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Ft. Holmes

Octo 6th 1864

Dear Wife

As Lt Luten is to start for his home this morning I cannot let the opportunity pass of writing you a letter altho I have written but a few days ago by Burt Jones. I am in good health and spirits and have not many sick in my company now and what are sick are not dangerously so. I am getting along quite well as yet for something to eat as the provisions that Macon Harrison and I bought is not gone yet, but I can assure you the times are hard here for those that cant get something from home. We cannot make a 1/3 of a pound of Nassau pork last do the best we can and now the Genl has prohibited our going sticking with a light at night so you see one of my best sources of supply is cut off as Mars cant go sticking. Nevertheless we shant starve as the creeks are full of oysters and we can catch a few fish at odd chances. There is some news now from our armies. We had a fith a week ago at Petersburgh and lost some of our works but killed and captured over 5000 of the enemy and lost 5 to 700 on our side. Hood has got in the rear of Sherman in Georgia and it is said he will be forced to fight nim now and our people think that we will give the old devil a thrashing this time and no mistake. Genl Beauregard has been taken from us and put in command of all the SW to the Mississippi river and is now aiding Hood in Georgia. He is on our side and Hood on the other of Sherman. The Yankees are making superhuman efforts to capture Richmond before the election as that will insure Lincoln’s election by a big majority. God grant us the victory. Our two inlets are almost hermectically sealed now and not a single vessel has come in or gone out this month I believe. One attempted to come in at Fisher on last Saturday night and was chased and fired into so that they had to beach her to keep her from sinking. In the hurry of getting to the coasts the crew upset one that Mrs. Rose Greenhow was in and she got drowned. Her body was found next day and she had on her person 4000 dollars in gold. She was a woman of a good deal of notoriety in our cause and had been in prison in Washington City a long time. There are eleven blockaders off our bar and fourteen off Fisher.  This morning the government has advertised some cloth for the officers of this command and I have written up to secure enough for a suit of clothes and if I get it I will write you and the first opportunity you can get you can send to Wilson and get that there at Elizas and make clothes for the children out of it as I shall not need it all. I sent over the river on yesterday to see what I can get salt at and find I can buy it at 22 ½ per bushel and think of buying 6 bushels and will try to get it up to Wilson so that you can send for it there. Miles promised to get salt for you but I fear to trust him as he made the same promise last year. I shall have to borrow some money to pay for it, but salt you must have cost what it may. I have more than enough money in the Zills Sands at Wilmington to pay for the cloth if I get it. I am going to send my two game chickens up to Wilson today by Tom Sutterthwait and get Eliza to take care of them for me until you can get them. Tom is going up today on a sick furlough of 30 days. Give my love to all our dear little ones and kiss them all for their papa just such a kiss as you give him darling. I hope you are all well now. Give my respects to all the negroes. Excuse this short note wife dear as I did not know Tom Luten was going until last night and could not write until this morning and he is about getting off now. Now darling you must take all my pure and holy love for yourself for it is all yours now and forever.

William

You can get the chickens when Jennie goes back send a basket up with a piece of net over it to carry them in.

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

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Fort Holmes

October 1st [1864]

