Posts Tagged ‘commodities prices’

April 17th [1864]

Sabbath quite cold. Vegetation is very backwards. The buds of the forest trees are scarcely swollen. The scarcity provision of all kinds is alarming. Corn is selling at $230 per bushel, butter at $5, bacon at $7 to $8 per lb. I was not able to attend church today because of a severe cold. My throat and chest are very sore.

Source: Myrtle C. King, Anna Long Thomas Fuller’s Journal, 1856-1890: A Civil War Diary. (Alpharetta, Georgia: Priority Publishing, Inc., 1999)

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Mcdowell Co N C

April the 7 1864

My Dear husband

I seat My self this Morning to write you a few lines to let you know that we are only tolerable well we have very bad colds I am so hoars that I cant hardly talk and sis has had the Croup this week but I do hope these few lines May reach your kind hands and find you well I haint had no letter in two Weeks I would be glad to hear from you I have got 2 bushels of sweet potatoes and planted them. I planted 7 & 33 hills and I have to pay 100 dollar per bushel I haint planted Corn yet I want to plant next Week if it dont rain last week somebody stold two of Allens horses and left two old poor no count ones in there place and last Monday Night some body stold 20 peices of bacon from him [illeg] the rest Joints last Monday  all the Men was ordered from Camp Vance to Ashville they say that the yankeys can come here at any time they please but they dont want to come for there aint any thing to come for but a parcel of half perished women and children  half of my time I dont have nothing for breakfast but Cornbread and bran coffee it is hard living but I hope it wont be so all ways I cant buy one mouth full of nothing to eat and thread sells for 3 penny weights of gold for a bunch and I cant get non I hav fifty cents in confederate salt is one dollar a pound they have quit keeping goverment salt at the X roads I give three dollars old state Money and two confederate dollars for 8 lbs of salt how I am to get along God knows I dont

they are looking for Marion Higgins home and I will try and get him to take you somthing to eat I am sorry I could not send you somthing before now but you know that I would if I could I have had a many a tear about it I aint able to bring it My self and I cant get no person to take you somthing to eate and if I was able to come I dont think it is a place fit for women except it be in case of sickness then I would come if I had to beg my way to you I want to see you very much but I cant come to you but I hope that your head  man will let you come to me before long you must do the best you can put your trust in God fear not what man can do they can but kill the body but fear God that can kill both sole and body pray for me dear husband that my life may be spard to take care of my little children for I  am in a helpless condition no one to look too for help but God alone but he is able to save all them that put there trust in him I trust in him and I try to pray for you my self and our little children and for peace so that you all can come to your friends but if I see you no moor in this world I hope to meet you in heaven where we will be separated no moor but if it is Gods will I would be glad to see you in this life May God bless you and save you from harm and danger is my prayer farewell  M. A. E. Poteet to her loving husband F. M. Poteet farwell my dear Francis  please gard give this to my husband


Source: Poteet-Dickson Letters, North Carolina State Archives as found on www.ncecho.org.

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February 28, 1864

Have just read in the Examiner General Orders No 23, by which “General Braxton Bragg is assigned to duty at the seat of Government & under the direction of the President is charged with the conduct of military operations in the Armies of the Confederacy,” by order signed S Cooper Adj & Ins. Gen. So the deed is done! What we last week laughed at as idle & wild, a foolish rumour which no one heeded, is “un fait accompli,” Gen Bragg, Bragg the incapable, the Unfortunate, is Commander in Chief! Unhappy man, unhappy in his birth, for he is, I beleive, the son of his parents who was born in jail where his Mother was imprisoned on a charge of murder & the murder, too, of a negro, & now doubly unhappy in being elevated to a post for which he is unfit over the head of a man too who has won the confidence of the country. The object of execration to the greater part of the nation, he will be viewed with suspicion & dislike and will ere long have cause to rue the blind unreasoning friendship with which Mr Davis regards him. Pray God the Army may submit & that this insult to their Idol Gen Lee be patiently borne by it.

