Dogwood, August 5, 1861
My dear Brother,
I let Carrie go off to Uncle William's to stay tonight and I am here by myself as far as company is concerned (Allen being asleep), so I thought I would begin this to you even if I did not finish for a day or two.
Sister Mary wrote us that you were all well and that your crop looked pretty well. My corn looks better since the rain and I hope now to make more corn than I did last year and a better article though it will not command as good a price crops being so abundant for which we ought to be thankful. If you could cut and sell cord wood this fall at $2.00, you might make more than in the crop. If I could only get $1.75 would go at it at once, but it is only $1.25 and that will not pay.
I put in some wheat earlier than usual this season and see how that will do. Would like to put in a good deal way 60 acres but have too much fence cleaning and plowing to do and manure to haul. I would dry a good many apples but the machines for paring are out of order and the old way is too slow.
I feel somehow that I will yet have to be a soldier. The war will be in East Tennessee in less than a month, and as all this region moved from that portion and have friends up there, they will sympathize with the Lincolnites. We are sure to have trouble enough, especially as the majority in Kentucky are for the old United States. Indeed, we may look for a general war along the whole border and on our coast too this winter, although I have no doubt the blockade will be raised there, still, I am afraid we cannot get help from Old England or France in time. It will be to the interest of both those countries for us to be crippled as much as possible before they step in to mediate, or in other words, divide the spoils.
Have we not great cause to be thankful for the success of our army so far? When we started in without credit, without arms or armies, without a navy, without anything, but trust in right. I do not want to be ever joined with the Northern people again as a confederacy. It will never do.
My health has not been good for a week or two and I have stayed a great deal in the house, and as to outdoor work. I feel a great deal like Lincoln's Army- demoralized, or in other words, extremely lazy and insipid.
If Sister E. cannot come with you, can you not bring her and the children to Mrs. Harris? And come on with Sister Mary and see us "a little bit." I would give considerable to be able to help you eat some of your good watermelons and hear Sister laugh. Believe it would cure me entirely, but I need not complain about sickness as the doctor has left two doses ready for me. But I believe in the doctrine of taking it in very minute quantities, and may only put it in my vest pocket for sometime. And then throw it away.
Waight and Thomas Ramsey are both up in the army in East Tennessee, watching the mountain passes. Have had to arrest one company of Lincoln men and will have to fight many more soon I am afraid. Waight has the chills again and is in bad health.
Mr. Cole and his lady spent a day with us last week. Both small patterns of humanity but clever. They came to Catoosa but the crowd was too great as there is quite a number this summer.
Saturday, August 17
A rainy morning and nothing to do but finish this letter. News of another hard fought battle and many lives lost in Missouri. And a doubt whether McCulloch is killed or not. Many
hundred have gone from East Tennessee since last Sunday to Kentucky to join Lincoln's army and great trouble already springing up there, though it does not as we are assured- spring out of the ground.
Tell Sister Eliza I hope to see her some day before another twelve month. I hope possibly we may have peace in that time and grim-visaged war may smooth his wrinkled brow.
Have you any bacon to sell? We lost nearly ten sides by putting them in wet charcoal, and now have to buy at .18 cents. Expect to kill our old one'horned cow, and then have plenty of beef such as it is. Maybe sweet potatoes may come in soon and help out the cause some.
I have concluded to sow about 50-60 acres more of clover and then wait a year or two before sowing anymore. Believe that will do better than to plant much corn or sow much wheat. If I feel in the fall (when my hirelings go home) like I do now, will not have much work done, and will have to trust to hiring again which so far has not been a paying business with me. Ought I to sell a mule and buy a mare or two? Or buy a hay-press and sell all the hay I can spare?
Come and see me if you can. I want to see you and my Sister very much and your little girls. Carrie and Bob Tim send their love to you and so does Allen and your brother,