The Letters of James Touchstone

1861 to 1865

 

12/29/1850 Notes: "Virdy" is the nickname for Virginia Ann Owens Touchstone. The "Parents" in this letter are her father Hazlett Owens and stepmother Adeline Benjamin Owens. "Cousin" is unknown. "Cady" is a nickname for the first born child of James and Virginia Ann - Cornelia Alice Touchstone. Henry Clay Nesbit was the son of a prominent merchant family in Port Deposit and this letter places the childhood friends in that locale in 1826. An article in the Cecil Whig, March 16, 1850 reported that "Henry Clay Nesbit returned to Port Deposit from California, on Tuesday. We learn that he was quite successful in getting hold of the yellow dust". You can imagine that Henry Clay Nesbit shared many interesting stories with his old friend James Touchstone about the 1849 goldrush at Sutter's Fort in faraway California.

Philad Dec 29th 1850

Dear Parents,

We received your kind and very handsom presents in due time, and I am altogether at a loss to find words to convey to you the thanks which I feel for the same. We walked into the Turkey on Christmas day about 3 O'clock in the afternoon, and I can truly say, I never tasted a better one. It was excellent indeed. Virdy had it done up in nice style, and although she complained of not being well , yet I thought she would have "Busted"! Cady, poor little soul could not eat much; and please let me say that I do not know how the poor little creature lives, for she does not eat enough to keep a "church mouse". She however pronounced the Turkey good.

We wish you to convey to Cousin our warmest thanks for the present which was very fine indeed. We dispatched the goose today in gallant style, which was also very fine. The children were very proud of their candies. They thought Grandmothers candy much better than "Chris Tinkles".

Henry Clay Nesbit was with us over night. He left today. He goes home tomorrow. He and I were children together. I recollect him 24 years ago, and although some years have passed since we have had the opportunity of associating together, yet so familiar and so affable is he in his nature, that for the few brief hours which he remained with us, I imagined myself transported back as it were, to the palmiest days of our youth. He is a noble, generous fellow. I always esteemed him much.

My dear Parents. Virdy and I will certainly come to see you shortly, but how soon exactly we cannot, at present, tell. Cady will write, or I will, and let you know before she starts. Cady requests me to send her love to Cousin and so does Virdy. By the Bye, let me say that we were very sorry to hear of your being sick, but glad to hear of your recovery. Cady and Virdy send their love to all and so do I. Permit me again to return my heartfelt thanks to you for your kindness.

Your Affectionate Son, J. Touchstone

10/28/1862 Notes: "Haze" is his 12 year old son Hazlett Owens Touchstone who had evidently visited his father at Williamsport, Maryland and thus knew the camp area. "Mrs. Orr" is the wife of David Orr who is serving in the 6th Maryland with James. David G. Orr entered the service as Commissary Sergeant; promoted to Second Lieutenant Company G, March 2, 1863; killed in action, May 10, 1864, Spottsylvania. Last page of letter is missing.

Williamsport Oct 28th '62

My Very Dear Mam,

I again have the opportunity of writing to you. I have not time to say much however.

We have had a terrible storm here. It commenced on Saturday night last and such a blow and rain I never saw. Fortunately for us, we had moved our camp on Saturday to a place of shelter. We moved, tell Haze, down in the orchard. It is a very nice place. The field and staff officers have our tents in the large barn attached to the house. Here we weathered the storm in safety, but I tell you the poor soldiers on picket guard caught it!

Well dearest, I am not home yet! Aint you sorry? Yes dearest, I know you are and so am I. No mortal can tell the indescribable joy I should feel, just to have one sweet hour at home with my dear wife and children. But I cannot help it. I would be glad to walk every step of the road home to see you and then return the same way, but I cannot be spared just now.

