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Read Family Correspondence

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Document Type: Autograph Letter Signed

Author: Martha White Read
Date: July 9-13, 1861
To: Thomas Griffin Read

Physical Description: Ink on paper; 2 pages (32 x 20 xm) on 2 folded sheet

Number: MSN/CW 5015-3

(Please click on our Technical Details button at left
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Page 1      Images: 150 DPI100 DPI72 DPI

Tuesday Evening
My Dear Husband,

     It does seem so strange that we are separated, and that instead of conversing face to face, we can only do so with our pens. Yet I trust that God will enable us to be grateful for this privilege. It seems so long since yesterday morning. Don't you think I stood the parting right well? Although thoughts came crowding into my mind, thick & fast, sad, foreboding thoughts of the future, yet I had resolved (after promising you I would not cry) to let the last sight of my countenance to you be a pleasant one, & I smiled as you looked back at me, standing on the stile. I came in and proposed to Nancie [i.e., Nancy White] that we would wash. We got at it, & finished by dinnertime. After dinner Mary [i.e., Mary White] went to Mr. Coalter's. I lay down to rest, fell asleep & slept about an hour. Got up, folded my clothese & went to ironing. In the evening a gentlemen called & left us two gray flannel jackets to make; we made them today, besides finishing that other shirt, which makes five shirts, two jackets (Nan says she worked the buttonholes) & twelve salt bags, since last Thursday. Two of us expect to go to Waynesboro one day this week to help on the tents. We will fix Jimmy's [i.e., James A. White's] things this week too. Dear J. I suppose you are travelling on toward home now, if you did not go on last night. Wherever you are may our Heavenly Father watch over you and keep you. Good night.

Wednesday night. I hope you are at home tonight dearest, & that a letter is coming up the pike for me. If I can only get it tomorrow! This morning, N & I made one of James' shirts, then made a cotton dress for Bet. After dinner we went to Mrs. Fuller's, made the other shirt. It rained so much that Jas took horses around for us, & we had a delightful ride home. We got the "Spectator" [i.e., the Staunton Spectator] today; there is a letter in it from Camp Garnett (from Col. Heck) [i.e., Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan M. Heck] stating that his command was getting along finely, & were eager & ready for a fight. There is another letter asking for assistance for the Hospital at Beverly. Adieu, dearest, for tonight; I go to pray for thee.

Sat. Morning July 13. Yesterday I spent with Lucy [i.e., Lucy White Shirey]. Mr. Shirey [i.e., William Shirey] has gone with a train of wagons westward, & she is very lonely. She intends spending next week with us

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Well, dearest, the trial has come; when I reached home last evening your letter awaited me, and I must say that I was not at all surprised to learn that you had concluded to join a company. I had been thinking over it all the time since you left, and asking God to show you your duty in regard to the matter. It is providentially ordered, I think. Can't we trace this providence in every thing? I am glad you are with Mr. V. [i.e., Lemuel Vawter] & other acquaintances. God be with you dear one, in all your ways. Take as good care of yourself as you can. O, if I had been there to fix you off. If I had felt certain that you were to go to war, I could not have helped crying that morning, but am glad now that I didnt, for I would rather you should remember me last in smiles than in tears. It is fortunate for Aunt Anna that Cous. Sallie is with her, it will keep her mind off her own troubles somewhat. And you can send word in Mr. V's letter how you are, & will not have to write home so often. But dearest, write to me every chance. Write with a pencil if nothing else. There is a short pencil tied up in a paper and some cloves. Dear did you take both pair new drawers. If there is any thing you need write to me. If you get sick try & get home & I will meet you there. I feel badly this morning, as I did not sleep three hours last night. We had a very heavy rain last night. I must tell you that I cried no little last night, but this morning I feel quite calm. I am writing before breakfast as I may have a chance early to send this to the office. If you have no oil cloth, & should fel the need of one, write home to Mother to send you her dining room table cover. A great many about here have taken table covers & cut a hole for the head; it keeps the rain off the shoulders. I feel so anxious about the result of the battle that is to be fought down there. Nan & Mary send much love. They both cried with me last night. Jimmy & Cy Killian expect to go down in about a week. They talk of walking all the way so as to be accustomed to it. Good bye my dearest one; all I can do is to trust & pray for your health & safety.

Your own Mattie

write often if you can only write six lines. Regards to Mr. Vawter.

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I keep just as busy as I can be all the time, & it is best for me. I send you some pieces from the last "Spectator"

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Transcription last modified: 01 Mar 2007 at 01:36 PM EST

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