I thought I’d continue my Civil War love letter theme, since it’s hard to stop reading them now that I’ve started. They are so beautifully written and contain such poignant and moving words–especially when one considers the strong men behind those thoughts.
One would probably not think of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson as a “softie,” but letters to his wife reveal a romantic man–and a man of strong morals, determined to carry out his duty to God and country.
In this letter to his wife, Jackson conveys the sacrifices made by thousands of men during the Civil War. “In answer to the prayers of God’s people, I trust He will soon give us peace. I haven’t seen my wife for nearly a year–my home in nearly two years, and have never seen our darling little daughter; but is important that I, and those at headquarters, should set an example of remaining at the post of duty.”
Jackson did finally get to see his little Julia when she was five months old. It is said that he barely put her down. “During the whole of this short visit, he rarely had her out of his arms, walking her, and amusing her in every way that he could think of. … When she slept in the day, he would often kneel over her cradle, and gaze upon her little face with utmost rapt admiration…”
Of course, this story does not have a happy ending. Jackson was killed as a result of a friendly fire incident at The Wilderness in May of 1863. Likewise, the story of a member of his staff, young Sandie Pendleton, is no less tragic. Pendleton’s heart was captured during the war by a young lady, near whose home he was stationed for a time in winter-quarters. “He had some rivals among his brother officers, but was successful in winning the prize, and, obtaining a furlough, was married, and spent a few blissful weeks with his young bride, when duty called him into the field, and they never met again.”
Pendleton followed Jackson to the grave in less than a year, slain in battle in his youth.
Many were the similar tragedies thrust upon the hearts and homes of those on both sides of the war. It is difficult to imagine such pain, sorrow and suffering as took place in our country for four long years.