My Dear Ada,

This letter comes much later than I had anticipated, and for that I apologize. However, I have much news for you. I now serve under General McDowell, who seems most impressive and inspiring. He has great hopes for the future. He came and spoke to a few of my fellow doctors while we were constructing a field hospital for the wounded. He could say nothing, but that he hoped that there would be no wounded in our beds this time. Few casualties would mean the opportunity to move farther north with more men. We lost two thousand men when the fighting had finally ended; most of them lying dead on the battle grounds, while some have been captured by union soldiers, and many others have either deserted our lay in the makeshift hospitals scattered across the fields.

You will scold me for this, no doubt, but all this fighting makes me sad with fury for the yankees. If you were here and could see the way the bodies rot in the July heat. If you could see the faces of the men I have operated on in the crushing heat, you would cry out in agreement. Today was a good day as could have been hoped for. I will spare you any more gruesome details for fear they will make you sick upon reading this, but I must tell you this. I saved a boy today, a young boy only a handful of years younger than I. I wish you could have been here to hold his hand—we have no one to comfort the wounded and the dying when medicines run low. His eyes were filled with such misery and pain that I could not help but wonder who would have sent the boy to fight in a war that is clearly not his. Every day I asked myself why God would allow this to happen to his children.

The boy's name is Red, for the thatch of coppery hair on his head, and the freckles splattering. I must keep a watchful eye on him. I fear he may be getting the idea to desert, and wounded as he is, he would not make it far. To keep him close I have asked him to become my apprentice. There is a real shortage of doctors here, something that worries me greatly. The boy is smart and bright, and has a knack for making the men laugh, despite our circumstances. He has accepted this as it comes and the more I notice this the more I become jealous of his steadiness of hand.

Yet, here I sit with pen in hand. The last few days have been tiring and thick with warmth, though you will not believe what I have seen. McDowell and hoped to destroy Beauregard's troops while Johnston was in the valley fighting, but Johnston slipped away and joined the man's troops! McDowell was furious and even more so that we could not easily defend ourselves.

It will interest you greatly, if I may say so, to know that I do not fight. I do not yet carry a gun, or even a rapier. The truth is that I am being taught to fire cannons. Someday when I return home your parents might let me teach you. It is not a thing that most young ladies should know, but I think you would find great adventure in it.

There is one thing I must say with the closing of this letter. I beg of you. If you receive word that I have died, do not come looking for me. The men out here are harsh and I fear what they would do to such a gal as pretty as you. It would be too gruesome for you to see what I have spoken of.

I welcome a reply from you, and if I may be so bold, I look forward to one with each delivery of the mail.

Too many have died for something as little as slavery. It is unfair and I hope that you do not have to witness anything like this in your life. Should anyone anyone but you see this letter tell them—well, tell them what you will, but know that in the wrong hands, trouble could be the only outcome.

Your admirer,

Jacob Cooley

A/N: I found these letters a few days ago, and it turns out I wrote them in the eighth grade when we did a civil war unit. lol. I thought I would edit them (there's only six) and post them to see if I would get a response. Somewhere I have actually starting writing Jacob and Ada's story, but i can't currently find it. let me know what you think!