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Read Family Correspondence

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Document Type: Autograph Letter Signed

Author: Martha White Read
Date: June 19-21, 1862
Place: Augusta County, Virginia
To: Thomas Griffin Read

Physical Description: Ink on paper; 2 pages (30 x 20 cm) on 1 sheet

Number: MSN/CW 5015-12

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Thursday, June 19, 1862
My dear Husband,

     Sadly I seat myself to chat with you awhile tonight, sad because I learned this morning that you passed through Waynesboro yesterday evening, and I was not there to see you. I have thought of nothing else this whole day; Of course I took a good cry when I heard it, and that brought on a violent headache. I have suffered severely all day. James [i.e., 1st Sergeant James A. White, Company H, 52nd Virginia Infantry] came home this morning (he stayed at Cous. B. Stuarts last night) and told me that he saw you, in town, oh cry! I just thought I could not stand it. Why didn't you come out here? We would have sent you on to your regiment this morning, and given you something to eat after you got there. We heard yesterday that Ewell's [i.e., Confederate Major General Richard Ewell's] division was passing through Waynesboro; & that Jackson's [i.e., Confederate Major General Thomas J. Jackson's] Brigade & other regiments had crossed the mountain lower down. Mr. Middleton, who was boarding at your father's ate dinner here yesterday and told me that you all had gone across at the gaps below Waynesboro. He was just from the army, and stated that as a fact. I thought if that was the case I need not go to Waynesboro, but now, how I wish I had been there. Just to think, that you came along within four miles of me, & I did not know it. It is too bad. I do not feel concerned about the army crossing the mountains, for I dont think they will stay over there long. I believe that God leads Jackson, and Jackson his men, just where it is best they should go. My only fear is that people are in danger of worshiping Gen. Jackson instead of God, who rules over all. If we idolize him, he will be taken from us. I hope you have received the letter & papers I sent by Dr. Hinkel. I wanted so much for you to come & stay a few days, and get a good rest. You could have come from Waynesboro without leave, as numbers did. John [i.e., John Henry Read] is still here. Mr. Janney of London Co. & Mr. Harris of Frederic, are boarding here. We have entertained a good many strangers during the last two weeks. Bobby stays here all the time, I can't do without him. He is so sweet, & so much company for us. Today he

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said, "Aunt Mattie, is not Uncle Read coming home today? Whats the reason he aint coming home?" O, my husband, I know I need some discipline to make me more humble and consistent in my walk and conversation, and though this is a severe trial, I pray God to enable me to bear it without murmuring and hope that he will permit us to meet in safety ere long. Would to Heaven this horrible war could be brought to a close. If our enemies would just let us alone. They try to make us appear very small and of little account; still they, the great "North," with its "endless resources" can't afford to let us go to ourselves. I don't rejoice over the slaughter of the Yankees, though I don't think killing is a bit too bad for men who have come here to kill and plunder us. And they tell such lies. Banks [i.e., Union Major General Nathaniel Banks] in his official report says that he lost only 711 men as prisoners; I think he forgot to put two thousand before that.
     Well dearest, it is getting late and I will stop for tonight Am writing in the dining room, where the girls and I sleep, as we gave up our room to John & James. God bless thee love Good night! Saturday morning I have just returned from Mr. Brooks' [i.e., James M. Brooks'], sat up last night with Moffett [i.e., Moffett Brooks, Company I, 4th Virgina Infantry], he is very ill with typhoid fever. I hope he will get well. O, my husband, how I thought of you last night, as I sat there alone by Moffett's sick bed, and contemplated the possibility of your being sick away off in some hospital, and no kind hand to relieve your wants. Dear T. if you should get sick, & they start you to a hospital, if you are atall able, try & get here. Or if you cannot do that, write, or get someone to write to me. But I pray God to permit me to stand by your side if you should get sick. Oh if I could have seen you once more. I think I have written before that tea made of strawberry leaves is a remedy for diarrhoea, it might be a preventive too, & is very pleasant to the taste. I guess there would be plenty of them over there. I will send you some sage & red pepper by G. Killian and a loaf of bread if he can carry it. Sugar tea with a little red pepper in it is good for diarrhoea too and it would be good to drink with your food. Write to me if you want any clothes, socks or anything else. Have you got a pair of pants? and are you still wearing your boots? A late "Dispatch" says that "Old Stonewall" has but one shovel and he keeps that for his boys to bake hot cakes on. If you chance to get a piece of one of those hot cakes, just send me a piece, will you. We heard cannon this morning in the direction of Gordonsville. It makes me feel so badly to hear cannonading, & I cannot know what the result is. If we hear of a battle between Jackson & the enemy, I am going to get Papa to go over & see about you. I sent you a Whig and Dispatch. Farewell dear husband, and may God bless and keep you is the prayer of

Your Mattie.

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Dear T. Do try and write as often as you can, suspense is so torturing, when I can't hear from you. And if there is any chance, try and get here to rest awhile. You have never answered my questions about your reenlistment yet. Tell me in your next what you are going to do

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

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