American Presidents

Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson

While serving as the Military Governor of Tennessee during the Civil War, Johnson writes to his wife regarding both familial and political concerns.

Washington City
March 27th 1863-

My dear Eliza,

I feel sometimes like giv[in]g up in dispare! But this will not do. we must hold out to the end, this rebelion is wrong and must be put down let cost what it may in the life and treasure-
It is so difficult to write I am almost detered from now trying after having commenced-I desire to know how your health is-I am kept in suspence all the time in reference to Some one of the family-Col Stover telegraphed that your health is about the same and that Mary is not well-I have heard nothing from Robert & Charles since I left Nashville- I hope all is right with them-Martha and children I fear I shall never see them again-I feel sometimes like giv[in]g up in dispare! But this will not do. we must hold out to the end, this rebelion is wrong and must be put down let cost what it may in the life and treasure-I intend to appropriate the remainder of my life to the redemption of my adopted home East Tennessee and you & Mary must not be weary, it is our fate and we Should be willing to bear it cheerfully-Impatience and dissatisfaction will not better it or shorten the time of our suffering-I expected to have been back some time ago, but have been detaind here by govmt-In the event Genls Rosecrans & Burnside fails to redeem East Tennessee this spring or summer I [am] making arrangements to have a force raised to go there this fall-My matters are now nearly arranged and will leave in day or so for Louisville-Things do not look in Tennessee at this time as would like to see them; but must take them as they are-I would like to see the confederate Army driven back before you and Mary goes to Nashville, but by the time I reach there we will see more about it-You have no doubt seen that there are more troops being sent into Ky and the intention is to send them from there into Tennessee unless they are beaten back by the Rebels which I do not think will be the case-However we must wait and See the result-Washington is about as usual as far as I have seen, nothing more than common-The weather since I left you has been uninterruptedly bad-I have scarcely had a well day since reaching the north; aboniable cold, with horseness, sore throat and a bad cough-I have been speaking and exposed to some extent which has kept it up-I hope you are gain[in]g strength and some flesh-I trust there is nothing serious the matter with Mary and that she will soon be well again-Tell Mary she must devote much of her time and attention to the instruction and train[in]g of her children and say to them that the're grand father thinks of them evy day and prays for their future happiness-You must tell Andrew that his father's hopes rest upon him now and that he must make a man of himself, he can do it if he will and I expect it of him-If he will only educate himself he has a destiny of no ordinry character-when I get to Louisville I shall expect to find that he has made considerable progress in writing as well as in his books-If he will be a good boy and learn as he can there is nothing that he wants that I can procure for him but what he shall have-Say to Col Stover that I receivd his despatch and will try and have it attend to &c-I hope he is filling up his Regiment-

Give my love to all and accept for yourself the best wishes of a devoted husband's heart-

Andrew Johnson

[The above letter is reproduced exactly as written and was obtained through the archives at the The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Libraries]

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