Dear Wife

I now will try to write you a note to let you know that I have arrived here safe and am quite well. My men were all seemingly very glad to see me. In fact they have hung around me so that I have not had the chance to write before. I was not feeling well yesterday being swollen in the stomach but it passed off at night. I had a right good time coming up to Wilson after I left home but had to steal corn out of a mans field to feed Tally that night. I settled up my board and other things in Wilmington on Tuesday and Wednesday and came down on Thursdays boat. There is a great deal of sickness here now and there has been all this fall. Lt. Whitely of Liggets company died last night of typohoid fever. He live just opposite us on the north side of the river and was an excellent young man. He was a large robust man and looked as if he was destined to an old age. His corpse just passed my house on its way home escorted by a company with muffled drums. Poor fellow: show will do him no good now. I pity his father and mother as they perhaps will receive the tidings of his death by having their sons corpse brought home to them. Not many of my company are sick now and what is sick are not dangerous at all. Whitely makes five I believe that have died here this week. Col. Lait seemed very glad to see me and our worthy Maj has not yet returned from his leave to express his joy at my safe return. The Col and I had some sharp sparring yesterday and both of us got quite warm. It began about Halsey and one thing led to another until I told him of his being saddled on us against the wish of all the officers. When he said he knew it and did not care a d_m if we did not like it. He told the truth no doubt. All concur in saying they never saw me so fat and looking so well before. I am feeling very well indeed but feel that I am fatning in the belly to fast. I have been faring quite well thus far as we get an abundance of fish. We have a seine hauled for the garrison and some of my men are on the detail and I make them bring me fish every day. Mars goes striking up the coast every night now and catches a great variety of as nice flounders as you ever saw and he brings them to me to take as many as I want every morning. I take one as that is enough for me and Macon as we are all that are here now. Harrison has not yet arrived and Col intends arresting him when he does come for staying over his time. HE sent me an order this morning to report him absent without leave from the 28th of Sept. There is a squall brewing for Harrison I fear. I am trying to avert it and hope I may succeed. Johnny was more pleased to see me than he would have been to see his father I reckon, and sticks close by me when off of duty. There is nothing stirring down here now, only the Yankees seem to have redoubled their vigilance and are catching steamers rapidly. They run one on shore and burned her night before last at Fisher. I have not yet learned which one it was but we think it was one bound out with a load of cotton. I had quite a load of things to bring down with me and I got them here all safe. I gave Eliza part of my dried apples and Mrs. Southerland a part. I also gave Mrs. Southerland part of my pepper and gave Col. Cunningham a part of the pepper also. Every one who tasted the catchup says it is excellent. I really wish I had two of three gallons of it it is so good. I find it is excellent with fish as it prevents thirst. I drew all of my rations up to the last of the month when I was in Wilmington and gave it to MRs. Southerland. It is unnecessary for me to say anything about Elizas family as Jenny went home with Billy. I persuaded her to do so as she has been confined so long at home and the change might do her baby good and I know you would be glad to see her. Hen she wishes to go back to Wilson you can get Billy to carry her and send Tom with them to carry her luggage in a cart. Perhaps John Bonner will let Charles go with her to help carry them up. I do not know that I have any directions to give you darling about anything as I told you and Roden all that I have wished done while at home. One thing tho I will say. Have the wheat got in as soon as you can as the great fault in my raising wheat has been getting it in too late. While I was at home in June I spoke to Mr. Watson on South Creek to save me some seed oats. Find out whether he done so and if he did when you go to sow oats get them and have them sowed too. Roden told me he had saved 6 bushels of oats and if you can get 4 bushels more to sow as they are the best find for homes we have have and saves corn. Tell Roden to do his best on the hogs and try and have them fattened well. Some one has stolen 4 of my pigs here only leaving me 4. I have a notion of selling what is left as I expect the same persons will take the balance of them. If [illeg] Tripp buys that koop for you or bargains for it you had better pay for him right off and take a receipt for the money. If Mr. Archbell will sell another one take it and I will try to send you the money to pay for it. I should like to buy all the big steers Mr. Archbell will sell another one take it and I will try to send you the money to pay for it. I should like to buy all the big steers Mr. Archbell has to spare at not over 125 dollars a piece. Their hides will almost pay for them at that price. I am anxiously looking for a letter from you and hope to hear that your bore our parting bravely. I hope also to hear of your being in good health and spirits and of the childrens being well. Poor Ben! I had to leave him sick but hope he has got well ere this. Tell the children when they learn the books I carried them I will get them more. Vene will learn hers sure for she seems very fond of books. Tell Josephus that he and Tom must go in the thicket and gather up the walnuts when they fall down. I saw that they were falling when I was at home. Sephe and Ben can with the little negroes get those in the field. Mars is very well indeed and so is Louis. I shall let Mars come home Christmas if nothing happens. Give my best respects to all the negroes and my love to all our dear little ones and tell Josephus and Vene to write to me. I want to be with you my own darling wife more than ever if possible. If I could be with you and stay with you, I could do a hep towards supporting the family by fishing and with my gun. By the John Walfinder promised me to buy me 4 or 6 lbs of net twine from Newberne. If he does you can have some small mesh nets tied. Excuse this rambling letter darling as I have so many around me it is hard to write at all and rest assured you are the dearest object to me on earth. I think of you all my moments of relaxations from my dutys. Good bye my own darling sweet little wife.

