This is a copy of a letter my Great Grandfather James M. Brockway gave his son George A, Brockway when he left home to serve in the Civil War. George served in Co. B of the 35th Infantry Regiment. James son Emmitte A Brockway also served in the 35th Infantry Regiment. I wonder if Father James gave Emmitte the same kind of letter?
The note or letter was written in the back of the 1864 journal by Gorge's father, James Brockway, on January 3, 1864
John H. Brockway
My Dear Son George.
As you are about to leave the paternal home for a new scene of
life I will pen a few lines for you to look at when you are far from home &
friends. The Camp will be your home & this discipline of arms & war your
employment. On whatever condition or place the vicissitudes of war may place
you, let patriotism & love of country be your rule of action & union & liberty
be your rallying watch word & down with the traitors & up with the Stars your
battle cry. Learn a soldiers duty & unhesitatingly perform it, and let me rest
with the fullest confidence & assurance, that I have not placed my Sons on the
alter of our Country's Liberty in vain or if it should be your lot to
participate in scenes of the gory battlefield where Death, carnage & suffering
meet the eye on every side, then in mercy spare the prostrate helpless &
suffocating foe. Never flinch from duty, let the peril be ever so great. Let me
sooner learn of your Death than your cowardice. True & noble traits of character
can be displayed in camp as well as in private life, therefore, in every
condition in which you may be placed, strive to cultivate, exhibit and maintain
a high tone of character. Never associate with profane, lewd, or obscene
characters. A man. is judged by the company he keeps, therefore never associate
with any but those whose character is above calumny and reproach. Be careful of
your health & not expose it unnecessarily. Be just to others, to yourself & to
God. And if through a blessing of a kind Providence you are permitted to return
to us and our country saved, Our Union & peace restored, I shall then have
abundant cause to thank God for the Mighty Blessing.
Farewell my Dear Son.
Your Father Ever solicitous for your Welfare January 3rd 1864
James M. Brockway