Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Jeems Is Willin'

A letter written to Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy during the War Between the States (1861-1865), by a girl who wanted him to give her fiancé permission for a leave of absence from the army so they could get married.

Dear Mr. President:

I want you to let Jeems C., of company oneth, 5th South Carolina Regiment, come home and get married. Jeems is willin’, I is willin’, his mammy says she is willin’, but Jeems’s capt’in, he ain’t willin’. Now when we are all willin’ ‘ceptin Jeems’ captain, I think you might let up and let Jeems come. I’ll make him go straight back when he’s done got married and fight just as hard as ever.

Your affectionate friend, etc.

The Road to Appomattox, by Bell Irvin Wiley, published by Atheneum, 1968, p. 8. Mr. Wiley says that the president wrote on the letter, “Let Jeems go.” Mrs. Davis latter said, “Jeems went home, married the affectionate correspondent of Mr. Davis, returned to his regiment, and did fight as well as ever.” Wiley is also the author of two other excellent books, Johnny Reb and Billy Yank, both of which contain numerous letters from soldiers.

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