Posts Tagged ‘childbirth’

Sunday 3rd [May 1863]
Both Matts gone to church at Academy. Cloudy with occasional sun shine today. Mr. Henry down stairs asleep. I am in Matt’s room knitting. Willie & Zona are with me. Willie wheezes a good deal yet. Zona is well. Pinck gone to church & all the negroes but Fannie & Atheline. Fannie getting dinner & Atheline has the babe. Old Mr. Cagle is quite unwell in bed in the other room. He is giving the children some sugar. Poor old fellow, he is fond of little ones.
Monday May 4th [1863]
I have been lonely today. A sad long day. Mr. Henry & Matt started home today. I wish I could have gone too but I could not conveniently. My place is at home with my little ones. I felt so lonely all day. Matt has been so kind to me & the children, attended to my housekeeping when I was not able to do it myself. I love her a heap. I will try to repay her kindness some day. She is a good girl. So is Dora. They are both lovely. Dora is so mild & gentle. Matt has a generous heart. I made Mr. Henry a pair drawers today, got them done before night. Matt & Atheline spinning, Sister Matt & I went to the Sulphur Spring yesterday, met Mr. Henry at the hotel place. Matt got her shoes this evening. They are very nice ones. We brought a bucket of water for Mr. Cagle. It will be some time before I walk with my baby sister again.
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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Tuesday 21st [April 1863]

Matt & I spun a little today. Fannie cooks. Atheline spins some and waits on the children. Willie is a very cross child. He tries my patience sorely. Zona is not well nor hasn’t been for sometime. Worms I think. Pinck is a stout healthy child. We have not named the babe yet. He grows very fast, notices a good deal & laughs. Does not cry much yet. Loves nursing. I shall miss Matt a great deal when she goes home. She speaks of going next week.

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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Sunday April 19th 1863

Six weeks has passed since I wrote in you, my dear old journal. I have been confined in that time & got up again to health. My babe was born 8th March at 23 minutes after 8 o’clock in the morning. A fine healthy boy. He gave us some trouble at first by having us up at night till he was two weeks old but since he has been no trouble at all at night. He is like the most of children, loves nursing. The children think a great deal of it. Pinck can nurse it a short time but he soon tires of it. Matt has been very kind to me. I shall ever remember her kindness to me & my little ones when I was not able to attend to them myself. Aunt Patsey staid with me till the babe was nearly a week old. She would have staid longer but Mrs. Cannon was very sick with typhoid fever at that time and is not well yet. I was confined upstairs & did not go down till the babe was two weeks old. We have had a great deal of company for the last six weeks.

Mr. Hosea Linsey has a contract for gun stocks. They are going to get them out here at the mill. He has one hand here & he stays himself through the week. Old Mr. Cagle is here now. He has dyspepsia. He is drinking the sulphur water, thinks it does him a great deal of good. Charlie & Lonzo have been very low with pneumonia fever. They are both up again but not stout. Matt & Zona had a slight attack. Zona was right sick several days. Thanks to a kind Providence he spared them a while longer. Fannie was confined a week after I was with a girl, a healthy child. It cries a great deal more than mine. My babe weighed eight lbs before it was dressed & 13 ¾ lbs when it was a month old. Our garden is getting on very well. Rather late as we have had so much rain. Harrie Deaver came here yesterday evening. He looks very badly. Poor fellow. He can’t last much longer. He only weights 102. He weighed 112 last Spring when he was here. He is nothing but a shadow. He is on his way to his Regiment. He is Col. of the 60th Reg. now since Col McDowell’s resignation. Harrie is very feeble. He says he is not going to stay in the Regiment long. They expect a fight soon at Tullahoma. He is going to resign after the fight if he is not killed. I hope almost against hope that he may recover. I fear he has consumption. I pray God to spare his life yet awhile longer. He is in the bloom of manhood & if it is Thy holy will, spare him to old age to be a useful member of society.

Harrie made a present of a beautiful dress, the one he brought from Columbia. Also a paper of needles & a spool of thread. Needles and thread are selling at one dolloar each now. I shall prize that dress very highly as coming from him. The yanks attacked Charleston, at least tried to pass the forts on the 7th & 8th of the month but they left with some of their best boats badly crippled & have not renewed the attack. I believe I have written all of any importance for the last six weeks. There has been a great deal of sickness in the country. Old Mr. Quinn died some three weeks ago leaving his family very destitute. Have mercy on the poor in these trying times is my prayer. There has been a pressing officer through the country. We have a fine chance of bacon up in the loft now. Mr. Henry was not at home & I had it put there. He is going to sell to them at the market price. Very warm today. I must soon stop. I am writing upstairs in Harrie’s room. Looks a good deal like rain.

Oh! God I thank Thee that I passed through my confinement & Thou saw fit to spare my life. Spare me I beseech Thee to raise up those little ones Thou hast given me. Give me wisdom to rear them as seemeth good in Thy sight. Bless us as a nation. May we at length come out conquerors if it is Thy holy will. Grant us a speedy peace on honorable terms & Thine shall be the glory.

