Winchester, Virginia, June 30, 1861

I wrote you on yesterday a hurried letter, intending to devote a part of this Sabbath day to you, my dear Elodie. It is raining, and I have a quiet time in my tent and avail myself of it to talk with you on paper.

We are encamped in a beautiful grove upon the brow of a hill which commands an extensive view of the country around us. The Blue Ridge and Alleghany Mountains in the distance form a crescent and at sunset, when the hour is instinct[] with holy thoughts, no one endeavored with the nobler sensibilities of our nature can avoid feeling awed in the presence of the beautiful landscape, which stretching out at his feet, extends to the distant mountains. In gazing upon the scene, I make you, my dearest, one of the features of the picture and am reminded that tho far distant you are a part of my being and that the same God that has created the one watches over and protects the other. To love you has made me a better man, and the desire to do nothing that you would disapprove exercises a very healthy control over my conduct. It is in some degree the feeling which actuates the Christian in all his dealings. It is a holy feeling, and I hope for my own good that I will never be relieved from the “bonds” of my hope for you.

Mr. G.H. Harrell has just arrived from Selma. I was deeply disappointed not to get a letter from you. I received several from friends, but your letters alone give me pleasure. Mr. Shortridge read me a part of a letter from his friend Mr. Smith giving an account of the concert which was flattering to the performers. I am glad that you name was not mentioned. I see from a programme that Miss McCraw and yourself sang a duette together. I wish I had been present to have heard your sweet voice. I know I would have exclaimed, “That sound again, it came upon my ear like the sweet mouth that breathes upon a bank of violets, stealing and giving odor.” [1]

The ladies have been very kind and have now supplied all of our present wants. In the fall, we will require coats made up of the Georgia canimere that has been purchased, but we have an abundant supply of all other clothing now. We have no means of carrying more than one knapsack will hold. I have much more baggage than can be conveniently transported and will have to get rid of a part of mine.

I spent a pleasant hour with Gen. Barnard E. Bee yesterday evening. He is a Charlestonian, and you will therefore not be surprised to hear that I like him. He is not more than thirty-seven and is exceedingly social and affable. He is quite a young man to have such a high position assigned him.

I hear that the Blues are much displeased with their Col., Gov. Winston.

Our Col. is endeavoring to quality himself and is now extremely anxious to please the officers. I have become used to camp life much more readily than I expected and relish the coarse food very much, sleep upon the ground, and walk in the sun, without much inconvenience. If I survive the campaign, I will no doubt be a much stronger man than when we left home.

I am having a very neat uniform made up for the Cadets, grey pants with black stripe, close fitting grey flannel jacket, with black collar and wristbands, with grey caps and linen havelocks. The whole will cost over $600. The Cadets have a good deal of esprit de corps, and I encourage it whenever I have an opportunity.

I see some glimpses of peace in the Northern papers and in letter from Washington, but I do not allow myself to hope too much for a “consummation so devoutly to be wished.” It is thought that the financial difficulties of Mr. Lincoln will be so great as to embarrass the plans of the campaign. I hope that the capitalists will not be willing to open their coffers to his draughts. Our armies will fight without pay. We continue to make great preparations, however, and they may enable us to obtain a speedy peace. But as I remarked yesterday, all of these [] may be exploded in an hour.

If we have peace, my dearest, I will return home as soon as my command is discharged and will then claim your hand in as short a time as you will be pleased to name, and in the joys of domestic life and peace with you, my dearest, as the partner of all of them, glide smoothly down the pathway of life. Have you ever imagined how much happiness your love has given? I am twice blessed in having won your heart and frequently imagine how it was that I, a poor captain in the army, should be so fortunate as to win the favor of the fair sister of Mrs. Lincoln when she could have shone as one of the belles of the Republican court. Can you solve the enigma?

Mrs. Hardie looks badly but says she prefers being here to remaining at home, but Mrs. Williams told me she thought it would be better for her to be at home. So you see opinion upon this vexata quertio is divided and the ladies differ. I certainly will not decide it. Mr. H. is not allowed to go into see her very often as his duties keep him in camp. We had wild raspberries for supper last night. They grow about our camp. I have used up all my sheet and must now close. Goodbye dearest. May God guard and protect you always.

Ever affectionately and sincerely yours,

N.H.R. Dawson

  1. William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Duke Orsino in Act 1.
June 30, 1861


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


Residence (County): 
Dallas County, AL


From State: 
From Municipality: 
From County: 


To State: 
To Municipality: 
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