Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

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Newport Bks N.C.Mch 19th 1864My dear Maria

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I have just come in from a horse back ride with Lt Ballard who is Act Adjt and have been out to bogue Sound and visited the place where the Rebs buried four of their killed at the fight here I have about a half hour before dress parade and will scribble you a little. I presume ere you receive this you will have heard of the death of Maj Bartlett of our Regt. He died very suddenly with inflamation of the brain. to day I have been down to Morehead with the Corps- to get it sent home on the Steamer Spaulding It is very sad for us to loose the Maj, and more so for the reason he was so lately promoted to fill the vacancy caused by the death

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of Maj Jarvis. Maj Bartlett was one of the finest men I ever knew and has always been a firm friend of mine. Since his promotion he has tented with me and I assure you it is quite lonely for me now. He died here in my tent and on my bed. I cant tell who will be our next maj and I dont know as any Capt will dare to take the position as there seems to be a fatality connected with it. The drums are beating so I will strap on my sword and [travel].

The Parade is over and I will write till supper is ready. I got a letter from you today also two a day or two ago. The express box came also yesterday and a short line was also in that. The boots I am sorry to say are not just what I wanted I intended to have a much lighter pair but I can dispense of them no doubt. The sausage kept well and we had two good

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meals in our mess from it. The cheese & Cookies I keep for my own use in my tent and find they taste quite home like. I hardly know what to write about your new Theme and what you are so much exercised about of late You know I have often told you that you were better and more of a Christian than 9/10ths of the church members and those who pretend to be saved from all sin- and I believe you have always been since our marriage as near what god requires as it is in the power of human beings to be My ideas have been that you have always attempted to do right from a sense of right and not from fear of the future. I want you to know that I dont object to the course you have pursued if you really feel it you way and duty but I fear you have from seeing and being under the influence of religious excitement or what they claim to be religion or being filled, with the Holy Ghost and from hearing those frightful

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discriptions of the future portrayed by some half crazy and weak minded minister, got frightened as many do under those influences and from this have pursued your present course I hope you will not feel that I am a hard judge. I have seen so much of that excitement and have never fooled with and been worked upon to be frightened into serving god so much that I cant help being disgusted with the common way the Methodists have of what they call converting souls. My ideas as you know are that a settled principle and a firm resolve to serve God and do right by all our fellow creatures, is worth much more (when the conclusions are arrived at from a calm, sober, reflection) than all the excitement and that the so called Holy Ghost a protracted meeting can produce and I really think that more evil has resulted to the world from this way of conducting religious ministries & producing excitement than good.

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If I thought you would be on the Mrs D. Lawrence style or Brundage style I should feel very unhappy, but I know your sense of propriety is keen and that you will not be carried away to such extremes. I think nothing is more commendable in a person than a principle to be a follower of God to shun all evil, do good to all, pray often & secretly, rather than publicly and show by daily acts, what are his purposes rather than by words. I feel that you are well aware of my notions regarding these things so in this letter will will see only what you have heard me talk many times. Your letters have called the thing up or I should not give my opinions so freely, for I know to my Parents they are not pleasant. I hope I may and I am trying to be better than ever before and I trust hope we may both be just what God desires us to be and well prepared to meet in the world to come

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You are my nearest and dearest earthly friend. you have the whole care of our dear little ones and I have always felt that they were in the best hands they could possibly be placed in and that no evil would befall them while under your care, & I know I have not misplaced my confidence as the results show. My whole heart is yours and if I say any thing out of the way or what does not accord with your feelings I hope you will not feel that I am any the less your loving and devoted Husband To you I look for as the only being who is to make my future happy, and in you I place all my hopes and feel assured I can do so without reserve. I have written more at length than I intended but hardly know when to stop. Kiss the dear little ones often for me and tell them I shall write them in a few days-

Your Affectionate HusbandV. G. Barney