Kinston, July 17th 1864
I have just returned from Goldsboro and eaten a hearty dinner, or perhaps you would call it supper as it is six o’clock and therefore don’t feel much like writing. I received your letter written about three of four weeks ago, on the evening before the raid, only a few hours before the alarm was given, and forgetting it at the time, I never thought about it any more until Mother mentioned it in her letter. I don’t recollect what was in it, but am almost sure that I read it all, but for fear that I didn’t, I’ll hunt it up one of these days when I have more time and read it again.
I saw Sue and Mat in Goldsboro a few days ago, but only spoke a few words, by this time probably they have reached Salem. I am getting tired of this portion of the country and wished we could go to Maryland. I should like to be with Early at present. I know his troops will live well. Petersburge has no inducements. I would rather be here than there, but Winchester, Harper’s Ferry and that country up there is Paradise compared with this swampy country. Kinston is an awful dull place, and Goldsboro is ten times worse.
Are you going back to Williamsboro or not? I don’t know where or when I heard it, but it seems I heard somehow that you were going to teach school in Thomasville. I believe I’ll go at that business when the war is over. Anything but work. I want to know what you are going to do, and how you are spending your time.
It is nearly dark and if I don’t finish this before dark it will never be finished. Of course. Tell mother and Annette that I’ll answer their letters before long if I can think about anything to write. What is the reason Johnny didn’t write any more? I haven’t heard a word from him since he wrote that Mr. Shaffner “burnt some chimney swallows to smoke some fire out that he was building in the house.” Give my love to all, and let me hear from you soon if convenient, and if not, it don’t make any difference. I don’t care at all. It is dark so I must close.
I remain your affectionate brother
Source: Christopher Watford, ed. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865, Volume 1. Original in the Clewell Letters, North Carolina State Archives.