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Read Family Correspondence

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Document Type: Autograph Letter

Author: Martha White Read
Date: August 31 - September 13, 1862
Place: Augusta County, Virginia
To: Thomas Griffin Read

Physical Description: Ink on paper; 4 pages (23 x 15 cm) on 1 folded sheet

Number: MSN/CW 5015-14

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August 31st. 1862
My dear Husband,

     In the quiet of the Sabbath evening (and you remember its quiet here) my heart turns to thee more than ever; 'tis then I miss thee most. And I know that unless you are in the confusion of a battle, or on a toilsome march, your thoughts linger more than usual wish the loved ones at home. I feel assured dear husband that you try to "remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." Even amid the "turmoil" of the camp, you can sometimes withdraw your thoughts from things around you and fix them on sacred subjects, if but for a short time at once, it will serve to feed the flames of devotion in your heart. I do not think that God ever placed a man in circumstances in which he could say with truth "I cannot serve God here." I believe that the Christian intent on the service of God can serve him any where. Of

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course, when surrounded by sympathizing friends, and all goes on smoothly, we think his service easier, but must it not be productive of much satisfaction to feel that God gives grace to help us do our duty in the midst of the most discouraging outward circumstances, -- gives it only for the asking.
I feel that I make such a poor use of the blessed privileges I enjoy, often I think how much you would [?] the sermons that I hear, so frequently, and alas, so listlessly. With pleasure and thankfulness I look back upon the time when "we took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in company." The question often presents itself "Will it ever be so again." God only knows. Let us leave that with God. You are trying to do your duty in the sphere in which Providence has placed you, and I will endeavor by the grace of God to perform mine. May He guide counsel and comfort us, is my constant and humble prayer.

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I received your letter of the 18th about a week after it was written. I answer immediately but the cars did not come up for some days. I sent it to the office yesterday. It would go over today John M'Crary intended to go over last week but has not gone yet. I will try and get him to take your socks. I have no shirt made to send you, and if you can get one there for 70 cts you had better do so. We have to pay that for one yard of cotton.

Saturday night. Sept. 13th.
My dear Husband,

     You will see that I commenced this letter two weeks ago; I expected to send it by some one, going over to the army. Then in a few days, we heard of those dreadful battles [i.e., Second Bull Run] which had been fought the week before. God grant that we may never see such a time again. It sickens my heart now to revert to those long, long days of anxious suspense concerning the fate of our loved ones. We heard from James [i.e., 1st Sergeant James A. White, Company H, 52nd Virginia Infantry] on Thursday after the battles, by one of his regiment who came up, but never one word

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did I hear from or of you, until day before yesterday I was almost crazy. Cy Killian got home that day. I heard about four o'clock that he had come and started immediately to learn if he knew any thing of you. He told me that he enquired about you after the fight, and learned that you were not among the wounded, but he did not know whether you had been in the battles or not. I had seen in the "Register" that nine of your company was wounded, but their names were not given. Mr. Shirey would have gone as soon as we heard of the battles, to see about you & Jimmy, but it was known that there was no way for anyone to get to the army except to walk 55 or 60 miles. Some who did go, came back without hearing of their friends. Yesterday I received a letter from Jimmy dated Frederick Md Sept. 7th. He said he had seen you on Friday before, & told me of the narrow escape you made. O dearest it makes me shudder to think of it. How good God has been to us. I try to thank him for his mercies. I need not attempt to describe the joy with which I perused Jimmy's letter. After nearly two weeks of agonizing suspense as to your fate, to hear that you were safe and well.

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

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