Letter from Fanny to Frank Hall, from Plattsburgh, NY.
Plattsburgh Jan. 26, 1863
My dearest one,
I cannot tell you how much this letter
has been in my thoughts for I am hoping to take it myself to the cars for
Mr. Signor to hand to Capt. Wood. And so I trust it will really reach you.
Your dear letter of the 14th came to me Saturday and as it was directed to
Hartford I presume you cannot have received any letters from me at that time
since the 1st of Jan. I do not see why there should be such wonderful
irregularity about the mails. I am sure it ought not to do so. For what a
little world of anxious hearts it makes. Only those who know by experience
can realize anything about it. As I have written you I thought I knew before
I tried it; but I did not. Now deary Just a few words to tell me how you
are would be such a comfort. I do not mean to send a letter every day for
there is the journal letter but every two or three days if you can consistently;
even an envelope only writing on it how you are. But if in order to do even
this you have to ride about, in order to mail the letter, I do not want it,
remember please. Since Jan. came in, I have had three letters (that is, written
this month), one the 1, 5, 14. So, you see my imagination has had rather
abundant scope. Then I want to beg of you again, not to conceal anything
from me; and not to ask anyone to refrain in any manner from writing about
you in their letters. It would pain and grieve me deeply to have you do anything
that would lead anyone to feel you did in any measure, wish to keep them
from writing just as fully as might be. Will you give me the assurance that
you have not or will not intimate in any way, to anyone any restriction about
writing about you. It would be a real comfort to my heart, and I am sure
you will do all you can to make me comfortable & to give me the assurance
I so much desire.
Dear, dear hubbie you cannot know how my heart is with you by day, and by night & how deeply & tenderly I love you, my own one. I have written incessantly begging you if you were sick, or injured in any way, not only to keep your promise & send for me by telegraph, but also to send someone on and let them telegraph beyond Washington. Military matters so usurp the lines, that it will not be safe to trust to telegraph alone. The messenger could take that manner, & could let me hear of course much sooner than he could make the Journey though it would be well for the messenger to come on also, so as to make surety doubly sure.
Remember you are my dearest earthly love & how my heart is bound up in you and do I entreat of you give me the comfort of this promise my husband. It would be such a relief and it seems as if you realized at all my intense anxiety you would give me the promise of this.
I have just been away from my letter to see Mr. & Mrs. Myers & since I have come to our room, I have been engaged in prayer that I might be guided rightly & wisely in all that I should write to you. I sent you several days ago Mr. Myers' private message. God grant my dearest one, that if anything is done, your mind may be guided from on High, as well as the minds of the people here. Even the thought that it may be, half frightens me, it would be such a realization of my fondest idea, yet one that seemed so unlikely to even come about. Oh, how earnestly, how fervently I have, and do pray that they and you may be guided from on High. I was told that the time of the 16th is out in May. I don't know, it is almost too good to be true. Yet how wonderfully God has led us thus far. To me this would be beyond all power of expression dear, as you know. But in this, as in every thing else, all I can do is to pray most earnestly to our Father to guide the hearts & minds of the people and yours also. In case there is an opening, could we have asked anything in the wide world better. It makes me tremble with hope deep, deep in my heart. Will you not see God's guiding love in it?
I find I have written so that my letter may be enigmatical. I hope a copy of what I referred to as having written you soley on Mr. Myers own responsibility & so will send it in this. Mr. Myers spoke more confidently this morning. Dear, dear Frank, I know one thing in case you would have the pastoral duty where I hear there has been a vacuum.
I must not write more, I feel too much. Pray earnestly; I shall most certainly & that I can do & know it is all in God's hands.
Capt. Wood, dearest, told me you had talked of having me with you. Do you know at all what a comfort that was to me. You had not written about & oh it made my heart well up within me, my conversation with him. He will tell you all about it. Oh how kind & considerate he was. He said he would take me on, but of course the reputed move renders that an impossibility, You cannot think how much good it did my heart to know you had thought and talked about it. I am sure it would not be wise now. I shall think & pray as ever for you only more earnestly.
