Winchester, Virginia, July 2, 1861

I have again been deeply disappointed in not receiving a letter from you yesterday or today, and now my anxieties lead me to fear that my dear Elodie has been prevented from writing by sickness. If your feelings lead you to have anxious moments, I can assure you that I know how to sympathize with them as mine are greatly tried whenever I do not hear from you.

My company was ordered here last evening as a guard for twenty-four hours. I came in but returned about ten o’clock and have returned this morning. The night and morning have been cold, and I have found an overcoat pleasant all the morning. To convince you, if you are skeptical upon the subject, I have had my likeness taken with my cloak, and I send it in the same package, directed to Mr. White, one for Mrs. Gail Matthews, which you will please forward to her. I think that sent you is the best as I would have anything intended for one whom I love so tenderly and devotedly.

I will not trouble you about the rumors of war which are current here. Great secrecy is preserved in regard to our intentions, and they are never known until the order to execute is given. The indications are that a great battle will be fought in from of Washington city, but we will hardly share its dangers or its glories. I frequently think how just and right it is that I should be fighting for you and for my little girls, defending my country and vindicating your rights and liberties and [I] confess that I am calmed and satisfied when I take this view of the war. I am willing to lay down my life for you, but the idea that I am to do so without having been married to you is a harrowing one, for I love you as well as I ever can, and I would have you under no restraint to mourn for one to whom you have given your youthful affections. But it is wrong to add to your pain, my dearest, by telling you of thoughts that fill my bosom at times. We are in the hands of God, and He will do all things well. I see husbands and fathers here who are separated from their loved ones at home, and I must learn to bear cheerfully my share of privations. Your noble heart would not have me shrink from the proper discharge of duty. As I have already told you the desire to do nothing that you will disapprove controls my conduct, and I try to imagine you always at my side, persuading me to refrain from sin and wrong. You are in other words a guardian angel, ever whispering into my ear the proofs of duty and pointing the path that I should tread. Have you lived in vain when your power exerts such an influence? You should know that you are no ordinary woman to have obtained such influence over a wayward and [] man. I feel at times as if I could fall at your feet and worship a being so much my superior in purity and goodness. You must not blame me for loving you so much. The feeling has been planted in my bosom, and I have done much to cherish and cultivate it, as I know that no feeling is more capable of good than the love I bear you. Its exercise excludes many others of a less humanizing character. How consoling then is the hope, my dear Elodie, that at the end of my term of service or at the termination of the war in advance of that time you are to surrender to my keeping the care of your happiness and that I am to be blessed by your love. Do you hope for half as much of happiness as you will give, for indeed you are to bestow all upon me, you are to raise from the earth a broken reed, and to inspire new life and love into a crushed and bleeding heart? Can I hope to do as much for you?

I might go on and fill pages with declarations of my love, but I fear you have had too many already and you will be led to suspect the fidelity of one who is so profuse in promises, but dearest you must make an exception in my favor and believe that I feel deeply all that I write. To attempt to deceive you would be an office for which I have neither the tact nor the inclination, and I would feel like a thief in the night stealing from the purse of his best friend, for I regard you as the best friend on earth, as the partner of my all, save for the formalities of the law, and as you tell in one of your letters, there should exist between us the most implicit confidence. I think of sending you by Mr. Harrell all of your letters, which I want you to keep. You asked me to burn them, but I want you to preserve them for me. They will be in no danger in your hands, and they are in mine for my trunk may one of these days be captures, and I would not have other eyes see your letters to me.

And now my own, affectionate and loved Elodie, I must conclude. You will please write me here even if you hear that we have left Winchester. Adieu. May God bless and keep you.

Yours sincerely and affectionately,

N.H.R. Dawson

July 2, 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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