Camp Deas, near Youngs Mills,
30th Dec. 1861.
My dear Wife:
Through Mr. Morris I received a letter from you, David and Amandus. I have just written Man one of four pages, David one of three and a half pages, and lest you may be jealous of the promptness with which I replied to theirs, will drop you a few lines. Duty prompted the others, and affection this. I was gratified at the tone of resolve and dependence on God of Man’s letter, and do earnestly pray that the Lord with turn his heart to himself. I advised him to seek “the one thing needful” and recommended him to get some good books and read them if his heart was inclined to flee sin, and that you had a great many and that he ought to get Fannie to borrow them from you for him, so that if she asks you for any, put in his hands books that will lead him to Christ. If you have any of Edward’s tracts, give them to him, and by prayer for him and as opportunity presents itself, try and help him to be a Christian, encourage Fannie and tell her it is God’s time not only to save him from intemperance but also his soul, and she may be made yet to rejoice that the Lord allowed him to be tempted of the devil since it may turn him to God.
I am expecting the boxes, barrels, etc. tomorrow, and will when received be better prepared to return thanks to Mrs. Hayes, etc. I fear from your frequent allusion to your eyes that they must be very weak and that writing tries them too much. I hope you will not write if it is the case. Get Mrs. Hayes to write for you, and do no work of any kind, and consult some physician about them. Dr. Bolton has the reputation of being a very fine occulist, having given it a great deal of study. You had better advise with him.
I gave your friend Roach a good talk the other day, and he promised not to drink any more liquor while in service. I hope the Lord may enable him to resist. It is the devil’s best agent for populating his dominion, and I believe if the Christians could see the evil it does they would as soon think of putting the knife to their neighbor’s throat as the cup to their lips. It rejoices my heart to see the great reformation in the whole life of Col. August, and I believe he is trying to live a Christian in all things. May the Lord sustain him.
My picket duty was performed last Saturday, and it was so cold the water would freeze in the canteens, but I am not soiled by it, it is truly wonderful how I stand and am prepared to endure this cold season. I am now in my log cabin, by a good fire, writing on a table and in first rate health, with a truly thankful heart for God’s blessings and mercies, with a desire to be more useful in my master’s vineyard, and while I would avoid the enthusiast, by my life example and admonition help others to come to Christ.
Yes, send down my books, with a good mixture of good books. They may be bread cast upon the water and may gather in some to Jesus. If David will see Capt. Fitzhue Mayo he will bring them down in his boat to our camp.
The old year flickers in the socket. It is a year long to be remembered on earth, and the judgement day will show it a year when many have been called to their final account. To us it has been a year of great blessings and mercies whereof we cannot be too thankful to our Heavenly Father, and we should be encouraged to give up ourselves anew, and run with greater diligence the short race before us. This is our year of chastisement, may the next be our year of rejoicing. The widow’s weeds and friends mourning will tell of many a dear one killed in battle, dead from disease contracted in the army, besides the usual death. These individual afflictions in the aggregate make up a nation’s chastisement, and my if individually improved by turning the moments to their God be the prelude to a nation’s rejoicing in God’s love. What a privilege it is to be allowed as it were sometimes to see in advance God’s purpose to his creatures, his love through his anger. But I must stop for I have forgotten your eyes. I shall try and write the dear children on New Year’s day, if my duties do not interfere.
Tell Norman I would be very much gratified by a letter from him, and since he rubs occasionally against the big bugs may be able to give me some more definite idea of what is thought will be the issue of the Mason and Slidell affair than I can gather from the newspapers. My own idea has always been that while they would bully they would at last cringe before England’s wrath, while they would let their cowardice keep them intent on subjugating us, but thank the Lord the very moral effect of their yielding to England’s demands nerves us for the contest and by His Almighty Arm for our defence we will at last come off conquerors.
Kiss the dear children and give love to all friends. I congratulate you upon your class leader and hope the leaven of his spirit my disperse itself in the church till the whole is leavened.
Your affectionate husband,
Jno. S. Walker