Wednesday, 28 March 2012

J.S. Walker's Thirty-Second Letter

Camp Near Youngs Mill,
15th Regiment Va. Vols.,
15th Oct. 1861.

My dear Wife:

                I have not written to you for several days, but wrote to David all my troubles and asked his advice, what my course should be. I have prayed over it and come to the conclusion to sink self and bear my ills to the end, trusting alone in the Lord and seeking his deliverance, aid and strength, and He can make man’s folly praise him. There has just been an order issued by Gen. Magruder that he will not allow leave of absence to officers or furlough to men until 1st January, so it may be that I will not get home before 1st February, if then, and tho I expect to have to live in my tent till at least 15th December, I am now with the buffalo robe proof against the cold and can keep warm with the clothing I have. Gen. Magruder seems to apprehend an attack of the enemy at any time in large force, tho I think he is mistaken, but it is our duty to be prepared and to expect them whether they come or not. I wish as a people we could recognize the chastisement of the Lord in this war, then might we hope for speedy termination, recognizing Him in all things. Christians should renew their strength and wrestle with the Lord, not only for victory over our enemies but as a nation over sin. I think if I do not get a leave of absence to come to see you all, I will make arrangements about the middle of November for you and the children to come to Williamsburg, where I can meet you and speed a week or ten days together. I do not know what my happen in the meantime, so do not count upon this arrangement with any certainty. If made, you can have a very pleasant trip by steamer down the River James to Grove Warf and then by stage or hack eight miles to Williamsburg, where I can get pleasant board in a private family or boarding house for you all.
                As there is no system about getting boxes from Yorktown yet, I will not expect you to send me anything till the weather gets cooler and I advise you. I wish you would ask David to see Snydor and see if he can get a tent stove for burning wood, with ten or twelve feet of pipe and one or two elbows and if it can be packed in a barrel so as to come securely. If so and I am likely as it now appears to remain in my tent for six or eight weeks, I shall get him to send me one, as it will contribute greatly to my comfort in cold wet weather. I told David to tell you by all means to have the gas put in the small room. It has occurred to me that as there is no saying how long this war may last and everything is now very high and will so continue during the war and I have now no business to contribute to pay the expenses particularly of a number of servants, that it might be a very favourable time to sell out my furniture at a very satisfactory price. Our Congress is to meet in Richmond in a short time and the city will be crowded, many wealthy Southern men attend, and many officers are there who desire to live in their own homes, and who would probably pay a good price for the furniture if it is in good order, in order to get the house, which no doubt would rent for $300 more than I pay for it. If I could get about cost for the furniture, it would relieve me of one of my youthful follies, give me $3,000 or $4,000 cash, which I could invest profitably, and the balance buy new good enough furniture for my means. I could also send David Butler and family south and put them on a plantation, while Nelly, Milly, Betsy and Francis, with George would be all that we could possibly need. Of course, I am looking to getting a good price for my furniture and home, such an opportunity may not present itself, and I do not wish you to speak of it to anyone but Davis, to who I wish you would refer it and ask his advice, and let me hear from you all. If the war continues, as the North seems absolutely determined it shall until they subjugate us, then my occupation is gone in tobacco and I must look to something else to support my family during its continuance.
                I have been merely thinking about these things, have not set my mind upon them. Tell Luly Father was so glad to get her nice letter and know from it that she is a good girl, and I hope she is a good example to her younger brother and sister, and that they are all good, say there lessons and think about and pray for their father.
                Give my love to all friends, and direct your letters to Capt. John S. Walker, Co. B, 15th Regt. Va. Vols., near Yorktown.
                                                                Yours most affectionately,

                                                                                Jno. S. Walker

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting! Thanks again for sharing these.