Our Brigade is under marching orders. I think we are going down the Potomac towards Harpers Ferry. I hope it may be so, as I don't like this place much. And then we shall be in the neighborhood of the Rail Road, and being so, I shall feel nearer home any how. To go home from here, we have either to go to Haegerstown and from thence by Rail Road to Harrisburg and Philadelphia or back from Harrisburg to Baltimore, or go in the stage or on horse back to Frederick 30 miles, and then to Baltimore by Baltimore & Ohio Rail Road.

But go where we may, you may rest assured, dearest one, that I will come home as soon as possible. I shall send you by express in a few days, a half dozen Blankets. I shall send you six and Mrs. Orr two. But you need not say any thing about them until they come. They will perhaps be there this week. I buy these at government price and therefore they are my property. Nevertheless, some "busy bodies" would like something to talk about, and you need not show them to any one or talk about them. Tell Mrs. Orr to do likewise.

Couches Division, fourteen thousand strong came down today from Hancock. They went up there some ten days ago and footed it every step - it is some sixty or seventy miles. The poor fellows were out in all the storm without tents, and I tell you Mother, my heart ached for them. They are now (tonight) encamped in the woods behind where our old camp was. Haze knows where it is (right down behind the hospital tent tell him). I have been up there looking at them and I tell you it was a grand sight. They have no tents and just have to make up fires in the woods and lie down on their wet blankets - The numerous fires in the woods and the thousands of human beings moving about with torches, and the fifes and drums playing presented a sight rarely witnessed in a life time. They move on down tomorrow morning and we may follow.

I wish you and the children would write me oftener. Mrs. Orr writes two letters to David for one that comes from my home. How is it? Do the children think it is a hardship to write? Or do they think that it does me no good to hear from home? I cannot think the children forget me and yet I don't know how it is. They all write intelligent letters, and yet they seem never to think of writing. Among the three of them, I think they might afford a letter apiece a week. This would give me three letters a week. This, with one occasionally from my dear wife, would do - try and stir yourselves now ----- (end of letter)

11/18/1862 Notes: "Cornelia" is his 17 year old daughter. "Hazey" is Hazlett Owens Touchstone, his 12 year old son. "Monroe" is James Monroe Touchstone, his 16 year old son. "Laura" is his 14 year old daughter.

Williamsport, Nov. 18th 1862

My Dearest Virdy,

I did not write you on Sunday according to promises, though I know you are too good not to forgive me. I did intend to write on that day, but I was so lazy that I just laid about the stove and eat good things. I shall be more punctual in the future, however. You know I am generally very punctual, especially when I go to the stove on Saturday nights.

I am glad to be able to say that we are getting along well. As for myself, I was never in better health. On weighing myself today, I find that I am heavier than I have ever been since we were married. I have improved very rapidly since I came back. I eat all the time and nothing hurts me. I have this minute received Cornelia's letter, and am glad she was so exceedingly well pleased with her visit. She did not say any thing about the carpet - whether you had gotten it or not. I sent you 30 yards. I am glad Hazey's boots fit him. Make him have Mr. Buckley put some nails in the toes of them and please see that he greases them well. I will get Monroe a pair before snow comes.

Write me immediately and let me know all about everything. The "old folks", the children, the pigs and all. Are Monroe and Laura going to school? And if so, how are they getting along? How do they like the school? Dearest, see that they lose no time, with all their energies, to their lessons. Monroe must learn. He must begin now to make a man of himself and thereby become a source of comfort and joy to his parents. If he does not do this at once, he will regret his disobedience when it may be too late to correct the error. He is a good hearted boy and is capable of becoming a smart man if he will only put away his trifling ways, and apply himself with industry, to his studies and other duties. Above all things, I hope he, with all the other children, will be ENTIRELY obedient to you. And O, let there be love and harmony among the children. If I could always be sure that our children were obeying their mother and living together in unity and love, O, how indescribably happy I should be. If they knew the comfort and joy that such a course of life and conduct would bring to your heart and mine, I am sure they would never forget to try to obey. I hope my dear Laura will be very good. If she behaves like a good child, I will be glad to do many things for her which I could not do cheerfully otherwise. I hope also, that my dear Hazy will be a good boy and that he will be attentive to his lessons and other duties.

