Posts Tagged ‘childbirth’

Wednesday 20th July 1864

This is Pinck’s birth day. He is eight years old today. I remember this day eight years ago very well. Mrs. Peake & Dr. Peake were there. They came the evening of the 7th Saturday & Pinck was born five minutes of twelve on Sunday morning. The house was full of boarders. We had many things then to what we have now. The burning of that hotel nearly broke us up. I hope to be as comfortably fixed some day again. A great many changes have come over us since then. We buried one of our darling children since & now have three younger than Pinck living. Pinck is well grown to his age. The summer he was a year old, 1857, I thought he would die. He was sick three months with diarrhea. He was nothing but skin and bone. I have dressed him many a morning & never expected to undress him alive. I nursed him nearly all the time. Sometimes Atheline would walk him some. We rode him out every day. Sometimes Sister Jane & I would ride him but mostly Mr. Henry and I . We had a nice buggy then & a gentle poney we worked. I am thankful my child was restored to health. May he make an honorable high toned man & a useful member of society. I wish all my boys the same. May they all be useful to their country & Piously incline. Lead their young hearts unto Thee Oh Lord I pray. I wish my dear little daughter may grow up a virtuous chaste woman. May she never err from virtuous faith & when they come to die may the “dread their graves as little as their beds.” Mr. Henry out in the farm all day. I finished my dress this evening. It fits very neatly. Mrs. Fanning got the cloth out today. No news from the army. They are expected a raid on Asheville every day. They are fortifying there now. I do hope & pray the enemy will never get in. Like David I ask Oh! Lord may we not fall into the hands of our enemies.


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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June the 16 1864

My Dear husband

Tracing of a newborn's hand for her soldier father, June 1864. Poteet-Dickson Letters, North Carolina State Archives.

“The size of the baby’s hand.”  Tracing of a newborn’s hand for her soldier father, June 1864. Poteet-Dickson Letters, North Carolina State Archives.

I seat My self this evening  to write you a few lines to let you know how we are Some of us is not well me and Thomas Francis Emer Susannah Amy Jane has the bowell complaint I aint Much sick but I do hope these few  lines May Reach your kind hands and find you in good health  My corn looks very well Thomas will finish plowing it the second time today we hav this side the Creek to hoe My Neighbours says that if nothing happens I will Make a heap of Corn the sweet potatoes is very prety and the  irish potatoes is the pretyest I ever seen I hav a mess today I wish you  was hear to eat some with me I would be so glad I would not know how to behave I hav to live very hard I haint nothing Much to eat but bread  and not Much of that if you was hear I would not hav to live so hard nor I woudent hav to work when I was not able My baby will be 4 weeks old Saturday Night she was born the 21 of May write to Me what to name her I had the best time I ever had and I hav bin the stoutest ever sens I  haint lay in bed in day time in two Weeks today I thank the Lord that he has answerd your prayers and mine beyon what I could expected but he has all power I feel very thankfull that it is as well with you as what it is I hope that God will  bless us to be spared to rais our children your Mother is well her and Jemima Come to see me yesterday Grason Dickson run away and got to Camp Vance and had to go back I dont want you to vote for vance vote for Holden vance is to be in Marion next Monday to speak  James Neal has bought 500 bushels of corn for this County but it haint  come yet and he says that when they eat it they may die and go to hell  Louis Walker and Tery Walker is at home wounded your Mother says tell you  howdy for her and the children sends you howdy and tell you that they hav to  work very hard and wishes you was hear to help them [illeg] this evening I would like to hear from you to know if you hav got hurt I am very uneasy about you  I do hope and pray that God will shield you from all harm and danger and  spar your life to come home to me and your little children I know that you want to see your sweet little baby I would be very glad to see you if I could but I cant nor I dont know  whether I ever will or not God knows I dont you dont know what a hard  time I hav I am ruined if you dont never come home I cant work another year as hard as I hav this if the children was not as good as they are I dont know what I would do the Lord has blessed us and I hope he will continue to bless us while we are separated and bring us together agin in this life pray for us my Dear that we dont perish thread is 100 dollars Cotten is two dollars apound I dont know what I am to do but I will do the best I can and trust in God for help all of our help comes from him  write to me soon wen I can hear from you and hear that you are well it dos me  a heap of good May the lord bless and save you is the prayer of your desolate Wife

farwell my Dear husband

M. A. E. Poteet to her loving husband F. M. Poteet

God bless and save you
Source: Poteet-Dickson Letters, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC. As found on www.ncecho.org

