1861 June 25 Norfolk, Virginia

My Dear Mother

I received your affectionate letter
yesterday and I hasten to reply to it as I know dear
Mother how lonely and desolate you must sometimes feel,
but cheer up, and always look on the bright side of life,
for I am sure you have reason to do so, as you must
be proud
that the only two males of your immediate
family, besides your brother, and numerous nephews, are
at this moment boldly facing the cowardly set of
Northern Vandals who are seekiing to subgugate this
beautiful land of the South, and we will without doubt,
(protected as we are by the kind hand of Providence)
drive back and overwhelm this base and dastardly
set. What else could a patriotic Mother desire! What
would she have? Surely not, that while other noble and
chivalrous men are manfully battling for their firesides
and homes, that she could be contented to see her rela-
tiions staying at home, not as men, but as base and
cowardly wretches. no my mother such cannot be the wish
of any Virginia Mother. And Mother, I fully comprehend

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what must be the feelings of sorrow, that agitate a
Mother’s bosom,when she sends forth to the battle her hus-
band and son, when she, proudly conscious of the noble
and patriotic example she displays, says to them, “Go–Your
Country needs you” “and I cannot say to you–stay”! I be-
lieve Mother that Angels hover arouind such a scene
as this, and will watch over and protect such a
family, though they be separated however far from
each other. Again I say, how proud and contented should
such a Mother be! protected by Angels, loved and admired
by all as an example worthy of emulation!–and my dear
and beloved Mother, I have but described your situation
and that of Aunt Mary, together with all the noble Vir-
ginia Mothers
who have, like you both, sent forth their
husbands and sons, to protect all that is dear and
near to them So henceforth, from the day that Mr Page
left, you (although you must of course have moments of
anxiety, and perhaps, painful suspense, and now and then
a pleasant sorrow, when you do not hear from them as
often as you wish,) must always recollect that “no news
is good news” and that you must never look on the dark
side of life. Always think for the best, hope for the best and
the best will happen.

In regard to money matters, and my health dear

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mother do not give your self any uneasiness what ever.
I had the plesure of receivign a “sight” note of $50 the
other day from Uncle Ben, for which I am truly grateful
so you see dear Mother that I am by no means in want
of money, and hope you will give yourself no uneasiness
about me; I wrote to him a few days ago thanking him kind-
ly for the interest which he and Aunt Sallie have always
shown in me, and for which I am truly grateful, and I
hope that time will show that his kindness was not mispla-
ced. As regards my health I have never been more healthy
in all my life, (and you know I have never been any
way delicate,) although poor and lean as “old moon” I
am nevertheless as healthy and hard as a rock.
Give my love to all of Aunt Mary’s family and kiss the
children for me, Kiss May Annie for me, and ask
her why she dont answer my letter, also to tell Kirk
he must protect you all very well as he is the only
boy left, and I suppose, he like every body else is crazy
to go to the wars too, but that he must remain and take
care of you all. what in the world has become of Sallie
May and all of Aunt Eliza’s family & I hope some of
them will “drop” me a line–And now dear Mother, always
look on the sunny side, and trusting that God may shield
and protect you from danger, I remain Your devoted Son
R. A. Camm
I will write as often as possible.

Robert A. Camm, 1842-1892, was a midshipman in the U.S. Navy before resigning his postion to become a midshipman on the CSS Ellis. He lost his left arm in action at Roanoke Island in February 1862, but returned to service. He resided in Lynchburg, Virginia, after the war.
MSS 8937

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