United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865; Bruen, Augusta Forrer--Correspondence; United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Women
Dayton O. Nov. 22nd. 1863 Dear Husband, I received yours of the 14th. yesterday morning; and that for Howard came in the evening; but he, poor fellow, left for Columbus the evening before, not expecting to return. I don't know that I need pity him, as he has been uneasy and anxious to be off this long time; not that he has a fancy for bloodshed, but he is in earnest, and felt that he was not doing real service here. The parting has been a heavy trial to all, but especially so to Mother and Mary, who are almost broken down. I almost fear to have you come till you can come to stay, so sad and hard it is to give up our dear ones to danger again. Yet when the opportunity comes we cannot deny ourselves the pleasure, dearly bought as it is. You must make the most of this war, for never will I consent to your engaging in another, even if the highest offers were made you. My letter is growing sad and I do not wish to send such, when cheerfulness alone should go Interrupted by the dinner-bell. Uncle John came in and talked all sorts of outrageous nonsense by way of putting us in better spirits. Robby and Sella also came in having *staid* at Uncle's to dinner. I seldom allow them to go over, and they are pleased to have them when they do go, as Rob amuses them not a little. Robby has but one coat , and it was necessary to wash it yesterday, so I told him in the morning to put on his blue sack, at which he became greatly distressed, and said he didn't want his "dress" on. In vain I assured him that it was a sack coat and boys older than he was wore them The tears rolled down his fat rosy cheeks and he puzzled his brain to find a method of escape from the hated 'dress'. Finally he looked up and asked very earnestly if he couldn't wear a coat that was in the bureau drawer; I told him if there was one there he might bring it to me; off he ran, and brought one that I squeezed on to his great joy. Amused with his rejoicings I said "Oh, yes, you were lucky this time". "Yes, I had luck on you this time;" he replied. I don't know of any news, excepting Mary Hank's marriage with the person to whom she has been so long engaged. You spoke of my selling those coupons in Howard's letter, I have sold all that were due but have been obliged to open an account with both Henry *Perrin* and the shoemaker, and Mother has been paying the washerwoman for the past three weeks; I have paid my coal and gas bill thus far but cannot do so again. Father has put a box on the upper porch which holds ten bushels of coal, I can barely make it last two weeks, and coal is 35 cents pr bus. If the river would but rise there is plenty of coal to come down, but we have waited a long time already. Offer my congratulations to Captain Lay, I intended to write his wife today, but feel unfit for it. We are anxious about Burnsides's Command; but still hear nothing decisive. I fear you all suffer more than we imagine; and it is so easy for those who stay at home to talk about a soldier bearing the hardships, and think he is no soldier if he doesn't, it makes me angry every time I hear such heartless talk; I sometimes think the soldier gets little sympathy excepting from his own female relations. As this is the case I would advise him to tell his grievances to none but them. An enemy too may construe it so as to make trouble for him with his superiors. Good dinners are at least half spoiled for me since you and Howard are in the field If it is only to save me trouble that you do not wish the new drawers, I am sorry, and hope you will always ask me to do anything you wish, true, I cannot promise to sew, as Baby is too uncertain in her demands upon my time, but I can manage in some way to get the work done, and should not feel anything done for you a trouble. You always seemed to me almost alone in the world, your relations are so few in number, and since sister has been so afflicted you seem still more so; I have thought too, that this has been one reason why we are so closely united, certain it is that I wish and must insist upon being allowed to do all I can for your comfort.. Do you think it would be advisable to send the white drawers or the red if you wish them; by mail, one pair at a time? Since writing the above I have weighed a pair and find it nearly a pound, which at six 5th: cents per. ounce will make rather heavy postage. The children with the exception of Sella are asleep. Little Mary was very playful for a while and laughed heartily at Robby's capers and no wonder, for he is a comical little body since his hair was cut, and he dressed in pants and boots. He is nearly as broad as he is long. Sella went down to see how sister was, and found her sitting up in a large chair eating her supper; Katie said yesterday that she only sat up in bed, so I think this must be the first time she has eaten out of bed. She said she was doing very well; and Eliza said she thought Priscilla would be well before she was. Eliza does seem very miserable this Fall. I must leave off writing, but will add anything that may happen between this and mail time. Goodnight Dearest and best, Augusta Monday We have just received a dispatch saying that Howard will not leave till Tuesday, so Father and Mother will go over I think.Frank says tell you that he says 'come home'. I told Robby that you wanted to see him with his boots" I want to see him too", he instantly replied. Goodbye Darling, A.
Catharine Mitchill '31 Collection of Family Letters, Wellesley College Library, Special Collections