Sunday, 11 March 2012

J. S. Walker's Thirty-First Letter

Camp Deas, Youngs Mills,
9th Oct., 1861

My dear Wife:

                I have just returned from 24 hours duty with my company on Picket at our infantry outpost. I had rather a bad day as regards weather, being rainy and cold, which is unpleasant without shelter. I am thankful to say that I am real well notwithstanding it all. I take the best care I can of myself and trust the Lord to shield me from disease as well as my enemies.
                Your last letter sympathizing with me in my cloudy experience comes very opportunely, for I am beset behind and before. My troubles are not only of an earthly character, but I feel that my earthly ills augment my spiritual – in other words that I am not content with my present position and cannot see that the Lord so orders or allows it, but that I am responsible for continuing it myself. Col. August is not fit to command and I am satisfied his Regiment suffers in consequence.  Col. Stuart has left, Peyton has left, and here I am without a field officer in whom I have confidence, and I am almost persuaded it is my duty to resign and go home to my family, for tho late in October, damp, cold weather, we have not yet prepared or commenced to prepare for winter quarters. Our situation is a very unseasonable one, for if we remain during this October season in our tents, our men on damp ground, they will either be in their graves or the hospital for the winter. If I could get my Company transferred to another Regiment, I would do so, but that cannot be done. I must either transfer myself or resign.
                I thank God that while these things trouble me, as they should on account of my own health and my family’s dependence on me, yet I have every confidence in His ability to perform His part and even to bring out of this apparent evil good to me both in this life and the next. I am rereading Headly Vicars*, which I hope will help me to be content under the difficulties by which I am surrounded.
                I will write you more fully tomorrow. I am in haste now and I have to give this to a man who goes up tomorrow.
                Kiss the dear children and give love to all friends.
                                                                Yours most affectionately,
                                                                                Jno. S. Walker

* This perhaps refers to the Memorials of Captain Hedley Vicars by Catherine March. Hedley Vicars was an Evangelical preacher and British Army officer who was killed during the Crimean War.

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