United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865; Peirce, Elizabeth Hannah--Correspondence; United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Women
Home, Sunday evening July 1862
Dear Augusta, We have just parted with Mary and Howard at the gate, with the understanding that my letter should if possible reach the mail in good time tomorrow, to prevent you're being disappointed on Thursday, as mother may not finish hers this evening. Father and mother have been at their lot but did not come up, we saw them however this morning. Mary and Howard were at church and we stayed till they came home, and to lunch. Mother was as busy among her flowers and tulip roots as though she had nothing else to think of, but is really very anxious just now about Howard. Col. Anderson's regiment is causing a new excitement among men both young and old, and the district committee is besieged with applications for commissions. Howard's and Will's were put in early, and still they have little hope of success. They are very anxious to go with him as you may suppose, and even mother will probably not oppose the wish, for she constantly fears Howard's going as a private soldier, and his impatient desire for more active employment. This vacation, he considers very opportune, and will certainly leave no means untried to influence those in authority. Neither Jere nor I will encourage him to go, nor is it worth while to try to persuade him out of the intention, and of course if anything can be said to help him it will be done, now that he has determined to make the attempt. Mother and Mary have hoped their cousin Howard's sad fate might discourage them, but certainly with little reason, for I think we should all have been surprised at such infirmity of purpose, however glad we might be, but they should remain at home. They hope for the best of course, and though they know what May befall them, are not weak enough to regard a mere reminder, as a prophecy.
Mother worries and frets a great deal sometimes, about this and other things, all of which are not much improved by it. She tires and wears herself out with things which give her little satisfaction in the end, and is more annoyed by any failure, than pleased with a success. It distresses me often to see how little she allows herself to enjoy, when I can see how easily, all might be much worse if she had not father, always kind and patient, then indeed. _ He seems to me always the same, affectionate, and thoughtful of everyone's comfort, and as far as he can, soothing everybody's little troubles. I ought not to write all this to you _ it is nothing new, you have seen it all a hundred times, and more that we should perhaps talk about but do not care to put on paper. Like other women, when I see what troubles me, and is beyond my help, I want to talk about it. Mary is very busy, too much so I am afraid, but perhaps she is happier for it. I do not see them half so often as I would like to do, for I am busy too! Are you not surprised. Mother will not visit unless some laborious purpose can be subserved, and Jere works too. I suppose they told you we spend the fourth together here, and how much we missed you and the children all day. Mrs. Holt talked about Belle too, you may be sure. That was the only holiday we have taken the summer, and the children are beginning to complain a little – with reason I think. I spent an evening last week at Mary Edward's with the Andersons and a few others, and heard some very sweet music; an early serenade from Pierson and his amateur band. Very pleasant evening altogether. See now in what a stupid way I have filled three pages, and without a word about anything but ourselves. I would so gladly talk to you, and find it almost impossible to save a letter, spell a word, or construct a sentence, that I am not ashamed of. Perhaps the morning air will bring a little brightness with it, so good night. Monday morning washwoman, rain, and everything slightly disagreeable, except the people who are fortunately good-humored. Cannot you spare me one of the Sunday writings a little oftener? The children would like to hear directly from their cousins and do not think so much of other people's letters. I am very glad to have the patterns you sent me, and hope to find them very useful. Henrietta wishes to write to you, but has been busy sewing. She and Edward are going home with Mary Gardner who is in Columbus just now. I need not tell you how much I hope you may not be obliged to suffer the anxiety of which you speak, but I am sure you are preparing your mind for a possible change of your arrangements. Lay up a store of patience and hope, and profit by those around you; do not I beg of you allow yourself to borrow the trouble that may never come without, and look to the honor and happiness you have a right to expect. My love and best wishes in any event to your husband, and kiss the children for me, affectionately Elizabeth Pierce
Catharine Mitchill '31 Collection of Family Letters, Wellesley College Library, Special Collections