United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865; Bruen, Luther Barnett--Correspondence
For Hamilton Dec. 8 1862 Dear Wife: I have heard nothing from you since your letter of the 30th, which was rec'd on Wednesday. I hoped to get a letter this morning but it did not come; now I hope to get one by the mail to-night & trust that I shall not be disappointed. No news is said to be good news, if this is so, I suppose I may take it for granted that you are getting along very well that the measles have assumed no very alarming type. - Mr. Rawle left yesterday afternoon; whether the Battery has sailed yet I do not know. They were to fire several guns as they passed: these I have not heard so I presume they have not gone yet. They have had a good deal of trouble in getting off; yesterday morning their *ofumier* broke his leg. He is a very impatient personage in a battery where they have seven or eight *score horses* to look after. They are gone and good luck go with them. - We are enjoying the coldest kind of a snap. On Saturday night it blew up bitter cold; your flowers were standing in the window and were all frozen to death. I had been watering them & trying to make them grow, but as I did not anticipate this sudden change in the weather they were left on the window and were badly frozen as I have said. - Emma has gone to town to-day, so I have been luxuriating on cold "wittals." As these happened to be a very nice roast duck, I don't complain very loudly of my bad treatment. By the way I think I shall have to *unclear*. I bought a pair of ducks of him last week & I saw he has charged me $1.50 for them, while I bo't a pair on Saturday which E. says were better for 84 cents. I can't stand this enormous tariff. - My orderly has just come in and handed me two letters from you, which I shall proceed to read two or three times before I proceed. - You see your letters have reminded me, that to-day is the glorious Eighth. It might possibly have passed without my recognizing it if I had not received your letter. I thought of it some days since, but I have been much occupied to-day & it might not have occured to me if your letter had not come to hand in the nick of time. - I am glad to hear that Frank has got along so well; I hope the other bairns will do the same. I shall consider it no misfortune if they all contract the disease now, for it is better to have it in youth. - Times are dull here. Nothing doing that I know of. - I sent you a letter last week, containing $2 in Postage tickets and another containing $20 & $7.15 in P.T. Please let me know whether they have all arrived safely. If there is any *min* I would either send you a check which nobody could use without forgery. I wish you, my dear, to do what ever you think best, whether it is spending money or anything else. Whatever you think you want for your immediate wants, or the children's, buy it, and I will try to supply the money somehow. I am perfectly willing that you should exercise your own judgment in such matters. And whenever it is possible you shall have the necessary funds. I want you to feel that I have perfect confidence in you and am ready to approve before hand what ever expenditures you see fit to make. You know what my means and income are and you should know what scale of expenditure we have a right to indulge in. I want to see you and the children looking as well as our means will allow and as I know there is nothing extravagant or foolish in your tastes I am perfectly willing to leave such things to you. Don't distress yourself about the Court Martial. None has been ordered yet and I may not be on it when it is. - As for the Change of Head Quarters, I don't think that will particularly affect me whether it is made or not. I was told that Maj. *C*. intended to ask to have the H.Q. moved to West Point. That would undoubtedly have sent me into the field, and the truth is I would much rather commence my campaigning when the thermometer is a trifle more elevated than it is this blessed day of our Lord. - I have told you how your flowers were all frozen, but not that the pumps have also been frozen the past two days, so that water was a rather inaccessible luxury. I have seldom seen so sudden a change in the temperature. I have looked in the closet and can find nothing of Mary's charcoal, that is the closet in the bedroom, near to the kitchen - I could not get Mary's book; but being in Appleton's on Saturday, I found a little book, entitled The Art of Sketching from Nature, by Homer Rowbotham. I know Mary has some books printed in the same style as this, but do not know whether she has this work or not. If not, I will send it to her by mail. It appears to be a very good thing & I think she will find it useful. - I have been reading Bishop Colenso's work blowing up the Pentateuch. He is a bishop of the Church of England, a Missionary bishop and his book will probably set all the English theologians by the ears. I have only read a chapter or two, and I think very highly of them.  I hope we shall be able hereafter to spend our anniversary together, but it would not be altogether wise to expect to do so. It will be a long time before our country will be in a settled condition: and until it is, we shall rather be obliged to take what we can get than what we would have. My dream of life would be some quiet retreat where we could live and enjoy the society of our friends. Unfortunately there is no place where this can be done; for friends too will be smitten with dreams and hope to find somewhere else the happiness they fail to see with us & go searching for it all over the world. After all our happiness must spring from our internal state; everywhere there is much to enjoy, if we will not shut our eyes to it; more than we can find, because we will not look for it in the right place, and do not recognise it when we see it. If we keep our eyes and hearts open we shall always have enough to enjoy, although there be many bitter cups to drink along our pathway. I sent a letter to you on Saturday, which ought to find your eyes to-morrow, and gladden them too for it had the money aforesaid in it & money like oil maketh the face to shine. There isn't one bit of news to tell you; yes there is, and sad news too. That nice little boy whom Mrs Martin had taken to raise died last week very suddenly of scarlet fever. What a pity he was such nice little fellow, - The battery sailed to-day. I was on board the ship on Saturday; it is a *big staunch* craft, but I should not have liked to put to sea in her in such a storm as we have had for several days. My eyes how the "strong wind did blow." -- Kisses to all the bairns and love to their mother & kind remembrances to everybody. Thine for ever L.B.B.
Catharine Mitchill '31 Collection of Family Letters, Wellesley College Library, Special Collections