My very dearest Constance,
I have been here for but one month, and already I have lived one week beyond my expectations. Do not misunderstand me, beloved wife; I have no wish to die. However, I find it highly unlikely that I should live past tomorrow. I realize it must hurt you to hear this, but would you rather I lied to you? Would you prefer I built up your hopes with optimistic falsehoods, only to have them be crushed when I am slain? I love you, dear Constance, so I cannot and shall not hurt you in such a manner. I have no doubts in your ability to raise the children without me, and I am sure you will be able to continue your life without me.
You write to me speaking of your wishes to join me on the battlefield. You say Father shares this desire. I have never heard of something so ridiculous. If you were here, you would soon be relieved of this absurd fancy. All around me is filth and pestilence. Illness runs rampant through the ranks. We are lucky to find fresh fruit or vegetables, and clean water is almost unheard of. It is no place for a lady, and it is hardly a place for a man.
I am a captain, leading a regiment of abolitionists. All idle conversation within my regiment is on the end of slavery. Throughout the ranks, we are called the "Righteous Radicals". Our name is of little concern to me; I do not expect to live with it long. If this is to be our last correspondence, which it may very well be, I ask that you remember me as I was in my happiest times. Until the end, I shall remain, your loving husband,
Captain Bruce Stanton