WILL TO JENNIE, May 4th
Chancellorville, Virgina, May the 4th 1864
I write you now not knowing when I will have a chance to send word home again.
It seems that we are to see some fighting at last. We were given the order to break camp yesterday, & have been marching through the night to bivouac here, on the old Chancellorville Battleground. There are those here who had fought in this very same place one yr ago, almost to the day. They were brave in battle but lost many a Good Man. I pray that we are not in for the same. We march again at daylight. I am grateful for the brief chance to lay myself down. If only on the cold ground.
Yet I am ever sustained by my Memories. I have one of you at 12 yrs old, capering through the Garden as I peer out the Window whilst I was supposed to be at study. Perhaps you were visiting with your Mother? You were a wonderful awkward Child. I think I loved you even then. Another recollection not 6 months ago, in that same Garden. You were a girl no longer, but in the full Flower of womanhood. You looked up at the house, your arms full of Dahlias, but did not see me, I reckon, or you might have stopped and raised your hand.
Dear Heart, do not condemn Mother for what you call her Cruel and Miserly ways. Do not fear that she will put you out, for I promise that you will always have a Home with us. After all, you are my Father’s Sister’s Child—you surely have a Small Claim to Pritchett House even if you did not have a Claim on my Heart. And you do, Love, you do.