16 September 1862: “The large armies concentrated at Louisville and Cincinatti are held in check, by my advance.”

Item transcription: Letter, 16 September 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 in the invasion of Kentucky.  The invasion, led by Kirby-Smith and Gen. Braxton Bragg, was a series of movements meant to draw the border state of Kentucky into the Confederate States. Confederate forces scored several early victories in the campaign, including a victory at the Battle of Richmond (Ky.), but were ultimately stopped at the decisive Battle of Perryville (8 October 1862).

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 available below images.]

Item transcription:

Lexington Sept 16th /62

My dear darling wife, I shall once more make an effort to send you a few lines, it may share the fate of some others of our dispatches, and fall into the hands of “bushwhacking mountaineers.” Wife, I can imagine what your anxiety must be to be cut off from your husband at this time to be denied even the solace of hearing from him but darling be of good cheer, it will not last long. God in his goodness will listen to our prayers. I see now some prospects of ending this cruel war. Dearest wife, I feel that I should be with you; my heart longs for your presence. I would willingly accept any hardship or privation, the most humble position in quiet, with you would be a welcome exchange to my present situation. but Gods will be done, I am discharging my duty. I am engaged in a just and rightious cause in [forwarding?] which my life & my energies must be devoted. I am organizing troops from amongst the Kentuckians. they are slower than I expected but when I see their magnificent estates their fat cattle & fine stock, I can understand their fears & hesitancy. they have so much to lose and wealth, property and Yankey intercourse have had their corrupting influence.

Bragg is at Cave City on the Louisville Road and has cut Buels column. we will hear from him soon. my position in the mean time is a bold and imprudent one, but if supported will secure Kentucky. The large armies concentrated at Louisville and Cincinatti are held in check, by my advance. How long this may be the state of affairs can not say. the northwest is fairly aroused, our people must redouble their [executions?]. I have not heard from you since I left Barboursville. I know your letters are some where on the road. you will write me dearest wife often. You are ever present in my thoughts. [M?] is well, the Dr. is reading the Louisville paper of yesterday. all send love. God bless you darling wife. Dearest wife I pray for you day and night, my anxiety for you is intense. you will have [my?] note [find of?] your safety and my good fortune. telegraph to Clay and let him forward the good news. God bless you darling. your devoted husband

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