Item description: Letter, 11 September 1861, from Charles Woodward Hutson to his mother.
[Transcription available after images.]
Item citation: From folder 3 of the Charles Woodward Hutson Papers, #362, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Eleventh Sept. 1861
Army of the Potomac
Legion near Occoquan
Yesterday, as I have already written, came the sad news of Emmeline’s death. How rapidly the circle of our loved ones is thinning! First little Sallie, then Woodie, then Harry, and now Emmeline, all holding that place in our affections which belongs to the inner sanctuary of Home. I do not think you can understand the peculiar horror with which we seeing death in its more sudden forms & hearing of it almost daily & coming to regard it as natural here, are affected when we are told that the place of some dear one in the quiet scenes of our home life is vacant forever. With her has indeed passed from our existence a large share of the light, & free air we once enjoyed in the social atmosphere. But, to console us, we are not without a confident assurance that she lived of late & must have died, reconciled to our God through faith in Him who loved us & died for us; & I trust that we shall all meet her in the company of the blest hereafter. I cannot help thinking always of poor Charley & Willy – both far away from home, & amongst strangers, with such a loss pressing upon them. I pray earnestly that they may have grace to seek that consolation, which can alone make them mourn without sin, & with hope. Willy is now on his way home; & perhaps Charley will join him at Richmond, & go on with him. Do write me all particulars that come to your knowledge. I cannot begin to realize her death now, & suppose I will not, until I see you all again together & view the old, familiar spots associated with her in the past.
I am afraid that dear Francis is losing some of her pleasures in sending me so much silver. You must tell her, I thank her very much, & find it very useful in making purchases. I shall have to ransack the Fifth Avenue palaces to find her some household luxuries which shall be fitting recompense. This must of course be, when we occupy the great Batavian city.
I shall take great pleasure in welcoming the next box, the contents of which you describe, & shall endeavour to do the hospitalities to my guest in the most approved style. You must thank for me the kind donors of various articles which you mention as presents.
Tell Grandmother, with the aid of my friends I shall endeavour to do full justice to the merits of the fine cake which she sends; & I kiss my hand in token of gratitude.
You are right to prepare the office for my reception. It is a good instinct. If not previously killed, I expect to be at home in time for Xtmas. It must needs be a sad Christmas; but let us hope we will all feel our duty & acknowledge the great ends of life too well to let it be a gloomy one for us. One short year – not yet ended – & yet how crowded, replete not merely with grand historic events, but with never-forgotten pages of family record & the heart-history & earnest struggle of many a private life. The light gaiety & flippancy of my youth never can come back. I must be happy in a more experienced & hence far more sober way. How is it that some are always young?
I am glad you have ceased taking the Mercury. It should be universally dropped, & then there would be some chance of a more honest one being started. The newspaper press is a great nuisance, insolent, presumptuous & silly. If I thought it was really a “great estate” & as influential as its pompous pretensions would indicate, I would despair of the good sense of the age; but really though read most largely, there are few who do not despise it in their hearts.
As you all seem to be anxious to know who are our present officers, I will satisfy your curiosity: Logan is Capt, Lowndes 1st Lieut., Klinck 2d & Dotterer 3d.
I am glad you are so energetic on the coast. It is not at all improbable, that the Yankee Nation may seek a profitable marauding field in the regions around our section.
I will close here. Write to me what you hear of Emmeline’s illness. Poor Charley! I am very uneasy about him. My love to Father, Sisters, Grandfather, Grandmother, Daughter, Wackie, Mac & all dear friends & kinsfolk.
Your loving son,
C. Woodward Hutson
Thanks to F. for sending me a copy of little Anna Bledsoe’s letter. It is very characteristic.