Friday, January 18, 2013

1863 January 3 Skinker's Neck

Skinkers Neck Jany 3d 1863
My darling Wife
    I recd to day the letter you sent me by Mr
Hamilton and Yesterday I recd your short letter
mailed on the 31st saying that little Jennie was
not well but that Dr Williams did not think she
was much sick, and complaining a little your
self.  I am like yourself in hoping the children
will not get sick but unlike you have much
faith that with proper care they will not.
It is true no one can tell, yet from all I can
learn there is not much fear in the neighbor-
hood & I can see no reason why you should be
in any more or as much danger as others.  Do
not my own darling take trouble before hand
dont be alarmed until the children are really
sick.  God has ever been with us to protect &
guide us and I can now see more reason for
why our faith should be stronger than ever, that
is speaking according to human reasoning & human
goodness, for according to the teachings of the
bible our faith should ever be strong even when
the darkest clouds are hanging over us.  But
so far as we are concerned who is it that should
be more thankful more cheerful & more hopeful
who ought to rely more implecetly [sic] on His prom
ise than us?  Who has It is positively sinful

[page 2]
for us to be so apprehensive of future evil.  Let
us then with cheerful hearts look to the future
and trust that before many months shall pass
away our independence will have been achieved
our Armies disbanded and we will all be re-
united under our own roof without the fear of
being again seperated [sic] by war & its trials.
 The news from the west is most cheering and
indicates the hopeless ness of Lincolns cause.  The
defeat & almost total distruction [sic] of Rozencrazs
army by Genl Bragg which we may now con-
sider a fixed fact, compells [sic] the Federal Genl
Grant to make a speedy retreat if indeed it
does not [?] him in ruin.  The Western
Campaign will therefore have terminated as
ingloriously and as disastrously for our
enimies [sic] as has ended the Va campaign.  I can
see no hope & I dont think Lincoln will be able
to see any for his cause.  A change in our
favor has occurred in the French Ministry &
the same is confidently predicted in relation to
England if this be so, which I see no reason to
doubt, we may, after this news of our recent suc-
cesses has reached them confidently expect
both mediation & recognition before spring
 I have always since the fight of the 13” been
of opinion that a decided success for our arms
in the west & southwest would result in peace
 The Yankeys cant enlist another army – we are

[page 3]
doing it and besides the armies now whiping [sic]
them we will have a third as many more next
spring  Our regiments are filling up now, we
will be stronger each day, in numbers – in spirit
and confidence.  We have never yet had a real
victory in the west – and we needed one to
encourage our men.  We were never before in
a situation to profit by or reap the fruits of a
victory, we are I think beyond all doubt in
such a situation now.  And while my faith
in success in the west has been sinfully weak
heretofore I am now full of it and can see
no reason why the most happy & beneficial
results may not attend & follow Genl Braggs very
great and decided victory.  I did not feel com-
fortable under the first days news.  that troublesome
left wing of the enimy [sic] was a sort me a sore
thing & I wanted yet to hear that it too was drove
back or had gone back of its own accord.  To
day we are informed that the enimy [sic] are
routed & we in full pursuit.  Jennie dear
I am talking of the prospects for peace.  I even declare
that this victory will produce it.  I am full of hope
and yet in sober real truth I cant realize that
the war is to end thus.  I have been so sccustomed
to look on the war as a thing that it was to last
an indefinite length of time, that now when reason
faith & hope all tell me there is light ahead
that day is breaking and the dark clouds are

[page 4]
being gently lifted up – I cant realize
the facts.  One thing I can see though
and that is that the hope of peace inspired
by the present state of things, instead of
depressing me & making me unhappy has
rather the opposite effect – true I am still
a little impatient for further confirmation
but my hope is brighter and more confident
We are all in fine spirits here and
are expecting still better news from
the west.  But notwithstanding this
there is no relaxation in discipline here
furloughs are still refused – cartridge boxes
are still well filled and the men
required to stay in camp.  Active
operations are not considered as ended
The Yankey army across the river has
not gone into winter quarters.  Yet I
have no idea that they will ever attempt
to cross the Rappahanock [sic] again.  they
cant I dont think go around it before
next summer & they that time I hope
they can do better – Go home – and we
can do the same.  Practically the thing
is at an end
 Sunday Morning 11 Oclock.  All military operations
are suspended to day and my quarters are almost
as quiet as a Sabbath at home.  I have no news to

[page 5]
write except that I have this morning been reading a
book (a novel) in which there is a character so much
like yours that it is very interesting to me.  This character
in her opinion after spending her teens in a perfect
serenity, without a single cross sudenly [sic] encounters
troubles which to her seem perfectly overwhelming, but
which indeed are merely the usual disappointments
in every ones life and become troubles just as one makes
them so or not.  The lesson taught her in this book
is that Gods will is made manifest in all that hap
ens [sic] to us – that it is our duty to submit care quietly
to all his dispensations and calmly & totally meet lifes
disappointments face to face & not go around them, and
from each learn the lesson intended to be taught and

[page 6]
profit thereby.  The great truth being that God in his
own way according to His infinite mercy & goodness pro-
vides for us and orders all things for our good.  That to com-
plain therefore or anticipate trouble before it comes is sin-
ful and that it is right to implicitly trust in Him in
all things.  I read this morning the CIII Psalm  I
think it most appropriate after our recent victories
read it.  Kiss our dear little children & tell them that
Papa wants to see them all.  Tell Billy I often miss
him in camp, but if he will be as faithful to you
& the children as he has been to me I will be better pleased
with him than if he was here.  Tell Fanny I am sorry I could
not help eat her XMass dinner which I know was nice.  Tell
Stephen I know he has a heap to do, but I know he can & will do it.
Affectionately ETHWarren

“My darling Wife”, salutation –

“Jennie”, page 3, line 21 – Warren’s wife Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson Magruder Warren.

“little Jennie”, line 3 – Warren’s youngest daughter ten month old Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson.

“Dr Williams”, line 4 – William Williams, an Harrisonburg physician.  Williams enlisted in the regiment on 18 April 1861 as regimental surgeon.  However, he never received an official appointment and returned home 25 May 1861.

“the children”, line 6, 14; page 6, line 8, 11 – Warren had three at the time: seven year old Lizzie, six year old James M., and ten month old Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson.

“Rozencraz”, page 2, line 10 – William S. Rosecrans, Union general, commanded the Army of the Cumberland.

“Genl Bragg”, page 2, line 11; page 3, line 14 – Braxton Bragg, Confederate general, commanded the Army of Tennessee.  The battle to which Warren referred was the Battle of Stone’s River.  While the Confederates were initially successful during the first day’s fighting, the battle eventually turned against them and Bragg retreated.

“Federal Genl Grant”, page 2, lines 12 & 13 – Ulysses S. Grant, Union general, was the overall commander in the west.

“fight of the 13””, page 2, line 26 – Warren referred to the Battle of Fredericksburg.

“Billy”, page 6, line 9 – A slave owned by Warren.  This same Billy is mentioned numerous times in Warren’s earlier letters but never able to be positively identified until now.

“Fanny”, page 6, line 12 – A slave owned by Warren.  This same Fanny is mentioned in Warren’s earlier letters but never able to be positively identified until now.

“Stephen”, page 6, line 14 – A slave owned by Warren.  This same Stephen is mentioned numerous times in Warren’s earlier letters but never able to be positively identified until now.

“ETHWarren”, page 6, signature – Edward Tiffin Harrison Warren, Colonel, 10th VA Infantry.

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

MSS 7786-g

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