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A Confederate soldier writes a touching letter to his wife, 1863

A Confederate soldier writes a touching letter to his wife, 1863

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Discusses the incredibly cold weather and has frostbite on both feet and one finger. Mentions a paralysis (seizure?) in his arms, spine and "brain which left me senseless and speechless for about 24 hours. They all thought you'd be a young widow…" Lists all the letters he finally received from as far back as December. He is interested in what the family does for fun while he is gone and hopes they do not sit around sulking. He is glad his wife's finger is healed so she can pick up in writing letters. He writes, "My dearest wife it is one of the greatest pleasures and most easily acquired arts imaginable, this of letterwriting, and I desire our babies instructed early and perseveringly in it." Tells his wife to keep her spirits up and to be strong. Mentions that the night she had dinner with Mr. Martin, he was "at the head of my regiment on the battlefield of Murfreesboro linking it into the Yankee cavalry. Suppose you had known it why you would have made a baby of yourself no doubt and been scared to death all but now couldn't you! Oh you baby you!"
Discusses the incredibly cold weather and has frostbite on both feet and one finger. Mentions a paralysis (seizure?) in his arms, spine and "brain which left me senseless and speechless for about 24 hours. They all thought you'd be a young widow…" Lists all the letters he finally received from as far back as December. He is interested in what the family does for fun while he is gone and hopes they do not sit around sulking. He is glad his wife's finger is healed so she can pick up in writing letters. He writes, "My dearest wife it is one of the greatest pleasures and most easily acquired arts imaginable, this of letterwriting, and I desire our babies instructed early and perseveringly in it." Tells his wife to keep her spirits up and to be strong. Mentions that the night she had dinner with Mr. Martin, he was "at the head of my regiment on the battlefield of Murfreesboro linking it into the Yankee cavalry. Suppose you had known it why you would have made a baby of yourself no doubt and been scared to death all but now couldn't you! Oh you baby you!"

