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June 27, 1864

News today from Petersburg brought by a Maj Shepperd, who left that place on horse back & came to Stony Crk where he took the cars, to the effect that “Petersburg is now considered safe.” The wires were last night working between Weldon & Petersburg, but as the enemy were entrenched 8000 strong within 3/8th of a mile of the R R, it was not considered safe to allow cars to pass. The Danville Road has been torn up at Keysville, a short distance from Clarksville, so no more news of Lee or Breckenridge can reach us for a time. Was startled today by a messenger riding up & putting into my hands a note from Col Bell to Mr E enclosing an official dispatch from Gen Whiting to Gen L S Baker to which Mr E wasrequested to forward with all speed & telling him that a raid had been made upon the Wilmington R R below Goldsboro. Gen Baker was kind enough to write by the servant who “sped on the fiery cross” that it was a “threatened” raid which he did not beleive the enemy had force to make. There is in the papers a most disgraceful account of an advance of the enemy below Kinston, in which tho they were but 300 strong they defeated the 6th Cavalry, Folks, &, part at least of the 67th infantry, killed several of them & took 60 prisoners, losing themselves “but one man & he drowned by falling into Cobb’s mill tail”! Disgraceful truly! The papers call it “botched on our side.” They were piloted by a deserter from Nethercutts Bat named Taylor Waters, & to his shame be it said, from Lenoir County.

Have been much interested latterly curing & drying my own tea! Tea from my own plants & very fine indeed it is. Good judges pronounce it an excellent article! My stock of either time or patience does not admit of my rolling it “a la Chinoise,” tho I tried it partially. I simply dry the leaves slowly on a chafing dish over the fire taking care to bruise them as they become hot & being careful not to burn or scorch them. I have fifty or more young plants from last year’s nuts which in a few years, if they yeild in the ratio that my present number of old plants (eight) have done, will supply me amply — something of an object when tea is, as now, $50 per lb in Petersburg and $25 in Charleston. So much for our late wise Congress tampering with the law of imports. Our present august body is but little better, as it has left the evil unremedied. I have been also busy plaiting straw for Mr E’s hat. Wheat straw is softer than Rye, but the blanched part of the rye is so much longer that one is tempted to forego beauty for ease of manufacture. It is pleasant to feel that we have the ability at least to be independant of these vile Yankees, that in spite of their boasted blockade, kept up with such expenditure of both men & money by them, we are not forced to forego our usual comforts or luxuries. The excesses the wretches commit are almost incredible.

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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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 5th [1864]

Bought four and one half dozen eggs, $2 per dozen. We had frost this morning, and the two previous morning, but I hope it has not injured the young, tender plants. Vegetation of every kind is backward. Opened a barrel of flour.

 

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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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.

Affectionately

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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