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

Post image for War Letters of William Thompson Lusk.

War Letters of William Thompson Lusk.

December 10, 2012

War Letters of William Thompson Lusk.

Camp Near Falmouth, Va.
December 10th, 1862.

My dear Mother:

I was much disappointed to-night not to hear from you. I had expected a letter all day long, but the usual mail did not arrive. I wanted to hear this time, because tomorrow we believe will be spent amid the deafening roar of cannon, which is to usher in another act, let us hope the final one, of the grand drama popularly known as “Onward to Richmond.” While I write, wagons are moving over the road, and preparations are being completed for to-morrow’s engagement. Possibly the enemy may make no resistance here, still their batteries frown ominously upon us. The indications promise the great battle of the war — possibly an Austerlitz for the enemy — we hope a Waterloo for us. I have heretofore, sheltered by the prayers of mother and sisters, been singularly exempt from the accidents of war. The same Power that has already shown so much tenderness, has still the power to spare. But if in His wisdom it seemeth best this time to take my life, then, my dear mother, recognize in it only the Hand of the Inevitable. If my dying hours were only crowned by the certainty of victory, I could then close my eyes in peace. And in the great joy of the Nation, all individual griefs were selfish. So that I would have my mother’s heart beat high, and be proud to have contributed a part of its own life’s blood to the glorious consummation. With my whole heart I am eager for our success. Should I not see it with my earthly eyes, still let my mother rejoice for me, when all once more is well. But I am not given to entertaining forebodings. It is enough to do one’s duty and let Providence provide. I prefer to think of the time when we all will return home, the laurel won. Think of the pride I shall feel as my own Regiment receives its welcome from the joyous citizens of New-York, a welcome deserved by its conduct on many fields. Think of the stories I would have to tell. I believe that Mary’s boys — the next generation — will be better when they hear the story of the present. And another generation still, when the dimness of time shall have enhanced the romance, will dearly love to hear the tale of the Great Rebellion from the lips of Uncle Will. I think a wound — not a dangerous one, but some mark to show at the climax of the tale — would both contribute to the interest, and heighten the effect. Let us hope for the best in all things then, and believe that in all things, if we seek, we may always find a best.

Give my best love to Tom and Lilly, Hunt, Mary and the boys, Walter, Ellen and Nellie, Cousin Louisa. Pshaw! My dear friends are so numerous that I cannot mention them without surely omitting many often in remembrance, so good-bye.

Affec’y. your son,


(Note appended in his mother s handwriting)

My dear, dear child, he has a nobler, purer, better, more unselfish heart, than the poor weak mother who gave him birth.

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