I want to say a few words to you in regard to your exposure during the battle of Fredericksburgh. I have written much about it, but you may not have received my letters. Dr. Coit, in his bible class, brought out a point that struck me very forcibly for you; when Christ, in his humanity was tempted to throw himself down from the temple, Luke 4-9-10-11. Urging the plan that "it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee to keep thee" & c., "Christ answers him, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." So, we must not presume upon the promises of God; and there rush into danger but must answer, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." We must use means in order to effect ends. God has so decreed it. We must not needlessly put ourselves in peril, & then expect a miracle. Whether you regard the text as did Dr. Coit the truth is patent; and I pray you to bear it in mind as a duty to God and to your wife. I do not ask you, (& I know how needless it would be to do it for you would not, nor would I seek it) to shrink from your own post of duty, during battle but I do not; I do beg, I do pray you not to expose yourself for the sake of sight seeing or for any reason without your limit of duty in your sacred calling. As I have written you before, for you it will require more true bravery to keep from needlessly being in danger than for you to breast it all. Do be wisely prudent, my husband for the sake of duty & for your own little Fanny Fan.
There were so many things I wanted to put in this letter and I am afraid I shall not think of half of them. In the eve, Capt. Wood took on but which owing to the move he may not be able to take to you immediately, I put in a bottle of pickles from Mrs. Colt, two from Aunt Polly's store. 1 bottle of Quince Jelly, 1 bottle of Cherrie sweetmeats, 1 tin sardines, box sent by Hettie Swetland! 4 sausages home-made from grandma. 1 box & note from Miss Hettie Coit with candy made by herself, even blistered her hand for it, & popcorn from her too. 1 bottle of Peruvian bark & wine, for you as I hear you are boiling again. Mixed with directions on it. 4 pair of socks. The sweetmeats I made here last summer. I don't know as you will favor them but I did the best I knew how for them. Mr. Fouquet told me how to pack the box. Oh, there were two packages of envelopes & some writing paper. I believe that was all.
It is after dinner, that is, I went down & took my dinner & came up so as to write more to you. I am afraid there will be quantities of things I shall think of after my letter has gone. I must hurry so as to take it down. Oh, how anxious I feel about the move of the army and I so fear you will not De as considerate as you ought & your cold & boils make it so much the more needful. God grant you may be protected & guarded in and through all. Do not reject advice given you but be willing to receive it & profit by it. Will you think of this and act upon it. Don't imagine heeding advice will weaken your power over others; it will only make it the better. And that is one of the instruments God uses, to let us have advisors. Think on these things. I cannot commence to tell you how my heart is with you all the time.
I took my letter to the cars yesterday
but Mr. Signor told me that Capt. Wood was not to leave till today, as he
was after a deserter. So, of course I brought my letter home with me and
will write some more. The last sheet of it was written in such a hurry that
I thought I'd try and have this plainer.
You cannot think how I dwell with you, when I come to our room and all its comforts; it seems hardly right, when you have to encounter such hardships. And though it may seem trivial; food, too. After the words are on my lips, how Franky would like this, how I wish he had this. But thinking of all these things will not give you the comforts I want you to have. And this new move. What does it mean? The accounts are disheartening enough. I trust you have been cautious, for if we may credit the papers, the exposures have been terrible. Remember, own one, it is your duty to take care of yourself. I feel as if I should fly sometimes. I find that when I am so anxious to hear from you that news comes here, but slowly; but as far as I can see it is duty to be here. Oh, how I love you all all the time. I watch and long for letters & now it seems to me I'll pray mope fervently than ever for fresh strength & guidance. My heart is with you, my husband, I love you devotedly.
Don't keep my letters. As I have told you, I will take it as a proof of your love to me to burn them. It would be bad to have them seen & In the constant moves they might be lost. Do do be careful & remember about sending for me if you are sick or injured in any way. It is my right, my husband. You must remember too, and not be one particle worried about the journey.
