Letter from Asbury Coward to his wife Elise, February 14, 1863


Letter from Asbury Coward to his wife Elise, February 14, 1863


Letter written by Asbury Coward to his wife Elise. He teases his wife and talks about their daughter. He also talks about furloughs and how hard it is to get one. He mentions a social gathering and that his regiment is to move locations.


A2009.6, Box 3 Folder 1


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York (S. C.)


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Feby 14 1863

My dear Elise

I should indeed like to see you “shuffling” about the house in my shoes; doubtless you shuffle because they pinch your feet. What will you come to next? In my shoes now, it will not be long before you usurp my breeches - eh? Don’t you flatter yourself, however, that I shall tamely submit when I get back home. If resistance does not suffice, your own Constitution allows the “Rightful Remedy”. So be forewarned - What has got into you that you are calling that dear little toad bad. Is it that you are preparing yourself for a prospective division of affection? I must protest in her name against any such arrangement. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. She must rule supreme until the evil day comes, whereon she is to have her little dumpy nose broken. She shall be just as imperious and exacting as she pleases until that time; - then she will have to content herself with one half of the dominion. Poor little thing! I ought to be at home to protect her, for I very

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much fear that her charge for justice is diminishing daily. Tell her not to say “pa” when she sings “passing away”; - the connection of the words brings up unpleasant suggestions. I see you still seem to think that a man is a free agent in all things in the Army, and that nothing more is necessary to procure a leave of absence than the desire to have one. Do you not know that, with the exception of Law and Jenkins, those who are getting leaves at this time are men who have not been home for nearly two years; and that their present leaves were promised to them twelve months ago? Law and Jenkins have gone off to get recruits and conscripts for their Brigades, I have no such excuse. J. L. Miller is at home, - sick I suppose. I am in perfect health, and how can I have the face to ask for a leave to visit my family when there are hundreds around me who have not seen theirs for twelve and even twenty-four months! Again, although I have been in six or seven pitched battles and innumerable skirmishes as a staff officer, I have never yet lead my Regiment into one. Should anything of the kind occur while I was absent, I should feel disgraced. The appearance of affairs here are by no

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Means such as to indicate an absence of all prospects of a battle. You must remember, too, that I have been very much indulged in getting home; more so than any of my acquaintances. You may rest assured, my darling, that nothing in the world would make me forego the privilege of a leave of absence when I can with propriety obtain it. You would not yourself have it otherwise.

I spent quite a pleasant evening yesterday. My old friend Major Moses asked me to come over to visit the family with whom he and General and Mrs. Longstreet are staying, and to assist him in taking the ladies to the “Camp Varieties of Jenkins’ Brigade”. I went over, but only Mr., Mrs. and Miss [illegible] would go. Mrs. Longstreet is in mourning and I suppose did not like to leave the General. The ladies seemed to enjoy the performance very much. There were other ladies there whom I did know. The performance over, I went back with the party, and had a very pleasant chat of about half an hour, and took my leave with a promise to call again. They are very nice, intelligent and apparently wealthy people.

Feby 15th Well! Well! I had written this far last night, when I was called off. This morning I was

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waked up about 7 oclock, and in the music of the pattering rain, received the intelligence that we were ordered to be on the march for Richmond by 11 oclock. Our Brigade is ordered to rejoin Gen. Picketts Div - which had been ordered south somewhere. I suspect North Carolins is our destination, or possibly, the Petersburg Department. I know Jenkins won’t relish this much.

Ugh! it makes me shudder to think of plodding all day in the rain, and sleeping all night in a puddle. Sitting in my warm comfortable tent, I cannot realize that such a hardship awaits us.

Well I must be packing up. Good bye - God bless you all. Don’t be disappointed if you do not hear from me for several days. It will take four at least to reach Richmond.

Your devoted husband
A. Coward


Coward, Asbury, 1835-1925, “Letter from Asbury Coward to his wife Elise, February 14, 1863,” The Citadel Archives Digital Collections, accessed July 15, 2024, https://citadeldigitalarchives.omeka.net/items/show/1589.