Letter from Ellison Capers to his wife Lottie, November 26, 1861


Letter from Ellison Capers to his wife Lottie, November 26, 1861


Capers writes that Peter has the measles. He says that he is well, and is considering resigning from The Citadel to join Stevens, but has been ordered to a regiment on Johns Island. He asks Lottie's opinion, and says that he knows he has her sympathy. He says that Peter is unhappy with camp life and asks if he should send him back home. He writes about the cost of mailing letters, and how much he loves Lottie. Capers continues his letter later in the week, and says that his regiment was ordered to Johns Island, and that he has resigned from The Citadel. He says that Peter is better, and will be sent home with their things.


A1961.1, Box 1, Folder 46


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Ellison Capers Collection










Charleston County (S.C.)

Date Valid


[Page 1]

Near 1 O’clock P.M. Tuesday Nov 26 1861 My precious Lottie - I have just come in from my morning’s recitations, and am just now finished reading your two letters, one of them on Saturday & one on Sunday, and both received today. Thank you, my darling, for the expected bundle. You know how I will prize it. Master Peter has been annoying me for the last two nights with a violent cough, & yet he did not seem to have a cold, but just before I went into the section room I noticed his face and eyes quite red and upon examination have found the gentleman fairly into the measles! We have found several cases here and Dr. Wright is to be thanked for it all. So Peter is now rolled up in his blankets looking like the sun set. I have him on the floor in the company room which I occupy & have sent for the Doctor. He says he does not feel badly and if I had not found him out, it is not known how much longer he would have gone

[Page 2]

without telling me. Sage’s Packer is to be up here this afternoon to pack up our crockery and [illegible] and I will do the balance. When I get another letter from you I will know what day to give for Manning to send to the depot. The thimbles shall be forth coming, my darling, and what, in this world, is there which I would not do for my own precious wife? I am happy to say dear that my complaint is much better & that I experience no inconvenience from it. I took breakfast with Tady this morning and am to dine with White. The officers are very kind to invite me to meals & when they miss, I go for Tady or Aunt V. I will say, darling, I will tell you what progress I have made in determining my course. As I expected, Stevens has offered me a majority in his Legion - which is for a period of 12 months, and for the defense of our state in this her time of trial. This determined me to resign from the Citadel & my regiment and enter

[Page 3]

the Legion. But here comes an order from Genl. Ripley ordering the Regiment to John’s Island! Of course I can’t join them until my assignation is effected here. That is fixed in my letter to the Board, for Monday next. But if I join my Regiment on John’s Island I must give up the offer in Steven’s Legion, for he wants me to decide by Monday & go right into service! Suppose I go with my Regiment and after they have been on Service for one month the necessities of the case [illegible] & offer them relief from duty which I believe will be the case? Then I am out of the Citadel, lost the place for twelve months, in Steven’s Legion and my Regiment ordered home, I have nothing to do! Ain’t that a fix? I am almost made up in my mind to resign in the Regiment too & take Steven’s offer. It seems to me that it would be the wisest course, especially as I have resigned from the Citadel. What do you think, my angel. I know my dear wife that that your precious sympathy is mine

[Page 4]

and were it all I had in the world I would be rich indeed. I am rejoiced to know, darling, that Frank is so much better. I would be made happy to have you with me, Lottie dear, but as I am to be here no longer than this week, as a Professor, I would have no home for you. If I can, I will come up about the middle of next week and see you, but don’t be expecting it certainly, darling, for I may not be able to spare the time, I will write you again about this, however, I think that I will be coming, or send Peter up to you. Camp life does not suit him. I can not always be watching him, of course, and he is as imprudent as a baby - It is with strong regret that I am persuaded the winter will use him up in camp. What think you? I have just asked him which he will prefer, to back to camp, or Cherry Grove, & he decidedly prefers the old homestead. Friday Night - Yes, Lottie, I too, long to see you, my darling, day and night and with you shall commit by course to our good Father in Heaven, who doeth all things well. You do well (turn over to first page)

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to think of me as fighting the battles of freedom, without grief and it is your noble breast, and your own fine perception Lottie that inspires you with such feelings. I did not think of writing across the pages of my letter, and that is my excuse, darling, for the ten cent letter. But you sent me two letters by the same mail, and they cost ten cents, so where is the difference? But I would have paid ten dollars, darling, for either of them. And about tearing your letters, why I think that you ought to be glad to get that much of your letters for I found them out on a shelf! But you have not found out something about which my heart has felt ever since. I got home from your dear presence, and that is, that I left my sweet little blue picture of you! Oh! How I have missed it! The likeness on my heart satisfied the inward man, the

[Page 6 - written across Page 2]

soul of my love, but my eyes grow restless & weary and long to behold the image of the being that has full possession of my heart. I do not have disagreeable dreams of you, Lottie, nor have I been, nor do I intend to be, god being my helper, [illegible] or anything like it. So do not let such bad dreams trouble you. I send you this by mail a copy of the letter I addressed to the Board resigning my post here. White thinks I ought to resign but I can not agree with him and on that point my mind is fully made up. I certainly can not remain at the academy and fight the enemies of my state at the same time. Some of my friends want me to start a Regiment of my own but that would offer me if they will elect me to Colonel I will accept, but I have no heart for the pulling and hauling it would require. Oh! Me we never know [illegible] our best blessings till they take their

[Page 7 - written across Page 3]

flight! We know not the bright comforts of these until the calamities of war are upon us. Our dear little house never seemed so interesting to me as now when I get before its dismantled walls. Every spot has a charm for every spot speaks of Lottie and Kate and Frank! Good night my dear wife, may God bless you and our little boy. You may look for a letter from me by every mail. White & Thompson ask after you and send their love. Mrs. White told me just after tea that if I wrote I must say to you that she admires you very much. I forgot to tell you that Mr. Henry Stevens has been exchanged and is now in Richmond. The family are perfectly delighted. Good night Lottie, love, and sweet dreams from your Ellison. P.S. Thursday Night - My dear Lottie - This has been a busy day with me & [illegible] & I have been hard at it packing up our things and have

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not finished yet. I will charter a car tomorrow after I get your letter in which I expect you to tell me which depot [illegible] will send to. I will see them all put into the car and they will go up on Monday morning at 8 o’clock. When I come up we can arrange when mama will send for them. My Regt. has been ordered to Johns Island and left last night. This of course fixed my determination as they go to the presence of the enemy and I have resigned my post here and abandoned all idea of Steven’s legion and I will run up to see you dearest before I go to the Island. My resignation goes into effect on Monday. I will go up to [illegible] on Friday and [illegible] will have a horse to meet me and if you get this in time beg mama to send on Friday afternoon to Mr. Cains for me, so that I can get to Cherry Grove by night. I have made arrangements to get to Mr. Cains from the depot so I need not come only [illegible] I was fearful some accident may happen to this

[Page 9]

letter, so made more of a rise to Mr. Cain’s, and if I do not meet Lee there, I will get a buggy & ride on up, as my time with you, my angel, will be precious. Peter is better, I will send him up with the things on Monday, I think. Good night, my dear wife, & love to all. Your Ellie (Note: On the other side of this page, written in pencil, “At the Post Office, Thursday morning. The mail just opened, darling, & no letter from Lottie. E.”)


Capers, Ellison, 1837-1908, “Letter from Ellison Capers to his wife Lottie, November 26, 1861,” The Citadel Archives Digital Collections, accessed July 13, 2024, https://citadeldigitalarchives.omeka.net/items/show/6.