Dear sweet Amelia, July 20th 1863
Long gone are the false dreams of glory! Long gone are the hundreds of brave, reckless youths rushing to enlist! Now, the hard hand of famine, death, and pain sweep throughout the land, crushing those in its way! Oh, how I grieve! For though it pains me much my angel, I must tell you the horrid truth: I am dying. For days blood drips from a bayonet wound, seeping through the thin fabrics that vainly try to keep me in the land of the living. Migraines constantly plague me, and pain shoots through my body whenever I dare to move. My hand shakes when I write, and the hot sun beats mercilessly on us soldiers. However, I will make an attempt to answer your questions.
You asked me long, long ago, when I was rushing to enlist in the army. Perhaps you don't remember. But a loving husband does. Amelia my love, you asked me why I was going to fight this war. You asked why this war was being fought. Back then I said I was fighting for glory, and war was not something womenfolk should worry of. I have changed my mind. I am not fighting for glory now, but fighting now for my family, my friends, my home. I am not against slavery, nor do I like it. I have heard of the bravery of the woman back in Florida, managing very "manly" things. I do not doubt the bravery of woman anymore, so I will now tell you why there was this war.
There were two main reasons. One of these was slavery. The North is industrialized while the south is agricultural. And that means while the North does not need slaves, the South does. The Northerners say slavery is inhumane, and should be illegal. We rebels fight back, saying it is a necessary evil. Perhaps slavery is evil, perhaps it is not. But these debates about slavery my dear, ignited a tiny spark on already dry wood. So what happens next to that tiny little spark of fire?
Remember Amelia? The new states entering the Union? The North says they should be "free states" or states that don't have slavery. The South wants the exact opposite. Why? If there are a lot of free states in Congress, the South would lose its political power. Same thing with the North. Too many "slave states" in Congress and the power goes to the South. This issue just added lots of fuel to that tiny little spark.
Around this time, Abraham Lincoln was elected. More fuel for the fire! Then on April 12th, 1861, South Carolina Confederates attacked Fort Sumter. The fire is now full out, and the bloodshed and misery is only slowly dousing it.
Amelia, I am too weak to write anymore. Good-bye forever, my sweet and loyal angel. I do not think I will return. Do not mourn me. I died for my country, and I'm happy I did. Tell John (he's a fine lad) I'm proud of him, tell Lillie I love her, and tell my dear baby daughter Lucy good-bye. Most of all Amelia, good-bye and farewell forever, I want to be with you, yet fate tears me away from you. Words cannot say how much I love you. Oh, Farewell forever!
Your dear, loving father/husband,