The following was written by a young Bostonian, who was engaged in mercantile business at the place from which he dates his letter:
NEW YORK, July 29, 1862.
My Dear Father and Mother: I wrote you a day or two ago on passing events. Now I write on the subject that lies nearest my heart. The country calls for men, and we must have them! Recruiting lags, and we are in danger of a draft. It is now useless to say there are enough men without me. It is not the fact. I want to volunteer; and had I a hundred lives I would now place them at the disposal of the Government, for it needs all the young men who can be spared, and I am one who can. Let me calmly state the case to you. First, if the rebellion succeeds, we shall have the disintegration of our country to look upon. We shall not have North and South alone, but after that, State will separate from State, county from county, and then it may be every man for himself. Then will commence a series of wars none of us could see the end of. The stronger State will make war on the weaker, and the successful military commander would assume power. We should have military despotism and anarchy alternately. If we succeed, all will be peace, and we shall enjoy the freedom of institutions, and the perfect liberty we have hitherto enjoyed.
They you must acknowledge the power to do, or not to do, lies with ourselves. We have the men, but they must come forward. Money we have, and we must use it. The South are terribly in earnest. The North are fast asleep, compared with them. We are fighting for life, for our old institutions, for nationality, for all we hold most dear. The South are endeavoring to destroy all these, and to prevent them we must have men. We must conquer. We can if we use our means. If the South conquer, I dont want to live in this country any longer. Now I acknowledge that a fathers and a mothers love is one of the greatest blessings a young man can enjoy, next to the favor of God himself; but that love descend to selfishness when it restrains a young man from his manifest duty. The love for parents, and fear of their displeasure if they disobey them, are what hold many hundred young men from joining our noble array.
Let all such restrictions be removed, and our ranks will swell with twice the rapidity they are now doing. My duty is to go–yours to let me go. The duties of the country at large are patience, steadfastness, hope, and prayer. A very fine preacher here says: “Pray for your dying son, but pray for your country more than ten thousand sons.” The love of money must be put down. What good is money going to do us if we have no country to live in? I dont want a living if I have not a country. Hoping, praying, trusting, you will accede to my wishes, I await an answer. My name is on the militia rolls; so I am subject to draft; and sooner than have me go with drafted men here, I know you will let me go in a Massachusetts regiment. I have written this letter after weeks of deliberation, and in no sudden burst of enthusiasm
Originally posted 2008-06-30 12:18:23.