Winchester, Virginia, June 22, 1861

I wrote you yesterday, my dear Elodie, but as your sweet and welcome letter of the 12th and 13th was received this morning I must thank you for its favor.

I appreciate very fully your reasons for thinking that I had better pursue the law in preference to politics or war, and I am really glad that you have spoken your views so fully and freely. I desired to know them and rejoice to find that they coincide with mine. As soon as grim-visaged war releases me from his care, I will resume the duties of the law and will endeavor with you aid to make it the occupation of my life. My father always declined political position tho’ he had inducements offered that would have lured a more ambitious man. He was the contemporary and peer of Mr. Barnwell and Mr. Phitt[], their acknowledged superior and leader at the bar. He always desired me to pursue the law exclusively. I will examine your letter of 23rd and see what the lecture is about. But like all your lectures, it is so pleasant that I am willing to take any number. It is to me a source of happiness to know that I have won your love and confidence and I hope they will never be found to have been misplaced. If you object to promises, I will withdraw all and merely say that I will try to do my duty and to make you happy. You must excuse me for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

I love you, my dearest, with all the devotion that man can have, and, if permitted to make the trial, I will endeavor to be equal to all things that may be required, and, upon the subject of your adding to my happiness, I have every faith and confidence. I rejoice to hear that you are not a recluse and hope you will not have occasion to put your threat into execution and live a peevish old maid all your life.

If you have faults, my dear Elodie, they lean to virtues side, and I will never be anxious to hear them. I wish to know you always as I now believe you—as faultless as woman can be, with as many of these noble qualities which have distinguished your sex in all ages.

I am sorry you do not like the photographs. Would you like another? The gift was an impromptu one. If you wish another, I will have one taken in my cloak. We hear all sorts of rumors here of peace and war, and I have a sort of presentiment that we are to have a short war. I am in town this evening having pantaloons cut for me men. Mrs. Senator Moren and other ladies have kindly undertaken to have them made for me. Is this not kind?

I write hurriedly, hence you must excuse a short letter.

I am glad you think me right in volunteering, but when the year expires my duty will take me to other pursuits. I will then be free to make true all of my promises to you, to claim your hand, and to be with you in the peaceful shades of peace. And now, my own dear Elodie, goodby. May God guard and protect you in health and happiness.

Ever and affectionately your devoted,

N.H.R. Dawson

P.S. Don’t you laugh over my letters?

P.P.S. You must not be surprised to hear that we have been ordered from this place. Gen. Johnston is a very energetic man and is not fond of ease and quiet. Write to Winchester, however, and your letters will be forwarded.

Mr. Averitt is with his regiment further west of us. Miss W. has gone to visit her relatives in Charlottesville. Don’t you think he was very precipitate in his love affair?

Will you spend the summer with Mrs. W. in Ala? I would be afraid and concerned to hear that you were going to Kentucky. I hope for your sake that Ky. will out before long. I do not see how she can remain neutral. The news from Missouri is very good if true. Gen. Lyon, I hope, will reap his deserts. The South must act even against her wishes. I am sure you pity me when I have so many unpleasant trials, marching in the sun and dust is one of the worst evils. I would not mind so much if we were kept in one place and allowed to fight, but this continual change is terrible, wearisome, and fatiguing.

The weather is now extremely warm. Last night had a brilliant thunderstorm, equal to any I ever saw in the South.

And now, dearest, again goodbye. I will expect a letter soon and will ever pray for your well-being and happiness, with a speedy reunion to our happiness.

Affty and sincerely yours,

N.H.R. Dawson

June 22, 1861


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


Residence (County): 
Dallas County, AL


From State: 
From Municipality: 
From County: 


To State: 
To Municipality: 
To County: 

Get in touch

  • Department of History

    220 LeConte Hall, Baldwin Street

    University of Georgia

    Athens, GA 30602-1602
  • 706-542-2053

eHistory was founded at the University of Georgia in 2011 by historians Claudio Saunt and Stephen Berry

Learn More about eHistory