Blacking from China Berries
The Columbus Sun recommends its readers to preserve the following recipe: if you want good blacking, take a half bushel of China berries, and having them well picked from the stems, put into a kettle, and add three gallons of water; boil down to one gallon, then strain the liquor, through a sieve, from the seeds and skins, and add as much pine wood soot (the richer the better) as will make a good black, and it is ready for use. A pint of good or a quart of weak vinegar (or stale beer), first mixed with the soot, will make it better, and if you add the whole of one egg to a half gallon of the liquor it will best and equal any Yankee blacking. This blacking costs little besides trouble, and we have seen boots cleaned with it inferior to none in gloss, and it will not soil a white handkerchief. Let stand several days before you bottle it.
Source: Southern Confederacy, May 16, 1863 as found in John Hammond Moore, ed., The Confederate Housewife (Columbia, SC: Summerhouse Press, 1997).
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May 18th 1863
Dear Father and Mother
I write you a few lines. I am well but some what tired. I just back from Jones borrow at 3 oclock last night. I did not sleep any for 2 nights. My self and my company is giting along very well expect some 3 or 4 sick. I got a letter form home to day which informed me that the Family was sick with the measles. I can not git to go home now but I think I will before long. I was sorry to here that you was ailing and I hope you will soon git beter.
Father the service is hard on me but I stand it as well as any of my men and had harder days before me. We are still under Gen. Jackson & I think we will be ordered back to the railroad. The news this morning is that the yanhkeys have taken Jackson Mississippi but it is thought to be a union lie. We gained a great victory at Fredersburg and and we take it that we got 40000 stands of arms & routed the yanks and drove them back across the river
Father I herd form David yesterday. He is giting well fast as can go about and will soon be able to ride. Manuel Stetson is here an will go on in a few days. We are soon looking for Eli Ingram badly. I had two men deserted the other day. They were caught and will be tride by a Gen. Court Martial. This policy will be adopted here after – all men absent without Leave this is arrest & do no come in on there own will be tride. Without a lasting peace I do not want to return home, and nor would I want to do so while I am able to do duty.
They yankeys cant whip us nor starve us out. Wheat crops is beter than usual & thar is a very large crop of corn planted. It looks promising We understand that Gen. Price has got an army in massouri of 60000 men & provisions plenty.
Father I have not time to write more now. I f you here from Joshuas boys please let me know and if some of them has bin killed at fredersburg. Let me know how you and mother is giting along. I sent you some things by Mark which I hope you have got. I know all you want to write soon. I have not had a leter from you sence I left cold creek.
Your son as ever
Source: Christopher Watford, ed. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865, Volume 2. (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2003). Original in Stephen Whitaker Papers, North Carolina State Archives.
Posted in Soldier life | Tagged desertion, measles, sickness, Stonewall Jackson, theft, wheat | Leave a Comment »
To clean a pig’s head
Chop off the snout from the head and divide it into four pieces, after cutting off the cheeks to salt, saving them to bake with beans. Wash all thoroughly, put in a suitable vessel, and cover with water in which a little salt has been added to draw off the blood. Let soak two days, changing the water each day. The third day, take from the water and scape well, but without attempting to remove the bristle. If bristles do no seem pretty dray after scraping wipe the skin side. Then light a spirit lamp and singe off the bristles. It will take them ff completely, leaving the pieces white and smooth after a slight scraping.
Source: Field and Fireside, May 16, 1863 as found in John Hammond Moore, ed., The Confederate Housewife (Columbia, SC: Summerhouse Press, 1997).
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A quarter pound of ground rice, a quarter of a pound of flour, half a pound of finely powedered white sugar, and five eggs. Beat all well together till it froth; pour quickly into a tin lined with buttered paper; bake three quarters of an hour in a moderate oven. This does nicely for a tea cake. It may be flavored with almond and lemon
Source: John Hammond Moore, ed., The Confederate Housewife (Columbia, SC: Summerhouse Press, 1997).
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Camp Lee Richmond Va
May the 15th 1863
Mr. Wm. Proffit
I take this kind opportunity of writing you a few lines which will inform you that I am again on the southern soil, well and doing finely. I am sorry to inform you that I unfortunately fell into the hands of the enemy on Sunday the 3rd inst. I will now try to tell you how it happened as we were on the march to the battlefield.
