Private letter from Thomas Lucas to his wife Letty

photo shows close-up of letter on stationary with raised lines in scrolls around the border.

This letter was folded into a tiny envelope (about 1" x 2") on which is written "Mrs. Letty J Lucas, Carmichaels, Pa Privately." Both the letter and the envelope are embossed with scrolls, as shown on the left. It is undated, but it was apparently written in the first few months that Thomas served in the war (before their second daughter Libby was born in January 1862).

Dear Letty -- This is for your own eyes and no one else. This is the evening of the holy sabbath. The sun is just setting behind the western hills. It is one of those bright and beautiful evenings that is wont to make one feel in a pensive mood and long for a pleasant conversation with those dear and loved ones at home. But ah, my Dear Letty, we are debarred of each other's society. Cruel fate has decided that we shall forego the pleasures of each others society for a time, and perhaps forever.

Those lines are so beautiful and so much in place that I couldent help taking them down.

"Letty, my Darling look up in the skies
Where the stars peep through the blue.
Do you remember the [gentle] surmise
Made when first looked love in your eyes,
If we were tender and true
That when our life on this earth should be riven
We might still hope for each other in heaven.

"Do you remember one day you were ill
And I stood close by your bed,
While every sigh sent a saddening thrill
But my heart hushed itself, hushed itself still,
Listening to you while you said,
"If I die early, dear love, I will wait,
Watching for you at the heavenly gate."
Now you are better, dear wife, and our fate
Makes us cling closer through life.
But should I die, Letty dear, could you wait,
Patient, believing me still at the gate,
Watching for you, little wife?

"Letty look steadily up in the blue.

"While I am breaking some tidings to you,
Darling, our nation has need of the brave.
I must go forth in her cause,
Fight that liberty's banner may wave,
Die if need be, our country to save.
Will you be patient, and pause
Ere you should add one more weight to a heart
Breaking almost that we must part?
Will this, Dear Letty, be your answer?

"Solemnly turned she her gaze from the blue,
Earnestly looked in his eyes,
Saying, "Dear love, to your country be true.
Go, and my blessing and prayer be with you.
If you go first to the skies,
Tell all the angels in heaven above
That my best gift to my country was love."

The first time I read those lines I couldent help the tears starting to my eyes. I thought of the time when you were sick and we were fearful you wouldent get well, and you said you would wait for me in heaven. But you are well now, dear Letty, and it may be that I will lay down my life for my country. Pray for me that if I do, I will get to heaven, and that you may wait patiently while I am waiting for you at the heavenly gate. Remember little Milly for me. Kiss her for me, and teach her the true lessons of virtue. And if, by the mysteries of a divine providence you have her to raise, raise her up in the paths of true Christianity. Good bye and may God bless you is my prayer.

Thos. Lucas
Letty J. Lucas

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