Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1862 January 31

Camp Walker
Jany 31st 1862
My own dear Wife
I received your very sweet letter
to day and am disposed if not interup-
ted to send you a long one in reply. Not
having received my letter giving my opinion
about your going to see Julia married I find
you are still in doubt as to your purpose
and very significantly ask if you ought
to go to a weding [sic]. My only apprehension
is in regard to your health. You have
recently suffered so much from those
misterious [sic] pains that I am really affr-
aid for you to take your usual exercise
If you feel no apprehension on this
account I hesitate not to say that my
Queen of Beauty will at any & all
times grace any gay assemblage
and I will be glad to hear of your
going & then hear from you a full
account of the affair. So you will still
have to use your own discretion in re-
gard to going. if you go you must wear
your prettiest clothes & your pretiest [sic]
looks. Oh could I only be your escort what
would I not give. You speak in all of your
letters as though somehow or other you still
expected me either to say I was coming
to see you or that you should come to vis
sat [sic] me my own darling Jennie disabuse
your mind of such a hope for the present
at any rate. I will indeed be satisfied
if I am yet off in March without tendering

[page 2]
my resignation. knowing as I do how much
you desire my presence there I am willing
to sacrifice all other pleasure to gratify
your wishes in this respect. I confess
myself to tha be guilty of the weakness of
wanting to see [you] just as much as I did before
Xmas. I sometimes am almost tempted to
wish that we loved each other less. that
your beauty of person & character was less
captivating so that I might rest better
satisfied far away from you as I am
Sick as I was while with you, still I look
back with wonderful pleasure to the mo-
ments I spent with you and of deep re-
gret that the time was so very short. Oh
my precious darling why do I love you so
madly You say you are not pretty and
yet to me every line in your face is one of
beauty. Every feature as perfect as if it was
the workmanship of the skillful chisel of a
perfect artist and all together they form
a face of surpassing loveliness, and then
what a figure. Every limb of the most
perfect shape and beautifully tapering to
their extremity. But best of all where is the
woman who possesses a heart so warm
so pure, so full of high & noble impulses
And then when I think of your warm and
devoted love for me, so unworthy of it, and
of your unprecedented generosity which cau-
ses you to forgive & forget all of the faults
of your husband, which are so many. who
I say could not, would not love such
a wife with all the devotion of blind-

[page 3]
ness of a warm southern heart. I confess
it my darling that I do thus love you. that
I am utterly blind to any imperfections which
may exist in either mind person or heart
and while I was with you was perfectly
happy in my love and am just as unhap-
pey in my seperation [sic] from you. But
enough of love – it only makes me heart sick
to write it. And while I love to write
it I am the more unhappy after it is
writen [sic]. But my darling you like to get
such letters and this is another tempt
ation and I will promise you that for
every good long sweet love letter you send
me – I dont mean one complaining of my
absence, but one pouring out the inmost
secrets of your dear heart and telling
with perfect abandon all of its emotions
& throbings [sic] with the full confidence that
whatever you may say will find a resp-
onse from me – I will send you one
three times as long and just as honest
in the story it may tell. I am so glad
to hear that our dear little children
are again well. they have so far got
over the meazles [sic] a good dele [sic] better than
I expected. They are our jewels and I
constantly find myself looking forward in
the uncertain future and indulging the
hope that I may yet be able, in a time
of profound peace & prosperity, to take them
& you to a home of our own and there
far from all the exciting scenes of “busy
life” be happy in making you all so.

[page 4]
We are moving on in camp with our usual
sameness and monotony. Each day is but a
type of another. our cabin is a perfect curious
ity. Imagine a concern built of unhewn pine
logs with divided in two parts by a partition
of the same, with six light windows, a door
frame covered with canvas, chimneys made
partly of stone partly of sticks & mud & a plank
roof and the cracks between the logs daubed
with red mud and you have some idea of
the out side appearance of our abode. Inside
you will first observe the with a feeling
of utter discomfort an uneven slanting dirt
floor. To the left of the fireplace and about
two feet high I have constructed a trunk rack
out of tent poles on which repose mine and
the Majors trunks. under this rack is Billys pile
of wood. the door is in the right front corner
of the next side. the window is half way be-
tween the corner & the door. on one side of the
window hangs the Majors torch, on the other hangs
the mine. above it is our candle box & under it is
a fancy wash stand made by driving a four
pronged dogwood in the ground prongs up which
being cut off even supports the top of a cheese box
On the next side & behind the door as it opens I
have fixed wooden hooks on which hangs my
saddle bridle &c next sits my cot & above it
hangs our overcoats. On the fourth side sits
the Majors cot & above it hangs two or three articles
of his clothing & a few old straps. between his
cot & the fire sits my camp table on which
I am writing above the fire place hangs
my little looking glass and by it a beef tongue

[page 5]
to the right of the fire & high up, supported by
two large nails is [the] Majors sword, belt & spurs.
In the same position on the other side and
similarly supported is my own sword, spurs Hol-
sters & haversack. the remaining furniture of the
room consists of a broom in one corner, a stool
of my own make, a chair without a back & a camp
stool the only one I have left. Such is a per-
fect picture of my present abode outside
is mud – mud all the time. Write me my own
darling a long loving letter, in which the heart
shall speak & the pen only write
Your fond & devoted lover husband

All three references were to Samuel T. Walker, Major, 10th VA Infantry

"Torch on page 4 line 21. This is not the object most would envisage today. Walker's Critical Pronouncing Dictionary (Boston, MA: C. D. Strong and B. B. Mussey, 1839) defines torch as "a wax-light bigger than a candle."

[transcription and annotations by John P. Mann, IV]

MSS 7786-g

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