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

January 15th, 1863.

Our shanties are completed, and we moved in yesterday. They are warm and dry, and cannot but affect the health of the men favorably. I received a letter from home last night, and great was my astonishment to see, on reading it, an indictment against one dearer to me than life, and in whose behalf I plead “Not guilty.”

My poor, wounded, suffering wife; what could have put such thoughts into your mind? Have you not always been the most tender, the most loving, of wives? Have you not always been by my side to advise, assist, uphold and sustain me? Have you not watched over me, in sickness and in health, and nursed me with more than a mother’s tenderness? Have you not borne poverty without a murmur for my sake; and still, as a wife, you are a failure? Oh, banish such thoughts from your mind, for, I do assure you, they come of an over-sensitive imagination. You say you have always been a clog to my feet. No, no! I have been my own clog. The error was in the start. Youthful ignorance and folly added to the advice of men in whom I confided, but whose council proved a snare started me in the wrong direction, and I have continued to float downward with the tide. But, dear, I have no regrets. My life has been happy beyond the lot of most men, and what, my beloved, has made it so? Certainly not the pleasures of wealth or honors conferred by man. What, then, but the never failing, self-sacrificing power of love which you have always lavished on your husband that has bound him to you with cords stronger than bands of steel? The only things I craved when I was sick were the tender accents of your voice and your dear hand upon my brow.

There seems to be a bond of sympathy between us that knows no bounds—is not confined by space. Many times since I left home have I visited you, or received your visits, and the impression left was that of reality. Last night, after I retired to rest—before 1 went to sleep, for the boys were gathered around the fire and I could hear their jests and laughter—I held your hands in both of mine, trying to comfort and console you, and it was real as reality itself. There is so much hollow-heartedness and deceit practiced here by men who, under the false guise of patriotism, seek wealth and position, that, had I all the world can bestow, I would give it all to enjoy with you one how of social intercourse.

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