From Abbie to Jerome, February 8, 1863

Dublin Core


From Abbie to Jerome, February 8, 1863


Peirce, Jerome
"Pleasant Valley"


From Abbie to Jerome




Jerome Peirce Collection, National Park Service


HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington




NPS, Civil War Study Group, Jack Phend (Transcriber)


For educational purposes with no commercial use. Courtesy of National Park Service, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP, FRSP 16095-16102 (FRSP-00904).








Letter #236


Pleasant Valley

Text Item Type Metadata



“Pleasant Valley”, Sunday, February 8th, ‘57
Dear “brother” mine,
I have got a peculiar mood upon me and feel like speaking to no one but your own self. May I do so, and talk just as I am feeling? Am I too late with my offerings of sympathy for the pain and suffering you have known, and of joy, for your release from it? I have cherished both though this poor frame of my own has been somewhat encumbered of late, and defied me most effectually in sooner speaking to you. But I cannot tell you how delighted I really am in hearing you are out again, and a prospect of seeing you soon is possible and probable.
But I want to tell you what has been mine the past week. A birthday! Nothing more, except in date, than I have received twenty times before, but somehow it seems differently to me. Perhaps because it has come through some more of “toil and strife” than ever before. The “toil and strife” of weakness of mortality and through some distrust as to its coming to me at all in this world. But it has come, and I accept it with thanksgiving, and pray it may be rightly improved and enjoyed. How, dear Jerome, are not these birthdays sacred landmarks in our journey of life, and as each one successively reaches us, is it not both pleasant and profitable to pause and glance back upon our footsteps and view what our store of possessions has gained by the journey thitherward? If I was to open my little treasure bag, I could show you some pretty flowers pressed and dried, but still fragrant and full of color. Perhaps I have some specimens of roses, even without the thorn. Bright pinks, so delicious to the olfactory system. Darling little violets so full of meekness, and whispering so sweetly of their, and our good Maker. Shall I claim one or two of the pure, white lilies? Oh, I must. But if you see a part, you must see the whole. So, what is this one? “Only a dandelion.” But here is the thistle. What shall I do? It pricks dreadfully, but I must keep it. Then the tiger lily looks so ostensibly that it quite freckles one. This is a mixture, isn’t it? But if the bitter must go with the sweet, the homely must not always be separated from the pretty; and good and all alike belong to life.
Is it not pleasant to know and feel that these gatherings of ours, we shall when our journey’s end we reached, be permitted to resolve to the Good [???] again, who will reward us according to our dues? Then, whether flower, or thorn, be scattered in our pathway let us accept and cherish it rightly, for the end will be good, as God ordaineth.
Are you at church today? All in “Pleasant Valley” at home except for Father. Have been reading in commentary, a sermon of F.D. Huntington upon “Entrance into the Church.” Looked over some of Channing’s sayings until this head of mine began to feel a little full and pressed and I thought it must take some relief somehow. Have I chosen the right way?
Have read Longfellow’s “Golden Legend”. What do you think of it? The beauty of Elsie’s character was the most that gave it interest to me. How purely confiding it was. Do not make very rapid strides in Cowper’s “Track” from the fact that I have not felt equal to it. A headache, not a sensible one, but one insensible has unfitted me for a week’s duty, but am brightening up, though feeling somewhat passive from the usual attending lassitude which always succeeds.
Does not this weather seem almost like an approach of spring? Are you anxious to have it come? When cold weather leaves I always lose one of my best tonics, though the changes in Nature are very dear to me; and don’t we love the Golden Robin? Sleighing is getting minus here and the drifts have really diminished their height a great deal. Today we are having a plenty of fog. Not a London fog exactly, but a disagreeable one notwithstanding.
Are all well with you now? Do not forget to extend a loving remembrance from “Abbie,” will you? To my good aunts when you see them, carry a niece’s love, which you know should be both dutiful and true, and I hope the article I send lacks not the “genuine.”
Have I talked you tired? Well, I am afraid so, but will prevent any further fatigue by a pleasant, “good-bye” from
“Sister Abbie”

NOTE 1: “A Commentary, a sermon by F.D. Huntington…” Frederic Dan Huntington (1819-1904) was born in Hadley, Massachusetts, and at that time of this letter, was Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard University, a Unitarian Congregationalist and an Abolitionist. He later moved to the Episcopal Church.

NOTE 2: “Looked over some of Channing’s saying…” William Ellery Channing (1780-1842) was a leading liberal theologian of his day, instrumental in establishing the Unitarian Church. He rejected the Calvinist doctrine of the moral depravity of mankind, holding that humanity is one with a benign creation. As pastor of the Federal Street Church of Boston, his philosophy became a guiding light to the Transcendentalist movement. Reverend Channing, first in his graduating class of Harvard Divinity School, was an avid abolitionist. He published several volumes of his sermons and aphorisms.

NOTE 3: “Longfellow’s ‘Golden Legend’…” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s romantic poetry was favorite reading material of Jerome Peirce. He shared that interest with both Allie and Abbie. This heroic poem tells the saga of the dissipated and deposed Prince Henry of Hoheneck on the Rhine, who is afflicted with a strange and fatal illness which can only be cured with the blood of a maiden who, of her own volition, will give up her life to save him. This is the “Elsie” mentioned by Abbie. Elsie is rescued from both a doctor and Lucifer, who intends to steal her soul, by Henry, who is medically cured and morally cleansed. Prince Henry weds Elsie and is restored to his rightful throne.

NOTE 4: “Cowper’s ‘Track’…” Poet William Cowper’s (1731-1800) “The Task: A Poem in Six Books” is a complex, heroic/romantic work in blank verse, published in 1785. This work, by the emotionally and mentally troubled Cowper, was inspired by friend and fellow author, Lady Jane Austin. The conversational, yet extended and deeply reflective work, includes various segments on the goodness of nature and mankind and the evils of slavery and blood sport, which occurred spontaneously to the author. Cowper wrote many hymns and was also an abolitionist.

NOTE 5: Golden Robins are also known as Baltimore Orioles.

Original Format




Abbie 1857, From Abbie to Jerome, February 8, 1863, HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington


Copy the code below into your web page