From the Archives: Civil War Letter
Camp Lee Near Pollard Ala
April 22d, 1864
My Own Dear Julia
Yours of the 17th was received to day. I was at Town + some person told me a letter had gon [sic] to camps for me. I attended to business with dispatch and hurried out as I began to think the time long in hearing from my several epistles that I had sent and my joy was complete when I received it and recognised [sic] the familiar hand writing. I new [sic] it contained some tidings from my Dear darling. I was truly glad to hear from you but sorry to hear that you was suffering from bad cold but I hope ere this time you are in the enjoyment of good health. and rosey as ever. I hope you + yours will still be blessed with good health. you have indeed been fortunate. I am fearful I am going to suffer considerably from Rhumatism [sic] this Spring. some days I can scarcely walk. I have been suffering a good deal to day but feel better this evening. I feel greatly distressed some times for fear I will yet loose the use of my limbs. it is Chronic and perhaps last me as long as I live. if I could remain at home I would resign but if I do so soon as I got better I would be conscripted. We are moveing [sic] to Town to day. 2 Regts are gone and ours + the 25 will go in the morning. all the Troops from here have been ordered to Dalton but our Brigade and we are left here to Guard the Road to Mobile +c. I hope we will get to remain here as there is not much danger of a fight here. Well Julia I am a child of misfortune. Col C. told Capt Hughes to write out my application as Adjt. before Capt H left + he said he thought the Col would be in command of the Regt in a few days and it would be better for him to send up the Application as the department would be more apt to act upon it. so thought all. Capt Harden came in. I made out my returns turned over all the effects in my hands and got Harden to write out the application + called on the Col to sign it and he very politely and to the astonishment of all refused to sign on the grounds that he had promised the place to Lt Bristol and their was a probability of his soon being exchanged + if he was he would give him the place + if not I should have it. I will know whether or not I will get the place by Monday next as Capt Bristol will be in soon and can let us know about the prospects of exchange. I was called on this morning to take the place. as politely as I knew declined unless I got the appointment and told them I had served in the Regt in nearly every capacity and here after I went by orders or appointment I did not intend to fill any more offices for accomodations [sic]. so wags the world. Capt Mount is absent on orders I received to hunt for lost Bagage [sic] + declars [sic] that he will secure the place for me yet. I am afflicted considerably with Rhumatism [sic] and fear that I never can march again on foot to do any good and am not afflicted enough to get a discharge or prevent being conscripted if I should resign. so you see I am in an unpleasant condition but I do not complain or even fret about it + make my self as comfortable and lively as any of them. I think Col C is determined that I shall remain as I am as I have allways [sic] to good a Whig to receive his caresses. dont fret about this little disappointment Julia. it will all work out for the best and I will still be an honerable [sic] Man. I wrote to Cousin Zeb by Capt Bristol if their was any chance to give me an appointment if cold but he is a relations and as a general thing Man gets few favors from his relatives so if I get no easier birth I will be agreeably disappointed. We have not drew a cent of money since I returned. I have been borowing [sic] all the time. I have got 4 yds Military cloth on the way 2 over shirts + 2 fine Blankets. I did not need them particularly but the state had them for us and if I remain in service I will need them but I fear our Goods are lost as thy [sic] was shiped [sic] from Raleigh on the 28th March and we hear of them passing Augusta Ga. Lt Whitaker will return about the 10 of May and I will then make an application for a Furlough and bring you all the Money I can spare. I feel distressed about your condition and fear that you would suffer if it was not for Mother. I do feel so grateful to her for her Kindness to me and my dear little Family. When I get my Debts paid I will have a better chance of sending you more as our Rations are now given to us. we are now at our new camp near Town and evy [sic] thing is bustle + confusion putting up Tents making scaffolds beds + c. I am rejoiced to hear of the fine Daughter at Mr P. and glad to hear Jennie is doing so well + Mr. P. feels his importance. it is so natural for Parents to be proud of their offspring, but I feel very well satisfied that it is not so at our House during this war time. I am never disposed to complain at Gods providence and if I was at home quite likely I would wish to see the little fellows appear once + a while to lighten my heart, but I am content as it is, as we have 3 very interesting children and it seems that is as many as we can take care of now untill [sic] times get better and peace is made. So your old friend still is very communicative and attentive. it does seem she is getting very intimate and perhaps troublesome at times. I think I will be at home in May + June and I will make her fly arround [sic] and make her-self useful as well as ornamental. I think she is rather vain and dressed rather gay and paints too much to please her admirers notwithstanding she is very pleasant company at times. I would be so glad to see you and the children. I can imagine I see you flying arround [sic] attending to your little domestic affairs this evening preparing + fixing your-self + children for Sabbath School in the Morning. I would be so glad to be with and accompany you to church once more. it reminds me of by gon [sic] days when our cup was overflowing with happiness + pleasure and I read thos [sic] eyes of affection and trace your thoughts and with what pride you strove to render your-self agreeable + pleasant to the man that had promised at the sacred Alter to Cherish + protect you. I hope this cruel was will end this year and I be spared to enjoy uninterruptedly the society of Wife children + friends. We have been so successful this spring. if matters continue so this summer we certainly will have peace. Forrest took Fort Pillow Paduca Ky and our Armies was victorious in La recently and their is a great Battle now preparing at Dalton + in Ga. so if God only prosperous us their it will prevent Lincoln from being elected and perhaps being about an armistis [sic]. So you got a letter from Jane. I expect you had better write to Tomola [sic] as it is not very safe any where as that country is greatly overrun with Bush Whackers Tories + Yankees. Give them all my Love. I am just starting to a fish trap 6 or 8 Miles from Camps. will finish when I return. I did not get to go fishing. I am ordered to go to Sparta to night 28 Miles above here on a Board of Survey to condem [sic] some Government stock to morrow Sunday so I concluded to finish this letter and let it cut out to night and go with speed to my Lady Love. I bought a beautiful little ring the other day for Hettie. I will bring it when I come. I know she will be so proud of it. have you got a Sutler perchased [sic] combe [sic] that is worne [sic] out. if send it to me + I will have a nice Pin for you + Ma or rings just as you please. we have a good work man that makes beautiful Pins + rings. I must get something nice for Bascom + Charlie for going to Sunday School + being such good Boys. I was sorry to hear of you suffering so much from cold. the apology is sufficient for lack in writing. I will expect more next time but the last done very well. truly thankful for all such. I have not written to William. I certainly will shortly. so Fannie done the work for Billie. dont that beat bob tail. she is a great case indeed. Oh what would I do if I had such a fine wife as that. I would want the Battle field to be my grave yard. I must close as I have to take the Train at 9 oclock to night and have some clean clothes to put on. Joseph Pounders sends his love to you + the children. write as often you can. give my Lover to Ma + Sister Virginia + all the children and my best Respects to Mr. P. Miss Chattie and all the friends. if I succeed in getting the Adjt position I will let you know. good evening Dear Julia. may Heavens richest blessings be yours. As ever your loveing [sic] + devoted Husband.
Jno M D
PS. Save a chicken for me if you can as we get none in the Armey [sic]. tell Jennie that name she has selected reminds me too much of Aunt Maria.