Letter from an unidentified Union soldier,
Camp on the NWRR,
Tenn. Jan. 13th, 1864,
Mother…I am far away…For the last two years I have been trying to make up my mind what it is my duty to follow for a means of subsistence…if a man came here on earth to live, die and pass away without leaving some example behind that would be salutary, to come far below the requirements of the great Giver of all things. This in my mind, you must know that I am searching for something for my mind to work upon that would be congenial with my nature.
There are many professions that lead to the improvement of our race, and thus to the evangelization of the earth which seems after all the only true and lasting blessing that man can enjoy. But I think he that works only in the future has not the whole of the will of the Creator in his mind, not to say that those that follow the teachings of the scriptures alone are not doing their duty…I know full well that you have hoped in my early childhood that I might be one of ‘the speaking disciples of God, and for a loving mother’s desire, it would please me much to follow that course. However…that is not my calling…
Your affec. Son