I will write you again, Dear Wife, in a few days. Give my love to all.

Your Affectionate Husband,

James Touchstone

Tell Siss not to fret about old Sappington. He is an old Turk any how. As for the horse, it may go to grass. We will leave Port some of these days. We must put the winter in there however. Tell me how the pigs are getting along. I wish you would go and see them.

04/12/1863 Notes: "Old Mister Brown" is 6th Maryland Infantry Chaplain Joseph T. Brown. "Mr. Orr" is David Orr also of the Sixth Maryland Infantry Regiment (later killed in action). "Cornelia" is his eldest daughter, Cornelia Alice Touchstone, my direct ancestor. "Monroe" is his eldest son, James Monroe Touchstone. "Laura" is his daughter Laura Ann Touchstone. The nickname "Siss" I believe refers to his daughter Cornelia. I remember my mother, standing by the mantle at our home in Fairmont, WV, pointing to the picture of Cornelia and saying that she visited her father at Harpers Ferry during the Civil War and was "giving her parents fits" during that period. The last page of this letter is missing.

Berry Ville, Clarke County, VA
April 12th 1863

My Sweet Virginia:

I again take occasion to write you a line or two. This is Sunday night, The day has been a delightful one. At least it was so till near night when it commenced to rain. I went to Church this morning and heard a good sermon from our chaplain, Old Mr. Brown. He preached a good discourse and I was interested and I hope profited by it. Mr. Brown is a dear old man and one who is calculated to do much good.

Well dearest, we are away out here in "dixie". This situation is said to be an important one, and some think there is a chance of a fight here, but those better informed do not think so. On last Thursday night after I had "turned in" and had just got to dreaming of the "dear ones at home", I was awakened by a heavy rap at the door. I got up and found a messenger from Headquarters stating that we might "expect an attack at any moment". We all "turned out". I got Flora out, saddled and bridled her and was ready for a fight or skedaddle, or any other thing which come within the range of duty. Through "ready" for a "fight" if necessary, I was not anxious to see one or to take part in one. We waited till about 1 o'clock, but the "rebs" did not come. Then we got word by reinforcements sent from Winchester, that the Rebs would attack us in great force about daylight. Accordingly, our men were all out, after sleeping on their arms all night, and drawn up in line of battle at daylight and remained there until after sunrise when they were marched back to camp for breakfast. This was doubtless better for our stomachs and hides both than a fight would have been. I think a good "breakfast" is better than a fight at any time. What say you?

You have heard of "Snickers gap" and "Ashbys gap and "Manasses gap". We are right in the pass to Snickers gap, six miles from Ashbys gap and twenty miles from Manasses gap. We are only about 20 miles from the great Bull Run Battle ground - in deed, we can see beyond it. This is a wonderful country - the finest I ever beheld. But ah, my sweet wife, the effects of this awful War are before us and on every hand. We see but few men. Nearly all have gone to the War and the negroes have either run off or been taken south. The women are retired generally and treacherous looking. They look "daggers" at us and I am told are traitors to the back bone. I think, however, that in many instances, this is a mistake. And where the women are so, perhaps they have been made so by the thieving and other kinds of rude conduct on the part of some of our union troops. The fact is, there are some of the most miserable men in our service that ever disgraced the earth. I do not mean by this that all of our men are so, or that the rebels have none such - O no. They have, perhaps worse men among them than we have. I mean more blood thirsty, but for acts of petty meanness, none can excell some of our union troops. I think kind treatment to the people here and elsewhere, would do a most deal of good. I know the people have been deceived and I am persuaded that reason and the manifestations of love would work wonders with these people. I have demonstrated this myself. Why even the little boys here say they never thought a "Yankee" could be as nice as me. They say they love me all over and acknowledge that their own men never treated them half so well as I do. They like Mr. Orr too and think him a great man. Their mother's bake us bread and send us many good things. Of course, we send them a little sugar and coffee which are great luxuries to them and for which they seem to be very thankful. Kindness and love will win them back, but thieving and robbing them of their things, will never make them our friends. We quarter in the house of an avowed Rebel woman. She told me herself that she was "Secesh up one side and down the other", and yet this woman seems not to know how to do enough for us. But my love, it is getting late and I must close -

