On Love and War
It is evident that the Civil War was affected by such things as politics, the opinion of the civilians and most of all, slavery. But what about such things as love and heartbreaks? It is extremely difficult to think about problems that seem so minor compared to the major problem which the Civil War brought forth, but these minor problems such as love affected men and women in both the Union and Confederate territories. Through the sources I collected, two things were clear to me, it was either the war that got in the way of love, or love that got in the way of the war, for both soldiers and women1. Through a collection of both diaries and letters I was allowed to reimagine and relive the lives of these people who with pen and paper wrote down their sorrows, hope, experiences and expectations to romantically love and to be loved. I also seek to make the reader realize that these people who died weren’t just numbers, they were people who like us, all had their own stories of suffering, failure and love.
My journey on love during this cruel war began with the next phrase,“the more I think of her the more I love her.” Just a boy, Spencer Kellogg Brown was sent from his original home in
Kansas to a town in the Lafayette County in the boundaries of Missouri in 1856. Spencer states it’s only about 15 miles away from the larger town of Lexington. Here, next to the Missouri river, Spencer was being accommodated by a so called Dr. K who was a wealthy man at that
I note that many soldiers and women experienced sorrows and the bliss which love can supply. Yet I want to note that I am in no way saying that all soldiers and women experienced love and its perks, as I know it would be inaccurate to assume this notion since I am sure there were many who never experienced romantic love.
time as he held about 20 slaves under him and had a large brick home with much territory. It was here that Spencer spent much of his childhood studying and reading, and it was also the place where Spencer would first fall in love.
Spencer would meet Mollie in his local school. He began to obsessively fall in love with her as he would constantly think of Mollie, and he would also constantly write of her in his diary.
In the summer of 1856, the two began to spend much time together, as Spencer goes on and retells the stories which they lived and he cherished. Spencer writes down how the two would make the excuse of picking walnuts together just so they could spend some time together. Mollie even cooked for Spencer as she told him to go upstairs as she cleaned the kitchen and washed the dishes, Mollie warned him that if he would come down stairs she would “box his ears.” Spencer never went upstairs as he hid behind the kitchen door for about ten minutes, just so he could listen to her as she spoke to their guardian, Spencer decided to show himself and Mollie slapped him across the face. “
I stayed there a few minutes, and then opened the door to go into the diningroom, when Mollie suddenly hit me a slap in the face that fairly blinded me. I did not say a word, but went right upstairs and then to bed. The next morning she inquired if I was hurt. I thought the more of her for that blow.”
The county fair was up and coming when Spencer got the news that he was to return back home. This would be the last chance for Spencer to propose his love for Mollie, and he would.
Spencer won a booklet and a pen in the county fair for Mollie, and he would write the words “I love you” in the booklet. Spencer’s last night there he would propose his love to Mollie and he thought he would never see her again.
Four years after the Spencer and Mollie first met, Spencer would return to the Lafayette
County. After countless writings about Mollie, Spencer would finally get to see her once again.2
Though Spencer long awaited the moment when his father would let