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Posts Tagged ‘childbirth’

Nov. 3, 1862

 

My dearest Wife

… I have not had much chance to write anything.  Honey, consider your plan for housekeeping well and then do as you please and I shall be satisfied for I have always found your judgment good.

… The 6th N.C. stands up nobly.  They had 104 killed and wounded at Manassas and 105 at Sharpsburg and still have about 400 for duty.  Maj. Webb got a slight wound and made straight for home.  Cols. Avery and Ruffin are both anxious to get under me.

Now my own dear wife, I must close.  I should like very much to see Frank and Helen before they leave if they have not gone.  Give them both my love.  Tell Pamela I am glad to hear she had a pleasant time and give her a thousand kisses for me.  I was very uneasy about Dorsey and you can imagine my relief to hear that he was well again.  My dear, do not trouble yourself about with fears of having no more children.  You are young yet.  God bless you darling and the dear boys.

Your devoted Husband

Have you plenty of money such as it is for your country?

 

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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September 11, 1862

Patrick left home this morning for Garysburg to see Capt Reinhart, the sole Capt left in Edmondston’s Battalion.  He has been ordered there & knows not what to do.  This delay of the War Department in a matter seemingly so simple seems very strange!  Why can’t Mr Randolph say, “No Col E, I cannot fill your Battalion” & order Capt Reinhart elsewhere, or “yes, Col E, take such & such Companies & take the filed at once.”  But no it requires as much management as an affair of State.

I was shocked & distressed greatly yesterday by hearing of the death of my young neighbor, Mrs Sheilds (Susan Whitemore).  I saw her on Sat & thought her quite sick, but I have had daily messages from her (she sending to me only the day before for some crackers & some Cordial & Wine), & each time they have said she was improving; & when the servant came with my empty baskets, so sure was I that she wanted something from me that I met her with the query—“how or now, what can I do for Miss Susan today?”  and to my horror heard she had died about an hour before.  Her infant was born on Wednesday & she, poor thing, taken with dysentery the night after.  She lived just a week & sunk suddenly, I suppose, for Dr Hall could not be summoned to her, as he had gone to visit a distant patient.

After Patrick left his morning I made a beautiful Chaplet of White & delicate Lilac, Dahlias, Evergreens, Feverfew, Citarena, etc., & sent it over to be laid on the coffin, being unable to go myself as Patrick went in the carriage.  Poor Mrs. Whitemore! when I saw her on Sat, in all the importance of a Grandmother, & noticed the change which the possession of a little property has wrought in her (for I have not seen her since her husband left father’s employment), the glories of her new front & stylish cape, the De Dage dress, the tone in which she spoke of “Mr Moore’s orchard,” “our niggers,” etc., & thought how much happiness the possession of a little money can give & what changes it brings in the manners & conduct of its possessors, I little thought so heavy a cloud was hanging over & ready to burst upon her!  Poor woman, she must be crushed to the earth.  I will go & see her, fifteen miles tho it is to her house, in a few days & at least assure her of my sympathy & kindly interest.

Worked steadily all day on my large flat fan fly brush.  It is a beautiful piece of work but very troublesome.  I will never undertake another so large.  However, it amuses me & it is employment.  Read Sismondi.  I have got to Calderon in the Spanish Literature.  I am sorry that Nannie wanted to begin the book before I had finished it, for I feel impelled as it were to read on steadily so as not to keep her waiting & I wished when I got to a review of those books to which I have access to run through them myself in connection with Sismondi, Cervantes, The Spanish Ballads, particularaly those of the Cid, & now Calderon, but I must trust my memory.  I have only Leigh Hunt’s Italian Poets & Boiardo, Pulci, Ariosto, Tasso, Dante even, etc., are run through by him almost as expeditiously as Sismondi dispatches them, so there is not much to be gained there.  “Beware of the man of one book,” it is said, & I believe it to be true, for I fancy I read too much.  My mind is I fear like a Kaleidiscope, one picture effaces the other before it is fixed, and I am too old now to remedy it.  Ah! that we could be wise on the experience of others!  My Grandmother often told me the time would come when I would not remember what I read, & I used to listen to her with a respectful wondering unbelief, but I find it is so.  Ah, she was a remarkable woman, my Grandmother, how few we see like her, and yet with all her cultivation, with all the true piety I believe she possessed, her vigorous mind even, I am glad I am not.  For to me to be loved is greater happiness than to be either revered or admired & we all stood too much in awe of her to dare to pour out the full feelings of our hearts before her & that I would not like.

