ROBERTSON TN 2,
There is no envelope.
Cross Plains June 1st 1861
I received yours of May 6 in due time and hasten to reply but I don't know what to write. Myself and family are well at present. The health of the neighborhood is good. Two of Jack Wrights daughters, Mary and Babe are very low with consumption. The army worms are doing some mischief through the country. The prospect is good at present for an abundant harvest. We would be glad to welcome you back to your native state, but I fear the war will prevent you from visiting us. I can hear of nothing but war, war, war. The Tennessee legislature has passed an ordinance of concession and also made arrangements to join the Southern Confederacy which propositions are to be voted on by the people the eighth day of this month. I have no doubt but the state will go out and join the Southern Confederacy. The legislature also voted five million dollars for war purposes and authorized the governor to call for fifty five thousand volunteers. Companies have been raised in almost every neighborhood. Robertson County is furnishing six or seven companies. Sumner eight or nine. Tenn has about twenty thousand troops in camp and soon will have the number called for. I see nothing in the future but a long bloody war. Virginia has been invaded and there is talk of Memphis being attacked. Kentucky is occupying a neural position but she is arming and there is no doubt but she will go with the South. The South will never go back to the old union willingly and the North can't force her back. I suppose you have seen the threats and boasts published in the northern news papers. It is true that there is "booty and beauty" in the South, but there is brave men with arms in their hands to defend them. And men that can face lead and cold steel. As to the two hundred thousand men in the north that is wars thur. The "Goths and Vandals" that they want killed, if they will send them south they can find graves but such boasting and swaggering does not become any civilized people. It is a matter of deep regret to see this proud republic engaged in a civil war. What can either party gain by it? The South asks to be let alone. The southern confederacy begged for a peaceable separation. She never has threatened to invade the North. Tennessee didn't move a peg until called on to furnish men to coerce the cotton states. Then she determined not only to refuse men to coerce the cottons states but to arm her brave sons for self defense. For she has every reason to believe that if the North conquers the South she will then conquer her. With this and many other facts staring her in the face she determined to link her destiny with the Southern Confederacy. I have no doubt but the entire South will go with the Cotton States and I wish they had all gone out when South Carolina did. But at the time I thought she did wrong. I opposed the whole cessation movement until the government showed its cloven foot and would still oppose it if the Union could be restored and the South have her constitutional rights. But that is impossible. I have tried to find out the object of the North if she succeeds in conquering the South but as yet I have failed. Some say that it is to free the Negroes and sell the land to pay the expenses of the war. I don't think the government has declared the above as its object but northern newspapers declare it to be so. Lincoln has told KY that the South should pay the entire expenses of the war and northern speakers have said that the Negro is the equal of the white man and should be free. Others have said the slavery question must be settled if it ruins this generation and wipes the South from the face of the earth. Northern newspapers have said that the Negroes will be declared free and armed to murder their masters and burn their houses. The above is but a few of the rumors that are about through the country and actively published in the North. The South feels that their cause is just and are sanguin of success. My feeling are with the South but I wish I was snugly enscensed on Rice Lake. There I would feel free from the ravages of war. Here I can't. I receive three numbers of the Blue Earth City News. Such tokens of remembrance will never be forgotten.Signed. John W. Weir
Brother J. was here a few days ago. He is thrown out of work. He has gone to see Brother James. Sophia unites with me in sending her love to you and all the family and connections. Pay the taxes on my land and see that the timber is not out down until the war is settled. Sophia says tell uncle Briant she don't like the sentiment expressed in his poetry. Yours truly and in haste.
From the Collection of Leslie Hamilton Smith Provenance: a treasured family heirloom
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5 May 1998