Every mouth filled with criticism of the Currency & the Tax Bills. I have not heard one voice raised in their favour. We draw comfort from an odd source, the Richmond Examiner, who says . . . “therefore in spite of maladministration or perverseness or imbecility there is a healthier confidence that the people will bring all things right in the end. We are to have a splendid army in the field this spring & one way or another it will be fed. That is enough & with that nothing can fatally hurt us. We can bear even Gen Bragg, for he is not to command any Army in action, & he will surely scarce order Lee to fall back or Johnston’s troops to hunt the duck in Mississippi or Beauregard to evacuate Charleston or Polk & Maury to raise the white flag on the Forts of Mobile! . . . This Confederate people is going to carry our Cause through & the whole Government along with it. . . . No incubus or Old Man of the Sea will weigh a feather. By Heaven’s blessing we will carry them all on our shoulders, will pull through the very Quartermasters & even if that be possible the Commissaries themselves. There will be a heavy drag indeed. Yes Heaven’s blessing alone can aid us. Whilst Mr Davis makes such a toy, such a play thing of a nation’s love, reverence, & admiration, casts it away idly & lightly as a thing of naught, to indulge a personal predilection, what can we expect? The preamble of the act repealing Habeas Corpus recites that it is in accordance with his wishes. That sentence has cost him thousands of hearts & Bragg’s elevation will cost many more. Shades of the Barons of Runemede who bequeathed to us that Charter which secures our birthright of freemen, weep over the degeneracy of your children.”

Sherman is reported as falling back towards Vicksburg. We have had a cavalry engagement in which we were victorious. The cause of the retrograde now is unknown, supposed to be the impossibility of obtaining supplies. No further advance from Grant’s Pass. Polk’s force, my Aunt writes, is small, so our thanks are due to Sherman for not pressing him. Another success in Florida. A letter from Amo containing drafts of the Yankee missiles thrown into the city. Up to Feb 23d the number thrown amounted to between six & seven thousand & the damage done so slight as scarcely to be appreciable. Butler as brutal as ever in Norfolk, vide the order of his Satrap Wild, & his treatment of Miss Roan B. & [ -- ].

Busy yesterday cutting out shirts for Mr E out of some sheets & Valences. Fortunately I have linen for the bosoms as it is $15. Saw last week in Halifax a peice of gray confederate Uniform cloth, imported, which was held at $175 per yd! Sugar in Petersburg on the 22d, $12.50; flour, $300 to 325 per bll; Sorghum Sucre Syrup, $35 per gal; Sausage meat, $6 per lb; Bacon, $5 do; Corn & Meal, $10 per bu; Peas & Beans, $25 to 30 do; vide the price current.

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 5th [February 1864]

Mail brought but little news. I received a letter from Eugenia saying Harrie was quite sick with a pain in one eye. I never expect to see him again. He seems so hopeful of being well again but he will die in the prime of manhood, I think. ‘Tis sad to think one so young should be cut off in his bloom. I went to Asheville today, tried to exchange a tissue dress for calico but could not. I got two lbs. of soda for twenty dollars, four lbs. of sugar for twenty dollars & one card of agate buttons for two & a half dollars. I gave 4.50 last fall for a card of the same sort. I got some pants buttons, 50 cts. a doz., got 4 doz. I spent the day at Sister Jane’s. I took Lonzo along as I took Sister Jane a coffee pot & some eggs. Late when I got home. The children, Zona & Willie & Matt with me at the stables. Zona & Willie rode down.

