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4 October 1861, Phillip Lee Catesby Jones to Alice Harrison
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October th 4 1861
Dear Ms. Harrison
Your interesting letter did not [reach?] me, [until?] yesterday, or it would have been more prompmtly answered, as it is ever my [purpose?] to afford [?] but in the [slightes?] degree consolation to the Bereaved. I am sure my being with our greatly lamented Major [Carter H.?] Harrison that solemn, memorable, night, to his last moments, (Thursday July the 18th 1861 was Providential, for my feelings and [anxieties?] for him were intense, not like as to a Stranger, but as a Brother. Indeed the solumn [... or Divine ?] influences which seem present there gave me to realise, that with him, there "was one who sticketh nearer than a Brother". [proverbs 18:24] [This?] I felt assured as I was not absent from him to the very last [moments?], [not ten minutes?], neither did I want to be absent, nor eat nor slept, nor was in want of Either, as the Room was obliged to be kept perfectly quiet with every human means which the earthly [physician?] could command. The wound seemed to me, to be mortal, yet all human instrumentalities, were made use of for the restoration of your dear Husband, and our sorely lamented Major Harrison, now fervently did hope and desire that it might have been my privilege to have written that he was convalescent, but as [...] Divinde Master hath ordained other wise, we must submit [...] yield "as the clay in the hands of the potter". [Jeremiah 18:6] Oh! That we could feel like [this?] language implies, "I was dumb I opened" not my mouth, because thou didst it." [Psalm 39:9]
Marvelous are his ways, and purposes with his devoted humble followers - our fallible reasoning is unavailable - yet we do desire consolation under the heaviest bereavements under the heaviest afflictions from our Divinely Inspired writings, in which we are tough and maybe assured that these afflictions will be sanctified, that all, all, that befalls us here on Earth will be yet,- seen and felt to have been requisite for our spiritual advantage our growth in grace, tending to wean our too ardent attachment for any thing in this brief uncertain life... As our blessed Lord said "What I do, thou knowest not now, but shalt know hereafter, when we shall see eye to eye." [John 13:7] that [all however?] heartrending at the present, shall work for the best and everlasting advantage of al who walk uprightly."
The Apostle too consoles us, as to our dear departed Friebnds, "saying I would not have you Bretheren, to be ignorant concerning those who are asleep, that you sorrow not as those without a hope, and hope maketh not ashame because the love of god is shed [abrad?] in your heart. [1 Thessalonians 4:13, Romans 5:5] Asleep not [Dead], but sleepeth in the blessed Savior. This is clear to my mind as to [Him?] your Dear Friend Then amidst your pungent grief, you may look on the bright side, I think the great Apostle intimates our recognising our departed Friends in the spirit world. Then sorrow not as those without, who are destitute of that blessed hope of again meeting in that far far better State, never more to part. This consoling prospect ought to assuage your grief (intense as I know it is). Would that I could write so confidently to others thus bereaved of their dear loved ones. Though they together fallen a sacrifice in their countries [.....?] we mourn their loss, and sincerely Sympathise with those they have left behind. May our Dear Savior be with and sustain them through all.
Our feelings are more intense on account and because brave officers came from distant quiet Homes here, on our [?] [?] Border Thankfully assisting us to quell and vanquish those Ferocious foes who have come with an [?] [?] of destroying us plundering and burning [House?] more especially here the counties of Fairf[ax?] and the county of Alexandria and from the lower parts of this the far greater part of the Families have been driven in terror from their hitherto peaceful homes, their houses plundered, some of them burned, their owners driven to the upper counties seeking shelter among strangers wherever they could find a place. Their stocks and servants taken by there intruders among them some of my Relations. last week two poor Families came with their several little children (a most affecting scene) their houses having been burnt with their contents. These came to Headquarters [now?] Fairfax Court House for their protection. No Person no man at those Houses at the time. obliged to leave their Families to be taken Prisoneres.
At the Court House, Gen'l Beauregard has his Headquarters so far as culpable of knowing from the Indications, an attack is daily expected. This Great General is one of the most benevolent feeling, has most tender regard for the safety of his brave undaunted soldiers. His const aim and study are how he can best screen and protect his Men when engaged in the conflict with the foe who cometh seeking whom they may destroy.
Here let us suggest that Christians will pray mightely for our success in this our just cause. Let us look to our Lord for his gracious aid and assistance in [warding?] off this mighty host that is invading and coming attack us. We do sincerely believe that the prays of his People were [aviling?] on that great Sunday [Battle?] and gave the victory over that innumberable formidable foe.
Read 20th Chapter Second Chronicles, thus we must look unto the Lord for we know not what else we can do. When this great Company shall again come upon us, but look to the Lord in his strength under His Mighty Mighty [Arm?] to go forward." As He did command the children of Israel although under most discouraging circumstances, He will provide the means of escape when we obey, and trust his word and precious promises. "If we follow after that which is good who his he that can harm us."
I am glad I was enabled to write. All of it was the promptings of that better Spirit Than it is in the natural man it is of the Lord, for I could not rest [content?] till I had written, a duty that seemed to press upon me as imperative after the scene of that [solumn?] happy transit from this poor world to that of bliss and joy at his Father's right hand, and made me trust and pray that my last moments may be like his. Not a word of complaint, all peace and resignation and said [I have?] no fears.