I with another corporal were appointed to guard the flag, one of the most dangerous positions in battle. On Saturday night there fell a bomb in my company & exploded in 4 or 5 feet of me & wounded the flag bearer and five or six of my co taking off one mans leg & wounding my lieutenant. When the flag of my country fell to the earth I grabbed it with my own hands. My colonel told me to throw down my gear and hold on to my flag which I did. That night the Yankees charged on us but we soon repulsed them. The next morning we made a charge on them & routed them from their first breast works & proceeded to the second and was ordered to charge them which part of us did. I carried the flag to the breastworks. We routed a long line of them & held our position but the 28th NC Regt on our right failed to charge them. The enemy commenced firing upon our lines and gave them a chance to retake their works again which gave us no chance to escape. I lay there with two lines of battle cross firing at me at a short distance & three batteries throwing grape at me no more than 3 or 4 hundred yards distant. The first I knew the yanks were in five steps when two jumped over the breast works & grabbed the flag out of my hand & said to me fall in John ha ha ha. John fell in but did no like to do it.
They took us to Washington and kept us about 13 days. They treated us with great respect, gave us plenty to eat. When they brought us from Washington we came down the Potomac through Chesipeak bay by fortress Monroe, then up the james river to citty point near Petersburg where we landed. We came here to camp Lee Richmond last night. I do not know when we will be carried to our regiments but I suppose shortly. I am unable to say what became of Alfred and William. Alfred give out the night before I was taken. We had had nothing to eat for a day or so & marched hard which made him sick & he was sent back to the rear. I think that nothing but fatigue & hunger was the matter. William was in the fight some of his co is here as prisoners. They say that he was not hurt the last they saw of him & I hope he was not. My Col was killed & my Lieut Col was wounded & the great Gen. Jackson was mortally wounded by his own men & is now dead.
Father I am getting use to all kinds of hard ships in warfare & though I say it my self I know nothing of cowardice & God forbid that I ever should. The lord has been very merciful to me & I fear I have no a heart to praise him as I ought. I want you & all my friends to remember at a throne of grace. I will no close. Give my warmest love to mother, Sis and all my friends. Write soon & direct to Co D 18th Reg. NCT, Richmond Va, I remain yours with great respect.
Source: Christopher Watford, ed. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865, Volume 2. (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2003). Original in Proffitt Family Papers, Southern Historical Collection, UNC-CH.
Posted in Soldier life | Tagged Chancellorsville, prisoner of war, Stonewall Jackson | Leave a Comment »
Saturday 16th [May 1863]
I finished the other little sock tonight. Rather cool tonight & last night too. Old Jim & Bill Knight got home last night with the bacon. The trash of Bent creek pressed five hundred lbs. of it. The women did it. They paid 50 per lb. for it. Old Jim Knight brought the money home. I wish Mr. Henry could stay at home to attend to his business but he has other business that perhaps is of more importance. He wrote me that he would go to Columbia before he came back to get hands to work at his gun stock contract. Too many irons in the fire. Some will surely burn up. It has always been so & ever will I reckon. He carries on too much business for his means.
Source: Diary of Cornelia Henry in Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).
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Our servant boy Bill died last Tuesday, was sick near five months. I felt very bad after he died, I could not sleep well for two nights. I have not been well for two or three weeks, my bowels have been constipated. I have been low spirited, my faith was surrounded by darkness, the Lord’s face hid from me, had no comfort, felt like I was a poor helpless sinner, who deserved nothing, but I prayed unto the Lord to comfort my poor troubled soul. I have read my bible and found some comfort, and I do trust in the Lord, my health is better today. I have had trials and temptation, had evil thoughts, if the Lord were to mark iniquity who should stand, if it was not for Jesus Christ death and intercession I would have been in torment long ago. I have been led to see how poor, helpless, sinful and miserable I am, without Christ I am nothing, but he is all in all, we are worms of the dust, but to have all our sins washed away by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and have grace to help in our time of need is a joy unspeakable.
Source: Mary Jeffreys Bethell Diary, 1853-1873. #1737-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/bethell/menu.html
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