January 5 1864 – Nannie McClelland to John J Haun

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Letter from Nannie McClelland, a correspondent of John Haun’s during the war years. The two never met in person, but became acquainted, in epistolary form, when John wrote to her on behalf of a messmate who had stayed in her home while wounded.1

Sabbath Morning
January 5th 1864

Mr Haun,

Your very welcome letter came safely to hand last Thursday evening, but as I was preparing to make a short visit I was unable to answer it then. I will do so now with pleasure.

I am very sorry you have been troubled on account of my ring I can assure you its the ring you designed for me, containing glad sun and silver leaves. I should have mentioned this before. I am now visiting a brother near a small village by the name of Chandlerville and nine miles out from the city of Barisville.2

This is the holy Sabbath and I am devoting its sacred hours in writing to you. I have been so teased by a little pet niece of mine following me from room to room asking me about every five minutes if I don’t like her better than her little sister Clare, that I have been compelled to retreat to the woods. I only wish you could see and enjoy the place as I do. I have heard of its beauty before, but could not imagine any place as beautiful and romantic. Some would call it a hill but I will call it a young mountain almost 4 miles in length with a road gradually ascending to the top or a path just wide enough to receive a carriage at either end, and the lip or path covered with moss and wild flowers and trees, and as you go to the South side of the hill you can look down on tree tops covered with wild grape vines and rocks almost hidden from sight by vines and moss. I am going to press some of the flowers and send them to you.

You will no doubt think I am growing very poetical and romantic but if you can appreciate such places as I do—and I almost know you do—you will not blame me. I am almost sure if you was here at this moment you would admire the place with me.

So you imagine my rings are tokens from near and dear friends. I know we are apt to judge others by appearances, “present company excepted.” I will not deny that Bill G. was a valued friend, and, as for any other friend, I respect him very much, but think he is quite as dear to my friends as myself. He has one year and three months yet to put in and will perhaps return. Did you ever, through sympathy and persuasions of friends, say anything you might forever regret? What have I been writing. I know you will think me dishonorable writing them to a stranger. Perhaps its the effect on my mind of this somewhat lonely place, and just where the full heart feels what at most time it would forget.

But enough of this or you will begin to think I am really sad. I am not naturally so, I assure you. You are a very welcome to the stamps I gave you and must have thought it a very good hint continue the correspondence, as you said you wished, if agreeable to, me to continue it. It is entirely agreeable to me. I shall only regret if our correspondence ever ceased, as I expect to live an old maid but fear some sore else will interfere with you writing. Very well I can give you up to any one who has a better claim on your attention than myself. I have been too much in the habit of writing to one as if I never expect to meet, and of saying things that would give me just cause to blush at, should I live to be a matron of 45, and should I ever have the pleasure of meeting you. I will no doubt listen with pleasure and interest to your part and regret history, for I knew there would be much to interest me in one who has traveled so much and passed through so many exciting scenes as you must have done.

I will send you books this week. I was disappointed about getting them yesterday. You have aroused my curiosity and don’t think I can wait so long for your story. Do you remember if you stopped at our house as you passed us? A two story white frame, with a small yard in front and stones all around and steps with a gate fronting the road, just two miles from Cumberland. We had some choice flowers, rose bushes hanging over the walk. As their horses was destroying them I kindly ask them to please let their horses eat them each one politely took them away. I did not expect that but was very grateful for it. I wonder if my friend was one of the number. Remembering you kindly, I will remain your friend,

Nannie M. McClelland

Excuse this pencil. I have no good pen.

Metadata: Sender’s location: Chandlerville, KY | Recipient’s location: Camp Chase, OH
  1. The story is told more fully in John’s letter to Mollie of May 29 1864.
  2. Consult the map for specific locations.