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May 5, 1864

Burnside is on the move from Anapolis certainly. I have said nothing of the Christian warrior, as his plans & movements have been so uncertain that one rumour contradicted the last. Now, however, he has dismissed his transports & declining to “stand like a sea god distinguished by his yellow belt” again, he marches over land to Alexandria, leaves his negro Brigade along the Orange & Alex R R, & brings his White troops to reinforce Grant. Some change in the Yankee programme has evidently taken place & the key to it is to be found in order of Meade’s announcing to his troops whose term of enlistment expires this month that the date of their mustering into service is not when they were sworn in & signed their enlistment papers but when they left the respective States in which they were levied. This has caused great discontent amongst the “Veterans.” He urges them to comport themselves well & not to sully their Laurels by insubordination & hints plainly enough at Military Law & its bloody enforcement should they neglect his admonition. The Penn Legislature has taken the matter in hand & petition Congress that the rights of her citizens in the army be not disregarded.

Rumours are rife that on Monday last an expedition under Hoke went down to attack New berne, but a profound silence is maintained on the subject by all the papers. Heavy cannonading heard in the direction of Washington. In the extreme west all goes well for us. The Yankees admit a second defeat at [ -- ] & claim to have killed Kirby Smith & Stirling Price. We have heard naught of it & have no uneasiness as regards our gallant Generals. Our Victory at Cane Creek was decisive. The Abolitionists themselves admit that “Banks army is demoralized” & fearfully cut up. More than thirty transports & some Gunboats are caught above a Raft in the Red River by a sudden fall in the water & the crews are blowing them up burning them to prevent their falling into our hands. Great activity prevails in our army in Northern Va, but we know nothing save that a battle is imminent & even now may be raging. God defend the right!

Sophia & her infant are with us this week. She is quite weak but a few days of careful observation of her has lessened my anxiety on her account. Her baby is the best I almost ever saw.

Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979).http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html

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Friday 11th [March 1864]

Matt & I sit up til near 11 o’clock last night. The wind blew very hard in the night about two. It frightened me. Two of the men that went off last night with Mr. Henry came here for breakfast this morning. Mr. Henry will be on soon, he stopped at Capt. Moore’s. Atheline very unwell this morning, sent after Dr. Thrash, could not come then. After Neilson he could not come & then after Mrs. Anders. She came about 12 but the babe was born sometime before. A boy, very small. Mr. Henry came about 10. I cleaned upstairs & the smoke house this morning, did not finish the smoke house but Rose did. I heard this morning that Aunt Patsey died yesterday evening about sunset. I was surprised as I thought she was getting well. I am sorry she is dead. I hope she is at rest. I wanted to go there this evening, but had nothing to ride as Nell is rode down & Mrs. Anders went home on John. This is Willie’s birth day. He is three years old this evening at fifteen M. after six o’clock & Gus was born a year ago last Tuesday 8th at 23 m. after 8 o’clock in the morning (Sunday) & Willie was born on Monday. Zona was born on the 21st of this month, on 25 after 9 o’clock on Monday 1859. Cora was born ten m. after three Nove. 17th Tuesday 1857 in the evening & died Sept. 10th 25m. of 9 o’clock in morning Friday 1858, aged 9 months & 23 days. I thought my heart would break when I seen my baby was dead. Oh God may I never have to have another such a trial but He doeth all things well. I felt it then & do now. Our eldest born, Pinck, come into this beautiful world 20th July 5 m. of 12 o’clock in the morning, Sunday 1856. He will be 8 years old in July. I am getting very anxious to see Pinck. He is a dear good boy. I had a letter from Lou last Monday. She has a fine daughter, weighed 12 lbs. at birth, born 10th Jan. 1864. She is very proud of her babe. The mail brought but little news this morning.

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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We learn that yesterday morning the body of a new born white female infant was found in the Cape Fear River just above the wharf of the Wilmington & Weldon RR Co. It was wrapped in a new piece of flannel, neatly trimmed, with a piece of flannel round its neck, also a rope to which was attached a piece of iron, which proved not sufficient to keep the body down when it swelled and thus became buoyant. We have not heard of any particulars that have been discovered leading to its identification, but the circumstances, especially the rope or cord and the iron weight attached as a sinker, leave no doubt of foul play. The infant could not have been over forty-eight hours old. An inquest was held by Coroner Perrin, but no facts elicited beyond those connected with the finding of the body. Indeed no witnesses appeared or could be found, save those by whom the body was discovered. [Wilmington Journal]

Source: Greensborough Patriot, September 17, 1863 as found on www.ncecho.org

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Thursday 25th [June 1863]

I finished my dress today. I sewed a little on it Tuesday morning before my head got so bad. Nothing new. Rumour says Lee’s army has gone to Pensilvania. “tis not confirmed yet. Rain, rain. It rained yesterday & all day today. Tom Tidwell started home yesterday. Jinnie spinning. This evening I hoed out my flowers in the front yard. They needed it badly. Aunt Tena getting the web ready for the boy’s pants. They need them now. It is ready to warp.

