[Original Civil war letter from occupied Confederate Nashville, Tennessee, under the military governor, Andrew Johnson] 4 page letter with original envelope from William Henry Ruse of the 97th Ohio Volunteer Regiment to Maggie Stewart of Adamsville, Ohio. W. H. Ruse worked in a hospital (No.8) in Nashville, Tennessee (possibly as a pastor). Ruse talks of William Gannaway Brownlow’s sermon just 400 yards away (preacher and future Tennessee Governor) and the transfer of Clement Laird Vallandigham to Confederate lines (on direct orders from Lincoln)
Pleasant Sunday Eve
I have just come in from preaching and now I am going to try to write to you a few lines in answer to yours which I received two or three hours ago. Last Sunday evening you was writing to me. It is slow work talking at such a long distance. For my part I would prefer having the distance shortened. But don’t know how to accomplish it… you say you read my letters often. I don’t think you read them as often as I do yours. For that is the way I past my time reading letters and looking at those treasurable pictures… Monday Evening May 25th.
Well as I did not finish yesterday I will now try to write a little more. It is so excessively warm today that I can scarcely write. Parson Brownlow preached in this City yesterday at 12 A.M. the Church in which he preached is not more than four hundred yards from this hospital, but I did not know he was going to preach until it was all over. I tell you I was spited. To think I didn’t get to hear him when he was so close. It was not generally made known that he was to preach till an hour or two previous to the hour for preaching… The Northern Traitor (Vallandigham) arrived in this City on last evening. On his way south of our lines. He was strongly guarded. I don’t think his punishment was half severe enough.”
Last page contains a poem about death, entitled:
“How, where and when”
(This poem has been attributed to Mrs. Abdy, 1842, Church of England Magazine, Vol. 12)
When shall I die?
Shall death’s cold hand arrest my breath?
While loved ones stand in silent watchful love to shed.
Shed tears around my quiet bed?
Or shall I meet my final doom far from my country and my home?
Or shall my fainting frame sustain the tedious languishing of pain?
Please write soon and often.