It is lonely here tonight, so Journal, as you are my only companion, I feel like having a long chat with you.  Let me see, there are many topics which fill my heart & thoughts.  We will discuss them.  First the Conscript Act & Mr E’s plans—but no!  I want a relaxation & that I have thought over so often & looked at in so many lights that my mind turns from it as from a sorrowful remembrance.  It awakens an ache of anxiety at the bare mention.  Then Bessie’s matters, but Journal, that is not my own secret.  “Noblesse oblige,” that I confide it not even to you.  Then anxieties about Raleigh people, but I have no business to express them either.  Can’t I find one topic, pleasant, and at the same time open, which I can freely talk over with you, Journal?   No not one!  Literature is the only perfectly unfettered and at the same time cheerful subject left to me & to dwell long on that changes you, Journal, from your legitimate & proper sphere to a mere Composition or Essay.  So Journal, I will first express my fears for our Army in Maryland & then—

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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Saturday 30th [August 1862]

Taylor left this morning. I sent Peter with him to get the horse & buggy left at Chuns bridge. He will get back tomorrow I think. I have been making tatten today. Cleaned the children after dinner, washed their heads. Willie is a great deal better. Tena got the cloth out this evening. Fannie baked some ginger cakes this evening for the children. She has done the washing & ironing this week. I was at Mrs. Fanning’s a short time yesterday evening. Mrs. Night getting on finely.

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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Saturday 23rd August 1862

Willie seemed better yesterday but still have fever. I sent Charlie after Dr. Hilliard this evening. Willie is not worse nor better. I think it is worms as his bowels are not very loose. We had a good season of rain this evening. I believe it rains every camp meeting here. The camp meeting at Asbury’s Campground began last Thursday.  I shall not go at all as Willie is not well & the buggy has not come back from Greenville yet. Parker took it there with Branton & co. & I hear today that the horse they worked to it (Hutsell mare) is give out down on the river. I must send for them this week. I have knit a little today, all I have done. I was down at the mill this morning & came by Mrs. Night’s. She has a fine son born this morning. She is doing very well.

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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July 27th Sunday

I did not go to Church today, last Tuesday Mr. Bethell and myself were sent for to go to Caswell to see Mr. Bethell’s Mother to tell her of the death of her daughter Louisa Sneed, who died the 11th of this month leaving an infant 11 days old, she left six children, two of her sons are in the army, how uncertain is life, she was a member of the Episcopal Church, professed a change of heart. I hope she has gone to rest.

I have felt the Lord had enabled me to cut loose of my affections from this world and set them on things above, how important it is to live near to God, to keep ourselves in readiness for death.

Henry Hairston died the 24th of June, youngest son of Mrs. Agnes Hairston, he was a soldier in the army.

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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June 20th

I have just received a letter from my daughter in Arkansa, she was tolerable well, Mr. Williamson was having chills. She has a son born 14th of April, named him Willie Bethell. I feel so sad about my daughter, the Enemy is at Memphis in 10 miles of her, I would not be surprised if they lose most all their property. I know they will feel so uneasy, but I look to God and pray to him to protect and defend my dear daughter and her family. I hope their lives will be spared that we may meet again is my daily prayer. Oh Heavenly Father, have mercy upon thy suffering people.

