Civil War Letter From An Unknown Mother

June 10th, 1861

My dear Daughter,

        I received by your letter a few days ago the distressing intelligence of the death of your sister, Mr.s Pressley. It was truly as one bereavement and we all mourn with the mourners and deeply sympathize with them in this afflictive dispensation. I little thought when I saw her last looking so sweet and lovely and in the enjoyment of fine health that her sun of life would set so soon. We know but little of one brief existence here nothing certain but that Death will come. May we bow in submission to the dread mandate, and may we be quickened in our preparation for another and a better world. Give much love to Mr. McMillan, with my heartfelt sympathy for him under this affliction. I wrote immediately to Mrs. George and to Bettie directing my letter to Mrs. George. Addie wrote to Bettie too. Give my love to them both when you see them. Death is solemn. To lay a beloved friend in the silent tomb is a heavy trial, but Oh! there are much heavier trials than Death. There is a sweet comfort to the heart when we have good hope our friend rests in the bosom of eternal life. But, oh it requires fortitude, strength and heroism to battle with living troubles. --- Cold, bitter, long continued and ever recurring conflicts that lacerate the heart, writhe the spirit mortify the affections, and quench all earthly hope.
        Notwithstanding, I have for months been in apprehension that David would volunteer. Yet, situated he is and as I am, [illegible] of his joining the Army has been, and is, and will be, a terrible trial to me. He joined the Washington County Company commanded by Capt.Willet, a fine young man, a graduate of West Point, an E. Tennesean, and a son of Col. Willet of old Salem neighborhood near Jonesboro! In the company Cousin Jos. Deaderick, 1st Lieutenant James G. Deaderick is Orderly Sergeant and Col. Cummings commands the Regiment. The 2nd Regiment of E. Tenn. They are now at Camp Cummings, the Fair ground. David graduates as I informed you in my last letter and I persuaded him to write his speech for commencement, but he had many acquaintences in this Regiment, was determined to go. Thought it his duty to go, having a full knowlege (sic) as he supposed of all the merits of the question, and desparing of any aid from his Father. He sold his Pistol, got $25 for it, paid some of his little debts and we are preparing shirts & [?] making him a [?] cap with crochet work. He is very serious and edliberate about it, and poor boy, he will be more so as the hardships thicken upon him. He was anxious to be drilled [smudge] he is not qualified for any appointment. This company has been well drilled, they have been at it for months.
        I never had any taste for war - indeed have always had a most unmitigated horror of it as an evil worse than pestilence or famile - but, it is a more obvious fact that this war has been forced upon us by a most unrelenting bitter and arrogant despotism - I must meet it as other mothers are compelled to meet it. I could not expect my son with his ardent temperment to remain indifferent. And I trust and pray that God may protect him, and that he may do honor to the memory and virtues of his Revolutionary Grandsires. But there are considerations that make it very bitter, very depressing to my feelings. If he were a decided Christian, I could give him up with

[TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE] there is at least one missing page, as the letter abruptly ends here at the end of the fourth page. There are some added thoughts enscribed throughtout the letter in the margins in a very small hand. These additional notes are as follows:

        Has your Father heard Mr. Boggs speak? He ought to hear him by all means. I wish I could hear him. Adella was delighted with your Father. talks of him with the greatest affection and wants to see him. We all want to see him. Love to all.

This Page last updated 02/28/02

RETURN TO LETTERS FROM THE PAST PAGE