The Anonymous Broken Hearted Draft Dodger
or Gloomy Clouds Gather Thick And Fast

Washington County Tennessee
~ 1862 ~

Copyright © 1997, Frederick Smoot. All Rights Reserved.

The postal envelope was not available.

My desolate home
March 1st, 1862

       I am here this gloomy day, with a heart more gloomy --- I have turned round and round and set down and got up again and knew not what to be at. Sometimes I thought I would write to you but, then I would come to the conclusion that you would not thank me for it --- that you did not want to hear from me or you would have written to me according to promise. But why should I feel disappointed? Why this strange inexpressible feeling when I fail to get letters from you as I once did? My soul should not run out thus for one whose destiny perhaps e’ire this, is linked with another’s. Why should my heart be sad when I know that My Cousin is happy, --- it may be that while I write, she is listening to sweet words falling from the lips of one she loves. I hope my dear Cousin that while gloomy clouds gather thick and fast over my pathway, that your sky is clear and not a cloud to intercept the bright beams of the sun of happiness. Let not a thout of him who loves you so tenderly, bring one shadow oer your life. Time is said to be the great restorer and I may be happy yet. But we may be rich in this worlds goods --- we may have everything that's bright and beautiful to cheer a lonely life --- we may dream we are happy.

    “Yet one thing wants the dreamer there,
    A kindered soul the scene to share.”
March 3rd
The cold wind whistles, tonight, Mournfully around my retreat everything seems to conspire to make life less desirable. Every bo____ [missing] ____ion. Nearly every body is talkin_ ___ [missing] ____s to keep from being kidnapped and taken into the army. We are expecting troops here every day. I feel it would be like a glorious romance to leave my native state and go into exile! I may have to flee into the mountains to save my life --- ruin is upon us --- and I am trying to arrange my affairs so I can leave in any hour. If I have to leave, nothing shall give me pain but the thought of those I have left behind.
The future presents a dark picture to me, but it may grow brighter after a while. I saw cousin Sally yesterday, she is talking sending Cousin James into the mountains. Nearly every body seems to be in trouble. I do not know what is to become of us. If I could feel that Cousin Lizzie was safe, banishment would be more sweet. It is true I have a sister and a mother that I long to see --- I have many friends but none more dear than my cousin.

       Gordon McHenry, the dealer source for this letter, states this piece originally came to him with other material of the same correspondence, some marked Haynesville, Tenn. He also states the the surname of Bridge was affixed to the other correspondence.
       Haynesville, Tennessee is listed as a Post Office in Washington County, Tennessee from 8 Oct 1859 to 9 Apr 1861. At that time in 1861, the mail was forwarded to Johnson's Depot, later Johnson City.

From the Collection of Fred Smoot. Provenance: Gordon McHenry

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