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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June 19, 1862

Father quite sick and has sent for the Dr. Went to see Mrs Spruill & her daughters.  It is sad when one feels how soon one is forgotten.  How true it is that “their place shall know them no more.”  Poor Rebecca but for the mourning dresses one would not have known that she was no more & yet they are not heartless people.  O far from it, none more so, & yet there we sat, her most intimate friend & her family, & tho she was in all our thoughts not an allusion was made to her.  The way of the world I know, but is it a good way?  Is it a way that we ourselves like? And yet from fear of “a scene” all repress the natural expression of the heart & pass as it were an act of oblivion upon the dead.  It is not right!  It is over cultivation—unnatural & injurious.  I will no longer accede to it, but speak freely & sorrowfully & as my heart prompts of those who have gone before me.

Went to see Samantha & carried her some little rarities and delicacies proper for her situation.  They were just in time for I found her with an Infant, a daughter, not two hours old!  So I made but a short stay promising to come again soon.  Read L Allegro, Penserosa, and Comus to the girls.  They had never read them before & were surprised to find how many quotations constantly on their lips were to be found in them.  Read also the contrast between Melancholy & Pleasure in Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy, thought by many to have given Milton the idea of L Allegro & Penseroso.  What a wonderful book, that. Burton is such a mine of thoughts, such a quarry of quotations, but the trouble with me now is that I cannot remember them as I once could.  Is it the war and its consequent preoccupation or is my memory less pliant than formerly?  I fear the latter, which is most mournful, as I have hitherto been gifted with a most excellent one, but nonsense, I talk like an old woman! and I am not yet a middle aged one.  I am still young and my memory shall not fail.

Tied my Grape Vines to their new trellises.  It ought to have been done before.  They would have thriven better.  They were given me by my dear papa, and I prize them the more on that account.  He wrote me that he could never expect to sit under them but wished me many happy years under “my own Vine & my own Fig tree.”  Dear old gentleman, he has left few behind him like himself, but he has been taken from the evil to come.  So we must not mourn for him, yet I miss him sadly.

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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May 17th

We have received a long letter from our daughter. Mr. Williamson wrote that our daughter was confined on the 14th of April, had given birth to a son, and was doing tolerable well. (William Bethell Williamson.) I feel so thankful to God for blessing my dear daughter. I had faith to believe she would do well, the Lord heard and answered my prayer, glory and honor to his name. I will praise him with joyful lips, if I had a thousand souls I would give them all to God. Oh it is good to trust in God, “I called upon him in the day of trouble, and he delivered me, now I will glorify his name.”

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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Friday 2nd [1862]

Mail came. I got a letter from Sister Jane. She has a daughter born 8th April, is not doing so well, is going home as soon as she is able, wants me to go with her. I would like to go if it is compatable with Mr. Henry’s interests. Atheline still sick. I read till dinner & then made Willie a dress.  I have made two of an old gingham skirt & am going to make one of my pink calico dress I brought from Salem, also Zona one of that & Willie one of yellow muslin, a part of a skirt Lou gave me for Zona & me of a skirt Matt S. gave me to fix a dress of one with & there was some left.

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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April 29

        Our servant Nat is some better, but cannot sit up much. We hope he will get well. Mr. Nubel Ratlif died last Saturday with the Palsy, he was 82 years old, made no profession of religion.

         My dear George is still feeble with the bowel complaint, he is quite weak, eats but little. I feel sad and gloomy today, these times of trouble do try my faith, but I hope it will all work out for my good. The Lord’s face is hid from me, darkness and gloom surrounds me, I cannot get any tidings from my daughter in Arkansa, have not heard from her in near two months.

         My dear Willie is in the army, exposed to the dangers of war, I have not heard from him in some time, I feel so anxious to hear from my dear children.

         I am just out of a spell of sickness, I have not recovered my strength yet, I feel a weakness in my womb, have to lie down to rest. In this time of trouble I will call upon the Lord, he is my only help, I pray for comfort and peace to my sorrowful soul. Our country is invaded by the enemy, we have heard of many bloody battles, thousands have been hurried into eternity. The enemy is advancing, and taken our citys and towns, the prospect is dark and gloomy. War, bloodshed, and desolation is before us.

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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