Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for On the importance of letters.

On the importance of letters.

August 2, 2013

Adams Family Civil War letters; US Minister to the UK and his sons.

Charles Francis Adams, Jr., to Henry Adams

Camp of 1st Mass. Cav’y
Amissvilie, Va., August 2, 1863

Your letters have reached me of late slowly, but tolerably surely and you cannot imagine how welcome they have been. John is the only person on this side of the water who ever writes to me now, and he is not very regular. Lou has not written me a line since the 1st of May. Of course I well know that writing to me now is a labor of love and a decidedly unequal bargain, for I have neither time nor conveniences to do my share in a correspondence; but on the other hand letters are more than ever before prized by me, for now they constitute absolutely my only link with the world and my own past, and moreover my only pleasure. After long marches and great exposure, when you have been forced to drag your tired body up onto your tired horse day after day; when you have been hungry, thirsty and tired, and after breakfasting before sunrise have gone supperless to sleep in a rain storm long after night; when you have gone through all that man can go through, except the worst of all sufferings — cold —then to get into camp at last and hear that a mail has come! People at home don’t know what it is. You should see the news fly round the camp and the men’s faces light up, and how duty, discipline, everything, at once gives way to the reading of the letters. It’s like fresh water in an August noon; and yet of all my family and friends you in London, and now and then John, are the only living souls who ever do more than just answer my letters to them. But you are all models of thoughtfulness in this respect and, while you will never know how much pleasure your letters have given me, I can never express to you how much their regularity has touched and gratified me.

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