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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Camp near Fredericksburg, Va., Dec. 3rd, 1862

My dear Wife

This command after a long and fine march has at last come to anchor for awhile unless the Yankees cross the Rappahannock river, which I do not think they will attempt, altho they pretend to be making preparations for it.  If they were afraid to advance from Warrenton it would look like nonsense to attempt it here.  One cannot imagine the degree of confidence and high spirits displayed by our men.  I am truly glad to get once more where we can get our mail and the papers.  Here we can get both very easily.

I believe about everybody have moved from the town which will cause great suffering.  They are scattered all through the country.  A temporary depot post by us today had any quantity of furniture lying around with several old gentlemen shivering in the cold, apparently watching it.

Gen. Lee is very anxiously waiting for a fight.  He told me today that he believed he would be willing to fall back and let them cross for the sake of a fight.  All accounts are to the effect that they will not fight, and their numbers are not as terrible as might be supposed.

As A.P. Hill has been recommended by Gen. Lee for Lt. General, I hope he will be promoted which would be a means of both getting us out of Jackson’s command and myself a Division.  General rumor and general feeling both have pointed me out to be Gen. Hill’s successor.  He told me the other night that he hoped I would soon be a Major General.  I had no idea that I was a man of reputation in the army until I got back.  This is not to be repeated even in joke, for I do not like to have it thought that I might have my head turned, etc., etc.  My people were glad to see me and they all said that they knew I would be back before the fight came off.  The men seem to think that I am fond of fighting.  They say I give them “hell” out of the fight and the Yankees the same in it.

Jake goes to Richmond tomorrow to attend to some little matters for the mess and himself.  If we have nothing special I shall let him go home to spend his Christmas.  I told him if he would not drink or smoke any between this and then, he might go.  He makes a fine caterer and has improved generally.  I think, since I left.  Do not say I am disposed to underrate him and “wish that he had not joined me” etc.

I have finally settled upon an A.A. General.  What would you say to the husband of that agreeable lady that called on you in Raleigh, Maj. Joseph A. Englehard.  He is going resign his position as Brigade Quartermaster in James H. Lane’s Brigade.  You must not judge him by his wife for he would be done much injustice as I would be honored to be esteemed by your goodness and good qualities generally.  Honey, when I look around I feel more and more how thankful I ought to be for such a wife, and I do feel thankful.  I feel, Honey, that I owe you a great deal for I know I should not be what I am if I had not married you.

Tell Pamela I saw a few days ago her brave Capt. W.A. Fry.  He will do tolerably well to be shot at but not so remarkable to flirt with.  He says he is going to Mr. William’s soon and of course will call on Pamela.  She must not let his wound work too powerfully in his favor.  Tell Ham it is time for him to return.  Honey, I hope things will so turn up that I shall have you with me soon, but as long as we remain fronting the enemy as we do, it will be impossible.  The Yankee papers do not seem so loath to have their troops go into winter quarters as they did.  I must now close.  My love to all and a kiss for Pamela and the boys.  Tell her she must not give up Stephen Lee.  How do you like the hoops.  I rather pride myself upon having thought of them.  The belts I fear were poor and not appropriate.

I suppose you know by this time how things will be for the next nine months.  God bless you and the children.  Please let me know as soon as you have settled the thing in your mind.  Good bye.

Your devoted Husband

Sources: William Hassler, ed., One of Lee’s Best Men: The Civil War Letters of General William

Dorsey Pender (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1999). William Dorsey Pender papers, Southern Historical Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill. http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/p/Pender,William_Dorsey.html

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Nov. 3, 1862


My dearest Wife

… I have not had much chance to write anything.  Honey, consider your plan for housekeeping well and then do as you please and I shall be satisfied for I have always found your judgment good.

… The 6th N.C. stands up nobly.  They had 104 killed and wounded at Manassas and 105 at Sharpsburg and still have about 400 for duty.  Maj. Webb got a slight wound and made straight for home.  Cols. Avery and Ruffin are both anxious to get under me.

Now my own dear wife, I must close.  I should like very much to see Frank and Helen before they leave if they have not gone.  Give them both my love.  Tell Pamela I am glad to hear she had a pleasant time and give her a thousand kisses for me.  I was very uneasy about Dorsey and you can imagine my relief to hear that he was well again.  My dear, do not trouble yourself about with fears of having no more children.  You are young yet.  God bless you darling and the dear boys.

Your devoted Husband

Have you plenty of money such as it is for your country?


