Posts Tagged ‘furlough’

November 12, 1864

Petersburg Nov. 12th 1864


My Own Darling Wife

I have delayed writing longer than usual in the hope that I would be able to get a short leave to visit you but after waiting a week my application came down disapproved for the present. I only asked for 5 days, but Genl Lee thought it imprudent to allow me that at this time. I was fearful it would be so, yet was much disappointed when I found that I could not go.

We occupy pretty nearly the same position as when you left except our lines are more extended & I shall send for you as soon as I feel that we are permanent. To send before that would or might subject you to a great inconvenience. You must therefore be patient as I shall certainly send the very first moment I deem it safe. The weather is getting quite cold & we get orders today to find winter quarters & I shall start out today to find my winter quarters.

You must make Stephen put up some large boxes or barrels of sweet & Irish potatoes & peas & whatever else he has. We shall need them as I fear provisions will be very scarce here this winter. Make him have those things ready by the time you start. In my next letter I hope to be able to tell you to come on. Dick will send for his wife & you will be together.

I look for Effie’s money today from Richmond and will send it to her the first opportunity. The amount will be about $14.00. She can draw the balance when she needs. I would advise her to do whatever the Dr. thought ought to be done for Benney but I fear it will not be in my favor to go with her to Richmond.

Lincoln is certainly elected and there is non telling when the war will end. We must first determine to fight it out and look for the end when it comes. I saw Genl Lee yesterday and he was in fine spirits and more dispensed to joke that I ever saw him. My good lady friend, God bless her, Mrs. Waddell told me the other day that she prayed that I might not get hurt, but if I did, I must not go to a hospital but come to her home.

Tell Pa when he comes down that I have a lot of 30 or 430 logs all piled up out of which he can make himself a nice selection. I didn’t go through the trouble of gathering them up but found them placed away in an old camp by some soldiers. He must bring you down, I am anxious to see you and hope to see them all this winter. Are they fixing up a box for my Brig? They ought to send two or three boxes & no box must weigh over 100 pounds and should be filled with tobacco. They ought to be plainly marked post as this letter is addressed.

It look his morning as if it would snow & I hope roads will still be in a condition to stop all enemy movements here. Give my best love to all & be ready at any time when I shall send for you. Ask Pa if I will have any money left after paying my debts. I shall need some this winter if I can get it in addition to my wages. Farewell my darling wife, hoping that I will see you soon & write my correct prayer that our God will shield and bless you.

I am ever your devoted husband,

AM Scales

PS I have first learned that Genl Wilcox will leave the division this winter & that Genl Custis Lee will probably be our Maj Genl




Source: Christopher Watford, ed. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865, Volume 1. Original in the AM Scales Collection, State Archives of North Carolina

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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.


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


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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October 2nd [1864]

Sabbath afternoon

I did not go to church today, as the carriage was filled by a party of young friends, who were on a visit to Ellerbie Town. Amiable & lovely girls have been with me for some weeks – Lanie Smith & Louise Cross, Maggie & Kate Shepherd.

My dear Soldier-Brother joined them here – his furlough is out & he leaves to-morrow for the seat of War. He fed the utmost solicitudes for his safety, as another battle is daily expected. May God protect him & spare him if it is his holy will! The siege of Petersburg is still pressed and our poor men, exposed in the trenches. We feel anxious and fearful of this time, and dread the winter campaign but

God rules, and to Him we look for help. He is our only shelter from “this windy storm & tempest!”

Source: Jane Evans Elliot Diaries #5343, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/e/Elliot,Jane_Evans.html

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Sunday 25th [September 1864]

Clear & cool this morning. Matt & I & Zona & Willie went to get some chinkapins, did not get many. Mr. Moffet, one of the cattle guard, left Friday night on big furlough. Two other militia came this evening to tend the cattle. Mr. Henry has gone to see Marsh Williams this morning. The children are at play. Willie out here in the back piazza playing. I am writing in back piazza as the sun is warm & pleasant. I am very tired of having soldiers here. They are a great annoyance to me but what can’t be cured must be endured. Such is life & a rugged one it is to some of us.


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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In the trenches, near Petersburg

Sept 13th 1864


My dearest Corrie,

Yours of the 7th I have just received and surely there is nothing gives me more pleasure while here that to receive letters from you. After my furlough came back disapproved I intended sending up another, I went to Col. Martin and asked his advice he replied “it was useless if they would not grant the one I sent up in which he said, the appeal was as strong as could be made they would not grant any” so I declined sending any more. You have no idea how bad I want to go home but I see no chance for me unless is should be done through the Secretary of War by my relatives at home and I fear that cannot be done as one of the executors of the will is at home and the settlement of the estate can be made without me   now if I was sole executor the thing might be done. I wrote to Bob to sell my stock because I had no where to keep them. I knew uncle John had as much on hand as he can keep and as I have nothing to feed them I thought it would be best to sell them, some of the hogs are very fine over two years old and would make good pork in the fall but I don’t see how or what to do with them. Oh this cruel war it keeps me nearly crazy all the time   if I was at home and could get to stay here I know what to do but as it is I don’t know what is for the best.

