To Mrs. Lyon
On Steamer McClellan, New Madrid, Sat., April 19, 1862.—We take it for granted that we are going up to help fight another great battle, and, as I firmly believe, achieve a great victory. If we are victorious there it opens the road to Memphis, secures the opening of the Mississippi with but little more fighting, and virtually ends the war in the West.
When Chase and I were making speeches at flag raisings last spring, we told the ladies they must give up fathers and sons, husbands, lovers and brothers to their country, although it might wring the heartstrings to breaking. You have made this sacrifice with thousands of others. Let it be a cheerful sacrifice on your part. Believe, as I do, that I shall in due time return safely to you and our beloved children, and console yourself for my absence with the thought that never were men called from kindred, homes and friends, to hardships, privations, dangers and death, in a more sacred cause.
I am cheerful all the time, and it is the result of an ever-present, undoubting conviction that I am precisely where I ought to be. My greatest happiness consists in doing my duty and indulging in fond anticipations of the time when, the war being over, the Government restored, and our work well and faithfully done, I shall return to you and our sweet babes, and I will feel I am in Eden. God bless you and help you to bear your part of the weary burden that this war throws upon you with the unfailing courage of a Spartan matron, dreading more than his death the failing of your loved one to do his duty.