Camp Cumming, Mobile, Alabama – February 1, 1863

Camp Cumming Mobile, Ala Feb 1, 63

My dear wife

No letter from you yet, not one word from home.  What can be the matter?  I am getting very uneasy.  I am afraid something very serious has happened.  Perhaps you are very sick or may be-I was going to say dead.  but I hope to GoD that may not be so.  I try to believe it is the carelessness of the P.M.s1  Surely Ma or Maj would have written if any thing very bad had happened.  This suspense is terrible.  I do hope you get one of my letters occasionally. I have no news of importance.  I see from the paper that the blockade is raised at Charleston.  Our fleet attacked the Yanks there a day or two ago + sunk one of their vessels + took another + crippled another very badly + chased the rest off.  Our authorities declare the port open.2 You will doubtless see all the particulars in the news paper before you get this letter.  My hopes of an early peace strengthen every day.  I have no idea how the war will last longer than the middle of March.  I fully expect to be at home in time to plant cotton.  Make your own arrangements about the Corn.  I hope I will be there to relieve you of your farming troubles by the first of April.  Lookout I dont play some trick on you about the 1st.3  You would like to see me at it wouldn’t you?  Have patience dear I am sure the war is almost over. 

I have very little to do professionally.  Most of my trouble is with two forms of disease that result from impropper female association.

My health is very good with the exception of an occasional brush of rheumatism in my back + Shoulders.  I would like to have you issue a crick out of my neck + right shoulder to night.  It is a small affair though + will vanish again with fair weather.  I have very little to do professionally.  Most of my trouble is with two forms of disease that result from impropper female association.  The treatment does not require a great deal of skill or science.4     +My sympathies are very little excited.  It is almost a pleasure to stick the caustic to a fellow when you know he has exposed himself willfully knowing his danger.  some of them pay dearly for their fun.  I am sorry for the young women that marry after the war.  Some of them will be badly swindled.  Many a one will get a broken down crippled man, when she thinks she is marrying a sound one.  There will be several of the boys in my mark.

Do write to me dearest Fanny + if you cant, tell Ma or Maj + dont keep me in this terrible suspense.  Direct your letter as I told you before.  Remember me kindly to all.  Kiss the dear children for me + believe me your own
Affect Alex

The Letter:

  1. Postmasters. Learn more about Confederate Postal Service from the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.
  2. The Union blockade of the South was devised by Gen. Winfield Scott and is sometimes referred to as the “Anaconda Plan.”  After 1862, only three ports–Wilmington, NC, Charleston, SC, and Mobile, AL–remained open for blockade runners.
  3. April Fool’s Day.
  4. Sexually transmitted diseases were common among soldiers on both sides of the war.  Freeman J. Bumstead’s “Pathology and Treatment of Venereal Diseases” (first pub. 1861) was one of the medical texts issued to Union medical personnel by the Surgeon General.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.