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02/08/2011

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Gustave Cook to Eliza Cook 
Louisburg, Tennessee, 17 February 1863.Autograph letter signed, 6 pages.To my darling and devoted wifeIn Camp “Tx Rangers”(Near Louisburg) Feb 17
th
1863My darlingLast night I had the great joy to get your letters of the 17
th
Dec and 4
th
Jan and Susan
s
of the 12
th
Jan, also Kit
s
of the 17
th
Dec for which precious wife and Sisters God bless you all. Ishould answer you all but for the evident folly of sending 3 letters to one house all of the samedate. I write you darling because you sent me two. I owe dear Sis Susie two letters now and Kitone. Say to Sue that I shall write her before leaving this camp and that she must not think ever strange of my not having answered her before for I really have very little time to devote to eveneating or sleeping. I write M
Martin by today
s
mail. I re
cd
letters last night from Sallie Herbertand mother. All the Ala Kin are well, [Gimni] has another daughter, named Shenandoah. Ida,her eldest, has been very sick but is recovering. [Girard] & Walter are quite well, both inVirginia.About the 25
th
of Jan a large body of Cavalry, including our Brigade, left Shelbyville and onor about the 3
rd
of Feb reached Fort Donelson. An immediate attack was made at about 2 or 3PM and continued til night but without possession being gotten of the Fort. My Reg
T
, myself commanding, was ordered out on the Fort Henry road to intercept expected reinforcements fromthat point. They came up to our [
2
] pickets about 9 or 10 oclock that night and we skirmished alittle with them. In the mean time night having put an end to the fighting at the Fort all remainedquiet there until about 10 when several gunboats came steaming up to the assistance of the Fortand compelled our troops to retire. It was then determined to abandon the attack and I was leftwith my Reg
T
to protect the rear of our army. I am always placed there it seems but I have so far  been very fortunate in doing my duty satisfactorily to my superiors.The weather was most intensely cold on the entire trip and more suffering I never saw I believe. I was told that one man was frozen to death and many were frostbitten. Among the rest
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your sweetheart has a pair of frostbitten feet and a finger in the same delightful condition. Dont be alarmed though for they are nearly well again. But the worst of all happened as we were onthe return, on the morning of the 6
th
I think, I was attacked with paralysis of the arms spine and brain which left me helpless and speechless for about 24 hours. They all thought you would be anice young widow, but God in His mercy has restored me again and I am now, and have been for several days, in command of my Reg
T
doing duty and eating full rations. It left my system weak and disordered but then I am nearly as well as ever. Dont be in the least bit [
3
] uneasy for it is allover now and I am O. K. again. The expedition was an unfortunate one and although thenewspapers and friends of Gen Wheeler may attempt to smooth the matter over it proves that hehas been elevated far above his capacity and over men too who are infinitely his superiors. ButIll not complain of him, only wish him better success next time.I was greatly pleased with the improvement in your letters. My dearest wife it is one of thegreatest pleasures and most easily acquired arts imaginable, this of letter writing, and I desire our  babies instructed early and perseveringly in it. The improvement of which I spoke wasattributable to the recovery of your finger which troubled you so much. The matter of your lettersis always interesting, darling, to me. What do you all have in the way of amusement now athome? Surely you do not sit sadly about home simply because of our absence! No, no, thatmust not be. Be lively and cheerful. Think hopefully of the future and thankfully of the past.Every one says that bright winged peace is soon to light again upon our gloomy shores and shedits radiant beams over our great land to dispel the darkness. Be joyful then, thank our great Godfor the real blessings of the past and the bright prospects of the future. This is no time for lowspirits and whining submission. Be stout of heart and prospect boldly into the future. Do your [
4
] whole duty to God your husband and children and yourself. Be happy, cheerful and full of life; be hopeful and enjoy whatever of pleasure you can find. Dont give way to these abominabledumps. Whenever you think of me always think of me hopefully joyfully and happily or not atall.By the way, the evening M
Martin ate supper with you (Dec 31
st
) I was at the head of myRegiment on the battlefield of Murfreesboro linking it into the Yankee cavalry. Suppose you hadknown it why you would have made a baby of yourself no doubt and been scared to death all but. Now wouldn’t you? Oh you baby you! But you should know by this time that every man who
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goes into battle is not necessarily killed. God can take care of us there as well as elsewhere and Iam trusting in him alone. So should you. Trust in God and be free from apprehension.That was a great little fight you had in Galveston and reflects great credit on all engaged.If you all have any very serious invasion I will try and get back to help you, all I can. Would youlike to have me there? Ill bet you would. And who knows but what Gen Lubbock or GenMagruder might offer me a Lieutenant Colonels place in that Department? maybe a Colonel! Idont believe though if I were to become a General it would make you love me any better and Idont care about getting any higher than where I can be most useful. I shall stop now til I get mydinner, I an invited out to dine, ahem! Come with me Lizzie. [
5
] You were not with me, darling,at the dinner with the estimable Surgeon of our Reg
T
, D
Gulick, but I was happy in the hope andthought that you with Susan and the little fellows had perhaps a better one. Did you receive the blanket I sent you by Co
m
Ryan? It was a remarkably fine one, the finest I ever saw and I trustyou have it. The first cold night wrap up in it and dream that I am in it with you and I expect youwill sleep very warm. I sent you by M
Buntings Kindness a draft for $200, on M
Terry whichWalter Andrus or M
Sullivan will willingly collect for you. I hope it will come in time. I havesent you several times money in letters which I trust you get. Always write me when you receivemoney what amount &c. Tell me in your next how many times and what amounts of money youhave re
cd
from me since I came away. Did M
Kendall hand you money and how much, I have afine horse here to send you as a present by the very first opportunity. I shall send him to M
Hinkle and let him have him until I return and then what driving we will have! Tell him (M
H)that if the horse reaches there safe to try himself on him with the young ladies. I paid $250 for him. I have been unfortunate [
] lately with my horses; they are poor and jaded hardly fit for service. My fine mare, of which I wrote you once before, was stolen a few weeks since andwhen recovered was terribly warn down.Well I expect my horse talk and war talk has been spun out sufficiently and having towrite to Sallie yet I will wind this up.My next letter will be to Susan and next to Kit.Don’t be anxious or uneasy about me on account of no letters for it is frequently out of my power to write at all regularly.If I were at home, I should beg to sleep with you tonight, but if reports just reached campare true I may be with you sooner than you expect. Rumor says Napoleon has again offered
The Gilder Lehrman Collection
GLC02570.39

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