I wrote to Cornelia on Saturday last. You will see that I was not in a very pleasant mood when I wrote. The fact is Virdy, my dear wife, I was vexed at the whimsical course and conduct of Cornelia. You know I have always wanted her to go to school and have done everything I could to persuade her to do so. But she would never go. At length she seen her want of education, and at Harpers Ferry, she promised me she would go to the Wesleyan College. Accordingly, I wrote to Mr. Mason and made arrangements, as you know, for her reception there. But now she has changed her mind and wants to go to another school. Now how could I feel after making arrangements for her at the Wesleyan School to send her to another. And I have no idea that she would even go to Hannah Moore's school even if I were to consent to it. I think you will see the propriety of my talking in the manner in which I did - I have nothing more to say on the subject. If she will go where I want her to go, she can have her education. If not, she need not blame me.

I have another thing to complain of - it is this - I scarcely ever get a letter from home that is not so hastily written that it affords me but little satisfaction. It seems that whoever writes is "just going to do something" - or it is "very late and all have gone to bed", or "the mail is just closing", or something of the kind. Now I think whoever undertakes to write might find time to do it carefully and decently. I know the children can all write better and more correctly than they do. Even Monroe does not write as well or as often as he used to do. Laura too has failed of late, though her letters are better than some of the others. Now there is no excuse for all this. If the children have a proper respect for me they should try to please me in their composition. By so doing they will improve themselves and make me proud of them. Siss seems to think of nobody but herself when she writes. I love all of my children alike, and when one writes me I expect to hear something good and kind of their brothers and sisters. I do not say a word here in unkindness, but in love. I speak as I do for their good. When I write home, I write in the fullness of my heart, for my very soul goes . . . . . (final page missing).

08/23/1863 Notes: "Aunt Hetty" is Hester Touchstone Brown, sister of James Touchstone.

Freemans Ford Rappahannock
Aug 23rd 1863

My own sweet wife,

I have written several letters to the children since I wrote you and think I must now write you a few lines. This is Sunday night and nearly Eleven O' Clock at that. Though it is so late, I think a few moments occupied in writing to my dear Virdy, cannot be better spent.

I am glad and happy and thankful to say that I am well. Indeed I am a little surprises that my health is so good. When I first came down here I feared that I could not stand it very well, but I have been, thus far, thank God, agreeably disappointed and I hope through His goodness and mercy still to keep well.

I received this evening the letters which Laura and Hazy wrote on the 9th inst. I don't know where they could have been so long. I notice that Laura thinks Mr. Moffit's folks are "Secesh". I am sorry she thinks so. They have never talked so to me. On the contrary, they have always talked the reverse. Laura may be correct however, as many people have changed - Aunt Hetty for instance. Moffits are not abolitionists. They do not go in for "Sambo", but they are, I think, far from being "Secesh". As for Mr. Moffit, I don't think there is a better Union man alive. Laura may have heard things as she says, for "little pitchers" sometimes have "big ears", but I think if I could see her, I could explain all to her satisfaction. I am glad she enjoyed her visit however, but sorry she staid so long. I am also sorry she went to Fall's. I hope she did not stay there long. You know I was always opposed to letting any of our children go to taverns. And besides, Billy Falls is as good a "Secesh" as any one need wish to see. Laura cannot go there again. I wrote a letter to Laura, however, a few days ago, and she will understand by it, what my sentiments are on this subject. I received a letter also from Monroe a few days ago, and answered it, I think, on Friday last. I hope he has received it. I wrote also to Haze and I wish Monroe and him to write me more often. I also wrote a letter to Cornelia since I wrote you and ought to have had one from her since, but it has not come to hand. I was pleased to hear her say that she had "dropped him like a hot potato!" I hope when she picks him or any other fop up again, she will do it like a "cold potato". She, (Siss) wants to take lessons of May Taylor. But I fear, dear Mother, that it would be throwing money away. I am well satisfied that May cannot learn her any thing in music that will be of any advantage to her. The fact is, "May wants the money!" That's whats the matter. But I leave this thing to you and hope you will do what you think is right.

