Nicholas W. Eppes to Eliza Eppes
|Well my dear Aunt||Camp near Dalton Georgia March 23d 1864|
I am going to make one more effort to revive our correspondence, which I hope will be more sucessful than those through the past winter. It seems as though some unwonted fate had attended every effort to acquaint my dearly loved relatives of Mill Brook, with my whereabouts, since I have been connected with the western army.
I have just returned from home and as my head is full of the girls I won’t be fet for a soldier for the next six months, you see, that is the misfortune of a furlough. It is all over though now, the comforts and joys of home are ended for a twelve month at least, & it may be for a longer period but even a short time at home do[es] a man some good, freed from the responsibilities, hardships & monotony of camp life, he enters upon the pursuits of former days with a light and happy heart: the concience of having [. . .] tried to perform his duty relieves him from embarrassment and lends a sweetness to his joy.
I suppose you have heard from Pa since his return home, he arrived there some eight or ten days before I left, and I regret very much that I could not see more of him.
Everything seems as natural as ever in camps, the situation is unchanged, the same to day as two months ago, except, so far, as the spirit of the Army is concerned, I never have seen a greater change than I have witnessed in this army, since Johnston assumed command. Bragg had retreated & blundered about with the army, until he lost the confidence of both officers & men, but now all is confidence and enthusiasm once more. I think I can safely predict a series of victories for us this spring and summer and [. . .] probably the occupation by our forces of Tenn & Ky, then perhaps that long wished for day of peace, oh, what a glorious thing when the thunder of hostile cannon shall be heard no more, when the saber and bayonet shall cease to glitter in the sunlight of our once happy land, and the din of battle shall be for ever silenced & its implements surplanted by those of peaceful persuits. Though surrounded by large encampments & see & hear nothing every day, but war news, yet we sometimes give a passing thought to those happy happier days that are in store for those of us who survive the terrible ordeal through which we will have to pass this spring & summer.
You must write as soon as you receive this & let me know the whereabouts of uncle Willie and his family, so that I can write to them, give my love & thanks to Aunt Tempie for the nice socks she sent me by Pa. I wrote several times last winter to Aunt Mary, Uncle Willie & yourself, but Pa tells me that you never received a line from me, I hope however, now to meet with more encouragement. There is nothing in the world of interest going on here, all the troops have reenlisted1 for the war & have every confidence in Johnston as a leader. We have just had a couple days of heavy snowing, & as usual [s]now ball fighting was all the go.
While divisions would be drawn up against each other for a fight in a fight of this sort soldiers are no respecters of persons, officers & men fare alike, no better fun than to pull a general off from his horse & wallow him in the snow. I guess I have pretty2 well tired & tried your patience consequently I will come to a close, before which however I must request to be rememberd with affectionate love to Uncle Edmond, Aunt Sarah & family & to Aunt Mary & uncle Phillip.
My direction is, Co “H” 1st Fla Cav.
Military Post Office
Army of Tennessee.