I know if the war should end soon or end when it should we would need all of the cattle and hogs. I want you if you see any chance to keep what of them you can and let the remainder be sold. Do Corrie what you think best and it will please me. If they were sold and had the money for them it would be of little use even for the present and two years hence.  I don’t believe it will be worth carrying not even after independence for there will be so much in circulation it will never be redeemed. I don’t know what advice to give you in regard to the mule. I don’t know that we could hire any body to keep it. I know that uncle John is over stocked and cant keep it. Do Corrie as I said before act on your own judgement.

Bob writes that Gaither advised him to sell all the property – fathers estate. I don’t think the negroes ought to be sold as they can be hired out in either case I want you to get one, if sold buy, if hired hire, he or she can make bread for you while I’m in the army, uncle John needs another hand anyway. There is a good many things I want you to buy at the sale, if I should not get there. Don’t want to buy anything that will eat except a negro or two as “rations” are scarce – I want as little of my part in the estate in money as possible. I suppose from what Bob writes the sale will not take place until November   I would like to know the time as soon as possible. I think I had better advise Bob not to sell the negroes but hire them out. In my former letter I forgot to state that my second court-martial sentenced me to forfeit one months pay and to be publicly reprimanded, the latter I have no received and I think the time has past off so long it will never come – don’t care wether it does or not.

Bill McGimsey has returned to the company although not altogether well. I was in hopes he would get home. I don’t see how I’m to get any cloths from home as I know of no one that will be coming from there this fall. Capt & Jimmy Parks are complaining some  not very sick, the other boys from our neighborhood are generally well. Billy is improving, begins to look like a man. Give rmy love to all and write soon and often and I will do the same.

As ever yours devotedly


Morning 14th   I forgot to state that John Fincannon & Elijah Philips are both dead, died in Richmond.


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 Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill.

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Atlanta Ga

Aug 18th/64

My Dear Wife

Yours of the 25th came to hand the 11th and found me well & in the ditches with the boys. I was on a visit to see them and I found them generally well, but a good deal of grumbling & dissatisfaction – rations rather short and so much duty to do that they are worn out. The yanks breast works are in plain view here & a constant shelling which keeps the boys close to their breast works. The pickets fight all the time. Its one continual roar of small arms in plain view of both breast works.

Our regt has escaped remarkably well lately. None killed since I wrote you last, 3 or 4 have been wounded. Collins (Eli’s son) & Nichols (David’s son) of Co I. Collin’s middle finger left hand was amputated. Nichols right side by a piece of shell and some others who you are not acquainted with. I started out yesterday morning to see the boys and the shelling was so heavy that I came back. I think there was 40 or 50 struck within 100 yards of me & I thought some came near hiting me and learning the regt was going out on picket last night I came back to the cooking train where I stay badly scared as for war news. I have but little. Wheeler is certainly gone to the rear of Sherman & reports say tore up 20 miles of R Road. If so, Sherman will have to fight or retreat. If he charges our works he is whipped. He must do something soon for his supplies for he cant get them from the country. Both armies are well fortified here. The Yankees shell Atlanta both day and night. They bomb a house nearly evry day or night & occasionally kill some they have killed several women & children. Still that don’t make them leave town. I feel sorry for them I think they ought to take their children & git out of harms way & the reach of the shells.

Well I have an apology to make you. This is the first letter I have written since I left Griffin over 2 weeks ago. The cause of my not writing you last week was the yanks had cut the R Road & stoped communications for a few days & then I thought I would wait until I visited the Regt. The day I rec’d your letter I wrote out my resignation which was excepted by the Col. I asked for leave of absence which was not granted, so I waited until I could hear from the later paper hoping that I could git to go home but Coleman disapproved it & so did all the others. I suppose it will be 30 days before I hear from my resignation which has to go to Richmond. I tendered it unconditionally and immediately. I said nothing to my boys about it as they told me they heard I was going to resign & if I did they swore they would go too. I told Lt. Anderson about it & he hated it very much but said he could not blaime me. The boys all know it now & I fear as soon as they git their pay which I learn will be in a few days, many will go home. Woodberry Owens left for home a few nights ago 12 or 14 of the Jackson Co has gone home. If this seage last much longer I fear half of our armey will leave but I have hope that Sherman will have to retreat soon & we may yet drive them back. Capt Dyche and Lt. Whitaker have tendered their resignation & asked for a leave of abasence. Their resignations were excepted but they have not heard whether leave is granted or not. Capt Hughes & others say they are going to resign. John Reid tis trying for a furlough but has not heard from anyone yet. I got a letter from Joe a few days ago dated July 18th. He was well their & near Petersburg. I also got one from Samey dated July 29th. He was in Richmond in the quarter masters dept & said he heard that Joe was about to loose one of his eyes. I have not received your letter giving me the particulars of Anns death in that this is the only one I have red lately except the one Anderson brought me & I supposed what you said was that Ann died on your birth day. Will Woodfin also told me of her death.

I will go out to the regt in a day or two or I may strike out to git off soon. The yanks are shelling bery heavy this evening. It is a continual fire a general engagement could not be much heavier. I hope to be with my two wives soon to receive the good things presents they have in store for me. The clothing I don’t need at present so bad but the sleeping with my wife I am very needy. I hope the time is close when I can git both clothing & the sweet kisses & pleasant bed mate.

Kiss my sweet babes often for me. My love to all. I ever remain your devoted husband. Write often.




Source: Christopher Watford, ed. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865, Volume 2. (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2003). Diary of Major William W. Stringfield. Original in the Alfred Bell papers, Duke University Library Specila Collections.

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