Francis Eppes to Eliza Eppes
|My dear Sister Eliza||Tallahassee Mar. 21. 1864|
I was rejoiced to hear from Mary a few days ago that you are much improved in health, and I trust that this will find you at Saratoga, enjoying that quiet and freedom from household duties, so essential to one in yr. enfeebled condition. It is the one thing needful for you my dear Sister; the one the absence of whc would render all other remedies of no avail; and when I think of yr. big talks about traveling out here; and carrying on the concerns of a large homestead—yourself the moving spirit of the whole! much as I admire the courage, I cannot but fear that the trial would prove too vast for even your indomitable energy! So I congratulate you on your present relief, & hope that you will avail yourself of it long enough to recover that degree of health and strength whc our Heavenly Father in his wisdom and goodness thinks it best to bestow. Ah my dear Sister! it is a sad thing that in the ordering of this world so many of the best, the pure & loving in heart, should be called to bear the dreadful cross of bodily pain and suffering, & when I look at you and Tempe and my own dear Jane, & see how with yr. frail forms and meek spirits you endure, and bless the hand that smites you, I feel that you know in whom you have believed, that you have learnt of him who was perfected by sufferings, and found that hope whc triumphs over death.
I grieve to hear that Tempe has had another attack since I left. my love to her, & tell her that she must come out early in the fall, and a winter with us may restore her to health, or greatly mitigate her sufferings.
It is to be hoped that by the fall the Yankees may be driven back to their nothern dens, and that there will be nothing more to fear from them. But even if they are not, unless they gain a much stronger foothold here, there will be nothing to fear. If Nanny & Pat. had come on with me, they would have seen with the exception of the wounded & prisoners, brought among us, no more of the yankees than they do at Home! And to counterbalance even this, they would have seen some nice young officers & soldiers who are continually arriving, much to Marias & Bettys satisfaction. Only a few days ago the 12th Georgia Battalion (Frank Bakers) arrived with a nice batch of officers & a fine band, & created quite an agreable excitement amonth the young folks. But their stay was short, as they were ordered down to Taylor cty about a hundred miles East, to capture a body of deserters; which has been flocking in there from all parts of the Confederacy, and now have about 1000 men & a terrible swamp to cover them. The 12th Georgia however has been used to this kind of service, so I trust they will return in some 10. ds. & bring in their captives. This is the point to whc they have been assigned for duty, & they left their tents, camp equipage &c. with us. Frank Baker is an elegant fellow (the girls all say) and a splendid officer, not surpassed by his handsome Col—Col Capers. But you ought to hear Bet & Ria go into extacies over both! I have just got the first letter since his return, from Nick. He writes in good spirits & says the army is much improved in condition & discipline, & anxious for a fight. No doubt you will hear from him soon. Tell Sister Tempe with my love, that he was much pleased with her present whc came at a very acceptable time. My best thanks too to the young friend who knit my socks. They have proved very acceptable & Carrie (my little girl) will insist on it that they were knit ‘by my sweetheart.’
I am glad to hear through Sister, that Sarah perseveres in her trials of the Spirit. Tell her if she has any difficulty and will write me about it, I will endeavour to assist her. And I can promise her, that even if her experience is no better than mine, she will find the communication a comfort, and a means of grace, and a source of happiness beyond any thing that she has ever experienced. Another thing I will tell you both. I was enjoined by my Fathers Spirit, to make you all, mediums, all who would accept the Conditions, on whc only you can safely become so:—all who will promise to live, to the best of their ability, as communicants of the Church, sincere Christians, should always live. This I know will be no trouble to you, or Sarah, or Mary; but without the observance of the condition, the manifestations can never be permanently good. I hope that Nannie has persevered too, but as she is in Carolina I suppose you do not know. My love to her & Pat; & Willie when you write. Love to Sarah & the Col. & the little boys & Sue. Tell Sue not to forget me. Tell Aunt Matilda I often think of & talk of her, & that I shall write to her before many days—May the Lord bless & keep you my beloved Eliza—ever & affly yr. brother
Love to Jack—did he get my letter—
Our school has been broken up here and it has occurred to me that I might find it advisable to send Virgin[ia?] on to Va would there be room in the school at Saratoga for her? Peggy says I must tell you she likes this country much better than she expected, & would not return for anything. all of them seem to be well satisfied. You remember what a fuss old Milly made about Betty? The old scamp, kept all of her clothes bedding & all, & refused to give them up, so all the servants say, & the girl when she got here had nothing, but the suit on her back. Milly must belong to yr. hardshells I opine! Her preacher ought to know it—or the devil will when his turn comes. Betty is in the house & seems well pleased with Miss Carrie—I have taken Charity in too & she promises to make a very fine servant