Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - February 14, 1862

Fredericksburg Friday 14 [February 1862]

My brother is safe. Capt Lynch, his officers and crew were saved.

God bless my dear husband. He is the noblest and best that ever lived. He told me yesterday evening that he thought the time had come for him to enlist and do what he could for the cause of our country, that even though he might not be very efficient himself, his example might lead others to go. He had already sacrificed more than most men in leaving Washington and giving up his profession, his partnership and all he possessed in the world to come here.
And now that he has an office under Government, one that will be quite profitable, and that exempts him from all military duty, he wants to resign it and go into the service as a Lieutenant of Artillery. Says he is not fit for any higher post and is not strong enough to be a private.

It is a life so entirely repugnant to all his tastes and feelings. He never has had the least taste even for field sports, and knows nothing about a gun. All his pleasures were centered in his home and in his books. If he goes he will make a greater sacrifice of tastes and feelings and worldly prospects than anybody I know. Many wealthy men go, but they can come back to their wealth. Many poor men go, but they have nothing to lose and all to gain. Many go and have their business carried on by others. He had nothing, and will give up his only chance of making money to go where he can barely earn a living.

He has written to consult Papa about it. If it is right I shall not say the first word against it. Though I shall live but half a life without him.

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