Kinston, May 25 
I received yours yesterday & was sorry to see you sad, though I fear I am greatly to blame for it. I ought not to write to you such fretful and often gloomy letters. But somehow I cant help it; when anything troubles me badly, it relieves me to let it all to you. I am happy that it is in my power to write more cheerfully Though the news we have is not of much importance the aspect of things is decidedly better than they have3 been for some time past. It is pretty certainly ascertained that the enemys gun boats can not get up the James River to Richmond, there are over 20,000 troops at Petersburg to prevent them operating on the south side of the James, whilst McClellan is almost certain of being whipt if he attacks Richmond by land & without his boats. In the West, the whole country relies with implicit confidence in the glorious Beauregard who has 100,000 of the bravest men on the continent under his Command- He is gathering strength every day, & the impression begins to prevail that he will annihilate Hallecks whole army – Gen Banks has retired across the Blue Ridge to Fredericksburg, leaving the road open for old “Stonewall” Jackson into Maryland & Penn. He is going certain, & it is said he will be joined by 30,000 Marylanders with arms in their hands. God grant it.
My Legion is thriving and will yet be a success I think (I had a desperate spell of cholic night before last, from eating green peas but am well again. I had yesterday another letter from Brother, and also a long and very affectionate one from Sister Laura, the first I have had from her since the war began. I do wish darling you & she could reconciled again for my sake.) Bol Burgwyn has gone toRaleighand I shall be very busy this week, but I feel better when I have so much to do, and am able to do it. We don’t leave this place I learn – some of the troops atGoldsborowill go toRichmondorPetersburgsoon but our Brigade will remain here I fear. Davids friend Mr. Kendall is now our Major. I enclose a letter for Charlie, which I hope will please him. Give my love to Mother & all – Keep cousin Ann Lizzie with you as long as you can – Kiss my namesake & the other dear boys & Cousin too. I would if there. God bless you all. As every your affectionate husband.
[Zeb Vance to his wife]
Source: Frontis W. Johnston, ed., Letters of Zebulon Baird Vance, Volume 1 http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/paofzebabvo1.html