Hed Qtrs. Pettigrew Brigade
Camp near Hookerton, NC
April 26th 1863
My dearest Friend
We came to this place last Sunday from Washington via Greenville in two days and you may guess that we were somewhat fatigued. Remained here until Tuesday morning when we got marching orders. Fell in and marched back the road 9 miles towards Greenville – pitched camp and the next morning received marching orders for Kinston to report there that night but to our gratification the orders were countermanded when we reached here or before and here we have been ever since. We were all disappointed at leaving Washington in the hands of the enemy, when we went there we were confident that Washington would be ours with all its contents but not so from some cause or other the siege was abandoned, supposed to be from the fact that our battery at Fort Hill below the town could not successfully blockade the river the enemies boats would pass of very dark nights without being discovered bringing in supplies and reinforcements. Some think that it was not Hills intention to take the place but to draw forces from Suffolk to weaken that point so as Longstreet could work out his plans successfully; my notion is that the former was Hills plan – to take the place We busted six of our best guns at fort Hill and Rodmans farm, a few miles above the former.
I received two days since the sad intelligence of my sister, so was I sad to hear it but God’s will be done. It’s a debt we all owe and have some day or other to pay, our family has been distressed greatly for the last four years for in that time I have lost a mother, brother and two sisters. I do hope that there will not be another death in the family while the war continues as that gives sorrow and sadness enough to be borne; but we know not the day or the hour we have to bid adieus to this world. There may be more of the same family distant this life before the expiration of this horrible war. Surely the war has caused more trouble than anything that has happened in our beloved country since the Revolution. Alas! and when will it end?
Yesterday there was a detail of 50 men from the brigade sent to Randolph and Chatham to hunt up deserts. Reuben Branch was detailed from our company. They are offered fifty dollars and a furlough for every one they catch.
I am getting tired of this country because we have not drawn but one days rations of flour since we came to Greenville, corn bread all the time except on a march. Then sometimes hard bread which is but little better. I want wheat to get ripe soon and lots of it. But then we will get but little of it as there is but little raised in this part of the country and they want us to eat up the corn that is made here and ship the flour to other parts. I would give considerable now for some nice biskets and butter. And wouldn’t object to having a little honey sprinkled over it such as they have at “Pleasant Hill.”
Phifer Erwin has not left yet, he did not accept the appointment of Lt. in the 7rh NC – is looking for a better one – Quarter Master of the 60th – hasn’t got the appointment yet, but has been written to know if he would accept it. David Moody has been discharged.
I understand a few days since that Reuben Hawks a member of our company died lately at the hospital – don’t know the certainty of it.
Our tents have been sent to Wilson together with all heavy baggage, don’t suppose we will get our tents any more. I must quit as I have to report at the guard house immediately for guard duty. Direct to this place
Sources: Mike and Carol Lawing, eds., My Dearest Friend: The Civil War Correspondence of Cornelia McGimsey and Lewis Warlick (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2000). Original collections of the papers are in the Laura Cornelia McGimsey Papers and the George Phifer Erwin Papers in the Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill.
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