Just while I think of it, did you ever get back the money which Nancy borrowed from you? If you did not, I hope you will get it at once. Tell them you cannot do without it.

I sent you $5.00 in Bubs letter, with an order enclosed on Dan Parker for $500. I am afraid to send money in any amount by letter.

Well sweetest one, I must bid you good night as it is quite late. I will finish this letter tomorrow.

Monday Afternoon 24th 1863

Well my sweet pet wife,

I resume my pen to say a word or two more. This is a very pleasant day. It has been extremely hot for four or five weeks back. Saturday last was one of the hotest days I ever put in. We almost roasted down here among the pines. This morning however, the sun arose with a heavy breeze from the East and I think we shall have the weather most pleasant. I was writing you last night you know, well I went to bed and was soon in the land of dreams. I visited my dear old home and saw my "pets" and had a nice hug and some sweet kisses from the lips of my dear little pet wife! Oh, it did me so much good. It was not like the reality, but was better than to have no kisses at all.

I wish you would pick up courage and write your "Jimmy" a letter with your own hand. I think if you loved me as I do you, you would write me a letter occasionally and not depend entirely on the children. I love to get letters from them, but a few words from my sweet Virdy would be cheering indeed. Now, my loved one, you must try and write me. I know it is difficult for you to spare the time from the "pets" and other duties, but you must try and write me. Wont you? I know you will.

The children have been reminding me about resigning, but I do not wish to do it for a short time. I think this "Cruel War" will soon be "over". And besides, I wish to wait a few weeks to see how the nominations go in Cecil. I have made no effort to be nominated, but I may be nevertheless. Indeed I prefer not to be, but my friends have urged me to allow my name to be used and if nominated and elected I will have to serve, of course. But I have no desire to be nominated and shall be very well pleased if some one else is chosen. There are many who are breaking their necks after the Office of Register of Wills and other places and they are welcome to them for me. I do not love office well enough to be either a secessionist or an abolitionist to secure it.

So I hope, my sweet one, that you will bear with me a little longer until I see how things will turn up. I want to see and be with you. It is a great sacrifice to me to be without your daily companionship, but dearest, you know I must try and do the best I can for our family.

We still think we will be ordered back in the 8th Army Corps, but do not know for sure. I have every confidence in the fall of Charleston and that quickly, and then I think the war will be nearly ended. After that I don't think there will be much fighting - perhaps none at all.

I hope you are getting along pleasantly. I see by Laura's and Hazy's letters of the 9th inst that Rosey is married! Well her and John, or Henry is it? I forgot which and I have destroyed the letter, have had a long courtship. Well I wish them a long and happy life. Is Rosey still with you? Give my love to all and don't forget to kiss my pets all over for me. I want you to can a good many peaches for me and whatever else you think I would like. I have not made any "perserves" lately. A thousand kisses for you, my dearest one and remain -
Your devoted Husband

James Touchstone

01/12/1864 Notes: Letter to 18 year old son James Monroe Touchstone. "Pips" is identified as Hazlett Owens Touchstone, his 14 year old son who is visiting with his father at the winter quarters of the Sixth Maryland.

Camp near Culpepper, Va
Jany. 12th 1864

My Dear Son,

I ought to have written a letter yesterday, but my time was occupied until it was too late.

