Tuesday, 1865 February 14, Petersburg, Virginia: Two Valentines from the Petersburg Front

[Valentine letters and poems to Virginia sisters Barbara and Rebecca Hedrick from an anonymous Confederate soldier in Army of Northern Virginia.]

Letter 1 of 2: “My mind is to marry and never to part . . .”

Camp near Petersburg, Va.
Feb. the 14th 1865
Miss Barbara this will inform
you that I am still in the land
with the living and doing well
hoping you are blest with all the
comforts needful to make you happy.
I have no news to interest you with.
I will send you a present to
let you know I am ever mindful
of you believing you are the
same to me. [As] it is raining and
cold I will desist for the present
leaving my name blank for you to
guess for. So no more at present but
remain as ever yours till death. good
bye till I see you.

[reverse]
Oh Barbara, Oh Barbara would you think it unkind
For me to address you and tell you my mind
My mind is to marry and never to part
The first time I saw you, you wounded my heart.

Letter 2 of 2: “When this you see remember me . . .”

Camp near Petersburg, Va.
Feb. the 14th 1865
Miss Rebecca this will inform
you that I am well and as gay
as a lark hoping you may get
this in due time and it may
find you quite lively. I have
nothing in the way of news to
interest you with. I merely write to
you and Send you this present
as a token of mutual friendship
hoping that such exists between
us and that you will keep it
until I come and then I will
tell you all about it for a
puzzle. I will leave my name
blank and see if you will
have it guessed by the time I get
there. I remain as ever yours
truly.

[reverse]
When this you see remember me
Though many miles apart we be
For I will ever think of you
And hope our days apart are few.

[Editor: The reverse of both letters have nearly identical hand-colored drawings of pairs of turtle doves, intertwined hearts, and vases of flowers; in Barbara’s letter “Army of Northern Virginia” is surrounded by flowers. The Hedrick family lived on a farm near Cross Keys, Rockingham County, Virginia; according to the 1860 U. S. Census it included Barbara A., age 19, and Sarah R. [Rebecca?], age 15; fifteen years after the war (1880) both were still unmarried and living with their parents in Rockingham County. Apparently the soldier did not marry either Hedrick sister; perhaps he did not survive the war.]

MSS 38-665

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