1865 January 29: “So, Mother, we are not prisoners, nor do we intend to be”
A letter from Ed Levings with the 12th Wisconsin Infantry in South Carolina. The original letter is in the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO), in the University Archives and Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
Camp of the 12th Wis. Vols. —
Pocotaligo S.C. Jan 29th/65
After a long impatient waiting for a letter from you we were last night gladdened by one from you with date of the 8th inst; and how great our pleasure to hear from home again. It is the third received from you this month, but not one have we had in answer to any we have written since leaving Atlanta. It is strange you had not received a letter from us since we left there. We have written a half doz. times, and it seems you should have heard from us once, at least. Most of our boys have received no answers yet to letters written since coming to Savannah, so we are not alone in waiting. The New York mails reach us but once per week, and this fact may account for having to wait so long. We will endeavor to write you a little oftener, so you need not be obliged to wait as long as you have.
So, Mother, we are not prisoners, nor do we intend to be. You must not allow your mind to be agitated by such a fear. The character of an event is not changed by worrying about it, nor is happiness increased or life prolonged, but quite the reverse. Do you think of it? The same kind Providence that watches over you watches over your boys, and whatever fortune is marked out for them is all right. Can you not trust him to take care of us?
And you have not received that money? Well I am not surprised, but guess you soon will. We mentioned in our letters what we did with it, but lest you may not get them [the letters], I will repeat it in this. We took $350.00 of our pay in the new 7 3/10 Gov. Notes and signed them over to you. $150.00 we gave Dale to express you [Wilber P. Dale]. You can get it at the Express Office in Prescott. $200.00 we gave Dale with the promise from him that he would remit you a receipt, and an order on Mr. Searle of Hudson for $200.00 in like notes, plus the first six months interest. So that we send you $360.00. He said Mr. Searle had the money ready.
You ask how much we have sent home. We have sent $1080.00 viz. $480.00 before coming home, $240.00 we left you when at home & $360.00 we have sent since. You say you have no account of it & say that you will make it good &c. Well, now, we gave you that money calculating you should use of it for yourselves and not as a loan. You refuse to see it in that light and think you must hold yourselves to a rigid account for it. I must laugh at you for once, No, we can never repay the debt of kindness and love we owe you as parents and shame be upon us if we ever ask or wish such a thing at your hands. Won’t you just release your mind of that purpose. I do not understand your meaning when you say — “I shall never have any peace as long as there is a cent of your property in my hands.” If you do not have peace, I guess it is your own fault. If you wish to dispose of any of that land & invest in Gov. bonds, I think it would be a good plan, but I would not undersell, nor deprive myself of the use of money for the sake such an investment. You can use those Town orders to pay town taxes & whether your tax is $100 or $200, you can fork over & laugh at hard times.