Letter written by Ada from Honesdale to Molly [Mary?] on January 13, 1862
Honesdale (Honesdale, Pennsylvania) Jany. 13th 1862.
My dear Mrs (Molly) , what can I be thinking
of? it looked so comical I just left it.
Well, I mean Mary (Mary) beautiful [unadorned?]
First comes business. I am very
glad the butter reached you safely. Hope
it will prove better than Albert (Albert) s. Probably
Jason (Jason) brought you the postage. I feel
so relieved to think I shall no longer
be responsible if you mother gets rheumatism
in her back.
Molly (Molly) your letter did my eyes & heart
good. Do you know I'd begun to fear
our correspondence was doomed to a
natural death. the letters so few & far between
& yours so short & hurried. but this one
quite carried me back to old times
Suppose we turn over a new epistolary
leaf this year & be more regular?
I cant bear to think of friends of later
years stepping into the places of any
of those I have always loved. & yet to
day in looking over piles of letters I
could not but think how my former
numerous correspondents had dwindled
down to yourself & [Sanine?] ([Sanine?]) of the class I'll
call "first loves" & yet Coz Halty (Halty (Cousin)) 's Sallie (Sallie) 's
& [J--?] ([J--?]) 's packages for the last few years
are a little the fattest I think.
Henry (Henry) my old "regular" is seen face to face
[Con-al?] "caring for her husband, how she
may please him," then the relations to
whom I was mother's organ. families
& households have interrupted them &
one sided correspondences I can never
manage excepted with poor [Jis?]. where
sympathy & pity go far enough for most
any act of comfort.
The New Year has slipped quietly in.
The Holidays were pleasant, but most
the associations get sadder & sadder every
year! Thomas was home. The Christmas
Tree was quite satisfactory. Our
home manufactures were very [sharp?] &
nearly every thing really pretty & nice.
The children were delighted. I am glad
to hear yours was so pleasant. What a
task it must have been. Who of the girls
are in that school!
Rob. (Rob) was not in that battle. He was ordered
to report himself in the Q. Master's Dept. for
that day & just for foraging they carry
rations & the Q.M. stays behind to prepare
for their return. When they returned so
enthusiastic he tho't it was rather disgusting
work to stay behind. The 6th (6th Regiment)
[new?] laurels? With Col. Kane (Kane, Thomas Leiper (Colonel)) s Buckland Rifles (Buckland Rifles)
it kept in the front this is all.
They made three charges with bayonets
then the rebels scattered. The battery
did well Col. Kane (Kane, Thomas Leiper (Colonel)) sighted the first
gun. afterward they found its second
shell had exploded a caisson & nine
dead & I think fourteen wounded bodies
testified of its deadly aim.
Col. Ricketts (Ricketts (Colonel)) has resigned also Lt. Col Penrose (Penrose, William Henry? (Lieutenant Colonel)) .
I suppose soon there will be
a new election of officers. The Adjutant McKean (McKean, Thomas Jefferson (Adjutant))
did nobly in the fight. Penrose (Penrose, William Henry? (Lieutenant Colonel))
dident (didn't) & immediately resigned.
It is generally desired that Rob (Rob) sh'd keep
the [C. M ship?]- I suppose in reality. it is
or will be at his disposal. The wounded
are doing finely, & all enthusiasm.
The rebel wounded are cared for as kindly
as our own. One noble fellow they found kneeling
unhurt by his dying brother. He asked
was it the Pa Reserve (Pennsylvania Reserve)? Yes they told him
a part of it. Why, he said, we have been told
& our Cols. have maed us believe that any two
of our Regs. c'd whip the whole Pa Reserve (Pennsylvania Reserve)
but it seems we were greatly mistaken.
The brother died & he is with the other prisoners.
Next day the other brigades not in the fight
sent out detatchments (detachments) to bury the dead. All
Gainesville (Gainesville, Pennsylvania) turned out to help. They buried
165 bodies, since which it seems 176 graves have
been counted in the battle field. so I suppose
11 have been added from the wounded in
D. Capt Wright (Wright (Captain)) has been home for his first
furlough. He looks well is a noble fellow.
He leaves in the morn. Rob. (Rob) is hoping to
come but when or how we cant know till
he drops down among us.