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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February 2, 1864

Last night about bed time came James, much improved by his jaunt. He was reduced to traveling in a cart, having missed Owen whom we had sent for him. He brings no news beyond the fact of the massing of troops at Goldsboro & Kinston & that we have a Pontoon train coming up from Wilmington, which looks like an advance on our part. Maj Gen Picket is in command. He has left his wife at Gen Ransom’s house & she is in such depths of greif at his departure that the wise ones argue from it that she knows there is something more than usual in prospective. The papers are as silent as the grave on the whole matter. Father & Mr E very busy surveying in order to find the Level of the cut in the Dam where Father proposes to put in a flume in order to releive the dams from all pressure save that below eighteen feet by flooding the Low Grounds when the river reaches that height. A troublesome & expensive job & to my mind of doubtful utility, but I exercise myself in things too high for me so I had better seek my level.

All day yesterday at Hascosea transplanting & pruning. Met some officers’ of Ferrabee’s Regiment, which had been ordered here from Northern Va to recruit their horses. They give a heart breaking account of the desolation wrought in that whole country. The Quarter Master rode up to the Flower Garden where I was at work & told me that the sight of it & my employment was a refreshment to him, that there was not a fence or an enclosure in the whole country where he had been! He came to order the tax-in-kind to be paid to him, orders having been issued to that effect & requested that the corn might be unshelled & the Hay not baled & that he would haul it, for all of which we should be much obliged to the Government.

On the road home met Mr Peter Smith & some other of our neighbors on their way from Halifax Court. They told me that the rumour was that we had taken New Berne & that Col Shaw of the [ -- ] N C was certainly killed, his body having passed on the train the night before. Poor fellow! he is the officer who was so severely & as most persons now beleive unjustly censured for the fall of Roanoke Island. He was called a Yankee, a traitor, & I know not what, but his only fault seems now to have been a want of capacity for the situation in which he found himself & for that the blame should rest on the shoulders of those who placed him there. A simple Colonel of no military ability, he was unable to cope with the difficulties which surrounded him, difficulties which required a man of the first order & a far stronger force & heavier canon to meet successfully. The country has long ago acquitted him of all blame in the matter & to Sec Benjamin & Maj. Gen Huger, as principals, do we look for the liquidation of the debt of responsibility, the misery, the bloodshed & the loss which have followed in the train of that most unfortunate event! If Col Shaw was a Yankee he came to N C under six months of age & even that is denied by his friends. He was a Southern man by education & instinct but weak & an aspirant for political honours, which gained him many enemies, but he has expiated his faults real & imaginary now & has died a soldier’s death in his country’s cause. May he rest in Peace! God be with his family! Sent off yesterday to Mrs Webb for the Hospital thirty eight dozen eggs, for which, sad to say, I had to pay $1.00 per doz! Twenty five dollars of the money was sent me by our neighbours to be expended as I thought best for the Hospital. The rest was our contribution.

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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Col. Jny 7 1864

Dear Aunt,

I have looked into every nook and cranny of Columbia that looked anything like scissors in search for a pair for you and I can not find a pr. even as good and as large as the ones you have. I will still keep an eye out & if I see any will be certain to get them for you.

I think the property heretofore spoken of would bring over 4500$ in this market now. Property is very high. I suppose there is a fear of the money.

It has been cold ever since I came down. It is freezing here today. I can’t see what the poor do. Wood is 35$ a load. I tell you fires are small. Apples are 25 to 50 c. each. Eggs 2.00 dz. And other things about the same. We are all very well and Fanny can talk more than Zona and you know that is no little. Pinck poor little fellow I know you miss him & he must be well cared for indeed if he does not miss you. The cars run off the track the day after I came down from Union and smashed up generally. I am glad Pinck & I was not on it.

There is no news here, rather a gloomy feeling in regard to the war. I hope the tories will leave you alone.

My Love to all.


W.H. Deaver

 (received by Cornelia Henry from “Harrie” January 15, 1864)

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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January 1, 1864

At the close of the first day of the New Year, I am seated in our chamber, my husband beside me reading. Our children and Sister M have returned to their places of rest. We are in good health and surrounded by many blessings. We are all here, not one missing. How different with thousands of others in this land, who witnessed the dawn of this morning with hearts bursting with grief for the loss of dear ones killed in battle or languished and died in hospitals far away from home and friends. We are yet in the midst of war, of which history gives no record more cruel and savage. Almost three years have passed since its commencement, and yet no prospect of peace. Indeed, the gloom seems to darken and grow more threatening, for all our men from eighteen to fifty are now called and even the boys of sixteen are to hold themselves in readiness.

