Manassas, July 28, 1861

I have written you several times during the past week but cannot permit an opportunity presented by the departure of D. Jones to pass unused. I feel much depressed since our battle last Sunday and would give anything for peace and home. The cessation of hostilities unites me to you, and this may be the reason why I am so strong in favor of the measure. I have never before been placed in a situation where I had no volition. I am a soldier until next May and till then am the servant of the state. I must endeavor to do as you have enjoined me to behave, like a true Southern soldier. I was yesterday engaged in writing to the friends of our killed and wounded and found it a sad task. The absence of over twenty from our ranks has made quite a gap in the company and cast a deep gloom over us all. I long to be yours, entirely yours. I will feel as if my labors were ended and that I had a right to enjoy the comforts of home under the soothing care and affection of my noble ladylove, one whom I adore and worship more than my country. When I think over the occurrences of the last week, the great dangers I have escaped, I feel how thankful we should be, and I hope I duly appreciate the mercy of God in having protected me. Oh dearest, we should place our trust on High, and I hope, one of these days, that we may be found kneeling at the same altar in public confession of the faith that we profess. I am anxious to know that you are prepared to take this step. The white robes of Christianity become and beautify the angel virtues of woman, and I long to see them encircling the fair form of my dear Elodie. I know that you have all the purity, all the essential qualifications, that would authorize you to take this step, that you are in all things, save the public confession, a Christian.

We are now about four miles from Manassas and I think will remain in this vicinity for some time, but you know enough of army life to be aware of the fact that the General alone knows when we are to move. The policy of Mr. Davis seems to be entirely defensive. The opinion prevails that the defeat of Mr. Lincoln's army will have no effect in making peace but will only stimulate renewed exertions. I hope it will at least have the effect of disheartening the Yankees and of opening their eyes to the utter impossibility of subjugating us. It will certainly strengthen the Peace part, and we may pass the remainder of the season without another great battle. I sincerely hope so.

I am glad to hear that Missouri and Kentucky will rise in the majesty of their people and now vindicate their rights. For your sake, my dearest, I hope that this may be true. Major Pope tells me he has hopes for the best from Kentucky. I saw a few days ago from the papers that your brother David had reached Raleigh, N.C. with forty prisoners in charge. I also see that a Dr. Todd [1] of Lexington, a brother of yours, had been arrested for incendiary language but was discharged. I know this is not true as you have no such brother. Our regiment is much disorganized, owing to the loss of our field officers. I have been acting as Col. Capt. Goldsby having been quite unwell. I was in command yesterday at dress parade. We have asked Gen. Johnston to detail a regular officer to command the regiment ad interim. Our wounded are all doing well. I receive intelligence from them daily, tho I am unable to go to see them as Gen. Johnston will not allow an officer to leave camp. The regiment lost 190 killed and wounded in battle. The full details of the loss on both sides are not yet made up, but enough is known to show that the Yankees have lost in killed, wounded, prisoners, and missing about 10,000 men. We took 70 pieces of artillery, beautiful guns, most of them brass pieces. Two of them are large rifle guns and must have cost from $5000 to $7000 each. The value of the property, munitions of war, taken is put at $2,000,000.

It is now ten days since we have had our tents or baggage and as you may imagine have been put to much trouble and inconvenience. We have had rain but once however, and this has made it more comfortable. We have sent to Winchester for them.

My dear Elodie, in all these trials, I have turned to you and imagined how deeply your sympathy was enlisted in my behalf. You have been the bright angel that has always whispered courage and strength in the hour of danger, and I always look with hope to the time when I shall find in your love all the rewards for these trials. It is pleasant to know that you like me to treat you affectionately. I love you so well that it delights me to do anything that pleases you. You must not object, when I shall have the right to do so, if I pet you like a little girl. You are as dear to me as the morning is to the early spring flowers, sweeter than the dews of the beautiful roses with which I was accustomed to tell you of my love and thro which I dared to win you. These were happy hours when I paid homage to you and happier when I was told by your own lips that you could return and reciprocate my love. I frequently lie on my blanket at night, looking up to the blue canopy of heaven studded with stars, and dream of those days as among the halcyon hours of my life. Do you often think of them? Why need I ask the question as I know you do and as I know your heart is as full of such thoughts as mine? As I write in a crowd, under a tree, with a book to hold the paper, you must excuse all deficiencies of chirography and of style. I make no attempt to observe the rules of either, as I am only anxious to write to you.

I have seen many of the prisoners and wounded of the Yankees. They all say they were deluded into the war that they never expected to come to invade the south, and that they never will return to attack us. I place little reliance upon such statements, but they indicated on their part some reluctance in the future to volunteering. Mr. Lincoln should now rise above party and give peace to the country, but I fear he will not be equal to the position. He is too much of a party man. I say this, my own dear girl, knowing how you feel and with no idea that I will give you pain. For you know that for your sake I would refrain from doing or saying ought that could wound as sensitive a nature as yours. I love you too well and might add that I love myself too much to offend you.

Please write me regularly to Manassas Junction and your letters will be forwarded if our location is changed. I hope to hear from you tomorrow as I sent a man to Winchester to get our baggage. Mr. Averitt's command is here, but I have seen nothing of him. Remember me to Mr. and Mrs. White and, dear Elodie, now commending you to the care and providence of our merciful God, I remain,

Ever affectionately and sincerely yours,

N. H. R. Dawson

  1. George Rogers Clark Todd.
July 28, 1861


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


Residence (County): 
Dallas County, AL


From State: 
From Municipality: 
From County: 
Prince William


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