Letter written by Lieutenant Charles Wilkins of the 1st U.S. Infantry, to his girlfriend Sarah from his camp near Corinth, Mississippi. In this short letter, Wilkins expresses his love for Sarah, and asks whether she loves him in return. He admits to the danger he is in while fighting in the war, but hopes that her love will give him something to hope for while he is away.
January 25th 1863
Dearest Friend Sarah,
In my last letter I promised to tell you the subject of my thoughts while writing. I hardly dare tell you, and I am also at a loss how to commence. The subject of my thoughts was yourself. Dear Sarah, I love you. Do you love me in return? I know not how to express my feelings in suitable language. May I hope that the day is not far distant when I shall call you my own. I know that in my present position I am exposed to many dangers, and that perhaps I ought not to have asked this question at present. But you know not how
much I should feel to know that you loved me. I should feel that I then had something to live and fight for through life. I am now twenty-seven years old. And it seems almost as if I had lived without an object. But have tried to do my duty. If I have failed, think it is through no fault of mine. Hoping soon to get a favorable answer.
I remain, Truly yours,
Charles Wilkins was born in Henniker, New Hampshire to James and Sarah Wilkins. He originally enlisted in Company B of the 2nd NH Infantry on June 1, 1861 at the age of 25. He served as a private until wounded at the 1st Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861. He remained on wounded leave at Hennikee, NH until January, 1862, when he was appointed 2nd lieutenant, 1st U.S. Infantry, to date from Feb. 19, 1862. On May 25, 1863 Lt. Wilkins was wounded at Vicksburg, MS and died of his wounds on June 20, 1863. He was brevetted captain for gallant and meritorious service in action at Vicksburg, June 20,1863.