Sunday, August 6, 2017

Captain Charles “Edward” Putnam to Mary “Ella” Fawcett, July 17, 1863

Camp 13th Iowa Infantry
Clinton, Mississippi
July 17th 1863
Dear Friend Ella:

I had begun to think Ella had forgotten her absent friend, Ed — until a few days ago when a letter came from her with the date of June 28th. I am always very anxious to hear from you and when a long time passes without the receipt of a letter, I imagine a thousand things, wondering if you are tired of our correspondence, or if I have failed to please you. As regards your showing my letters to your friends, I have no objections if there is anything in them of interest to others. I do not intentionally write anything of which I am ashamed to have anyone read; perhaps there are things in them occasionally which had not better be too widely circulated, but I leave the matter to your discretion.

My Fourth of July passed off very quietly. Our brigade lay at a ford on Black River all day watching the movements of  Gen. Johnston’s troops on the opposite side of the river.

Frank has never shown me your miniature nor have I seen a likeness of you taken since I came away since I have been in the army. I expect you have changed very much since I left you and am anxious to know how you look; but presume I shall have to wait until my return. I was greatly surprised to learn that you had not imagined what possesses a woman to shear her head of her greatest ornament — and you had such beautiful hair that it seems a pity that you should have done it.

Evening, July 19th

Do you begin to think that after all the promises I have made about going home this summer that I am not going to fulfill them? It really looks so now — but I assure you that were it possible, I should have been at home ‘ere this. It is very true that many officers are going home all the time; and it looks singular that among so many chances, I cannot obtain the privilege of leaving. But to get a leave of absence one must be sick, or pretend to be, and my principles will not allow me to resort to false statements to obtain even so great a wished for pleasure.

To say that I am contented would be false, for I have anticipated so much happiness from a visit that to be deprived of it makes me quite discontented — and you know that, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick” — and certainly I have hoped long enough to go home, as my letters will testify. However, I still hope on believing that my turn will come after awhile.

You don’t know how much I want to see you and I am afraid that when I get a chance…

[unsigned letter; missing second sheet]

Click on photo to enlarge.
Click on photo to enlarge.

SOURCE: This letter was put up for auction on Ebay. Accessed August 5, 2017.

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