This letter was written by John W. Hodges. I can’t be certain if he is the same individual by that name residing in Yell County, Arkansas. That Hodges (1838-1864) was married to Dartha LaVerna Jones (1841-1919) before 1860 and served with the 31st Arkansas Infantry.
March 25, 1861
Dear Sister Mittie,
I know dear Sister that it is quite natural for us all to sorrow heavily on account of our dear departed brother. In thinking of his many noble qualities and virtues, we are apt in the anguish of our souls to say, “Great God! how could thy vengeance light so utterly on one so bright? How could the hand that gave such charms blast them again? But we should remember that “we must not pluck death from the Maker’s hand.” We do feel sorry that there was “No” will well known through many a day when all other sounds decay, Is still like distant music heard. Which cheers the spirit, see its bark, puts off into the unknown dark.” But however this may grieve us, I have no doubt it was intended by God for his good. I feel _____ed, that he could better prepare for death, among strangers than among friends. The calmness with which he met “man’s last enemy,” shows conclusively that he had a hope, which reached beyond the grave. Since he has been taken from us, how it lightens our load of afflictions to think that we may meet him again, where all is peace, joy, and happiness — where no death is. What a world were this. How unendurable its weight, if they whom death hath sundered did not meet again? Death is the only avenue to Heaven. It alone opens wide the portals of eternal bliss to the many troubled pilgrims of Earth. Death is but another life.
Your dreams must be different from mine. In my dreams, I always see him, not only living, but he smiles upon me and promises me his assistance. I always feel that “he has passed from death into life.” He has often told me, in these night communions, how he broke the bonds of death and triumphed o’er the grave. And that he now lives, and will assist me, as he used to promise while with me. These dreams comfort my soul. My great ambition is to perform that which was the cherished object of our lives. How happy will we be if we only form an undivided family around our Father’s throne in Heaven.
You will please work me a Bank-mark out of the pair which you spoke of. Let me know what things of his you would wish to have, and you shall have them. I have answered William’s letter long ago. I sincerely hope that Mrs. Tellman will speedily recover her usual health and spirits.
There is much less prospect of a war now than there has been. Our Convention did not pass the “Ordinance of Secession.” The question will be submitted to the people of this state on the first Monday in August.
From your letter, you expect me home next Fall. All our courts come on at that season. But if possible, I will come next Spring. Give my love to inquiring friends. And do try some of you to write oftener and longer letters. Anything from there will be interesting to me.
Yours in love, — John W. Hodges