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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.

Alfred

 

 

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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Friday 12th [August 1864]

Mr. Henry married Mrs. Fanning & old Boyd last night. I would not have thought of it. He has been trying to get her some time. I fixed one of my old homespun dresses for Fannie today & cut Rose an apron of part of it. Matt made the apron. I cut me a body of celecia this evening, low necked. I intend putting tattin around the neck. Mr. Henry went to town today & staid all day. No news.

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 Hill near Petersburg Va.

Mar. 29/64

Dear Sister

I was expecting that we would be in N.C. to day or with Cousin Robert for we have been getting ready to move all week but we have not got off yet it has been the rumored here that we were going to N.C. to meet Old Burnside who is said to be some where down on the Coast. Woe unto him if we get after him through the Piney woods in N.C. We had a heavy snow here during the past week but it has disappeared & the we  ather is pleasant at present.

Our brigade will hold a meeting this evening & invite Gov. Z. B. Vance to address us while on his way from Lee’s Army to N.C. Tell Hessey she must not thank me for favors that I have not done for her. She is mistaken I do know why she harbored the opinion that I sent her a Valentine but since she accused me of such I wish that it was true. B. W. Whitfield Esquire has gone home on furlough I give him a Blanket an old pair of pants & one shirt to carry for me with instructions to leave it at Bryants or Uncle Winks. If any of them little Outlaw girls gets them & wears them awhile I will not claim them any more. I told him to tell Delia not to get married until she heard from her humble servant if she does not comply with my order I shall be compeld to enforce the severest penalty of the Law of Matrimony against her & employ Cupid as my attorney &c!

Poor Margaret she caused her old Friend to go blind with a Valentine. I shall never correspond with her! Some of the boys has ruined my pen & you see the result by looking at this letter! What is the cause of you not writing last week.  Was the snow so deep that it was impossible to get to Fords? Write soon & give me all the news. Your Afft. Brother  Wm. H. Grady Co. C 51st N.C.T.

Source: William H. Grady Papers, North carolina State Archives.

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Lewis and Cornelia were married on February 17th 1864, probably at the Old Sardis Church in their hometown. Lewis returned to his company in mid March 1864 and Cornelia continued to live with her family.

 

Camp near Orange C.H. Va

March 22nc ‘64

My dearest friend

I arrived safe on Sunday and found all in pretty good spirits and health; all well except Logan who is limping with rheumatism.

When I returned I found the old “Bethel” looking quite different to what it did when I left, new officers have taken the places of those who were killed and many strange faces are in the ranks who have been enlisted since I left. Upon the whole its not the regiment it once was but hope it will do better than it looks. The boys are doing tolerably well on the rations they draw, get sugar and coffee about as much as they use. I saw Col. Leventhorpe on his way home as I came out, is looking much better than I ever saw him look, hope he3 will soon be exchanged and take command of the regiment.

As soon as the boys heard he had arrived they called a meeting of the privates and subscribed seven hundred and fifteen ($715.00) dollars to buy him a saddle and the officers have subscribed several hundred to purchase him a sword.

I haven’t been before the board yet but expect to be called before it in a few days. The weather is very cold at present. Our regiment is doing nothing, not called out but once a day and that to have dress parade; but I guess when Col. Martin returns (at home on leave of absence) he will begin to put us through on the drills; Capt. Grier now in command, the Major now on Court Martial.

I stopped in Richmond to get brothers effects but failed they cannot be gotten only by father who will have to certify he is his father with a magistrates signature and also the County seal. Where did Puss and Susa go, and what did they see? T. Moore came through without drinking.

Well Corrie I hated very much to leave but otherwise I could not do. I wish it was so I could remain with you, and I hope and trust that I will be spared to see the expiration of this cruel war so we can again meet to part no more while life exists within us. I verily believe we could live happily together although in low circumstances.

May God defend and protect us from harm, danger through these troublesome times. Give my kindest regards to Puss, Sue, Uncle John and all inquiring friends.

Say to Uncle John Tom says he will pay me for the brandy which he got from him. I remain as every our loving husband.