You cannot think now finely I got on; it is really wonderful the quiet unobtrusive politeness given ladies travelling. Rest assured of it, my Franky. You know I am not timid & we have traveled so much it is not as if I were a stranger to it. I think I may say not conceitedly, that I could get alone unusually well. At Washington Fred Seward would see that I had a pass, and then above and through all, my husband, you must bear in mind that I am just as surely in our Father's care as if quantities of people were with me. And do trust fully in this.
What numbers of women do far more than this journey would be, and in this one respect I think you may feel your wife's abilities are not less than others. Indeed, my experiences, I am very sure, is much beyond most.
Were it not for this new move & finance I should, I think, now risk going with the Capt., for I could return if I were in your way. But as it is, there is too much doubt & I feel it is my duty to wait. But remember you have given me your promise if you were sick or injured to send for me. And I am sure you would outweigh your promise & the right that God has given me as your wife. Would you hesitate to trust God's care of me? Is it not so? Remember no one could be with you as your wife could. Don't imagine I could not make a good soldier, perhaps you would find me more of a one than you think. At any rate, my husband, I have right on my side to plead for me & remember immediately if you are sick or injured.
Your clothing is all here with me, skates even! Not that I mean you would need them if you were sick or injured, but you understand I thought it well to have them with me here! I should have said above, Capt. Wood gave me all requisite directions so the journey, it is as plain as possible to me. You need not have a moment's worry on that issue. I am going to send to Capt. Wood to see if my letters are directed correctly. It is best to be as sure as possible.
I wrote you a long business letter early in Jan. telling you I had sent down the Coupons (Aunties). I nave a reply from the bank telling me of their reception, so will you please, if you have not already, send a check to Mr. Eddy for $105; please attend to it immediately, I beg of you.
Mr. R.'s check was for $584.66. I believe I may not have the figures exactly, but it was $500 odd. Four checks I received from you, $25 each & I had $50. I have sent one of them to H'd [Hartford] to pay a bill. Ice. There are several bills to be paid but I shall not dare to send away all the money till I have more from you, in case you should need me, my dearest one, with you.
Has Charley Bartlett ever paid you that $50? Deary, I am sure if not, it would be well to write to him to send it to you & he should do it. I hardly think there is need of being too careful with him. I am sorry to be obliged to put business in my letter, but I have to, you see. So if you will please send me some checks for the bills; don't send too much. You must trust wify; she is a prudent little girl now & loves to be so, dearly. It is not a task, you know; we are endeavoring to do it together. Oh, how I love you, my Franky. Don't let this trouble you for I can fix the things finely here. Only about its ways come soon & I thought I'd ask you to send some checks. Don't send too much. I will send you a list of bills & how I have paid them. Remember I am a business character. Don't let it worry [you] one minute.
It is now after dinner & Richard is to take me to the cars to give this to Mr. Signor to carry to the Capt. Oh, it must go to you full, full, brim full & brimming over with deep, earnest love.
"Can it be," dear husband, that my hopes as regards here are to be filled. God grant that His guidance may be with the people's minds & your heart, in case. Oh, now I shall pray for you, for us & about it, dear dear husband.
The snow has stopped falling & oh how pure & beautiful it is. Your little wife is most earnestly thankful that she can tell you she is very well. Indeed, I've been very well since I've been here; the air is so different from Hd [Hartford].
I wish I knew you were as well, my hubbie, my dearest one. Now isn't this a long, long letter, but you will love it all in your heart, I am sure. Dear Franky, how can I tell you how I love you. Do you know?
I had a letter from Catherine today. She says all well at H'd [Hartford]. I write very frequently to Ha [Frank's mother]; try always and catch the first mail after I hear from you so as to let her hear immediately.
Grandma has improved a good deal. She was measurably after I came. I really felt thoroughly discouraged, but I am grateful to say she is better. Cannot hear much, but a great gain. Now she has a cold, but I am giving her your remedies & say successfully, I think.
Dr. Dewey is very kind and for her he seems to do, but this time I am doctoring her cold like my Franky. Mrs. Dr. Hall. The rest is about as usual.
Grandpa takes interest in your work & I love to go & talk with him. I must hurry down to the train, my own one. Ever most lovingly thine.