22 July 1862: “Buel is fast concentrating for attack, Forrest’s operations in middle Tenn. have delayed him as I intended they should…”

Item description: Letter, dated 22 July 1862, from Gen. Edmund Kirby-Smith to his wife Cassie Selden Kirby-Smith. At the time of the letter, Kirby-Smith was commanding the Army of East Tennessee. He comments on an apparent dispute with Confederate Congressman William Graham Swan of Tennessee and other political and military activity in his area of command.

More about Edmund Kirby Smith:
Edmund Kirby-Smith (1824-1893) was a United States Army officer, Confederate Army general, president of the University of Nashville, and professor of mathematics at the University of the South. Kirby-Smith is also considered the last Confederate general to surrender at the close of the American Civil War.

Item transcription:

Knoxville July 22nd

Darling Wife, I am quite tired but fore going to bed I will write you a few lines. My health is quite restored and I am ready for active service; it is fortunate I went to the mountains. My system reacted and I recovered my strength so rapidly, they say I am fatting and am looking better than I have done for months. Dearest Wife, I do so long for peace and quiet and for a release from my responsibilities. I am almost worn out and worried to death. I have acquired the enmity of Judge Swan and that whole clique of politicians, and I see they are making covert attacks upon me in the papers. They have been writing to the President also; but he only encloses thin letters to me with continued assurances of his confidence & esteem. The secret of it all is that Judge Swan & Co. found that I could not be made a tool of and that I would not lend myself as an instrument to their party and personal prejudices.

In my conversation with Judge Swan when he urged upon me to take possession of the ballot boxes at the state elections, I told him I should not be influenced by him or by any political party but should steadily pursue my own policy doing what I conscienciously believed was right and for the public interest, that I alone was responsible. Judge Swan has not since visited me. I understand he is often heard, when he can find listeners, commenting on my course, and that an open attack is to be made upon me next session of Congress.

Dr. Smith left here yesterday morning for Lynchburg, he has telegraphed that his nephew was dying. I trust it may be a mistake. The Dr. was [wrapd?] up in him and from accounts he was an exemplary & promising young man. You will see the Dr., Dearest and give him every assistance you can. My own precious wife I do so miss you, and do so long to see you once more. it seems I never know how much I love you and how dear you are to me till I lose. it may be that God thus [?] and strengthens our affections. I know darling when away your image fills my mind, and thoughts of you will cheer & comfort me in my labors. Darling you will not think me foolish, you will not any less love me, that I make so much of you. I can not help it, and I love, cherish and spoil you, if making so much of you will spoil. I shall at 4 tomorrow morning for Beans Station. I have much to do there. I shall return the same night, and next day will probably leave for Chattanooga. Buel is fast concentrating for attack, Forrest’s operations in middle Tenn. have delayed him as I intended they should, I expected Gen. Bragg to have had time to have cooperated with me by [?] delay, he was to have moved up into Middle Tenn. He telegraphed me now that he cannot move that way, but will send reenforcements via Mobile. God grant they arrive in time. Wife I feel that all will be well with me here, I have the assurance that I have [spared no exertions?], all is in Gods hands & in him is my trust. Pray for me my darling & may he in his mercy watch over and bless you prays

your devoted husband

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