Lewis

 

 

 

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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March 10, 1864

Eighteen years today since we first commenced housekeeping, since I first took my seat opposite Mr E at the breakfast table! Eighteen years that I have been “premier officer de la bouche” to him, eighteen years of great happiness & contentment, for which my God I thank thee. My happiness apart from Mr E has arisen — but what am I saying? I have no happiness apart from him. The enjoyment I take in life & its cares would be small indeed without him to share them.

New disclosures of the villainy intended by the enemy in their late raid. The Yankee press is diabolical in its glee as it recites the enormities expected to be perpetrated by Kilpatrick, Dahlgreen, & their crew of scoundrels, but a merciful God has brought them all to naught & instead of triumphant cruelty are many bloody graves & four hundred dejected prisoners before whom the gallows looms in the distance. Gen Ransom has marched through our North Eastern counties destroying the Locks of the Dismal Swamp Canal & threatens Suffolk. We have no particulars, telegrams only. Sherman is in full retreat, terribly harrassed by Forrest and his Cavalry. His advance was no feint to draw off troops from Johnston but a move on Mobile or Selma & terribly in earnest. Our Cavalry cut off his supplies & reduced him to the third of a ration. The poor inhabitants on his route suffer for it, for he has deprived them of everything in the shape of food & almost lodging, for his course is marked by naked chimneys standing in a heap of ashes which shows where once there was a home. Brownlow,  the infamous is dead.  Some wag, more witty than reverent, says that is the reason it is so hot; his Master gives him so warm a reception below that we feel it here.

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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Tuesday 8th to Thursday 10th [March 1864]

I have a severe spell of headache Tuesday, in bed nearly all day & was no better Wednesday & not much better today till 10 o’clock. I suffered a great deal, nearly blistered my temples with mustard. Mr. Henry came home Tuesday evening. I was so glad to see him. He is so kind to me at all times & especially when I am sick. Sister Jane & Mr. Neilson were here a short time Tuesday evening. I scarcely know how Wednesday passed as I slept part of the day. Mr. Henry staid with me all day. Today I have felt a heap better since morning & this evening I am entirely free from headache but still feel weak. I have knit some today. I made up some flour dough for some of Mr. Henry’s Co. this evening. There will be some 5 or 6 here for supper. Matt baked it. Fannie helped to get supper.

About 9 o’clock Mr. Henry & the men started. They will be out all night hunting deserters. They go up Homeny Creek to as old Andey Bell marries tonight & the deserters are to give him a serenade. I hope they may all return safe.

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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January 16th 1864

We stand on the threshold of another year. God grant that it may be happier than the last. About the middle of last September, we received a letter from Aunt Malinda that the house in which she lived had been bought and she could neither rent nor buy a house in Cheraw. She proposed coming over to Fayetteville. She arrived soon after and has been our guest till Monday the fourth of this month, she went to house keeping in the house next to us. She is just living with what things she brought with her and some borrowed from us. The last week in September Buddy arrived home sick on furlough. He had again been sent back to the hospital and Richmond and succeeded in getting a furlough. He was very weak but great a great deal better during his visit. He returned to his regiment the first of last month. Mrs. John McKenzie died at Mrs. Wilkinson’s the 28th of December. I am not going to school this winter as there is no school but Mrs. McNeills & she could not take our class. The government has taken the seminary for a hospital. Dr. Hooper has gone up to Mount Vernon. I was very sorry. I could not enjoy his instructions for another year. We would have taken our diplomas next year. Last Thursday week the 8th it began to sleet (it has been raining ever since Monday) & that night it turned into a snow it was very cold, the coldest weather we have had this winter or even last winter.

Mr. John P. McLean was married last Wednesday week (6th) to Miss Rebecca Breece. Mr. Archy McLean had a party for them last Tuesday evening. Sister & I went. We all enjoyed it very much. John P. started to his regiment, Thursday. Cousins Annie & Sarah Ray have just started from here for home. Cousin Annie came up to Mr. McLauchlin’s two weeks ago quite sick from Clinton where she has been teaching school.

Source: Malinda Ray Diary, Anna Sutton Sherman Papers, North CarolinaState Archives.  See also David A. Ray Papers, Southern Historical Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill

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