I am glad you have tried skating.
The day your letter came I was sore all
over from my improptu [Raselling?]. One
knee seemed fated to get all the shocks.
[written in margins: now not one word of this I'm going to say
to Annie Russell (Russell, Annie) ]
The first day I tumbled furiously.
that was a fortnight today. I was
out with Henry Suly (Suly, Henry) & our boys. Frid.
morning Maria Crane (Crane, Maria) & Mr Mellville (Mellville (Mr.)) &
Lieut Dickson (Dickson (Lieutenant)) & I went again. Then my
shoes were tighter & stiffer & I had hot
few tumbles. but didn't strike out much
Sat. The Lt. came up again with Edwin (Edwin)
& the others joining us, I made rapid
progress. quite astonishing myself with the
army. Mr Dickson (Dickson (Mr.)) was recruiting
here then. his home is in SavannahGa. (Georgia) (Savannah, Georgia)
His parents are union people there now.
He watched the bombardment of Fort Sumpter (Fort Sumpter, South Carolina) ,
then made back for the North.
He hails now from Phila. (Philadelphia) (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) His brother is
in Dr Dale (Dale (Dr.)) 's family, Mary McKee (McKee, Mary) 's step
father. You remember her I presume.
They are not related to these Dickson (Dickson) s.
but [rite? site?] ten years ago lived in Newburgh (Newburgh, New York?) .
The Roc (Roc) 's [name?] have met Sam (Sam) at the McC (McC) 's
there. This [??] Wm (William) is a widower his
wife having died very suddenly in 69 of
We all liked him very much, but imagine
my astonishment when Sat. morn he
begged to know if he might accompany
me to church in the eve. I was so stupid
as only to be able to say thankyou & bow & they
were gone. but then I remembered it was
Monthly C. in the Lecture Room. Didn't I
dread it? But I got thro' it as easily as
possible. He was a perfect gentleman
without one bit of [sin t---latism?] or flatly
christian hearted withal, so we had quite
a comfortable time. Maria Crane (Crane, Maria) is
half crazy about him. to hear her talk
she rode & visited with him till she
is convinced "he's the most splendid
fellow she ever saw". I am quite willing
to leave her undisputed sway. tho' I imagine
she does not know he's a widower or
I'm sure she never could have carried her
nonsense quite so far as she did at times.
Since that sat's trial I've not been
able to put on my skates on account of the
snow and anyway our services would
have prevented it. They were very very
interesting. How much we needed a
week of prayer for our own deepening of
christian failing! Mr. D. (D. (Mr.)) seemed borne
down with the burdens of his empathy? for
us. Such earnest pleading I never listened
to from any paster. He seemed just
to yearn [our us?] with love & pity that
we might see our privileges & live up to
them our responsibilities & carry them
out. He made the whole matter fresh
so upon in our individual hearts whether
God w'd bless us [??] for if our hearts
were in sympathy with Gods plans of
[to etsive?], if we were alive to our duties, eager
to perform them, persevering in prayer
The blessing would, must come.
And the finish too he made to rest with us. If
our desires were large, extending beyond
the church, members, & nor prayers & labors
earnest & constant, just so far w'd the
spirit go & bless. It has certainly been
so in years past. You & I can testify
to a time when the church's interests were [Written in margins:] The following is written sideways over the text of page 7.
I forgot to tell you one thing. Last week I felt just as if I would so enjoying talking to Mr
[Dunning] ([Dunning] (Mr.)) & [a deatly?] did whisper to him coming out of [rectory?] one aft. "Perhaps I shall
be up to see you before evening" [-cut?] me [sat?] awhile in the sitting room then I asked
him "Dont you want to introduce me to your study" [-stamily?] I do [??] I [next?]
up & once cozily [friped?] by the little stone do you [all?] thoughts of being a Hebrew
Professor professional scholar &c, &c vanished in the [ca-- con--ess?] that he
was just my friend. I told all that I had been shutting up with
in myself & my difficulties seemed to melt away. He so perfectly
sympathized with me, knew just how to meet my troubles & just where
to lay a finger on the cause. I am so glad, and ever since it has
seemed just as if he was talking to me. now I shall go again
& try never to lose the feeling of individual interest in other.
were freely expressed for us the impenitent
ones. when prayers & pleadins reached our
heart & the Spirit led us in to the faith of
the Christian. & since then a work has
been limited too (to) the S.S. or to only a
few classes in it, or to only the church
members. when a few w'd be revived & then
with time grow cold again.
