1864: Alzina Matilda Worden to Eva May Knapp

This letter was written by Alzina (“Alzie”) Matilda Worden (1844-1920), the daughter of Oliver Demming Worden (1820-1881) and Mary Fanny Remington (1821-1897) of Kelley’s Island, Ohio. Alzie’s father enlisted in Co. K, 130th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) on 31 May 1864, as did Alzie’s brother, Henry Isaac Worden (1846-1916). Alzie was married to William Harrison (1836-1925) in 1867.

Alzie wrote the letter to her cousin, May Evelyn (“Eva”) Knapp (1844-1930), the daughter of Charles Harlow Knapp (1803-1894) and Roxcynthia Matilda Worden (1822-1892). Eva was married to Alvah Cary Manson (1841-1922) in 1866.

Addressed to Miss Eva M. Knapp, Warsaw, Wyoming county, New York

Kelley’s Island, Ohio
August 21st 1864
Sunday P. M.

My Own Dear Cousin,

Your letter written on the 15th was received last evening and I will answer it now for I was intending to write to you today and your letter made a good excuse to answer soon. We heard the sad news of Cousin Henry’s death the 16th. The 8th of August, Father got a furlough of 3 days to go to the extreme left of the Army to see if he could find Henry & Wesley for he did not want to come home without seeing them if it was possible. The first man he met after getting into the 9th Corps told him that same that you wrote to me and went with Father to Headquarters and they conformed it and told him they had written to his wife. Father then went to see Wesley. He found him well but one of them being gone, made him so lonesome that he only stayed two days and then went back to his company, then stationed at “Point of Rocks” on the Appomattox River. The next day after, his regiment had orders to go to Fort Powhattan on James River, 25 miles from Bermuda Landing. They expect to stay there until sent home—their time owing to their Colonel (and one private) not being mustered into the service until the 31st May—will not be mustered out until the 7th September, so we do not know when to expect them home but will be “over joyful” when they do get here. Their health was very good the last letters we got dated August 12th.

I shall have to keep those pictures of yours until Henry gets home as I do not know which he will like best. Please send the photo enclosed to Frankie Worden and ask her to send hers soon as convenient. I hope we shall have the privilege of being better acquainted sometime. How long do you intend to be gone to see that physician in Avon Springs? I do most sincerely hope he will cure your eyes, dear Eva.

Well Eva, I have a large “bump of curiosity” somewhere in my cranium and I enquired about your school to satisfy that, if I could, which was all the object I had at present.

Why Eva, what has become of your boasted patriotism? Is it because you have such a rank Copperhead Governor of your state? Would not you today prefer with all the sorrow it would bring to be a brave and noble soldier’s widow than the shame of a cowardly Copperhead’s wife! I think you would take the former in preference to the latter. We are all of us weak and at times it does look very dark before us. Thank you for complimenting my patriotism but I do not think I am as much so as a great many others, or as I ought to be. By the way, has Cousin Henry’s wife parents living in Portsmouth? It is truly a sad blow to her bright future. She had hardly begun to enjoy this life. How many hearts are bruised and broken. God alone knows.

Co. K (the one Father & Henry are in) has lost two from its ranks and both were married men. One left a wife and two little boys, but with property enough for her. Her parents are both living here. The other a wife and a little fairy darling girl about 3 years old that does not realize her loss. They are among friends and I do not think the people on the Island will let them suffer.

Cousin Alvin has not been here. I do not know whether he has rejoined his regiment or not. Am expecting a letter everyday from him. I was very sorry he did not come here.

We have prospered very well since Father has been gone. Our health has been very good. It is true, we have done many things we thought we could not do. We have worked out of doors and I have collected debts, been errand boy in general, and now I do not regret it one moment. Can do the same over again and more to if there is any need of it, and it will not come half as hard again.

You would laugh if you could see me sitting here writing and I do not look half as bad as I have done. I was afflicted with the teeth ache and my face swelled up so I have been decidedly fat for a few days, but begin to feel better again if I did not have to have my head tied up in a rag. Chloe has a boil on her face and thinks she is almost as much abused as there is any use in being. She has just gone to see one of her girl friends—our next neighbor.

We have a letter from Father since I began this letter written the 15th. They were well and had orders to go out on a scout into the country after bushwhackers to be gone 3 days. That we think is about the worst news we have had this long time for it is very dangerous business [going] after those rascals that cut telegraph wires, &c.

I have not had any letter from Chloe in some time. Am expecting one most every day. I have not any time to write anymore today. If I keep on, I shall not stop in a week. Write soon as you can.

Your true, loving friend & cousin, — Alzina M. Worden


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