I am happy to be able to say that I and "Pips" are well. - Haze is enjoying himself exceedingly. He was a little sick yesterday (Sunday) with headache -- caused, I think by drinking some cider made of dried apples and eating too much. I put him to bed with a hot brick to his feet and he was well enough to eat his supper. This morning he is all right and is full of fun. He as been sitting by me all day Making out Requisitions. You would be surprised how expert he is at it. He can fill up a blank better than some of the officers. Mother need have no fear of him learning anything bad here. He is always with me. Indeed, situated as we are here, he is much better with me than he would be at home. He spends part of his time in reading books which I got him at Washington. --One called "Swiss Family Robinson" and one called "Pollocks Course of Time." I think he will do better here than he would if he were even going to school at home unless I were there to look after him.

I am getting up my accounts and want to have all straightened by the 1st of March, when you may expect me home. The time will soon roll round as we are now nearly in the middle of January. I have said that I was well but perhaps I should qualify the word "well," a little. I have a cold in my head. With this exception, I am all night.

I do not know what I am going to do for a pair of boots for Haze. His are entirely too small. I wonder why Mother had them. They will never do him any good. If I had the ones I left at home, he could wear them out in knocking about.

I wouldn't care if Mother would send me a box by express. I should like to have some good butter in it.- a chicken or two - a few biscuits and a few mince pies. If a pair of good large boots can be got for Haze, perhaps Mr. Orr would bring them when he comes back. I think he will be home some time next week.

Kiss "Mom" and the "pets" for me and give my love to all - I suppose you are at school remember what you promised me about school.. Write soon.

Your affect. Father,

J. Touchstone

Written around the margin: I hope you have sold the horse. If not, see Geo. Owens and perhaps he can sell him for you.

6/1/1864 Notes: - "Dear Boy" is his son James M. Touchstone (18 years old) - "Hazey" is his son Hazlett Owens Touchstone (14 years old) - "trains" refers to wagon trains - "White House" is a nearby supply depot. "Laura" is his 16 year old daughter Laura Ann Touchstone and evidently nicknamed "Lolly". "Pips" is "Hazey"; the younger children are 7 year old Ella Caroline, 5 year old Bertha and 3 year old Clayland. "Siss" is his 19 year old daughter Cornelia Alice Touchstone. The 6th Maryland Infantry fought at the Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7, Spottsylvania May 8-12, Spottsylvania Court House May 12-21, and made the assault on the Salient ("Bloody Angle") on May 12th, 1864. The regiment was engaged in the Battle of Cold Harbor from June 1st to the 12th, 1864.

Near Pamunky River Va
June 1st, 1864

My Dear Boy,

Our trains are going tomorrow to the "White House" for supplies and I avail myself of the opportunity to send a few hasty words to be mailed there.

I received a letter from Laura written on the 19th ultimo and answered it as soon as circumstances would permit. Mr. Starkweather who resigned took it to Port Royal, thence to Washington, where I suppose he mailed it. I have received no letter from home since the one sent by Laura of the 19th before mentioned.

Well, my dear boy, we have had "heavy weather" - And --- is by no means ---- yet. Great battles are still almost daily fought, and even the night is made hedious with the roar of artillery, the rattle of deadly musketry and the groans of the dying.

By flank movements we have got back on McClellans old ground. It has cost us dearly to get here - thousands on thousands of brave men have pound out their lifes blood to gain a position gained by Mc at the cost of a few hundreds of lives. I do not know the extent of our loss, but it cannot fall far short of sixty five or seventy thousand thus far. How much more we are to sacrifice in the capture of Richmond, God only knows. From present indications, I fear many a brave soul will yet perish on these blood stained plains. The main force of our army is now almost twelve miles from Richmond, but every inch of that ground will have to be taken by terrible efforts.

We are now on the river call by Mr. Tyner, the Monkey and this section of the country is very fine, though it is said to be very swampy and bad further in the advance. In deed the country is very fine all the way from Fredericksburg to this river.