Sources: William Hassler, ed., One of Lee’s Best Men: The Civil War Letters of General William

Dorsey Pender (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1999). William Dorsey Pender papers, Southern Historical Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill. http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/p/Pender,William_Dorsey.html


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September 11, 1862

Patrick left home this morning for Garysburg to see Capt Reinhart, the sole Capt left in Edmondston’s Battalion.  He has been ordered there & knows not what to do.  This delay of the War Department in a matter seemingly so simple seems very strange!  Why can’t Mr Randolph say, “No Col E, I cannot fill your Battalion” & order Capt Reinhart elsewhere, or “yes, Col E, take such & such Companies & take the filed at once.”  But no it requires as much management as an affair of State.

I was shocked & distressed greatly yesterday by hearing of the death of my young neighbor, Mrs Sheilds (Susan Whitemore).  I saw her on Sat & thought her quite sick, but I have had daily messages from her (she sending to me only the day before for some crackers & some Cordial & Wine), & each time they have said she was improving; & when the servant came with my empty baskets, so sure was I that she wanted something from me that I met her with the query—“how or now, what can I do for Miss Susan today?”  and to my horror heard she had died about an hour before.  Her infant was born on Wednesday & she, poor thing, taken with dysentery the night after.  She lived just a week & sunk suddenly, I suppose, for Dr Hall could not be summoned to her, as he had gone to visit a distant patient.

After Patrick left his morning I made a beautiful Chaplet of White & delicate Lilac, Dahlias, Evergreens, Feverfew, Citarena, etc., & sent it over to be laid on the coffin, being unable to go myself as Patrick went in the carriage.  Poor Mrs. Whitemore! when I saw her on Sat, in all the importance of a Grandmother, & noticed the change which the possession of a little property has wrought in her (for I have not seen her since her husband left father’s employment), the glories of her new front & stylish cape, the De Dage dress, the tone in which she spoke of “Mr Moore’s orchard,” “our niggers,” etc., & thought how much happiness the possession of a little money can give & what changes it brings in the manners & conduct of its possessors, I little thought so heavy a cloud was hanging over & ready to burst upon her!  Poor woman, she must be crushed to the earth.  I will go & see her, fifteen miles tho it is to her house, in a few days & at least assure her of my sympathy & kindly interest.

Worked steadily all day on my large flat fan fly brush.  It is a beautiful piece of work but very troublesome.  I will never undertake another so large.  However, it amuses me & it is employment.  Read Sismondi.  I have got to Calderon in the Spanish Literature.  I am sorry that Nannie wanted to begin the book before I had finished it, for I feel impelled as it were to read on steadily so as not to keep her waiting & I wished when I got to a review of those books to which I have access to run through them myself in connection with Sismondi, Cervantes, The Spanish Ballads, particularaly those of the Cid, & now Calderon, but I must trust my memory.  I have only Leigh Hunt’s Italian Poets & Boiardo, Pulci, Ariosto, Tasso, Dante even, etc., are run through by him almost as expeditiously as Sismondi dispatches them, so there is not much to be gained there.  “Beware of the man of one book,” it is said, & I believe it to be true, for I fancy I read too much.  My mind is I fear like a Kaleidiscope, one picture effaces the other before it is fixed, and I am too old now to remedy it.  Ah! that we could be wise on the experience of others!  My Grandmother often told me the time would come when I would not remember what I read, & I used to listen to her with a respectful wondering unbelief, but I find it is so.  Ah, she was a remarkable woman, my Grandmother, how few we see like her, and yet with all her cultivation, with all the true piety I believe she possessed, her vigorous mind even, I am glad I am not.  For to me to be loved is greater happiness than to be either revered or admired & we all stood too much in awe of her to dare to pour out the full feelings of our hearts before her & that I would not like.

It is lonely here tonight, so Journal, as you are my only companion, I feel like having a long chat with you.  Let me see, there are many topics which fill my heart & thoughts.  We will discuss them.  First the Conscript Act & Mr E’s plans—but no!  I want a relaxation & that I have thought over so often & looked at in so many lights that my mind turns from it as from a sorrowful remembrance.  It awakens an ache of anxiety at the bare mention.  Then Bessie’s matters, but Journal, that is not my own secret.  “Noblesse oblige,” that I confide it not even to you.  Then anxieties about Raleigh people, but I have no business to express them either.  Can’t I find one topic, pleasant, and at the same time open, which I can freely talk over with you, Journal?   No not one!  Literature is the only perfectly unfettered and at the same time cheerful subject left to me & to dwell long on that changes you, Journal, from your legitimate & proper sphere to a mere Composition or Essay.  So Journal, I will first express my fears for our Army in Maryland & then—

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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Saturday 30th [August 1862]

Taylor left this morning. I sent Peter with him to get the horse & buggy left at Chuns bridge. He will get back tomorrow I think. I have been making tatten today. Cleaned the children after dinner, washed their heads. Willie is a great deal better. Tena got the cloth out this evening. Fannie baked some ginger cakes this evening for the children. She has done the washing & ironing this week. I was at Mrs. Fanning’s a short time yesterday evening. Mrs. Night getting on finely.

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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