Friday 26th [June 1863]

Mrs. Fanning warped the cloth today. It rained nearly all day. The thread did not get wet to hurt it. Betsey Jamison here today, will come back in the morning to put the cloth in. I began Atheline’s calico dress today, made skirt & sleeves. Her & Jinnie spinning. No news this morning. I received a letter from Matt saying Sister Jane had another daughter born 17th ult. Little Dora is only fourteen months & a few days old. She is rearing another youngster in a hurry. Harrie still at a standstill, his cough is no better.

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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Sunday 3rd [May 1863]
Both Matts gone to church at Academy. Cloudy with occasional sun shine today. Mr. Henry down stairs asleep. I am in Matt’s room knitting. Willie & Zona are with me. Willie wheezes a good deal yet. Zona is well. Pinck gone to church & all the negroes but Fannie & Atheline. Fannie getting dinner & Atheline has the babe. Old Mr. Cagle is quite unwell in bed in the other room. He is giving the children some sugar. Poor old fellow, he is fond of little ones.
Monday May 4th [1863]
I have been lonely today. A sad long day. Mr. Henry & Matt started home today. I wish I could have gone too but I could not conveniently. My place is at home with my little ones. I felt so lonely all day. Matt has been so kind to me & the children, attended to my housekeeping when I was not able to do it myself. I love her a heap. I will try to repay her kindness some day. She is a good girl. So is Dora. They are both lovely. Dora is so mild & gentle. Matt has a generous heart. I made Mr. Henry a pair drawers today, got them done before night. Matt & Atheline spinning, Sister Matt & I went to the Sulphur Spring yesterday, met Mr. Henry at the hotel place. Matt got her shoes this evening. They are very nice ones. We brought a bucket of water for Mr. Cagle. It will be some time before I walk with my baby sister again.
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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Tuesday 21st [April 1863]

Matt & I spun a little today. Fannie cooks. Atheline spins some and waits on the children. Willie is a very cross child. He tries my patience sorely. Zona is not well nor hasn’t been for sometime. Worms I think. Pinck is a stout healthy child. We have not named the babe yet. He grows very fast, notices a good deal & laughs. Does not cry much yet. Loves nursing. I shall miss Matt a great deal when she goes home. She speaks of going next week.

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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Sunday April 19th 1863

Six weeks has passed since I wrote in you, my dear old journal. I have been confined in that time & got up again to health. My babe was born 8th March at 23 minutes after 8 o’clock in the morning. A fine healthy boy. He gave us some trouble at first by having us up at night till he was two weeks old but since he has been no trouble at all at night. He is like the most of children, loves nursing. The children think a great deal of it. Pinck can nurse it a short time but he soon tires of it. Matt has been very kind to me. I shall ever remember her kindness to me & my little ones when I was not able to attend to them myself. Aunt Patsey staid with me till the babe was nearly a week old. She would have staid longer but Mrs. Cannon was very sick with typhoid fever at that time and is not well yet. I was confined upstairs & did not go down till the babe was two weeks old. We have had a great deal of company for the last six weeks.

Mr. Hosea Linsey has a contract for gun stocks. They are going to get them out here at the mill. He has one hand here & he stays himself through the week. Old Mr. Cagle is here now. He has dyspepsia. He is drinking the sulphur water, thinks it does him a great deal of good. Charlie & Lonzo have been very low with pneumonia fever. They are both up again but not stout. Matt & Zona had a slight attack. Zona was right sick several days. Thanks to a kind Providence he spared them a while longer. Fannie was confined a week after I was with a girl, a healthy child. It cries a great deal more than mine. My babe weighed eight lbs before it was dressed & 13 ¾ lbs when it was a month old. Our garden is getting on very well. Rather late as we have had so much rain. Harrie Deaver came here yesterday evening. He looks very badly. Poor fellow. He can’t last much longer. He only weights 102. He weighed 112 last Spring when he was here. He is nothing but a shadow. He is on his way to his Regiment. He is Col. of the 60th Reg. now since Col McDowell’s resignation. Harrie is very feeble. He says he is not going to stay in the Regiment long. They expect a fight soon at Tullahoma. He is going to resign after the fight if he is not killed. I hope almost against hope that he may recover. I fear he has consumption. I pray God to spare his life yet awhile longer. He is in the bloom of manhood & if it is Thy holy will, spare him to old age to be a useful member of society.