Last week perhaps can testify but me
converted some as its reward, but [tho?] it can
tale [tell?] of Christian hearts deeply searched &
christian unfaithfulness agonizingly felt &
tearful efforts to look unto Jesus with all
their burden & wait for this patient love to
take it all away. making us clean thro'
His blood. Wed. I was still so cold so uninterested
I felt utterly wretched. the past was
too fearful to look upon. A year of scarce one
month's christian peace? in the whole twelve
so under the cloud, dissatisfied with self
knowing the good & following it not, full of unrest
& many wandering. till I could no longer
bear the load. In my restless I took a
book after dinner to read till church time.
shut myself in Rob (Rob) 's room, where I go for any
private prayer, where I had been praying but
as I well knew all in vain, unheared & unblest
It was [Fland?]'s Christ knocking at the door
& I opened at this passage "Christ's blood
cleanseth us also from all the pollution of sin"
Mary (Mary) I can't tell you what power it had over
me. God's spirit must have given it such
It seemed to come to the very [innerest?] need
of my unhappy soul. what I needed above
every other need, cleansing from sin
not only as guilt but as pollution.
something that must ever hover round my
mortal body, but so dreaded, so hated & from
its pollution, daily defiling the temple of
God within me, I could see a cleansing
power. And so I came just as I was, He
did not turn me away. The forbearance
seems wonderful, such patience, Jesus knocking
at the door of my heart. I refusing, Jesus
pleading, I rejecting. Jesus standing as
if He could not go away & leave me to my
wretched blindness. Jesus, when had it been
an angel I ought to have made haste
rec' him. condescending to wait for my
hour of need of Him, when I was the one
who should have been pleading with agony
for Him to enter in.
Mary (Mary) , do we half live in our Christian
life if our hearts can so [seemingly?] listen.
to Him? If I knew my own heart. I do
now desire to be a fruit bearer for my Saviors
vineyard. use my influence, time, tho'ts
as best I may for Him. leaning on His
promised strength. Is not this enough,
"And God is able to make all grace abound
toward you; that you always having an all
sufficiency in all things may abound in
every good work"? Pray for me as I do
you. Ella (Ella) , Kate (Kate) , Mary (Mary) , all of us are feeling
more deeply than ever before the solemnity
of living. The meeting were very well
attended. Mrs Young (Young (Mrs.)) is full of anxiety
for her husband. after meeting one day
she went up to Uncle S. (S. (uncle)) & exclaimed "Mr. [??]
want you go & talk to my husband".
Mr Weston Horace (Horace, Weston) & Dr Briggs (Briggs (Dr.)) are deeply
impressed. Lucy Sherman (Sherman, Lucy) & Lucy Tracy (Tracy, Lucy) are
thoughtful. whether any of them are anything
more than seriously impressed I cannot tell
God grant, they may not only have hard
the solemn words spoken from a full
heart, but carry them out in earnest
For I Re Ward (Reward) I feel more intense anxiety
than I ever did even in those past days of
solemn scenes, between us. Yesterday morning
sermon was inexpressibley solemn. from
seek ye the Lord while He may be found" &c.
while giving the fulness & freeness of the invitation
he did not hid the other side of the picture.
the implication that there might be a time
when He would not be found. He might be
called when He was no longer near, and the
fearful risk of eternal destinites in neglect
or delay seemed over whelming. Coming out
I [not I'--?] at the door, he looked me very
earnestly, steadily in the in the eye, just touched
my arm as we stepped from the side
by side & we separated. not a word or motion
of the lips, yet it made one hope he was thinking
of the uncertain future, his souls need.
it seems as if our boy's must be reached &
blessed if he were, in seeking & forgetting they
have been together. God grant in mercy now
They may together seek until they find.
what a long letter but I did feel determined
not to live in myself about these things.
I have always been afraid of you. Why should I, for your sympathies are with me
in reality, I knew. but do we not rob ourselves by so [reeling over ??]
lines from each others now good bye. Dont be worn out with