both and feel now much more like a gentleman than I have since leaving Harper’s Ferry.

The federal troops have retired across the Potomac and unless a column advances from Ohio, we are likely to have very little to do in this quarter, but I was never before in such a state of ignominious ignorance in regard to our movements, and I will not speculate upon them as I can speak to you of pleasanter subjects. Mr. [] Bell, a brother of your friend and a member of the Cadets, told me yesterday that a correspondent of his from Selma mentioned that you were soon to be married to Mr. Hagod. I of course said nothing, except to ask the day. Mr. H. is certainly a very silly fellow to imagine that he can win a lady who is already won and who is so far his superior that it would be unwise in him to marry her if he could.

I wrote you two days ago giving you a long abstract from a letter from Mr. Matthews which pleased me so much that I desired you also to see it.

I dreamed of you frequently last night, and when I awoke to the fact that your presence was only a sweet vision of the mind was disappointed. It is now over two months since our engagement—19th April, am I correct in the day? And I had hoped that you would have been mine in three months time at furthest. But this terrible war has intervened like an ominous wedge between our happiness. I still hope for peace, even amid all the dark elements that darken the sky. When peace is made, you will please name an early day for our marriage.

My whole existence is bound up in yours, and I can do nothing, see nothing, that separates me from you. I can’t study tactics. I can’t drill my company but that your image is near to lead me off. Hence you see how all-absorbing you have become, and hence the necessity of a speedy consummation of our marriage.

You speak disparagingly of your letters, and I am sure if you [] mine you will find little in them that is interesting. The Marylanders were set to Harper’s Ferry yesterday to burn up the town. It seems that since our departure the Union men have murdered several secessionists. Hence the reason for this movement. The men sent are of all others in the army the best qualified for such an errand and, I assume, have performed it recurdem artem. How terrible is war! If I live to return home, I will never draw my hand again except under the most pressing necessity. Certainly when I do I will have your consent. Dearest, I now feel that in your love I have something still to live for and that life with you to bless me with your affection will still have many charms.

I am writing at the desk of Mr. Williams, the father of Mr. Averitt’s lady love. He is a very clever gentleman and prominent lawyer of this place. Judge Pettus writes me that he found you quite well and in high spirits and hopeful of a speedy peace and a safe return of all your friends. The Judge admires you very much, and you will always find him a good reliable friend of mine and therefore of yours. He was struck with you at Montgomery and told me you would make any gentleman happy. I am happy in having won your love but unhappy in being so far away from you. Are you, or am I, the martyr? I see no beauty in the ladies who visit our camp and never go near them. I am reminded that you are far away and that it is wrong to indulge in much levity while you are probably feeling badly. You no doubt have the same feeling.

I hope to receive in your next an account of the concert in which you were to take part. I wish I could have been near to have heard your sweet voice trembling in the accents of song. At nine every evening I distract myself from all surrounding objects and go back to your home in Selma and try to seat myself at your side, gaze upon the moon, and hope that we are looking at the same luminary. Do you think of me at this hour still? I must now bid you goodbye, my dearest, and commend you to the care and protection of all-beneficent creator.


Yours ever affectionately and sincerely,

N.H.R. Dawson

June 21, 1861


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


Residence (County): 
Dallas County, AL


From State: 
From Municipality: 
From County: 


To State: 
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