23 April 1864: “…it was heartrending to listen to their piteous appeals for mercy and soliciting interference on their behalf.”

Item description: Letter, dated 23 April 1864, from Bryan Grimes to his wife, Charlotte Emily Bryan.  Grimes describes challenges with the Confederate mail system and the necessity of the death penalty for deserters.

[transcription available below images]18640423_00118640423_00218640423_00318640423_004

Item citation: From folder 10 in the Bryan Grimes Papers #292, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

My Dear Darling,

I feel sad and depressed to night for I fear something has occurred to you letters causing you to neglect to write to me I have received (and do have others) letters from Raleigh dated so late as the 20th. so evidently it is not the fault of the Mail unless your letters have been more unfortunate than others. Your last was dated the 16th since which time I should have received at least two letters if you had been as punctual as myself let alone to have written as frequently as I requested you should. Not hearing from you results in Sadness and at times a little more than sadness for the fear continually haunts me last year [deters] is due to Sickness for I love you too ardently to admit to myself for one instant love-sick [?] that it is indifference or neglect that prompts this seeming disregard of what I consider to be due me, for God’s sake, if you love me do write me often, if I behind that you had let seven days elapse without writing it would engender the ? indifference in my ? and I should then ? myself to a letter a month however much violence I might do to my own feeling and adopting fresh a course so please write me I am getting really nervous about it. This afternoon at their request I visited three men of  my Regiment at Division HdQuarters and under sentence of death for desertion it was heartrending to listen to their piteous appeals for mercy and soliciting interference on their behalf. if not for a pardon at least for a suspension of their executions for a while which will take place next Thursday. It was with a heavy heart that I informed them that I could not make application for a remission of their sentences for I [?] behind that the good of the service absolutely demands the implication of the severest penalties of the law to prevent desertion. though it is trying to the stoutest hearts and [?] principles to turn a deaf ear to the pleadings of Nations and the institutions of the [?] at home and if so trying to [?] capable of reasoning in the Subject and who voluntarily undertake to undergo the hardship and deprivation of a Soldier’s life, and the [?] if that Cataloges is the [?] [?] the land was at home how much more [fortitude?] and patience does it require in the regiment, who contrary to their [instructions?] and in [opportune?] to their [perennial?] opinions to be [forward?] to quit the wife of their [bosom?] and the due pledges of [? 0ppertunes?] and brings all the pleasures of domestic bliss and content to which they have always been accustomed and to come out here among in unsympathizing [?] and unwilling to the a [Market?] and found in opposition to them will to him a point in the quiet struggle.  I believe Presumption to be just and right but at the same time [terribly?] hard [?] and desertions among conscripts should be viewed with as much leniency as the [?] of the line will permit.  I have [opened?] that [?] in what will not interest you.  If I [pul?] well tomorrow I may visit you home [?] cheering news but I want you to write me. Devotedly your husband.

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