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Augusta County: James R. McCutchan to Rachel Ann McCutchan, May 2, 1864

James R. McCutchan's poetic letter speaks of his longing for the pleasant spring days of his youth and the company of his friends. He also describes a long march his company had to make to the New River and back. The letter also contains references to the presence of "hard looking' women in camp, and the death of a young woman, possibly his cousin.

May 2nd, 1864

Greenbrier County

Dear Rate

I will try + write you a few lines this lovely morning. Such beautiful spring weather gives me the [unclear: blues] it recalls to memory scenes of long ago, to roam over hills, through ravines, governed alone, by the dictates of my own will. Oh the bright sunshine of one's school days. How well do I remember the many happy hours, I have spent on just such mornings as this - when soft, balmy breath of this youth of the year, was calling the little flowers, + the green grass from out the earth again. How I longed for school hour to come in the morning, when I could hasten away, to the sound of familiar voices, + the sight of familiar faces from whom one night seemed long to be separated.

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But those days are gone. The kind voices, + bright smiles, that once greeted me. I no longer see or hear. When I was free + happy but now I am living that life which I once looked forward to with pleasure. I see + feel the coldness and selfishness of the world, + in the solitude of my heart I look 'round, + in the vast concourse of human beings, I can see not one to whom I can pour out my sorrows or receive the answering sigh of sympathy.

Evening. I had to stop my writing + go on drill. When I came back, I found about a dozen ladies in camp, they were such hard looking cases, though, that I was afraid to go close to them. I think from the way they crowded around the band when it began to play, that some of them never had been from home before.

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When we shall leave this camp, I am not able to say, we hear a thousand different rumours about going, but so far they have all turned out to be false.

It is now reported that the "Doodles" are coming, + it is my opinion, if we don't have to fight this week that Gen Jenkins will be here in a few days, + send us for our horses.

I hope he may soon come, I want to be mounted, + get away from here. We had a right hard march about a week ago, a hundred of us were marched to the Narrows of New river for arms. We made the trip there + back a distance of ninety mls in four days + a half.

I have rec'd letters from three of my [unclear: M] friends who were in the penitentiary with me they were exchanged some time after I was at City Point at Petersburg they formed a [unclear: co] calling themselves the

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1st Missouri Cav. + are now under Imboden's command.

I rec'd a letter from [illeg.] to day. I am glad that Sue is better from what I had heard I was fearful she would not recover.

I never was so [unclear: sh] as when I read your note telling me that Susie was dead. How little did I think when I left your house, 'twas the last [illeg.] should see her. Oh it seems so [illeg.] that little [illeg.] like [illeg.] must die, [unclear: wh] have [illeg.] done wrong. But we dont [illeg.] what is best [deleted: ] than we are + we can be her again in Heaven.

You must write to me soon. It is probable I may get home for my horse, though I am not sure that I shall. Give my love to all.



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