Sept 2nd 1864
My own Dear Wife
I now sit down to write you a short letter to let you know that I am quite well and also to tell you of my prospects of getting home during this month. I made application yesterday to Genl Beauregard for a ten days leave to attend our court on the 19th of this month stating the reasons why I wished to go. The President of our court martial Col Cunning has approved it and recommended it be granted and Capt Graham who has been on Genl Beauregards staff and who is acquainted with all his officers added a note to the bottom of my application requesting them to grant my request. So you can judge for yourself darling what will be the result as well as I can. I confess that I shall be terribly disappointed if it is not granted. I have written to you now 3 or 4 times in a hurry and have not been satisfied with my own letters. They did not suit my taste and I know failed to meet your expectation. My own dear wife you must excuse those letters as I am so differently situated that I have but a sorry chance to write at all. McBryde Braddy and I are in adjoining rooms in the same house and eternally have company in the evening until night when I cant write at all. And it reduced me to write some in the morning or not at all. I struggle hard to keep up my correspondence which is a good deal and find it hard work to do so. You dearest shall not be neglected tho all the rest go to the dogs. I feel cramped up here altho Mrs. Southerland is as good and motherly a lady as I have fallen in with in a great while. The cause is this, Braddy and McBryde are close by and in direct communication with their homes and are getting fruit vegetables cider chickens &c &c from home once or twice a week and I share with them without any prospect of making any amends as my pay for a month would not pay for what they raise in a week. You can appreciate darling my feelings I know as your spirit is as proud as mine. I cannot bear to be under obligations that I see no way of paying back. With my own officers I feel at ease for I know that I do my full share. There it is different. I wrote to you of receiving the money from David. I went up to Goldsboro and Wilson last Friday night and returned on Sunday night or rather Monday morning and it cost me a great deal to do so as I had to pay full fare besides paying board for Saturday at Goldsboro at 30 dollars a day and when I came back I had less than 20 dollars left. I paid Eliza the express on the cotton which was 2 dollars a bunch making 22 dollars. So that is all paid for thank goodness. The whole bill for the cotton is 297 dollars at least a hundred less than I can buy it for anywhere in the state by the bail. It is selling here for from 45 to 50 dollars a bunch. So you see darling I have made a good trade in getting it as I did. You ask my advice about having a steer killed dear. Have anything killed you may need for your family use just suit your own judgment darling and be sure your husband will approve of anything you do, knowing you will always do what you think is for the best. Should you make a mistake in my judgment darling I shall not complain. There is but little news here now but all things seem progressing for our benefit both in Virginia and Georgia. We have no fears of either Richmond Petersburg or Atlanta falling this time. Our court has been in session here over a month and is likely to be for a month to come if nothing breaks it up. There is a good deal of sickness at the forts I hear and especially at Bald Head. The disease is mostly typhoid and ague and fever. My company is said to be the most healthy one down there but it is suffering a good deal. The news has gone out that yellow fever is at this place. Smithville and Bald head but there is not a word of truth in the report. Everything is very high here and still going up a store rents for 20,000 dollars a year quick and I know of one store with a warf that rented for 80,000 for the next year beginning on the first of October this year. The first of Oct is the genl renting and moving day in this place. I am paying 90 dollars room rent a month 10 for cooking and 8 dollars a dozen for washing and if it all had to come out of my pocket I should break right off. As it is I shall not be able to save a cent. The government pays for my room and fewel and I pay all other expences. I buy tobacco and have paid for 6 drinks of spirits since I have been here and hardly can live at that, tho I am still fatning. I think of you my own sweet wife all the time I am not compelled to be thinking of something else and I cannot enjoy going to see other ladies altho I am often invited because I have no interest in them. I cannot help suffering often when I see other officers with their wives to think I am almost cut off from my wife who is worth them all. I almost go mad some times thinking of the enjoyment I am deprived of and you too darling and our dear little ones also. We could be a happy family were we permitted to be together. This town is a perfect sink of iniquity (so I am told) of nimphs of the [illeg]. I have been told that there is 1800 publick prostitutes here and 9 out of 10 who pass for virtuous women take it on the sly. Is not this a fearful state of morals.
Evening. Well dearest I have just got a very precious letter from you written on the 28th of August just 5 days ago. In fact it was finished on the 29th which makes it only 4 days since it left your precious hands. I am truly glad to hear you have enjoyed yourself so well last week. You had better go visiting oftener than you have been doing as I have do doubt it will make you feel better all the time when you go home. The wish you express my dear of being in my arms with your lips pressed to mine is seconded with my whole heart and soul for darling it seems I have never wished to see you half as much as I have since I left you last. My whole heart pants to be with you love and to enjoy the luxury of seeing the happiness burning out of those pretty blue eyes of yours on meeting me. Now darling I can see you as plain as if I were with you. Oh! Wife of my choice it seems as if could I be with you I could be happy any where. When I recall the love and entire confidence you have by your acts often expressedin me I feel that I cannot love you half enough. Love begets love and could I have the eloquence…. [next page missing]
*** Note: William Henry Tripp and his wife Araminta Guillford Tripp lived at Mount Hope farm on the Pamlico River near Durham’s Creek (sometimes called New Durham’s Creek) in Beaufort County. William served in the Confederate Army as captain and commander of Company B of the 40th North Carolina Regiment. He and his men were first stationed at Fort Fisher, outside Wilmington, N.C., April 1862-January 1865; and then at Fort Holmes on Smith Island, N.C., February 1865
Source: William Henry Tripp and Araminta Guilford Tripp Papers, Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill. http://www2.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/t/Tripp,William_Henry_and_Araminta_Guilford.html#folder_7#2