21 August 1863: “The people were expecting the Yankees any moment when I left Selma and were actually drilling and working on the fortifications until midnight.”

Item Description: Letter dated August 21, 1863 from Elodie Todd Dawson to her husband, Nathaniel Henry Rhodes Dawson. Mr. Dawson served in the Alabama legislature from 1863-1865, and had formerly served in the 4th Alabama Infrantry Regiment. Elodie’s sister, Mary Todd, is more well known, as she married Abraham Lincoln.

[Item transcription available below image]

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Item Citation: Folder 339,  Nathaniel Henry Rhodes Dawson Collection #oo210, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Evergreen Grove, Aug 21st 63

My Dear Husband

I came down here yesterday Evening as I wrote you I would and found them all well tho’ Lizzie looks very pale and I think cannot be entirely well altho’ she says she is and does not complain. As usual I found a houseful of Company some Refugees and Mr Tom Mathews family spending the day. Mr and Mrs Mathews both seem gratified that a reconciliation has taken place after so many long years of estrangement, and I must confess that I partake of the feeling with them. they invited us all to go over and spend tomorrow with them and the Invitation is of course accepted. Three Vicksburg prisoners belonging to a Mo Regiment are also staying here poor feelows they have no where else to go. it did not take me long to discover two of them were from Ky. Mrs Mathews has gone to Cahaba this morning to see Mrs Evan’s children she has three sick and one of them lies so dangerously ill that no hopes are entertained for its life. from what i have heard I think there must be a great deal of sickness in Town. I am a little complaining this morning myself but think it will wear off presently. The people were expecting the Yankees any moment when I left Selma and were actually drilling and working on the fortifications until midnight. I left word that when they were within twenty five or 30 miles to Telegraph me and I would return and hide my valueables and take care of the House and Negroes. I hope your absence will not exceed two weeks or I think I will have to go to the Legislature myself for I miss you so much that I cannot bear to stay at home. Lizzie sends her love and says make haste home. Cahaba has for its size almost as many Refugees as Selma and they seem to be delighted with their location. I believe I have given you every item of news I could gather and will now lay aside writing materials for the present so goodbye write soon and with love believe me to be ever devotedly yours,


I enclose Mary’s measures  the breadth is the same as the length. I think you had better at least 1 pair. 

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