Documenting the American South Logo
powered by google
Legend Informational Note
See the Page Image
     Mouseover Available
Title: Letter from Eleanor Swain Atkins to Cornelia Phillips Spencer, May 12, 1865: Electronic Edition.
Author: Atkins, Eleanor Swain
Funding from the University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Bari Helms
Images scanned by Bari Helms
Text encoded by Sarah Ficke
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 12K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2005
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text
The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-08-01, Sarah Ficke finished TEI/XML encoding.
Source(s):
Title of collection: Cornelia Phillips Spencer Papers (#683), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from Eleanor Swain Atkins to Cornelia Phillips Spencer, May 12, 1865
Author: Ellie Swain Atkins
Description: 3 pages, 3 page images
Note: Call number 683 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Editorial practices
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 5 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Originals are in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved.
Page images can be viewed and compared in parallel with the text.
Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
Letters, words and passages marked as deleted or added in originals have been encoded accordingly.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as ".
All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as '.
All em dashes are encoded as —.
Indentation in lines has not been preserved.

For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see the section Editorial Practices.
Letter from Eleanor Swain Atkins to Cornelia Phillips Spencer , May 12, 1865
Atkins, Eleanor Swain



Page 1

May 12, 1865

My dear Mrs Spencer ,

I was never more surprised, provoked, & distressed in my life, than when I found, by accident, this evening, that Pa had been showing letters (to me) of all things on earth the most sacred. Letters written for my eye alone; & only trusted to my Father as an act of duty; without the least thought that any other than himself should read them. Unlike myself, he seeks rather than avoid the opinion & advice of the world. It was enough to have exposed the first letter, but past comprehension, the second. He was guided by what he considered best for me, but very much against my wishes I assure you. It takes from the letters their true value to have them reduced to matter of fact, as much as to expose to the world's eye, "the hidden treasures of the heart." The last letter (in fact neither one does him justice) written in haste amid all the trouble of real camp life. As to what "people say" Pa's great failing is to care too much, as to myself but one voice can prevent this "affair," & that is one higher than man. I am much obliged for your kind "endorsement," & hope this secret may be kept.
"The world may scorn me if it will
I care but little for its scoffing."
No, indeed, I have all I desire in most noble heart & mind entrusted to my keeping. I trust you did not think me so wanting in true refinement that I would have been willing to allow this exhibition? With assurances of high regard

I am yours most truly,

Ellie Swain


Page 2
Let Politicians henceforth cease to vex us
With questions of disunion and debate,
For the whole country now from Maine to Texas,
Has learned 'tis better far to love than hate.
This boasted age of progress & invention,
In this our saddest day of war's alarms,
With closest scrutiny & strict attention,
Has brought us nothing new, at least in arms.
They talk of "Armstrongs," "Parrotts," of invaders,
Of sieges, sallies, & of wide spread ruin,
But all their arms, & wide mouthed Peace-persuaders,
Cannot make Love, altho' they may make Union.
The best artillery is found to be the oldest,
And Peace hath conquests too, by no means narrow,
The wisest soldier, & perchance the boldest,
Yields to a pair of blue eyes, and a bow & arrow.
Written May 3d 1865 & inscribed to E.H.S. on occasion of General A's surrender.


Page 3
This note written last night under the act of provocation I think better of it this morning & send his Photo for your inspection & a very poor one it is, the upper part of the face bears some resemblance. An acrostic not good either but his first sentiment as well as song. The second line of the last verse he changed in a note to me the day he left CH ("Which is of love I now can tell") you see from this it was a gradual affair. Ellie is caught at last in her known net.
I had nothing to hide when the Yankees came among us except my self, this I had no fear of being stolen, but see the result!
I gave this to Pa to read & he wishes me to tell you this fact: professes to be somewhat "abused" but I think more amused. Cat's snarls are only laughed at & her scratches unnoticed provided they only irritate paper.