Harrie made a present of a beautiful dress, the one he brought from Columbia. Also a paper of needles & a spool of thread. Needles and thread are selling at one dolloar each now. I shall prize that dress very highly as coming from him. The yanks attacked Charleston, at least tried to pass the forts on the 7th & 8th of the month but they left with some of their best boats badly crippled & have not renewed the attack. I believe I have written all of any importance for the last six weeks. There has been a great deal of sickness in the country. Old Mr. Quinn died some three weeks ago leaving his family very destitute. Have mercy on the poor in these trying times is my prayer. There has been a pressing officer through the country. We have a fine chance of bacon up in the loft now. Mr. Henry was not at home & I had it put there. He is going to sell to them at the market price. Very warm today. I must soon stop. I am writing upstairs in Harrie’s room. Looks a good deal like rain.

Oh! God I thank Thee that I passed through my confinement & Thou saw fit to spare my life. Spare me I beseech Thee to raise up those little ones Thou hast given me. Give me wisdom to rear them as seemeth good in Thy sight. Bless us as a nation. May we at length come out conquerors if it is Thy holy will. Grant us a speedy peace on honorable terms & Thine shall be the glory.

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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Camp near Fredericksburg, Va., Dec. 3rd, 1862

My dear Wife

This command after a long and fine march has at last come to anchor for awhile unless the Yankees cross the Rappahannock river, which I do not think they will attempt, altho they pretend to be making preparations for it.  If they were afraid to advance from Warrenton it would look like nonsense to attempt it here.  One cannot imagine the degree of confidence and high spirits displayed by our men.  I am truly glad to get once more where we can get our mail and the papers.  Here we can get both very easily.

I believe about everybody have moved from the town which will cause great suffering.  They are scattered all through the country.  A temporary depot post by us today had any quantity of furniture lying around with several old gentlemen shivering in the cold, apparently watching it.

Gen. Lee is very anxiously waiting for a fight.  He told me today that he believed he would be willing to fall back and let them cross for the sake of a fight.  All accounts are to the effect that they will not fight, and their numbers are not as terrible as might be supposed.

As A.P. Hill has been recommended by Gen. Lee for Lt. General, I hope he will be promoted which would be a means of both getting us out of Jackson’s command and myself a Division.  General rumor and general feeling both have pointed me out to be Gen. Hill’s successor.  He told me the other night that he hoped I would soon be a Major General.  I had no idea that I was a man of reputation in the army until I got back.  This is not to be repeated even in joke, for I do not like to have it thought that I might have my head turned, etc., etc.  My people were glad to see me and they all said that they knew I would be back before the fight came off.  The men seem to think that I am fond of fighting.  They say I give them “hell” out of the fight and the Yankees the same in it.

Jake goes to Richmond tomorrow to attend to some little matters for the mess and himself.  If we have nothing special I shall let him go home to spend his Christmas.  I told him if he would not drink or smoke any between this and then, he might go.  He makes a fine caterer and has improved generally.  I think, since I left.  Do not say I am disposed to underrate him and “wish that he had not joined me” etc.

I have finally settled upon an A.A. General.  What would you say to the husband of that agreeable lady that called on you in Raleigh, Maj. Joseph A. Englehard.  He is going resign his position as Brigade Quartermaster in James H. Lane’s Brigade.  You must not judge him by his wife for he would be done much injustice as I would be honored to be esteemed by your goodness and good qualities generally.  Honey, when I look around I feel more and more how thankful I ought to be for such a wife, and I do feel thankful.  I feel, Honey, that I owe you a great deal for I know I should not be what I am if I had not married you.

Tell Pamela I saw a few days ago her brave Capt. W.A. Fry.  He will do tolerably well to be shot at but not so remarkable to flirt with.  He says he is going to Mr. William’s soon and of course will call on Pamela.  She must not let his wound work too powerfully in his favor.  Tell Ham it is time for him to return.  Honey, I hope things will so turn up that I shall have you with me soon, but as long as we remain fronting the enemy as we do, it will be impossible.  The Yankee papers do not seem so loath to have their troops go into winter quarters as they did.  I must now close.  My love to all and a kiss for Pamela and the boys.  Tell her she must not give up Stephen Lee.  How do you like the hoops.  I rather pride myself upon having thought of them.  The belts I fear were poor and not appropriate.

I suppose you know by this time how things will be for the next nine months.  God bless you and the children.  Please let me know as soon as you have settled the thing in your mind.  Good bye.

Your devoted Husband

Sources: William Hassler, ed., One of Lee’s Best Men: The Civil War Letters of General William

Dorsey Pender (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1999). William Dorsey Pender papers, Southern Historical Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill. http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/p/Pender,William_Dorsey.html

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