United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865; Bruen, Augusta Forrer--Correspondence; United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Women


4 pages


Dayton O. Eve. Dec. 17th, 1862 Dear Husband, I am quite uneasy, as I have had no letter since last Thursday. I fear one has miscarried, and as I think it quite time my question about the Christmas presents should be answered, that very letter may contain the answer and accompanying money. I do hope tomorrow morning will set all right. The children are doing pretty well; Robby has had something like dysentery with his measles, but I think him decidedly better tonight. A slight cough remains by Frank, but a little care will probably take it away. I believe I forgot to tell you that Robert had gone to Washington; he went last Thursday quite suddenly and Mr. Brady went on Monday. Eliza said she tried to get him to write to you before he left, but he told her you would much prefer a letter from her. She talked and asked questions about you for some time and said she would write to you and before I went back, she meant to I know, and I hope will. Are the MacClellan men jubilant over Burnside's retreat? That Potomac Army seems fated! For two or three days past I have been allowing myself to dream of having you back, the war being soon over, but then I dispel the pleasant delusion; for the time at least. Let me tell you in what way this dream came, you will laugh no doubt but will rejoice too, so here it is. Mother sent me a little picture of Frank taken when he was a mere baby; and immediately the thought came, "babies are sweet, and I don't care if I do have another." I said to Mary, "Mother has done exactly what I needed to put me in a happier frame of mind," she said "Oh! if that's all I can show you some more," and Mother got down all the rest of the little pictures. Robby's was best, but they all conduced to make me a happy woman, and I think that the coming little One will cause me no more gloomy feelings. From that I went to dreaming, and thought if Mother could keep me till Fall or possibly till the Spring after, then you might join our family circle and the little house be more cheerful than ever. I trust it may yet be so, but it does not look so promising now. But dear Husband, I must hope that you will leave the army as soon as you can honorably do it. Families cannot be dragged over the country and do well; I shall have to leave you and attend to the children if you do remain in the public service, and that you know full well would render all unhappy. With a prolitical life, too, I am disgusted, it will make an honorable man descend to mean tricks. My boys must learn trades (with your permission, sir) and I mean to teach them to enable the work by well stored minds; why should they not? I believe they will be wiser and better men if they are brought up, and if they go "stamping" the country or state, then will their Mother be sadly distressed. There sir Major are my sentiments, and I don't believe even you can change them. No more *ossifers*, no more Editors of political papers, no more politicians for me! Hear you? and, understand you? Neither do I want any fancy farmers! Robert has been crazy in that subject again, and would have Eliza go to see a farm belonging to one of the *Reasors*; Madame didn't like it however, and Robert didn't seem quite so much pleased on closer survey as he expected to be. You are undoubtedly satisfied by this time that you can make a bare living as you now are situated; now darling whether I live or die, I do beseech of you, that after due deliveration you make one change more, and only one, let it be some manufacturing business that is likely to be a lasting one, and that will not make the homes of widows and orphans desolate; Devote yourself heartily to mastering it and to prepare situation for your sons; think how much pleasanter it will be for them to learn their business from a kind Father than from hard strangers. Then, when the day's duties are over and your sterner lessons taught, cannot you with your literary tastes again bend your boys to you and your home by pleasant readings and conversation. Then, (and that would require the comfortable salary you are supposed to be earning) Sella and little somebody must do their part by joining in the general entertainment, and aid the boys in giving home concerts. Mother's part must have been partly prepared through the day in making all comfortable for the glad reunion at night. Now Dearest isn't that better than anything we have yet tried? It will not do to wait till our children are grown before we plan for them; we must square our lives to suit theirs long before they are old enough to go from the nest, and if in the meantime we have not secured them a pleasant home, ten chances to one, they will leave their excuse for a home, and seek unhallowed pleasures. They can be manly and love home too, and will be if we are true to ourselves and them. One parent can hardly do all, both are needed. May we be spared to each other, to do that work! I had no thoughts of delivering such a discourse when I began, but if you will be kind enough to read and think earnestly, I shall not be sorry. We are both too impatient to talk quietly on such matters; I can write them better and perhaps you will read them better than listen. Life seems different to me lately, so much more serious and yet so much more richly freighted with happiness than we often discern. There is often a yearning for a higher life, but I want you to feel with and aid me; you know more, and can keep me from bigotry; yet I am afraid to ask you lest you be driven from me; I wish we could throw off all restraints of *predjudice* against old or new dogmas, and earnestly seek to learn how to live as Our Father would wish to have us. -- We love each other now, but unity of feeling here would insure a deeper and better love, and not only ourselves but children and friends be aided and helped on by our example. I cannot say more but my heart is full. Good Night dearest One, Augusta Thursday -- Father has brought me your return letter, dated the *11th* but postmarked 15th. I hope ducks will not again interfere with my pleasure in getting #letters. -- I don't know what the fish bill is, but know there is one. I left the accounts in a slip of paper in a blank book on the parlor mantelpiece and told Emma about it; but whether the fish account is there I cannot say. Uncle John says he thinks he will have some money in two or three days, perhaps $85.00 -- will that more than pay your taxes? and to what will they amount? Please be careful to answer all my questions in every letter. Do not think that I am getting gloomy about myself and think that I am going to die, on the contrary I feel better than usual, and the Doctor encourages me to hope that my 'weakness' will be helped, perhaps cured with proper care during and before my confinement. I only feel more deeply the responsibility of a parent. Feel it with me dearest and help me to bear it. By the way, Sella said one day, "Papa swears, for I heard him in Mr. Coates' room." We cannot be too careful before them but what I want is that, we shall root out all evil and have nothing to hide. Sella asks if I told you that they are pleased with their letters.# #All send love to you. Goodbye.#



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