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Sillers-Holmes Family Correspondence

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Document Type: Autograph Letter Signed

Author: William W. Sillers
Date: January 14, 1863
Place: Camp near Guinea Station, Virginia
To: Frances Sillers Holmes

Physical Description: Ink on lined paper; 3 pages (24 x 20 cm) on 1 folded sheet

Number: MSN/CW 5025-05

Transcribed by: Paul Patterson and George Rugg, 2004-06

(Please click on our Technical Details button at left
for more information on transcription conventions,
image scanning conventions, etc.)

Page 1      Images: 150 DPI100 DPI72 DPI

Camp near Guinea Station, R & F. R. R., Caroline Co., Va.,
January 14th, 1863.

My dear Sister:

     I hardly know how to write to you, Since the news of our sad bereavement in the death of darling little Annie Belle. I could not write to you yesterday. I had just received intelligence the evening before, and my heart was too heavy to write. Why, I cannot tell; but I had never thought that Annie Belle, so full of health and intelligence, could die. She was so modest and truthful, so kind and obedient, so considerate and unobtrusive for a child. Milton has told me how sweetly she looked in death—as calm and natural as in sleep. It was such a consolation to me to know that she fell into the last sleep so gently. Oh if my furlough had been granted, I should have reached home just in time to have pressed her dear lips once more on earth! God knows how I loved her. There was something beyond and above the natural ties of relationship that drew me to her—something inexpressible, inexplicable, spiritual. Her's is a place that can never be filled. Thank God! her's will be a memory beautiful to dwell upon. There will be no shadow but that of too early a death to cloud the recollections of her loveliness. God has taken her away, darling Sister, and we can never look for her place to be filled; and I shall love to think of her, as our own little darling Annie Belle, unlike any other that we have known. A beautiful individuality—the like of which we shall never see again.

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Time alone, dear Sister, can ever modify our grief and reconcile us to this irreparable loss. We know it is sinful not to submit with meekness to the will of the Giver of all good, and to await with patience the solution, in his own good time, of his mysterious dispensations, which, in their immediate results, are the source of so much sorrow and affliction. We know this; but still it is impossible for untried and untrained natures like ours to take these afflictions calmly. It was hard, very hard to give our darling up—many and many a time in the long years to come there will be a struggle with nature, when we think of her, too pure and good to be trusted to the roughness of this world. Many and many a time we will think of her as a grown up woman;—and we cannot help thinking and feeling that she would have been a great blessing to us all. Her goodness was inborn—too much of her nature not to be permanent. The impression of her loved form, as I last saw her, is now before me, and it is just such a one as I am happy to have—one of perfect health—a happy welcome on her lips and a gentle smile upon her features. Dear Sister, let us cherish her memory—she will always be present with us; and be thankful to a Kind Maker that he has left us those who can claim that increase of love we had laid up for our "loved and lost." There are our darlings, Johnnie and Bessie and little Willie [i.e., William S. Holmes, b. 1862], still left to us. These are our jewels on earth, and dear Annie Belle is "a treasure laid up in Heaven." These our Father has left to us to cherish, love and care for,—our darling in Heaven

Page 3      Images (pages 2 & 3): 150 DPI100 DPI72 DPI

he has taken into His care.

I hope Dr. will soon be home with you to stay. I cannot feel satisfied with you alone.
Sister, I cannot write as I would wish. When you can, write to me and tell me all about the last hours of our darling, and I will try and not mention her too often hereafter.
Kiss the little children every day for me. My love to all.
     May God bless and preserve you!

Your affectionate Brother,
W. W. Sillers.

Transcription last modified: 28 Feb 2007 at 05:04 PM EST

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