How long my little home circle is to remain unbroken I cannot tell, for husband and child are both threatened. My only trust is in the strong arm of Jehovah, that He will turn the tide of battle in our favor and save us from the foe [before] our country is ruined and despoiled of all its hope and promise. He alone can do it. People are much depressed. The high price of provisions is alarming. Pork is selling at $2 per pound, corn at $50 and flour $75 and $80, and everything else in proportion. Clothing, too, is enormously high. Calico is from $7 to $10 per yard and homespun $10 and $25.

Source: Myrtle C. King, Anna Long Thomas Fuller’s Journal, 1856-1890: A Civil War Diary. (Alpharetta, Georgia: Priority Publishing, Inc., 1999)

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December 14, 1863

Prices are almost fabulous now & yet we hear of but little distress & tho’ when I was in Richmond Corn meal was $18 a bu. yet we did not see a street beggar. Work is scarce, money plenty, prices high, & almost all those who wish can make a livelihood. Men of fixed salaries, clerks, clergymen, etc., & invalids are the sufferers. Miss Myers told me that she paid in Danville $750 for a barrel of Sugar & moveover feared to have it all brought down to Richmond, such was her fear of Burglars! Mr E got me last week a pr of fine French boots in Clarksville for which he paid $60, but I consoled myself for the seeming extravagance by resolving to send 12 or 14 lbs of butter to Petersburg where it is from 4 to 5 per lb. With cotton at 12½ the boots would have cost in good times 48 lbs of cotton. Now with the staple at $1.00 in Halifax they cost only 12 more, viz., 60. The box of supplies which we sent Amo last month (for a list of which see ante) was valued by the insurer at $100! But the most ludicrous instance of high prices is the value put by the Express Agent on my night gown & cap and 1 lb of Hyco smoking tobacco left by us in our room at the hotel in Richmond & sent after us — viz., $40 — & bear in mind that the gown, tho a neat one, was made before the war — three years since. I view my wardrobe with more respect since.

I have always forgotten to give Lt Gen Polks command. Altho solicited by the President in person he persisted in refusing to serve under Gen Bragg & was therefore transferred to the Department of Mississippi under Gen Joe Johnson where he now is, Hardee taking his command and he Hardee’s. All uphold him in condemning Bragg, tho the clerical Gen has not a great military reputation in the Army himself. I know not how it is. We hear so much in praise or in derogation of almost every officer in the service that it is hard to form an unbiassed opinion. Each subaltern has his favourite & all the rest are incapables!

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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December 11, 1863

A fortunate thing it is for us in this Confederacy that it is not ‘de rigueur’ to testify greif on the receipt of bad news by rending one’s clothes! Did that ancient custom prevail the frequency with which one misfortune follows another would tell sadly upon our slender wardrobes! Perhaps, however, the ancients mingled economy in their sorrow and rent their clothes at the seams only. Even that, with thread at 1.75 cts per spool, which I this day paid for one in Clarksville, would be rather hard on us. But to go back to the bad news which has metaphorically rent all the clothes in the country within the past few days. Official dispatches have been received from Gen Longstreet from a point thirty miles from Knoxville in full retreat from that place to Virginia. What he has accomplished the Examiner says may be summed up in a few words – nothing. Gild the pill as ye may, Mr Davis, it is a bitter one to swallow. I say Mr Davis for he is, we are told, who detached Longstreet from Bragg’s command before the late battle. By his orders, too, was the army of Northern Geo reorganized in the face of the foe & to this cause is the late disaster at Lookout ascribed. Brigades were recast, divisions remoddled, & when the shock of battle came men were led into action by generals who had never led them before. Regiments had lost their old & tried supporters, their fellow regiments in their Brigades, & had to rely on men whom they had never seen before & upon whose support they could not with confidence, which experience gives, rely. Hence our defeat & hence the small loss we endured, for some Regiments gave way without waiting to see how their new comrades fought. A want of sense it appears to us to reorganize thus in the face of the foe. Mr Davis Message came last night, an able document especially in reference to our foreign relations. Lord John Russel, her Majesty’s Secretary for foreign affairs, is shown in his true light, petty & deceitful, under the mask of neutrality, claiming credit with the U S. for favouring it. Faugh! If he be a diplomat — I’ll none of them! His lies have not the merit of plausibility!

