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Sillers-Holmes Family Correspondence

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Document Type: Autograph Letter Signed

Author: William W. Sillers
Date: March 22, 1863
Place: Camp near Fredericksburg, Virginia
To: Frances Sillers Holmes

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

Number: MSN/CW 5025-09

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

(Please click on our Technical Details button at left
for more information on transcription conventions,
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Page 1      Images: 150 DPI100 DPI72 DPI

Camp near Fredericksburg, Va., March 22d/63. —

My dear Sister:

     Your very affectionate letter, of the 12th inst., was received day before yesterday. I can never be sufficiently grateful for your anxious concern about my spiritual welfare. God knows I have need of all your prayers! God's dispensations are wise and merciful; but generally so thickly veiled that it is almost impossible to discern the ends in view. Looking at our darling Annie Belle's death in the light that you do, it was a beautiful sacrafice made for the redemption of those who are nearest and dearest to her. It seems to be a law that the good shall suffer for the bad. I trust that glorious results may flow from this most afflicting bereavement. The effects of death are in a great measure owing to its un-commonness. Death was once terrible to me—I mean the sight of dead persons. But familiarity with battle-fields has hardened my feelings very much. Dead men are only less common then live ones. There is hardly a week passes that I do not see newly-made graves filled from the small

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numbers of our single Brigade. A poor Soldier dies, is buried by the road-side or under the spreading branches of some tree in the midst of a field. No tear is shed. His name is forgotten. This is the last of him. There is a home-circle somewhere broken; somewhere there are tearful eyes and broken hearts. These are not here: are neither seen nor thought of. Oh! most truly and heartily thankful a man should be, if he is allowed to die at home—away from camp and the field of battle!
I feel very sensibly, dear Sister, that I am not grateful, as I should be, to God for his preservation of my sinful life. There are very few associations in camp that have a tendency to make a man pious. I do not omit to pray, or rather I do not neglect prayer entirely; but I do not pray as often and as fervently, as I should.

Poor little Willie seems to have a hard struggle for his life. God grant you prayer that he may fill a noble destiny may be favorably answered! I should love very much to see him and Johnnie and Bessie. If it does my heart good to look

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upon a child of any body, how glad I would be, you must know, to see these little ones I love so well. You ask me if there is no prospect of my going home. There is none, I am sorry to say. Col. Parker has not yet returned. Col. Kell, as I learn, will hardly come back before Summer. The fight between Genl. Fitz Hugh Lee and the Yankees at Kelly's ford a few days ago, shows very plainly that fair weather is only wanted before operations will commence.
I wrote a letter to Mr. Alfred Johnson, in reply to one received from him, a few days ago. In that I told him that I thought it better for Sallie to go to my farm and remain there. I suppose there will be no difficulty after he receives my letter. I am very sorry to take her away, and leave her out at my plantation; but that is the best I can do now.
You have not written me whether you have recieved any of the papers and Magazines I ordered to be sent you. Please let me know. I ordered "the Southern

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Field & Fireside", "the Southern Illustrated News", "The Southern Cultivator" and "The Southern Literary Messenger". In my last letter I neglected to thank you for the very nice can of fresh peaches that came in the box from home. The bread and old ham were quite a treat. I wish you would tell Aunt Fannie to plant, if she can get the seed, a good lot of beans—such as are good to keep for winter use. Beans and Peas are a great delicacies with me in Camp. There is plenty of ground and plenty of labor to make all these small garden crops on my place.
Give my love to all the family, to Doctor and with many kisses to the dear children

Your affectionate Brother,
W. W. Sillers

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

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