Camp Davis near Wilmington
June 3rd 1862
Yours of the 25 inst. came to hand yesterday which was gladly received and now am about to respond but feel incapable of doing so.
You say this is the first time in life you ever experienced a sad disappointment and was done by the one who you thought would give you the least trouble, that I came off without telling you good by or even tell you I was not going back; now you seem to think that it was intentional on my part that I knew very well when I left you that I did not expect to go back home but to remain.
I did not for a moment suppose that you would even sinuate, much less to say I had treated you badly; did I not explain to you in my last why it was that I did stay? I think I did. You say I ought to go home and hire a substitute, that I guess would be a hard job for men are so scare at home I would not know where to get one that would be received in my place, and further more I would not get on if I could from the fact that it shall not be thrown up to my relations in future years that you had an uncle, brother, or that your father or perhaps grandfather would not go into the service when he was called on to assist his country in this great struggle for independence – was too cowardly, afraid of the Yankees & but hired a substitute to be shot in my stead never never shall it be said of me or any descendants; death before dishonor. Dear Corrie you very well know that it is hard for me to leave you but I consider I am doing rightly. I think my first duties are to my country and then to you. I hope I may be spared to see the end of the war and then you and I will marry and try and live a happy life in the future. I pray do not sensure me for treating you badly if I have done so it was not intended. It makes me feel badly to think that you blame me for every think I do that is not according to your views.
I have wanted to go into the service ever since last winter but you refused to let me come. I could have come against your remonstrances but did not want to do any thing to wound your feelings, which I have never done on purpose to my knowledge, but yet you say I have. Enough of that and I will write something else.
Before this reaches you you will have heard of the great slaughter at Richmond* Saturday & Sunday the particulars of which we have not got yet only telegrams. All quiet there yesterday up to noon. We had marching orders last week but have never heard the word march. It was said by the Col.that our destination would be Weldon.
Last week the blockading squadron captured the steamer Gordon off Fort Caswell from Bermuda bound for Wilmington her cargo consisted partly in five thousand stands of arms and twenty tons powder which would have been some little help to our army; we could hear the report of the guns very distinctly while they were firing on her.
Last week three of the squadron engaged the batteries atFortFisherafter firing over a hundred shots they withdrew, the only damage done was that of a shell killing a negro woman and chicken the chicken being carried by the negro.
I have joined Armfields company. Last week I had a severe attack of the diarrhea, am getting better I dont think I’ll have any more chills. You said you wanted some paper. I have plenty such as it is but I don’t know how I will send it to you, I will send the first opportunity, in this I’ll send some stamps.Jacksonhas been doing good service don’t you think so! I hope he is inBaltimorethis morning and then will right about march and come on Washingtonin the rear and burn it up and capture old Abe that would be too good.
This is so badly written I don’t know whether you can read it or not. Write often to your devoted lover
Give my kindest regards to Puss and all my friends.
*Battleof Seven Pines: see NPS page: http://www.nps.gov/hps/abpp/battles/va014.htm
And Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Seven_Pines
Sources: Mike and Carol Lawing, eds., My Dearest Friend: The Civil War Correspondence of Cornelia McGimsey and Lewis Warlick (Durham,NC:Carolina Academic Press, 2000). Original collections of the papers are in the Laura Cornelia McGimsey Papers and the George Phifer Erwin Papers in the Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill.