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Letter of Joseph J. Hoyle to Sarah Hoyle, April 17, 1864


Letter of Joseph J. Hoyle to Sarah Hoyle, April 17, 1864


Joseph Hoyle wrote to his wife expressing his relief that the rain had delayed the start of the campaigning season. He also expressed his happiness towards the continuing religious activities among the camp. He also expressed how much he wanted to be back with his wife and how he always prayed for it. He concluded the letter with a poem for his wife.


Holye, Joseph J.


Jeffrey M. Girvan, ed., Deliver Us from this Cruel War: The Civil War Letters of Lieutenant Joseph J. Hoyle, 55th North Carolina Infantry (Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, 2010), 166-167.




Rodgers, Keely




Rapidan, Virginia

Original Format



Camp on the Rapidan, Va.
April 17th, 1864

My Dear wife:
I have the pleasure again of dropping you a few lines, informing you that I am well, and I hope this will find you well. We are still having a great deal of rain, and, although it puts us to some inconvienence, yet we are not sorry to see it rain, as we know it keeps off the fight some longer. When it is raining, you will frequently hear some one say, “This rain has prolonged many a man’s life” and it is a true saying, as we expect the yankees to move upon us whenever the roads get in condition. (or may be we will move upon them, I don’t know). I am happy to say that a spirit of hopefulness and confidence prevade our army, and I believe it will do its whole duty when the time comes. May God be with us and shield and deliver us. We had preaching to-day in our Brigade. There is still a bright manifestation of religious feeling in our Brigade. While here on picket, we have poor opportunities for religious services, nevertheless I am glad to see that a hopeful religious feeling still exists among us.
Dear Sarah, I long for this cruel war to be over, and make it a subject of much prayer. I want to return to the sweet embrace of a dear wife, that we may go hand in hand toward the kingdom of heaven. Dear Sarah, I know it is not necessary for us to be united in order to love God with the whole heart, and it may be for our own good that He has caused us to be separated, yet it seems to me I could live a more devoted Christian, if I could be united again in life with you. If this is a rong desire of my heart, I pray the good Lord to forgive it. I am willing to abide His righteous will, yet I cannot help craving to be united again in life with you — with my dearest Sarah, and I also make this a subject of prayer — It is a principle of religion, that we should never wish, or engage in, any thing which we cant not pray for consistent with conscience. My Dear Sarah, let our trust be in God.
Monday 18 — This morning finds me well. The sun is shining bright this morning, and looks as though we might have some fair weather. The weather is smartly cold, and plenty of snow is yet visible on the mountains.

Often when sleep closes mine eyes
And forgetfulness takes all care away,
Then come that dearest one, my wife
And nestles near, near my side,
Her gentle hand is laid in mine,
Her dear lips to mine are pressed,
O then I am happy in dream land.
But I awake, alas my happiness is gone.
My Dear one has flown away, and I
Again am alone — Thus time
Passes away in dreamy flight

I remain as ever, yours in hope and love,
My own Dear Sarah, Joe.


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Holye, Joseph J., Letter of Joseph J. Hoyle to Sarah Hoyle, April 17, 1864, Civil War Era NC, accessed May 21, 2024,