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14 May 1863. Richard [Watkins], in camp near Orange Co[urt] Ho[use], to his brother, Nat[haniel V. Watkins].
Mss. 39.1 W32.142.pdf
Camp near Orange CoHo
May 14th 1863
Dear Bro Nat
The announcement of the death of dear little Charles affected me deeply. I had heard of the fatal character of the disease prevailing in the neighbour- hood but was wholly unprepared for such an event. But Oh how grateful we ought to feel that his death corresponded so beautifully with his life. How little of suffering, of disease of the many find, of sin did he experience in his brief bright little journey through life. He is [ ? ] and the [reach?] of suffering & [ ? ] His parents and his little sister must struggle on with the ills of life a few more days with the [chastening ?] hand of a merciful God and heavily upon their [country?] & themselves when they too [ ? ] [ ? ] will be led by the same gently shepherd to the more bright & happy world. Is not the hope of the Christian our only comfort in times like these? [taking ?] [ ? ] [ ? ] to cling close to God to confide more in his mercy & truth & in his precious promises to strive after that
measure of grace which will lead us to trust in him implicitly under all circumstances and really to believe that he doeth all things right and well. Let us also endeavour to heed his solemn admonition “Be ye also ready for at such an hour as ye think not the son of man cometh.” I feel much for Sister Nannet. In your absence she will be more frequently and more painfully reminded of the sad bereavement. May the great God of Heaven comfort and sustain her. – When you write her always send my love & sympathy. Wish very much that Mary could visit her and stay with her for a time, but Mary’s condition at present is not such as to admit of it.
With regard to the business part of your letter I of course cannot carry out my plans after the [houts?] which you have given me, but [I] am not the less tired of the cavalry service, completely worn out by constantly moving & marching & watching My health however continues good, very good. The health of our whole command has been excellent for many months past altho’ we have passed through many
and great hardships. The death of Genl. Jackson has cast a deep gloom over the Army. His life will ever be regarded as one of the most brilliant on record as well by other nations, as our own. God can and if it be best for us will supply his place.
Our Regiment is at present enjoying a brief resting spell. In a beautiful forest of
oak & hickory we have ^ lounging about, sur- rounded with green pastures in which hundreds of horses are grazing. Genl. Stuart is collect- ing a very large force of cavalry just here, of course we know not the object. Hampton’s brigade, Wm H Lee’s Brigade, Fitz Lee’s Brigade, the 3rd Regt. Arkansas Mounted Rifle men are all here and we hear that Genl. Jenkins’ cavalry are not far off. It may be that he intends punishing Sherman for his late raid or retaliating by going over into Maryland or Pennsylvania. Our Brigade has been doing so much of late that we need rest more than plunder but if a raid is made we will doubtless be required to go along. We find it difficult to get newspapers and hear very little news. I hear it said this
morning that Lincoln has called out 500,000 additional troops and thus this horrible war goes on. Well, if I am not killed I hope to see the old fellow through some of these days.
Am a member of a [Board?] to examine & condemn horses unfit for service and as that [board?] will soon meet must bring my letter to a close. Give my kindest regards to all of my acquaintances in [yr?] company. I will always be delighted to hear from you and can get a letter at any time addressed to Co [ ? ] 3d Reg. Va. Cavalry 2d Brigade. – Richmond Va. –
Farewell Yr Bro