Letter – Given Campbell, 21 January 1872


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Letter supposedly written by Captain Given Campbell, to his wife Susan Elizabeth, from New Orleans, LA. Campbell gives his wife an account of his daily life in the city. He describes a visit to a church where the sermon lasted for over an hour, which he thought was much too long. He writes of various friends and acquaintances he has seen in New Orleans. He also mentions that New Orleans is an “ungodly city,” and that as he sits writing he can hear a brass band playing as part of a large parade. He writes that “unless there is more religion here we will never prosper.”

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New Orleans Sunday afternoon Jany 21.72

My Sweet Wife

I mailed a letter to you this morning, and then went to hear Mr M. I was invited to [???] woods to dine but declined. Well Mr M preached a sermon one hour & 5 minutes in length to Christians about keeping separate from the world and he gave his ideas about theatres operas cardplaying, Billiards, Horse races and round dances in extenso: and in the service I thought he was right and reasonable, but there was more too much of it for one time, Aunt Em and Will were at Church in my pew, and Belle Watts from Southland was also there, after church I walked to Uncle Gus’ to see Belle home, and was most pressingly invited by Uncle Gus to stay to dine, but I declined because I wanted to go to the mail which is

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open only between 1 & 2 oclock on Sunday, and I dint know whether they will feel complemented by this preference of mine to get a letter from you to dining with them or not. but at any rate it was so, and I did go to the P.O. and much to my intense disgust the mail was an hour and a half behind time, so I will not get the letter of today till tomorrow morning. These mails are so horribly irregular that they disgust me often. I have set my heart on a letter from you today, for I always enjoy getting your letters more on Sundays. I suppose it is because I have no work to do on that day and have my mind free from business and then it naturally reverts to what it most prominently thinks of and you know who that is.

We had a right good Congregation and I saw some strangers, i did not see Mr Alison, But Mrs Moore & Miss Carrie & Mr W. were each there, and there

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also was Mrs Richardson, and she was not very well dressed I am afraid poor Frank is feeling some of the dullness of the times. Aunt Eve looked well and said she was well and Will is very fat, and his face is as broad a face as a mans ought to be, he was very nicely dressed in a new suit of cloth I suppose his sister must have given it to him for Poor old Mac, does not do much now I never see him have a case and it is strange to me how he gets along. I have not seen any thing of Mary for some time she is disposed to forget me, and as I do not think her recollections as of any advantage to me I wont trouble her by jogging her memory by any visit to her–. I am boarding at Moreau’s on Canal but St. Charles & [Carondelet?], about two doors further out than Giguel’s, and have very fine eating there, and enjoy what I eat much more than at the Hotel, though it is a solitary sort of a life to site and eat your meals at a table by yourself, but as it agrees

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with my appetite then, I think I shall continue it for a few days longer – there it is about $3 per week higher that at the Hotel. This is a very ungodly city. for just as I am waiting here goes a brass band and a procession with banners parading the street. I am afraid unless there is more religion here it will never prosper, well my darling I will now go to dinner and stop this letter here and finish it tomorrow, and mail it then.

You may always know that no one can describe how much I love you, G.

Monday, well darling another beautiful morning has dawned upon us. I am very well this morning. I went to my room on yesterday after dinner and read some chapters in my testaments. I then staid in my room til Church [???] and went to Dr Palmers to the annual meeting of the Bible Society and there was an immense crowd & the church was very close and one man farted & fell from his seat and several ladies had to leave Rev Wm Tudor delivered the address, and his address

[Rest of letter missing]

Given Campbell was a lawyer practicing in St. Louis, MO who enlisted in the 2nd MO Volunteer Militia. In 1861 he was captured with over 600 other militia members by the Union Army and taken prisoner. He was paroled and then went to Kentucky where he joined the 15th KY Cavalry. He was promoted to captain of the company. Following the surrender at Appomattox, Campbell was selected by Jefferson Davis to lead his escape – they were captured at Irwinsville, GA. After the war, Campbell moved to New Orleans where he continued to practice law until 1873, when he moved back to St. Louis. He died in 1906.