“We then hoped a few months would end the war and we would all be at home again. Sadly we were disappointed.”–Letters from Elisha Franklin Paxton.

Berryville, Clark Co., November 2, 1862.

I have just returned from a ride down to the camp of my old comrades, with whom I have spent a very pleasant day. The old tent in which I quartered last spring and winter looked very natural, but the appearance of the regiment was very much changed. But few of the officers who were with me are in it now. In my old company I found many familiar faces in those who went with me to Harper’s Ferry last spring a year ago. We then hoped a few months would end the war and we would all be at home again. Sadly we were disappointed. Many of our comrades have gone to their long home, and many more disabled for life. And now when we look to the future we seem, if anything, farther from the end of our troubles than when they began. Many of us are destined yet to share the fate of our dead and wounded comrades, a few perhaps survive the war, enjoy its glorious fruits, and spend what remains of life with those we love. We all hope to be thus blessed; but for my part I feel that my place must be filled and my duty done, if it cost me my life and bring sorrow to the dear wife and little ones who now watch my path with so much anxiety and pray so fervently for my safe deliverance. The sentiment which I try to hold and cherish is God’s will and my duty to be done, whatever the future may have in store for me. I am glad to feel, darling, that although I have been writing to you for nearly eighteen months, and this has been the substitute for our once fond intercourse, I feel when I write now that I miss you none the less than I did when this cruel war first placed the barrier of separation between us. I hope as fondly as ever that the day may soon come when we will live in peace and quiet together. Eight years ago to-day, Love, we began our married life, very happy and full of hope for the future. Thus far it has been made of sunshine and shadow, joy and sorrow, strangely intermingled. The darker shade of life has for a long time predominated; may we not hope for a change of fortune ere long?

Elisha Franklin Paxton – Letters from camp and field while an officer in the Confederate Army

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