Salem, March 3, 1862
My Dear Ella,
Yours of Feb. 20 was
received last Friday. We were then in great con-
fusion and uncertainty. An order had been received
to send back all the baggage, each soldier retaining a
pair of blankets and an extra pair of socks. Our
surgeon wrote me that morning a sick leave for four-
teen days, but I did not get the General's action
on the paper until yesterday (Sunday) morning. That uni-
versal scourge of the soldiers, jaundice, has at length
seized me, though I am not yet blooming forth
in yellow glory like a buttercup of the fields. After
a fatiguing effort to get myself and baggage to the
Junction, I was seated in the cars, and soon
arrived here among kind friends. Last night's sleep
on a feather bed beneath more than two blankets was
refreshing, and now the cozy parlor in which I write
is an agreeable contrast to my log cabin. But languor,
nausea, headache, are troublesome companions in
the village as well as in the camp. However I am
not much sick--not enough to excite sympathy,
but just the quantity to make me a good victim at
whom fun might be poked, if I only had a dear friend
with me who is fond of the sport--like yourself. How to
go to Loudoun?--that's the question which perplexes me.
I asked this morning, "What is the chance of my getting a horse
for a trip to Loudoun?" "Very slight, I fear: horses are
scarce here," was the reply. yet health and weather
permitting, I expect to go before the fortnight expires.
But there is a question touching yourself in which I
am deeply interested. Late movements about Centre-
ville, Manssas and other points render it very
probable, if not certain, that we will even fall back.
If so, the forces under Gen. Hill will, of course, retire
and Loudoun be abandoned to the Yankees. I have
made diligent enquiry about the county, but was
told that at Leesburg no one knew or felt confident
whether we were to quit the place or not. Doubtless,
the subject is greatly agitated in the community, and
your own mind must have been sorely exercised in
it--perhaps, in a state of "indcision" what you ought
to do. Now claiming the privilege of a friend to con-
cern myself about these matters, I am anxious to
know, whether you expect Leesburg to be abandoned,
and if so, whether you will remain to enjoy Yankee
society, or flee before the invaders? If you wish to leave for
Pittsylvania or any other point, I offer my services
as an escort any time within the fortnight during which
I have control over my own movement---as far, at
least, as a mortal man can have such control. I
could meet you any day you would appoint at the Plains,
if not at Middleburg or Delta. The trip would be a
recreation and benefit to me. If you really wish to
fall back to the interior, I would be very deeply mortified
and angry at your declining my services through any scru-
ples in consequence of my relation to you as an unac-
cepted suitor. I ask the privilege as a friend, not
as a lover. I don't know how long it takes a letter to go
to and from Leesburg. It is possible that I may be in L.
before a reply could reach me. But in that event I would
see you: so it would make little difference. Be sure
to answer this immediately.
Your wrote sadly about our country. And then
it seems from your letter that you had not heard the
tidings of our great disaster in Tennessee. I need
scarcely say that a sword has pierced my heart. But
despondency I will not entertain. It will be very, very
painful and humiliating to surrender Northern Va.
to the Yankees. But I can easily see what an advan-
tage it may give us in the defence of our Republic
at present, and we must console ourselves with the
sure prospect of a happy day when every hostile foot
shall be driven from our entire soil. God hasten the day!
My predecessor at the University, Rev. Dabney Carr Harrison,
was killed at Fort Donelson--a man of gentle spirit.
He leaves a widow and two or three children, I believe. She is
an uncommonly sweet and engaging lady.
With regard to the contents of your letter I will not write
much now. I have neither disposition nor reason to think
you "weak, fickle," or otherwise blameworthy, in the least
degree. Your are right not to enter into an engagement, while
uncertain that your heart would fully and freely accomany the promise
of your hand. I do not wish to be relased from the obliga-
tion of the offer already made, because of the indecision
of your mind. My head and judgment dictate that I
should continue before you the proposition until you do reach
a satisfactory conclusion. but I will not write more,
for my sickish feeling has come over me, and sense fails me.
I expect to be well in a few days, and I would ride to
L. to-morrow if I had a horse.
Very affectionately yours,
J. C. Granberry
P.S. In casting my eye over this latter part of this letter, it
looks frigid and stiff. I do not mean it so. But I feel badly, and
don't [know] how to express myself. Please refer to my former letters as
an expression of my unaltered sentiments.
John Cowper Granberry, 1829-1907, a graduate of Randolph Macon, Methodist clergyman,chaplain at the University of Virginia,and chaplain of the 11th Virginia. Later a professor at Vanderbilt and Bishop of the Southern Methodist Episcopal Church.(and yes he married Ella later in the year)