18 October 1863

63

Knoxville, Tennessee
October 18th 1863

My dear mother,

As I left off rather abruptly last night giving you nothing but a copy of the diary, I think I will say a few words more. I have answered father’s and Josephine’s letters and now feel quite easy in mind. I never do when I have a number on hand unanswered.

Josephine wrote me a splendid letter. If she continues to write such, I shall feel as I never used to—always anxious to hear from her. Poor girl. Perhaps I judged her too harshly in one of my letters to you. By the tone of her letter one can easily see that she is sick at heart in an unsettled state of mind caused by one who she feels has wronged her. Although I do not yet think she acted quite lady like at times, I cannot but think that she almost worshipped him who I had learned to respect as a brave soldier, but who, in his private relations, was wholly unprincipled if reports concerning him are true. She gave me some excellent advice for which I thank her, though I scarcely need it just at the present time. You can guess pretty near what it was.

From your letter I should judge that you were quite a “lion” (ess) among the people in Clinton. I am really glad that “ma” is thought so much of but in regard to their inquiries & c. about me, why it is perfectly natural to think well of a person when he is far away and not continually “loafing about.” And I hardly can thank them for their trouble until I see what their “opinion” will be after I have been a few weeks at home, provided I ever live to get there.

If you were so sorely pressed to show my writings, I will “forgive” you. But be careful to whom you show them. You can’t always tell what these school girls may do and I don’t want my “doings and saying” to gain too much publicity for I do not agree with you that they would make a good appearance in print. They are most too egotistical. You know I have not an excellent education and therefore cannot use “high-flown” language a la Carlton, Burleigh, and a thousand other correspondents. I make a simple statement of facts for our own use and I know you will use discretion in exhibiting them. I am anxious to know if the person who inquired after my address is going to write. If so, what she can say. I have now about all the correspondents I can attend to but will answer one more occasionally if reason is used. Yet I don’t want them to send too often.

Now I want to ask a favor of you. I wish you would send me a new diary. I do not want the days of the week and moth in it but a plain “pocket tuck diary.” Get a large one with a good leather cover. If you will do so, I will endeavor to fill it as soon as possible. I must now close for supper is most ready. What do you suppose I am going to have? Why a cup of coffee, boiled in an iron kettle, and a piece of sour bread. Won’t you take a slice? “Why, Miss Howe, how do you make such a nice light biscuit?” Please pass the butter and sugar while i help myself to applesauce. Squash or apple pie? “Squash, if you please.”

From your affectionate son, — Charley

P. S. Eddie sent me a letter with Jerome’s. Twas a good one. Very much obliged for those postage stamps. — Chas. H. Howe

Next Letter: 12 November 1863