[You can read Cousin Geoffrey, The Old Bachelor (1840), the book DPG is reading here, online, if you are so inclined. The resolutions about the flags that he refers to are those written by the 77th IL to thank the Women’s National League of Peoria for the gift of new flags for the regiment. Love the account here of his visits to various Louisiana residents.]
Franklin La. Nov 5th 1863
My Very Dear Wife
To night it rains very hard and I am shut up in my Tent with nothing for company but a perfect swarmsof Musquitos and a very severe spell of the Blues or Homesickness. I have been all evening lying on my cot thinking of Home and of you and wishing I were this night with you. I tried to think what you might be doing this evening but of course I imagined a great many things you might be at, but could not tell certain-ly whether any of them were correct. I finally concluded that I must do something to shake of the feeling of lone-liness that was creeping over me and [p2] determined that as I could not be with you I would occupy my time in writing you although I wrote only night before last, but I Know you will be always glad to hear from me even if you should get a little every day. Yesterday a mail arrived for the Regiment and I felt positive I would get some Letters from you but I was doomed to bitter disappointment for there was none for me. Others received Letters from Home of the 20th last month and I do not see why I did not receive one from you. I left you on Wednesday the 14th and you was to write me the first letter on Friday the 16th and then again on the 18th I should have then received two Letters from you and I do not understand why they did not arrive. I feel convinced that you wrote and I suppose they must have been detained in some manner on the road. You must remember that [p3] I have not heard one word from you since I left you three weeks ago yesterday and I am very anxious to hear from you and Know how you are prospering living without your husband I hope you are enjoying yourself and that time does not hang heavily on your hands. All day to day it has been very blue for me, rain, rain, rain.
I In consequence of this I have been compelled to Keep in my Tent, and have tried to pass the time away by reading. I ransacked David’s Tent for Reading Matter and finally found a Book he had brought from home, with Maggie’s name in it, called, Cousin Geoffry. This I perused and succeeded in passing away the time a little pleasanter than I should if I had had nothing with which to occupy my mind. David has not yet returned from New Orleans but I expect him back to morrow or next day, he has been gone [p4] since Sunday Night and I suppose by this time must have got through with all of his business. Yesterday was a beautiful day, about as warm as you have it in July and I concluded I would improve it by taking a Ride and looking at the Country. Capt Stevens and I started out in the out in the morning and after riding several miles stopped at a large Sugar Plantation owned by a Mr McWilliams, here we went in and were very pleasantly entertained by the Lady of the House and her Daughter a very beautiful Young Lady. They treated us to oranges and the Young Lady entertained us with some very fine Music on the Piano They were very bitter Secesh however and had a great many friends in the Rebel Army. They opened their Bitterness on us and after they had gone on awhile with their abuse on [p5] Northern Men, the President and every thing in general from the North. I returned the favor and gave them the best I had and wound up by wishing that I should have the pleasure of some day assist in hanging all Fools who might be found in the Rebel Army. After we had got through with these Ladies we visited a large Sugar Mill whey they were making Sugar from the Cane. This was quite an interesting Sight to me as I had never seen anything of the Kind before. On our road home we stopped at a plantation owned by a Mrs. Porter this is a very large affair and she resides in a most Magnificent Palace. The house is gorgeosly furnished and the Grounds around are Kept in splendid order. Mrs Porter is a very strong Union Woman and received us very cordially, and made us stay [p6] to dinner. This meal was splendid and I think as fine as any I ever sat down too. Every thing was gotten up with the greatest style and the cooking was very fine. This Lady is immensely wealthy and a widow she is estimated to be worth a million and has two very charming Daughters both of whom are living at her residence in New York City. In talking to her I found that she was very well acquainted with Uncle Roberts family she became acquainted with them at Neport where she spent her Summers before the War broke out she is a very pleasant Lady indeed and I was very glad to make her acquaintance. News has just come in that a mail has arrived for the Regiment and I have sent after it. I will not write any more until I see if there is anything for me. I must certainly get a Letter this time if I do not I shall be terribly disappointed.
Friday Morning Nov 6/63
[p7] I opened our Mail last Night and found three Letters from you dated the 16, 17 + 19 one via New York + the others Cairo. Accept many thanks my darling Wife for these Letters I was exceedingly rejoiced to get them and I read them over a dozen times. It was after Midnight before I got to bed and I spent all the time reading your Letters and thinking of you. I beleive I can this morning repeat every word in them without looking at them. I assure you my dear Anna that your Letters are very precious to me and nothing can give me as much pleasure as receiving them and reading them, so do write a great many. I would be greatly pleased if you would give an hour every day to write to me. You have no idea of the vast amount of good they do me. I am very sorry that you felt so sad after I left you, it was very hard for both [p8] of us to part and I suppose you felt it as much as I did. I do wish I could have dropped in on you after you had gone to our Room the first night, would it not have been a pleasant surprise. You may look for me home before many months never again to part. I am getting this muster out business to work and I think by the 1st of January I shall be out unless they should before that time fill up my Regiment with Recruits. If they should happen to do that I shall in the Spring resign. I can not and I will not be parted from you longer than that. There is no pleasure to me living without you. I love you dearly my darling Anna, and my love grows stronger every day and will continue to grow to all eternity. Would that I could [p9] have you with me now. Every thing here is dull + distasteful without you. If I Knew certainly that we were to remain here all winter I would immediately send for you for this is a beautiful Town and contains plenty of fine Residences, but I can learn nothing as to our future operations. We may be ordered away any minute or we may stay here for Months. Tell Maggie Simmons
I that I feel highly flattered with her opinion of me and I will return the compliment, by saying that next to one, she is the best woman living, and that I intend recommending her to all young men who want a good Wife. Give my love to all your Folks + mine and be sure and write often – I will write you again on Sunday —
Every Your Devoted + Loving Husband
[p10] I wish you would send me a Paper containing the Resolutions about the Flags they were sent up by the last mail and will be published in the Transcript and Chicago Tribune –