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Civil War: When a Family is Separated

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Dear David,







Early August, 1863

Life in Richmond, Virginia is horrible. My friend Charice Davis had a brother was killed by his own cousin! And you are fighting with the Union when I am a nineteen-year-old sympathizer for the Confederates.

Last week there was a battle that was fought just outside Richmond. They set fires all around the city. The Davis’ house and barn were burnt to the ground. Everything they own is now a pile of rubbish. And you know how big and beautiful that house was. They were one of the richest families in Richmond. Charice is really sad, and she vehemently said she hated the Union because they don’t care what they are doing might be hurting innocent people. Well, I think the Confederates are doing the same thing; it is the horrible nature of war.

I don’t know if you were fighting on the Union side during that battle, but I do know your best friend was. Adam Winslow, right? While I was walking to visit Charice, he caught up to me and gave me an envelope. He said that it was for his little brother, William, who was fighting with the Confederates. I can’t believe how much this war is splitting families in half. Everybody is thinking about what they want, how they feel, and not how their family feels. It is so selfish!

Do you remember little Samuel? He is not so very little anymore. Well, ever since you went to train at West Point, New York, he wanted to join the army. Soon after you left to train, that War of ‘Selfishness and Passion about Slavery’ broke out and he wasn’t able to get to West Point to train. So he trained at a military school closer to home and he is planning to fight with the Confederates after he graduates in about two months. Once Sam joins, you are going to meet him many times in battle. Please, please spare his life when ever you can! I can’t bear the thought of having you killing your own brother! And tell him you still love him when ever you can!

Mother cries a lot these days. She is so weak and frail, she can hardly get out of bed some days! Father is so quiet and when he does speak, he is really mad at the housemaids or raving at me. I get so scared that he is going to do something drastic and hurt me! Father even refuses to go to church. He said, “because God took away my two sons to war, and is making them fight against each other, I am not going to thank God or praise Him in anyway!” I feel so hurt for Father. He needs to pray to God, and go to church, and read the Bible for strength, but he has rejected that strength and guidance to lean on his own wisdom. This all started when they learned that you had chosen to fight with the Union, only because you were still in the school at West Point when war broke out. It got worse when Sam started attending the school in Virginia.

There have been more runaway slaves than ever before. I understand that the Union is responsible for all this, but please don’t take Lisa away from me unexpectedly. I suppose that you have no control over this. Lisa is just too dear to be taken away from me. She speaks of freedom everyday, and I have made up my mind to flee with her.

Remember to be faithful to God in every way. You are in my prayers everyday.
Your loving sister,
Abigail Edwards
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