Thursday, January 24, 2013

1863 January 13 Drapers Valley

                                    Drapers Valley
                               January 13th 1863
Dear Cousin Minnie,
                               Most cheerfully do I
fulfill the promise I made one who has
ever maintained a scrupulous promptitude
in the fulfilment of her promises to me. -
The three days of grace allotted to delin-
quent debtors have scarcely elapsed since
I last saw you but I hope that these
lines will not be less acceptable to you
because penned at this early date.
And having thus prefaced what shall
I say? My journey hither can furnish
nothing on which to frame a lengthy epistle
No hairbreadth escapes or thrilling adven-
tures occurred to disturb the even tenor
of my solitary, monotonous buggy-drive,
nothing greeted my eyes worthy the pen
or pencil of the illustrious Porte.
But whilst my physical self  was for

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the most part inactive I c annot
say so of the mind that plastic power
which is ever busy in constructing and
re-constructing, in building & destroying
its varied forms of creation.As I counted
off mil after weary mile, the busy, turning
brain was at work, and fancy's airy
fabrics arose as if by the wand of the
enchanter and were as speedily dissolved
again.  Thought oscillated from "the
grave to the gay, from the lively to the
severe" Nd more than once did it grav-
itate to a central object - which object
I shall leave you to guess.  Of one thing
I can assure you, that in all my mental
vagaries there were no might schemes
produced worthy the warrior's bold emprise
or the statesman's sage deliberations.
They were as unsystematic n their arrange-
ment and, I fear, as pointless in their
morale as these lines which succeed
each other across these pages.-
Here I imagine you to make use of a

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gesture and exclamation of im-
patience at my prodigality of words
and economy of matter.--
As one item of news (but perhaps from
already being heard by you it has
lost its startling character) I will say
that a small body of Yankee cavalry
made a raid into Monroe Co. a few
days ago.  They penetrated that county
as far as Centrreville about 32 miles
from Chrisiansburg upon which place
it is though they were marching.  My
informant stated there were about 150.
The citizens through here are fearful
the attempt will be renewed with perhaps
better success.  I hope they won't catch
Will before he gets home.---
I presume you recd the note I
sent you.  I would have liked to have conveyed
it or its contents in person if time
& circumstances would have permitted.
I suppose you are now meditating the
expected trip.  I hope that it may be

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a period of unalloyed enjoyment
(if that is possible) that you may
receive a cordial welcome at every
fireside you may visit, that you may
meet with many long absent but highly
cherished friends and finally that you
may return in health and safety to
greet those equally dear whom you
have left behind.--
It is growing late, for courtesy demand-
ed that I should spend sometime
with my host in converse.  Please ex-
cuse if I am not as lengthy as I would
wish to be - for I assure you I know
not how to spend time more pleasantly
than I am now spending it, unless it were
to converse with you in propina persona.
I would like to receive a letter from
you beforre I return, but consult your
own convenience in the matter.--
I shall nevertheless, as I stated in my
note inquire at the Newbern office.-
Now I commend you into the hands of
Him who sendeth his angels to watch
over and preserve the upright.--
Most Sincerely

William McCauley "Porte" of Co. E., 42nd Virginia Infantry to his future wife Margaret Jane "Minnie"

MSS 14953

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