The President’s summary of Home affairs is rather gloomy. The currency & the soldiers whose term of enlistment is to expire in the spring are knotty points, but God has led us heretofore & He will lead us still. It is sad to myself to realize how my admiration has lessened for Mr Davis, lessened since the loss of Vicksburg, a calamity brought on us by his obstinacy in retaining Pemberton in command, & now still further diminished by his indomitable pride of opinion in upholding Bragg.

The Examiner says, “It is some comfort we grant to have a President who does not disgrace us by Hoosier English but it is a comfort which is dearly bought at the price of a Memminger & a Bragg.” His favourites have cost us much: Mallory, a Navy; Memminger has flooded the land with useless Treasury notes, sapped the fountain head of our prosperity; Huger cost us Roanoke Island & in consequence Norfolk. (He also let McClellan escape at [ -- ]; Lovel, New Orleans; Pemberton, Vicksburg and the two together the greater part of the Mississippi Valley. Bragg lost us first Kentucky and then Tennessee. His obstinacy in refusing to give Price the command lost Missouri & now the incapable Holmes, also his favourite, is clinching the loss and letting Arkansas slip away likewise. Truly I fear that to him is not given the first element of a ruler — “the discerning of Spirits.” He upheld Sidney Johnston when unjustly assailed, however. “No general have I, if indeed great Johnston be not one.” Here let us do him justice, but to give such a man as [ -- ] a Lieut Gen’ship for “auld acquaintance sake” only seems trifling with the interests of the country. But let me “not speak” too much “evil of dignities.” Mr Davis whilst he has made many mistakes has presided over our fortunes with dignity & Christian forbearance. Toward a man so harrassed with care as he is, & with such heavy responsibilities resting upon him as he has, requires that we should judge him kindly. Who would have done better if placed in his seat?

Sue, Rachel, & Col Clark dined with us today. Col C gives a melancholly picture of the country late in his command — below Hamilton. The Yankees have destroyed everything & burnt upon a large scale, many plantations being left without a house upon them. They misinterpret our forbearance in Penn last summer, think we abstained from devastating the country through fear, & this is the return they make us. Have been riding on horse back every afternoon latterly & enjoy my rides with Mr E greatly.

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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Monday 7th Decmeber 1863

Matt & I took a walk yesterday evening, went on top the hotel hill. Zona was with us. We called at Mrs. Knight’s to see her babe. It is two weeks old today. She said it was very unwell & today we hear it died last night. I finished the shirt I began last Friday, a colored one for Mr. Henry. Matt & I went up to the old store house this evening & brought down a sack of old papers, as some one has broke off the back of Bob Henry’s desk & they are partly his papers & other old papers no account to any one. We were not down at Mrs. Knight’s as we heard her babe had been buried. The militia is called out again.

Tuesday 8th December 1863

No news from Mr. Henry since he left. I would be very glad to hear from him. I suppose they went over into Tenn. Harrie went to Asheville yesterday with Carhlie. He took the leather we got of old Smith to Rankin’s Tan yard to be finished off. I sent by Harrie & got 7 lbs. of sugar & paid 21.00, three $ per lb. & got 1 paper of needles & paid 1.50, a paper of pins 1.25 & one card of agate buttons for 4.50. I really think speculators will whip us sooner than the yanks.  I made Wilile a shirt today.

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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