Miller’s Creek area
Jul 19 1863
We just made landfall for the first and last time today. Despite the fire not yet being built, I gladly avail myself of this opportunity to make this inscription as these dispatches and the words they contain are the last remaining link to you, though there shall be hell to pay should the Sergeant be made aware of my transgression. I consider this an equitable trade for the chance at capturing my thoughts in a timely manner.
These past months have filled me both with weariness of travel and a longing for home. I think of those rolling hills and our house nestled among the pines. In my dreams I am still back there and my prayers arc all the way to heaven on the way back down to you. I take little solace in knowing we still inhabit the same earth but solace nonetheless.
Though I wish nothing least than to worry you, the fighting has intensified the further South we’ve gone. Yesterday, two men went ashore to collect water and were set upon by Indians who seem determined to harass our party at any opportunity. We heard their screams carry across the water with alarming clarity. All we could do is continue downstream. While skirmishes with the enemy proper have been few, they have been intense in their ferocity. You think you know what makes you a man until you face down your own demise, then all surety crumbles at the roar of battle.
If that demise does find me on these banks far from our home, know my thoughts were with you until the end. I carry your image in me like a burning torch in my heart and your name is never but a breath away from my lips. Give the boys a rub on the head from their pa and make sure old man Donovan doesn’t get into monkeyshines in the barn again. Until I see you again.
Most sincerely yours,