[Still encamped near Vicksburg. This is one of the most depressing letters! But I have another one in the queue that resolves the misunderstanding.]
Youngs Point, La, Feby 23d 1863
My dearest Anna
Your very welcome Letter of the 14th came safely to hand and I assure you very joyfully received. I thought I would answer it this Morning as some of our dis-charged Soldiers leave to day for home and it will be a god chance to send by them. I find that when I drop a Letter in the mail here it is about three weeks getting home while if I send it by some one who will put in the Post office at Cairo it will go in half the time. I am glad your Letter came when it did, for it done away with some of the gloom another Letter caused that came by the same mail, for it convinced me that I had still [p2] your love and should continue to have it. The other letter I received was from Mother, it seemed that she had been talking with your Mother and in the course of the conversation your Mother said, that she was very much opposed to your engagement until the War was over, but that lately you had engaged yourself and they had at last consented. the reason she objected was, that I might come home a cripple and of course you would not want to marry a cripple, that I was poor, had been engaged in business and had lost a considerable amount of money and had involved myself in debt with not much prospect of getting out, that you had received three offers from Men who were weathy but you had refused. Mother took from this that your Mother did not like the arrangement [p3] very much, and that you were sacrifising yourself when you might have married so much better. Now I must confess that I was compl-etely thunderstruck when I read this and I felt very much hurt over it. at first I thought it was true for you Know I have always said to you that I thought your Mother did not like me, and then I thought Mother must have misunderstood your Mother, for she was very much excited when she wrote me, and might probably have understood things in a different way from what they were intended. I thought I would talk to David about it, so we had a long conversation on the subject. He says that there certainly is some misunderstanding on the subject as he knows your Mother does not look for Wealth
for before she will allow her daughters to marry, and [p4] that she has no personal objections to me on account of want of wealth or any other account, but that on the contrary she is perfectly satisfied with me. Now I hope this is so for it would be extremely unpleasant for me, to try to force myself on a family, who did not like me and who objected to me. I Know perfectly well that you never had any such ideas nor do I beleive you ever would have.
I am certainly not very rich but this you Knew before. I did lose a large amount in Trade for two years, when every one else lost and a great many were ruined. but very nearly all that I lost, I have paid up. My salary now and while I stay in the Army is about Three Thousand Dollars a year [p5] and when I quit it, I have a fine credit, and I think good business qualifications, by which I can go into business any day, and I think make enough to support us easy enough. I tell you this because I do not want your folks to think that if you marry me you are going to starve to death. I have no doubt and have always told you that I thought you might have done better than to marry me, and I think so still. You are undoubtedly a superior young Lady, and might marry very rich, which I am not, but then I would spend my life to promote your happiness for I do love your dearly. I wrote a letter to Mother to day and told her that she had certainly misunderstood what had been said to her, she is apt to get exsited quick, and I have no doubt that something was [p6] said, which she construed wrong.
She thinks that World and all of you and was very highly pleased with the Engagement, and so expressed her-self to your Mother. I wish to gracious she had never said anything to your Mother about it, for then there would never have been any misunderstanding between them. Another thing I want to say, if in this war I am in any way crippled, I shall at once relase you from any engagement, and insist that you shall marry some one else, for if it should be my mis fortune to have to live out this life a cripple made so in this war, I would not allow any one else to suffer with me. but then I am not much afraid that anything of that Kind, for if I am ever shot so that it will cripple me, I shall stay on the field until another Bullet puts an end to my existanse
You shall never have the pain of seeing me in that situation and your Mother need never have any fears on that score. Even if we were married and I should get into a Battle afterwards, I
sh never would come of the field a cripple, it must be either sound + whole, or a corpse, so that then you would not have to pass the balance of your life with one maimed. I will have to close this letter as the men are waiting to leave. I will write you again in a day or two. Do dear Anna write me that long Letter you promised and believe me as ever