July 19 1864 – Nannie McClelland to John J Haun

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Nannie McClelland writes to John with small items of news, thanking him for a drawing of a bird he has sent her and telling of her fondness for pet birds.

Cumberland Ohio
July 19th 1864

My friend Mr Haun,

I must acknowledge your very welcome letter of July 3rd which has remained unanswered for reasons which I will now explain. First I wrote to you on the very same evening you wrote to me July 3rd. Rather singular, is it not? “Has to be” I suppose, and by the way it remains unanswered yet. Not only that, but as I told you in my last, your letter was torn off at the most interesting part of it. So you see I know but little of its contents.

You said you had gone to a new camp, and not knowing where to direct my letter I directed as of old to Prison 3, and have been waiting to get your reply and know if it reached you. But, fearing you have failed to get it, I will “try again.” Your last letter came safely. It was not torn as before. I was very glad, for I think it would have been too bad to have had those hearts torn apart. Don’t you wonder if they belong to anybody in Camp Chase? I think not, for I see they are Union “red white and blue.” my colors. I don’t know who’s they are but think they are perfect—and before I go any farther must tell you you have received very many compliments from two or three of my confidential friends who have seen your drawing.

You ask if I like birds. You would have thought so if you could have seen my attentions to any dear little Millie, a canary bird, a present from a lady friend living in Newark, Ohio.1 She had just died a day or two before your letter came, consequently the sight of your birds only served to renew my grief. I know its foolish, but one will become so attached to the innocent little creatures. However, I think I might find something of a more serious nature to grieve for in these times. I am pleased to find you prize my flowers and will not laugh at you for eating the withered leaves. You cannot say now that you and I never shared a meal, for I remember well when I was pressing them the leaves kept falling and I gathered them up and ate them, never thinking you would do the same. I was afraid their beauty would be gone for they came near being “the last rose of summer,” and I was afraid the leaves would all fall off. I am so glad you got the magazine at last.

Mrs S. called a few days ago to rectify a mistake concerning the price of the magazine. I said the price was 37 cents instead of 25. I judged from the amount of change I received. Please don’t think I’m in the habit of giving presents and telling the price. I would never have mentioned it, but I felt a little indignant when I thought you was not allowed to receive my book and unconsciously let my disposition get up. Do you blame me? But it will teach me to not be quite so hasty next time.

Maggie was pleased when I told her what you said. She said to ask you to remember her as a friend. Of course I think the women have a right to their opinions as well as the men, but don’t believe in hurting feelings when it can be avoided. I am very glad anything I can do may cheer your prison life. I can assure you it will be freely done. When you assure me I have driven half the horrors you are compelled to endure away I feel as if my “bread was not cast upon the waters” in vain2—but I feel a little sad to know such things must be. I pray God this terrible war will soon close. In my last I told you I was going to C– soon, but have given it up for the present. My niece Maggie C. who was to accompany me is still quite ill, poor girl. She was engaged to a young Lieutenant who was recently killed, and the shock seems too much for her. I have taken my place by her bed and will remain here until she is better. She thought it was not so until a few days ago when his sword and belt was sent home. How many bright anticipations are blasted by this war.

Mr Haun I am so glad you are good enough to put the right construction on things I do and say. I was almost afraid you would think me fast sending a bouquet to a perfect stranger—but we are not strangers but friends I think. I know I have written things to you that might appear strange on so short an acquaintance, especially the unexplained, but believe me, my motives are good and pure. It was only by accident I knew anything about you and of course feel an interest that I cannot in others in Camp Chase. You will soon find I write just what I think its perfectly natural; we can’t help what is natural. This has become natural of late. I hope I will soon get a letter from Camp Chase. I would like to know what excuse will come this time. Must quit for fear this never reaches you, but could write more,

Your friend,

Nannie McLelland

Metadata: Sender’s location: Cumberland, OH | Recipient’s location: Columbus, OH
Notes: “Dated July 19th 64, Received July 21 64”
  1. Consult the map for precise location.
  2. Ecclesiastes 11:1