You shall see the soldier who solicits the favor

Hd. Qrs. Battery "G" 1st Pa. Lt. Artillery
Maryland Heights Dec. 18th 1864

My friend Edna.

I trust you will parden me for useing this large sheet to answer your very welcome epistle of the 7th Dec:  but really my only apology is the want of a smaller one.  We have just entered new quarters and our arrangements for correspondence as well as business is very imperfect - Am I forgiven for this breach of Etiquette?

I need not say I was pleased to hear from you for, strangers though we are, I became interested in the correspondence began in this rather romantic manner, especially as the fair unknown is a resident of my native State which is indeed ever dear to me.  As you say, there is no place like home!  go where we may, meet with the fairest scenes and kindest friends God has vouch safed to man, and still we revert with the most pleasureable emotions to the happy scenes of by gone days when we geathered around the hearthstone and beneath the old Rooftree that sheltered us in our childhood.  O Live well and fully the lamented Howard Payne appreciated the Sweets of Home when he composed those immortal lines "Home, Sweet Home" Himself an exile.  how well he could describe the lone wanderer, far from any native land, amid a rough unlettered people, who, it seemed to me never knew the secrets of the hman heart: with its pine and delicate feelings.  I did and often think of those dear ones I left behind!  Yea, my heart went out to them and my yearning soul treasured up every kind word, or tender smile that had been bestowed on me in the happy days when basked in the joyous Sunlight of their love

I am glad you can understand those feelings and have a just appreciation of a wanderers love of Home.  In responding to your advertisement, I had no other object in view than forming the acquaintance of a lady from the "Old Granite State" who loved her country and its defenders enough to contribute to their happiness, by tendering a correspondence that can but be cheering and advantageous to him as he toils on behalf of the noble Institutions our fathers bequethed us and the no less noble principle of Freedom Justice and Right.  That God may bless all such kind-hearted and sympathizing girls is the prayer of one who humbly endeavors to sustain our Glorious Country and the lofty principles involved.  

Your excellent epistle shows that you are a person capable of giving utterance to words of comfort and cheer in a language that speaks directly to the heart and I sincerely trust you may find some merit in my humble letter or that your own kind heart may prompt you to continue the correspondence for my sake.

It could be useless to tell you what I am:  my letters must be my vouchers.  Their language must be the key to my heart and your own judgement must tell you whether or not I am a fit person for your acquanteance.  The language of self praise is common to all and is easily spoken and I will not indulge in the use of it even under existing circumstances.

If you see fit to favor me with a regular correspondence you will find me prompt and under all circumstances gentlemanly toward you.  Allow me to make a suggestion.  It is natural you know to have a desire to see our friends and I suggest therefor that we exchange Photographs with the assurance that the favor will be respected as though we were personally known to each other.  I am having some made and if the proposal meets your approbation you shall see the soldier who solicits the favor.

One thing more, I have no good reason to withhold my real name and therefore take great pleasure hoping to hear from you soon in subscribing myself.

Your friend with great respect
Alfred W. Metcalf
Battery "G" 1st Pa. Lt. Artillery
Harper's Ferry, Va.

Miss Edna Shepard
Holderness, N.H.

Alfred W. Metcalf enlisted on March 31, 1864 with Battery "G" of the 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery.  He was promoted to Corporal on May 17, 1864 and served with the battery in the defenses of Washington D.C. and the unit was moved north during Early's foray towards the capitol.  The battery was given muskets and they proceeded to Harper's Ferry where they remained until December 12.  They were then moved to Maryland Heights and traded in their muskets for six 12 pounder Napoleans, returning to full battery status.  On May 11, 1865 Metcalf was promoted to Sergeant and then on May 22, Quartermaster Sergeant for the battery.  He mustered out of Federal service on July 24, 1865 at Philadelphia.

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