Friday, 4 March 2016

J.S. Walker Letter (23 March 1862)

[The date on my type-written copy of this letter is 3d March, 1862, which would put it before the previous one posted. However, the content implies not only that it comes after, but that it comes after John Stewart Walker had made a trip back home to Richmond. In the letter he says it is the Sabbath. For that reason, I suspect the actual date is the 23 March 1862 which was a Sunday.]

Camp Near Lees Mill,
3rd [Sic] March, 1862.

My dear Wife:

                I reached our camp after a walk of five miles on Friday evening and found my company out on picket. The next morning I was up by day and had orders to march by eight o’clock, as the enemy were said to be advancing. We marched over the point we had to defend and have been here ever since in the mud, and no enemy have yet made their appearance. I thought when I left, from the news I heard, that they would be fighting when I got here, but so far there is none. Every day’s delay but enables us to strengthen the points of our defence and renders more improbable that they will be allowed a quiet march to Richmond. The enemy have been very much emboldened and have come up higher than usual, but I think their movements are more strategic and for the purpose of reconnoitring than with any intent of coming up at present.
                It is a most excellent state for developing Christian grace, and tho this is the Sabbath, the necessary routine of camp activity would not indicate it. Yet amid it all there are moments and hours for self-examination and pious reflection, which I hope I may improve to my good both here and hereafter.
                It was most refreshing upon my return from that Sodom in which you reside to find my boys  and in fact all the soldiers amid the privations and trials to which they have been and still are subjected, in fine spirits and health and very glad to see me back. The atmosphere of such association is much more agreeable than that of the “Change” of Richmond, where the almighty dollar not only eclipses the spirit of patriotism, but I fear in too many instances the Almighty Himself.
                I was more than usual depressed on leaving home this time, owning to the fact that David will be absent and the doubt which hangs over you and my future as to my position and your disposition. I will trust it to the Lord and ask Him to direct, and He does all things well. I want to keep myself unspotted from the world and not be found in the reorganization of the army among the time servers, and even should it result in my being left out of Commission, tho it will be humiliating to me, I will regard it as by the Lord’s direction.
                Again I say give no credit to idle rumors, for they will be legion. Kiss the dear children and give love to all friends. Say to Mrs. Marston that her husband is well and will make a good soldier.

                                Yours very affectly.,

                                                Jno. S. Walker.

4 o’clock Sunday evening. Heavy firing toward Newport News.

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