February 12, 1863

Hd Qtrs 8th Regt Maine Vols Hilton Head S.C.

Dear Mother:

Sometimes I come across a piece of poetry that I wish to save, same as is your habit. Cut it out and lay aside. Enclosed i send you several such. The African’s song in Whittier’s “At Port Royal” does really make us turn away. “With a secret pain, and smiles that seem akin to tears, to hear the wild refrain.”

And the last verse in “Jonathan and John” quite comes up to my standard.

God’s price is high. We have held our blessed government too cheaply. Strange, we never could realize it’s value!

I should not have a peaceful moment if I did not think that after passing through an awful trial we should have the good old government and we never can except by the entire suppression of the Rebellion and ‘As’ every element and cause. Even then I fear there will be a mistaken party at the North who shall have been converted to this idea that a stranger government is necessary, forgetting that while the lack of executive power invited the rebellion the attachment of the people to it and their patriotism was a sufficient shield against all attacks and forgetting for that this suppression, and then Rebellion is not worth a possibility. […]

Affectionately your son, William

William McArthur to his mother, Sarah (Miltimore) McArthur [McArthur Family Papers]