I could, had I time, give you many interesting details, but cannot now. I will say there is a great business done however, in the negro line. They are carried off all ages, sex and conditions and shipped to Washington. I have looked at this unfortunate people flowing on the roads like sheep driven from the fold by hounds. I have taken some pains to ascertain their condition here and find almost without an exception, that they have been well fed, clothed and cared for, and I have felt sad to see helpless old men and women and babes carried off as it were, by force, and thrown out of the cold charities of the North without any means of sustenance. I have said to myself, "surely this is a sin before high Heaven!"

But I will talk of this again - Our wagons are just about leaving and I must close. I am well thank the Master, and hope you may all be getting along finely. I trust you and Hazey are good boys. I want you to do the best you can till I come home. I have not seen a paper since the 14th ultimo. I am almost dead for news.

Write me and send the political news and everything else. Kiss dear Mother and the pets and give my best love to all the other children; also to all relatives and friends.

Tell Siss to write me - Also Lolly and Pips - Tell Mam I am still looking anxiously for her letter.

The Battle has commenced again this morning. Cannonading on our right - the first in that direction since we come here. All the fighting thus far has been on our left and center. Our wounded are now going to "White House" thence by -------- .

I will write again as soon as convenient.

Your affectionate father,

J. Touchstone

1/5/1866 Notes: Letter to his future son-in-law, Hugh Andrew Jones, consenting to the marriage of 21 year old Cornelia Alice Touchstone, his eldest daughter.

Port Deposit, Jany 5th 1866

Mr. Hugh A. Jones

Dear Sir:

Yours of the 4th inst. is at hand: Of course it is not necessary for me to say that I have anticipated the subject of which your letter treats. For, I could not but know that the relations of intimacy so long subsisting between you and my daughter were more than would grow out of ordinary friendship.

But to the point: - You now ask my consent to your marriage, and I can have no hesitation in granting it. With all candor, however, I frankly tell you that I come not to this conclusion without due deliberation. It is no trifling sacrifice for a fond parent to make to give up his child to another under any condition of circumstances, and it is therefore transcendently important that in doing so, these circumstances, whatever they be, should be well considered. Alive then, to the importance of this matter, I have taken the liberty to make inquires respecting you, and I am pleased to say that I have learned nothing but what is of the most reputable and unexceptionable character. This being the case, of course I could have no valid objection to your marriage with my daughter.

In giving my consent however, allow me to offer a word or two of advice. I am sure you will receive it as from one who has the best wishes for your happiness. You are both young and of course inexperienced in many of the ways of the world. As for the relations of married life, you can know nothing of them until experience teaches you. Some young folks think that getting married is the consummation of earthly happiness. I need not say to you that this is a great mistake. At all events, you will be likely to find it so. At least I have never known man and wife who had not their own trials and difficulties. And so you will be likely to meet them, and it will require patience and judgement to overcome them. Doubtless you both have faults, for there is no one, however wise and good, but has them. Therefore you will both have to concede something and to extend to each other that mutual forgiveness without which no two can live together in harmony.

Your pledge to do what you can to "contribute to the comfort and happiness" of my child, I have no doubt will be faithfully kept, and I pray that God, our Heavenly Father, may make her always worthy of your tenderest and most devoted care.

As for the "kindness" I may have shown you (to which you refer) I am not conscious of ever having done more than common courtesy required. If I know myself, before God, it is my wish and disposition to treat every human being who comes in contact with me as well as I can. You will pardon me for the remarks I have made. Whatever you may think of them, I assure you they are sincerely made in your interest. They are not studied or put up for the occasion, but are given to you just as they come from my heart.

And now, my dear friend, I commend you to the care of God who is "high over all and blessed forever more". I pray that His richest blessings may be yours through life, and that you may both so live that when the toils, sorrows and cares of this world are over, you may reach that "inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled and which fadeth not away".

With my best wishes for your prosperity and happiness,

I am, respectfully, Yours

James Touchstone

 

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