Confederate States of America, Selma, July 3, 1861

I returned from Summerfield yesterday evening and found awaiting me your last two letters for which receive my thanks. They afforded me much pleasure and it was gratifying to know again where you were, and I hope your location will be for some time the same, as moving so continually forces you to suffer so many more privations and exposure, and I am beginning to fear as much from your continued indisposition as the battles and other weapons of your Yankee neighbors. I hope you will soon be able to command in person your company and take such good care of yourself in future that you will be a stranger to your physician. When I thought of you as being sick, perhaps ill and suffering for proper attention, I was miserable and would have given anything to have been near to have administered to your comfort and showed you by my unceasing attention my sympathy and love and willingness to add as much as possible to your comfort and happiness. Altho you I know believe what I so often have asserted and it will require nothing else to convince you of its truth, but it would have been a pleasure at such a moment to have proved it to you. Do practice some of the good advice you gave me and see if it will not enable you to keep off the sick list and then I shall have more confidence in following it myself. I greatly prefer the example. Next time you get sick succeed well enough to be sent home, and I will promise to nurse you so well that you will think it quite nice to be an invalid.

My mother speaks of returning to Kentucky perhaps tomorrow. I wish I was going with her as I am getting impatient to go back but think at this time it is better to remain a little longer and see if Ky will not secede or affairs become more quiet. I am beginning already to regret Mother's departure (anticipated) and fear I shall behave foolishly and mourn her leaving by shedding some tears, but it will not be the first time, nor will I ever be ashamed to cry just as much as I want after such a good Mother as I have, and who I fear I do not love and appreciate as much as I should. You must know this good mother of mine, and I am so provoked to think her visit here should be when you were absent, and that I cannot do justice to her in trying to tell you of her goodness and loveliness nor describe her in amiability and piety for she is so gentle and good. Mr. Hobbs [1] called a few moments since to request me to assist in singing tomorrow. Mr. Alex White is to make a speech and they wish some music, the Exercise in commemoration of the 4th. I most respectfully declined to assist. There is also to be a ball or rather hop tomorrow night, but I have no idea of attending and think it decidedly out of taste and place at such a time to be indulging in such amusement and cannot myself when those so dear to me are far away and surrounded by danger. I will think of them and pray that God may spare them in his mercy and grant a speedy and safe return of them once again to us. How dreadfully I would feel to attend such a scene and afterwards learn that upon that night anything had happened to you or my brothers. I believe I would never forgive myself for it, and I think there are so many who feel as I do that the affair will be a glorious failure.

I have just read a letter from my youngest brother (Ellick) who lives in Ky. He is very anxious to have Ky. secede and writes me that he is perfectly assured if the state was well-armed and provided with ammunition, it would at once go with the South and is lengthy in his endeavors to reconcile me to Kentucky's neutrality and winds up hoping to see me and says how much he misses me all the time. I intend writing to him that he must make up his mind to give me up to you without a word, but I believe he will take the idea of my marrying very much to heart and grieve that I would prefer any one to him. I feel very much gratified at hearing of Mr. Matthews kind feeling and hope I can make myself loveable and agreeable to them. I will certainly try and hope my efforts may be crowned with success. I am glad Judge Pettus disappointed me in his description of his visit to us, and it is gratifying to hear he entertains such a high opinion of me. May he always think as he does at present. I hear Mrs. Pegues asserts on all occasions that we are engaged and if I do not intend to marry you have entered too far into a flirtation. The fact seems well-circulated, but I do not think generally credited as Mr. H. is more devoted than ever in his attentions. Last Sunday he came out to Summerfield and spent the day and when two letters were handed me from you by Bro. Clem insisted upon my reading them which I did with perfect coolness and even read to him some of the army news. The other information I did not think would prove interesting or agreeable. He thinks my letters are all from Mr. Averitt and that he has been in love with me for two years from the first time he ever saw me and when he finds [ ]

As before and only suffer my face to grow long at home and indulge in silence sometimes for I make it a rule to be gay in company and disguise from the public my feelings. I did not intend you to think I did not value the daguerreotypes. I only meant the small one I had was superior and on that account I thought more of it but have really very little need of one at all as I have your features daguerreotyped on my heart indelibly. The photograph at Wylde's has not been finished yet, and I fear I won't receive it much before your return. Bro. Clem is far from well--only weighs 107. But goodbye. Hasten back and believe me ever and affectionately,


Thursday, 4th

I see from the morning paper that you have left Winchester for the purpose of meeting Genl. Cadwallender and for that reason have directed my letter to the care of Mr. Williams. We have been disappointed in celebrating our 4th by a terrible rain and perhaps as I write you may be celebrating yours by a Battle with the Enemy. If so God grant the victory may be ours and that you will escape death or harm, and that the 4th of July may still be memorable as the day of Independence for the Confederate States. I do not fear or think for a moment of anything for the South but Victory but dread what that Victory may cost me, and I cannot reconcile myself entirely to giving you up for even so glorious a cause & which after my love for you is next [in] my heart and I would willingly sacrifice much to gain it, for what would we be without our liberty? The few left of us, a poor unhappy set who would prefer Death a thousand times to recognizing once a Blk Republican ruler, I would [illegible] altho' he is my brother-in-law, but as such there is not one of us that cherish an unkind thought or feeling toward him and for this reason we feel so acutely every remark derogatory to him, except as a President. I never go in Public that my feelings are not wounded [n]or are we exempt in Matt's own house for people constantly wish he may be hung and all such evils may attend his footsteps. We would be devoid of all feeling and sympathy did we not feel for them and, had we no love for Mary, would love and respect her as the daughter of a Father much loved and whose memory is fondly cherished by those who were little children when he died. I wish I were not so sensitive, but it is [a] decided weakness of the entire family and to struggle against it seems for naught.

My thoughts seem to be flowing much too fast for my pen and I omit so many words that it will be almost impossible to understand what I have written. You must try and remember too, I am not so composed as usual and will be so uneasy and anxious until I hear from you again either by letter or from newspaper accounts. If the latter contains anything unpleasant I will not credit it until I have proof in another way. But you must not be killed. Think of those who will be watching for your return and whose hearts will be so saddened. But I must not write to you in such a strain, and as I cannot refrain from giving expression to my feelings must stop. May God bless you and restore you again to your affectionate,


Who is the flag bearer of your company?

  1. Probably S. J. Hobbs, age thirty-five, who had been born in Maine but was living in Selma before the war. Nathaniel does not think too highly of him. 1860 Census: Selma.
July 3, 1861


Residence (County): 
Dallas County, AL


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


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