My Dearest Emily,
I write this letter hoping to find you in a better frame of mind than when last I saw you, to tell you that I am now thoroughly certain I have wronged you. There has been fighting during every one of the last four days, and I fear tomorrow will be the fifth. I have twice been caught in a warm place of the field, and this very morning when I write you a ball nicked the top of my knee, hardly hurting me. Still it has brought me a clarity I did not have that afternoon when last we spoke together, when I treated you awfully and said words I regret.
It must be that I have been wrong these many years, both in the lack of respect I have had for my father, and in the way I have treated many of my friends and family of our town. I had taken upon myself a belief of how the world was that led me into the situation where now I find myself, and it has come to no good. These past seven months have shown me the world at its worst and at its best, but I tell you Emily that I want to see no more of the world than what I've seen. I am ready to put the world from my eyes and come home.
Emily, I write now to say that I love you. I would that I had told you so that day when you asked. If I could have that day again I would say the words, and take it upon myself to provide for you and your kin, whatever the cost, without the distraction of the world. This I say to you, my love. I am ready, if you will still have me. To my mind home is all that I wish for, and there could be no home for me if you Emily were not there in it.
I have written my father and now he has at last this last week returned a letter to me. All is forgiven in his eyes and he has offered me the high land along Daedalus Creek should I return. There is a place there you will remember where oaks grow, that once we walked through. I propose to build a house upon that place, with a porch that would look out over the valley, and rooms for your mother and your brother should you wish. I can tell you true Emily that this war has broken me once and for all to the plow. I think there is no greater pleasure I could have than honest labor. I think there is no better work I would do than to bring life from this earth, having seen so much death be put into it.
If you can, soften your heart Emily. I beg please that you will answer this letter. There is movement now coming through the camp and I shall have to stop now and ready for the march ahead. I will put this letter into the best hands I can find, and pray tomorrow and every day after that it will find you well and in good spirits, and that it will reassure you at last that I am not the man who left you so poorly these many months ago.
Yours faithfully, Edmund Hoskins.