Yours forever and ever

William

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

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Mount Hope, September 4th 1864

My own precious Husband,

This is a gloomy rainy day and I do not feel like doing anything in the world, but conversing with you but as I am denied the delightful privilege of doing so verbally, I must even content myself with an epistolary conversation. My last letter to you was very unsatisfactory to me, as it did not express one half I wished to say, being written in such a hurry – and I fully intended writing another and sending it off this week, but could not well do it as my time has been almost entirely occupied with first with one thing and then another. In the first place Ann was here all the week until Friday evening, and it is not an easy matter to write a letter when Ann is around. Monday evening Ann and I, with Sephy and Tom went fishing. Ann caught four fish, I three and Tom one. Poor old Sephy got discouraged and put up his pole long before we came ashore. The Louisiana was lying just below here, and Rhoden and Tom were both afraid to go out fishing but I made Tom go at last though he was considerably frightened.  Thursday Ann and I went to see Mollie Archbell and I spent the day very pleasantly indeed. Mollie is a nice girl and I like her very much. The old folks are very kind indeed – enquired very particularly after you, and insisted on my going agin.  Willie I think that you are entirely mistaken about Mrs. Archbell being a deceitful woman. There seems to be nothing but real plain straight-forward dealing about her, no honeyed words, no flattery, and you know that deceitful persons are apt to be flatterers.  Now I agree with you that old Mrs. Bonner is deceitful, and she is not only deceitful but absolutely disgusting. Mrs. Archbell is an entirely different woman. I cannot say that I like her very much, for I have been prejudiced against her, and prejudice is not easily overcome, but I do think you are mistaken about her. Mary Snell and William Henry spent the day there, that day, and we had a very pleasant time. I do feel really sorry for them. Mr Archbell is old and inform and to be left destitute in his old age seems very hard. That looks like a very old place. The house looks old and the floor of the piazza is rotting badly, but it is a very and exceedingly pleasant place. Poor Mollie must have a lonely time of it, but I believe she gets along very well. She is a good girl and very industrious. Mary Snell is certainly in a delicate situation and looks quite interesting, or rather she is just beginning to look interesting. I made some watermelon molasses Friday. I had three tubs full of juice and made a gallon and a half of molasses. It is good to eat but not to sweeten with, as it got scorched. It would have been nice if I had boiled it down in the preserving kettle. It has a taste of iron. Rhoden made a gallon for himself. We have had some splendid watermelons but I have not enjoyed them very much, as they did not agree with me. Tommy has a chill on him now poor little fellow, and is lying in the cradle. He was restless all night, but I did not think he was going to be sick. I am feeling much better this morning. I do not suffer so much with sick stomache now, but am generally very dull and lanquid, and the least exertion almost prostrates me. I cannot imagine what makes me so weak, it seems to me that I get weaker all the time, and yet I am not so sick in my stomache as I wash. I do hope that helath will come with cool weather. I shall be so much disappointed if you do not come home Sept. Court, for I am very very anxious to see you. I understand that the Yankees had destroyed several miles of the Weldon rail road but that we had whipped and captured 5000 of them. Mr. Crawford will distill our cider next week, and I am glad of it, for it has been leaking badly I understand. Our arbor is full of grapes and they are beginning to ripen. I want to make some nice wine this year if I live. I have a bushel and a half of dried apples. I want you to have the most of them, for I do not care much for them and have no sugar and but very little honey to put in them. Sary and Angeline send their love to you and Mars and Sary says tell Mars that he hasn’t sent her that Saleratus yet that he promised her. Simon sends his love to Mas William. Rhoden is going about but isn’t well yet. Joe is mending, but is still swollen in his bowel. I hope he will be well sometime. He goes all about and hasn’t had [torn] him for a long time. It looks as if it will clear off and I hope it will, for I do not like to be confined to the house. Cold weather will soon be here and I really do not know where I shall get shoes for the children and negroes. Rhoden Homer and little Rhoden has to have shoes all the summer, and we have only one hide for next winter and that is sole leather. It will cost almost a fortune to buy leather for our family and then hire the shoes made, if we can be lucky enough to get them made. One of our hides spoilt Rhoden said. I should have thought he would have attended to that, knowing how high leather was. Aunt Rose came in just now to tell me to send her love to you, and to tell you how do and that she is very ansious to see you and that she is still alive. Little Rhoden sends his love to you Mars and Louis. Angeline says ask Mars what has become of that jacket he was going to send her? I am getting quite tired so I will stop for the present. So good bye my own darling until the evening, or whenever I shall fell like writing again. I feel much more like talking to you and nestling in your dear arms that I do like writing, for that would never tire me. O how I do want you darling. I should feel so happy and so at rest if you were with me and could stay. Now if feel tired all the time, even thinking wearies me. I do so need you to lean on. Good bye.

Araminta

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

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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

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