17 September 1864: “I hope this dreadful war will soon be over”

Item Description: A letter from William Dudley Gale to his sister Anna regarding his wife, and troop movements between divisions.

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Citation: From Folder 5, in the Gale and Polk Family Papers #266, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


H. General Stewart’s Corps
September 17th, 1864

Dear Anna,

Your letter as well as one from Kate and one from May have all been received within a day or two . They were very  welcome, as they were the first for just over a month, no 3 weeks. I knew they were on the way. Our retreat from Atlanta caused everything to get into confusion. Your letter was very acceptable indeed as you spoke more of the children. How I would to see you and to share a moment with the dear little fellows.  It seems I have been unfortunate when I have been with you, being sick. It give me intense pleasure to hear you speak of dear Kate in the manner you do. I am not surprised that you should love her as you do for it seems to me that she is “altogether lovely.” I have always known any one in my life who possesses so many charms as she does. I thank God every day of my life for giving such a fun minded, loving devoted wife, what can I ever do to repay her for what she done for me and mine? I feel sure that if it had not been for her loving heart, I should have been in my grave, years ago, instead of a strong useful man. You cannot tell how much I love her, and how much I lean upon her. I hope this dreadful war will soon be over and then I will by the tenderest devotion of my life endeavor to repay her for all she has suffered and done for me and mine. It is a source of great pride to me to feel that her influence has not been confined to me, but every member of the family have experienced pleasing and derived some good from her affections. Oh sister, loving devoted wife, tender unflinching , patient, conscientious noble mother, respectful and devoted daughter,  how can it that she will not profit(?) in life, and her dear devout labor, God help and protect them I pray. 

Joe spent two days with me a few days since. He was quite well and although a little mortified at the condition(?) of his Division [smugded] will please God. Edward Johnston now commands the Division, a fine soldier and grandmaster, Battalion(?) Brigadier has now about 400 men. General Watthall is doing his but to have him and his men transferred to this Corp. I hope he will succeed. Joe got the bundle from Mary which he seemed delighted with, I am very much pleased to know she sent him the things. I must now stop. 

Love to all and kisses to the dear little brats. Your loving brother, 

W. D. Gale


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