8 October 1864: “Write as you feel”

Item Description: Letter dated 8 October 1864 from John A. Ramsay to Margaret Beall (Maggie). Maggie was recently widowed by his cousin Julius D. Ramsay who died earlier in 1864. This is one of many letters of courtship that John wrote to Maggie after his cousin’s death.

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Item Citation: Folder 8, John A. Ramsay Papers (#03534), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Oct. 8th 1864

My Dearest—–

I have had the great pleasure of reading another of my Dear One’s letters of the 3rd inst, and was truly glad to find, that you were well, but was sorry to find poor little M. was sick. I hope she will have recovered before this comes to your hand.

My Dearest— you must excuse this short letter, as I will not have time to write long; but the long letter I wrote on the 5th & 6th will make up the difference.

In your last, in speaking of telling me your troubles, you wrote “I see I must hereafter make a miserable man. Now dearest ask me to comply with such a request again.” But my Dear Friend I must ask you to continue writing just as you have done hereafter. Write as you feel. If you are in trouble I wish to share it. I do not wish to be, and cannot be happy, if I think there is trouble on my Dear Ones mind. Tell me in your letters freely, and unrestrained; as I write to you, your feelings. I will do what I can to soothe, relieve, and calm your troubled heart; and if I cannot relieve you, I can sympathize with my Darling.

As to the story I told you, and which has occupied such a prominent place in our letters, I will try and satisfy my Dear’s curiousity if possible. It is itself a very small affair but the fact, that it was a story, kept troubling me. It grieved me to think I had done such a thing– I could have said nothing about it and let it passed; but that would not have alevred (alleviate?) my conscious. I could not deceive the Great Ruler of Heaven and Earth. He knew that I had done wrong, and I asked and hope I have obtained his pardon. I also felt that I had done injustice to the Darling of my heart, and I asked, and hope, you will forgive the fault.

I might have kept it from your knowledge, but I did not feel that it would be right, and I told you. I have no secret now, that you do not know. If it were possible for you to look into my heart and read and know all that is there, you would be welcome. There is nothing there now, that would cause me to blush.

I will try and recall your recollection to the occurrence which caused the story to be told. You recollect we sat talking one night until quite a late hours. I then left you but forgot my cap. I intended going to your plantation early in the morning, and rose early and found my cap missing, and studied awhile– remembered where I left it, and went and got it. After I returned from the plantation you asked me some questions about my coming after it, and not sending for it, and I did not give true answers. It was a small affair but would have embarrassed you, if I had told you then. But since things have taken the turn they have, and we stand towards each other as affirmed– and— it would have been much better, had I done what I shall ever do hereafter.

I hope your recollections will be refreshed by the foregoing, and that you will understand my motives in doing what I did.

With the high regard that I had for your character, I could not refrain from refolding to you the only thing that would ever cause me to blush, at your gaining a knowledge of; and I hope that my Darling will not trouble herself any more in regard to this affair; but, will bury it deep deep in the waters of Oblivion never to be resurrected again. 

I was very sorry to hear that Capt T. Beale was wounded and Capt J. Beale was ? and hope that the wound was slight and the sickness not severe. I had been anxiously waiting to hear from their ever since Early’s battles. Theirs was pretty severe fighting in this away yesterday on both flanks, but as I am in the centre I have not heard the particulars yet.

The cloth I send you, please take care of for me, for the present; please save it as I see the months are at work on it.

I would keep on writing till night, but have to stop I suppose my last letter tired you dull. It I believe is twenty pages.

May God’s richest blessings attend you in the prayer of

Yours only,

J. A. R.

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