Young Men Want Parents' Permission To Enlist In Army
Written in the Spring of 1862
(first part of this letter addressed to Dunstan Banks, father of Robert W. Banks, was lost). . . Yet the country needs my services and has your blessing rather than be compelled to let me go. however reluctant twill be in the end. I know that having always cherished the idea of my being an educated man, in the highest sense of the word, it is hard for you to entertain the thought of having your fondest dreams nipped in the bud; but then you remember the times have changed a great deal within the last few years- our own Sunny South with all her flourishing institutions of a short time back is now in a perilous condition about to be overrun by merciless and implacable foe, and tis the duty of every freedom loving son of hers to rally to the rescue, and drive the hireling invador back, or nobly perish in the attempt, as did many a gallant brave on the bloody field of Shiloh.
Twelve months ago you would have burned with honest indignation if any one would have hinted that Mississippi would be invaded in so short a period and that you would not consent for me to strike a blow in her defense. Yet this very thing has happened.
I know that there are many in the C. S. [Crystal Springs] who have completed their education and are now amassing vast fortunes, who could go to war and do not. If such men do not their duty, is that any reason why I should neglect mine?
This conscription act is the medicine for such selfish individuals. I hope that it will place the last one of them in the front ranks and cause them to fight to the last extremity, or it will cause them to fill a cowards grave a fit reward for such cowardice.
Give my best love to mother and sisters, and accept the same for yourself. With the wish that I may hear from and gain your consent to serve my country, soon,
I Remain ever
Civil War Letters of Robert W. Banks, Journal of Mississippi History 5 (July, 1943): 142
Camp Fisher near Dunifries, Va.
Give my love to all and accept the same from
Your affectionate son,
George Washington Hopkins Papers, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson.
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