Erasmus J. Allton Civil War Letters

Camp near Goldsboro, N. C.

March 31st 1865

This day is so beautiful and pleasant, that I am brought to remembrance of the pleasant Spring days of our own lovely and flourishing State.  I think of home and those with whom I have so often mingled in former days, when all was peace and prosperity.  When war was not known, to disturb the peace of familys, or to separate husbands from their wives, or lovers from their sweet hearts.  How vividly these thoughts pass through my mind.  I think of you, and the many pleasant hours we have passed together.  I think of the past as if it were but yesterday nor scarce so long ago.  Our pleasant walks and our friendly quarrels are all fresh in my mind.  I remember all the separations and the reunions, and all our little difficulties which have past and gone, and I often wonder in my mind if ever such differences will arise again to disturb our happiness.  Past difficulties are all gone, will they ever return.  I sincerely hope not.  I hope that our future days may be as bright and as lovely as this day is.  The sun shines so bright and nice and all nature has put on the robes of spring and has come forth to show her beauty.  The mother earth is, in places, dressed in her robes of green, and the peach trees are in full bloom and different species of flowers are opening their buds to show forth their beauty and to fill the air with their sweet odors, and it almost seems to me that they are aware of their existence and delight in their own beauty and sweetness.  The towering pines are swinging to and fro under the gentle pressure of the soft breezes which are now blowing from the South west.  All nature seems to be busy in trying to make the lot of man a happy one, but it fails to do it.  I love the flowers which grace the earth, I love the beautiful forests, and the birds that dwell in them and I love to look and behold the works of nature, but notwithstanding all these beauties, I am not contented.  I am lonesome, weary, and I might say, almost lifeless.  I have tried to find comfort in reading good books or history, but there is no comfort for me in them.  I wish I was at home[,] all would be well.  I am tired of this cruel war.  I have seen so much human misery and sorrow within the last six months that I am perfectly heart sick.  I have seen hundreds of ladies who once lived in costly mansions reduced to rags and beggary.  I have seen them crying for bread to feed their starving children.  I have seen them wade through mud and rain for the want of a shelter.   bare footed and bare headed I have seen them trudging along seeking relief, from some kindly shelter but none were to be found, for all had been to[o] near the torch and were in ashes.  Hundreds of families are without homes, and without food I don’t know how they are to get along, and all this is caused by this wicked and horrible rebellion and I do wish it was over and that all were happy. 

I want to see you and be with you again.  I want to be at home and nothing else will make me happy and contented.  But there is no use in grieving for it only makes the matter worse I know, but I cannot content myself, for in vain I have tried.  I hope that it won’t be long, till the trumpet of peace will be sounded and that we will all return to our homes to meet those who have waited so patiently for our coming.  I have received 4 letters from you since we went into camp and they were dates as follows Jan 22nd, Feb. 5th, Feb. 19th, and March 5th.  Your letters found me well and ready to receive them for it had been over two months since I heard from you.  I was glad to know that you were still well.  We have had a very hard march but came through at last, but not without the loss of some of our bravest men.  Our Capt. was badly wounded in the right shoulder, Sergt. Peter Fryman was killed and John P. Reilly was wounded in the breast.  The rest of us came through unhurt and are doing well.  I will give you a short history of our march some of these days if I live and tell you something about war.  You wanted to know how much money I lost by the suttler, I lost none.  I sent my money home by the state agent and it is all right.  Several of Co. D. sent money by the suttler and they lost it.  James Horner lost $260 some dollars.  Our company lost over $1100 dollars.  The soldiers of this army sent over $40,000 dollars by that man and it is all gone up.  Report says he was nabbed but the general[l] belief is that he has gone to England with money and all. 

I want you to write soon and let me know how you are prospering and how the world goes in general.

This from yours until death,

E. J. Allton

Catharine Shick