Posts Tagged ‘medicine’

March 5th 1863

My own Dear

Will you grant me one request? Indeed I do not make it lightly, but in all earnestness and sincerity, hoping that you will grant it. Will you take back that resolution and say you will let me k now if you should get very sick? Darling, I ask this with tears in my eyes. Dot his Honey and then I will feel that you have forgiven me. Honey, I could not but fear that you were sick, ever since I heard that you had to walk through the rain.

Honey, if I had got your letter sooner, you should have had the black goods, but today is Thursday and Maj. Biscoe left Monday and is by the time, if nothing has happened to him, on the other side of the river. If I get all the things sent for, you and Pamela will be set up. I put her in for lots of things, supposing she would want them. Ham sent for Mary. I sent to Baltimore for a doz. prs. kid gloves and a doz. handkerchiefs. If they come and you do not need them all, it will be very easy to dispose of them. I sent for nos. 6 and 6 ½, unfortunately no 6 ¼.

My dear pet I sent you the medicine given me by Dr. Powell. Dr. Holt is not here and as Powell brought Mrs. Hill through so well, I thought I’d try him. Tell Father that his letter containing the invitation came today dated Jan. 29th.

Fanny, my dear child, do you know I felt very sorry when I got to the portion of your letter where you said that I had punished you severely enough. My dear wife, God knows that if there is one human being in this world that I desire to make happy and at the same time do my duty by, it is you. Believe me Fanny, when I say it, that I love you as a husband should love his wife. O child if you knew how hard I try to be worthy of my Angel wife, you would think better of me. Honey, if an evil thought gets in my mind I drive it away, feeling that I am doing you an injury. May our Blessed Father protect you and make me to be as I should.

I cannot help but think that Napolean III means to interfere in this war, but my wife I have about made up my mind to a year or two more of it. If it comes sooner, so much the better. But we cannot well have such another year as the last. They may get men, but they will never fight as they have. As to my promotion, I received a letter from cousin Robert today. He had an interview with the Sec. of War and seems to be pretty sure of my promotion, provided the Sec. has anything to do with it. I have heard since I came back that Jackson did recommend me, still I am prepared for either result.

I shall try to send this by hand as far as High Point so you will get it without delay. I am very glad to hear that the children are doing so well and I should like to see them very much. You mistake very much honey as to the pleasure of my visit to Richmond. As it is past 11 o’clock I must close. My love to all. I got a letter from brother Robert today, he writes that they are all well.  They expected you to give them a call.  I will write to them why you did not. May God bless us and forgive us to each other in this world and to our Saviour in the next. Kiss the children and tell Turner I will write him soon. Good night.

Your loving Husband

Darling, I send the pills for you in a small box which I hope will reach you in time to be of use.


Source: 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).


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Camp Itch-A remedy therefor

A gentleman who has had much experience in the treatment of that loathsome disease, the itch, furnishes the following recipe for its cure. For the benefit of our soldiers suffering with the camp itch, if you think it proper, you may publish the following: Mix sixty grains of oxide of potassium wand two ounces of lard; and after washing the body well with warm soap suds, rub the ointment over the person three times a week. In seven or eight days, the acarus, or itch insect, will be destroyed. In this recipe, the horrible effects of the old sulphur ointment are obviated.



Source: Southern Confederacy February 26, 1863, as found in John Hammond Moore, ed., The Confederate Housewife (Columbia, SC: Summerhouse Press, 1997).



Most articles about Camp Itch consider it to be scabies, a contagious skin disease caused by mites. Read more here

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A certain cure for colds

A remedy never known to fail. Three cents worth of liquorice, two cents worth of rock candy, three cents worth of gum arabic. Put them in a quart of water, simmer them till thoroughly dissolved; then add three cents worth of paregoric and a like quantity of antimonial wine. Let it cool and sip whenever the cough is troublesome. It is pleasant, infallible, cheap, and good. It costs only fifteen cents (Editorial comment: We notice the above in our exchanges and suppose it is either a homeopathic prescription or that it has not been revised since the advance in the price of drugs).

Source: Southern Confederacy, November 7, 1862, as found in John Hammond Moore, ed., The Confederate Housewife (Columbia, SC: Summerhouse Press, 1997).

**Antimony as medicine: as a pill  and a cup made of the metal. In the case of wine, the metal would be dissolved in wine, most likely sherry, or served with the antimony cup, which would absorb some of the metal.

Source: Mary Jeffreys Bethell Diary, 1853-1873.  #1737-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/bethell/menu.html

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Frederick City,

September 7th 1862


My dear Friend,

Once more I am permitted an opportunity of sending you a letter.  We have been from any mailable location so long, that no chance of sending occurred until now.  By my heading you will perceive that we are at last in My Maryland.  The events of the past three weeks would require much time to describe.  I cannot do so fully, but will endeavor briefly.  When last I wrote it was to Miss Mollie, this day three weeks ago, from Rapidan River, near Orange, C.H.  We remained there a few days, ‘then started in pursuit of the enemy.  We reached Rapphannook River but found the enemy across, and his batteries commanded every available ford, we moved rapidly higher up, but with vigilance he followed us.  A few days were thus lost to us.  The following Sunday witnessed a severe Artillery duel across the river, our Brigade supported several batteries.  We had a few men killed and wounded.  Monday morning at four we started on a rapid march and by ten at night had accomplished more than 28 miles.  No one knew whither we wer egoing, but all knew that Jackson was aiming a bold blow in some direction.  Four o’clock Tuesday morning we were again on the tramp, and had not proceeded far before we reached Salem, a town on the Manassas Gap Road.  Here I first had an idea of our proposed destination.  With Broad Run station, through Thoroughfare gap, Hay Market, Gainesville, and by night the head of our column had possession of Manassas Junction.  Here after a short engagement, we captured immense stores, consisting of provisions and equipments, also some 6 or 8 pieces of Artillery.  We had had nothing to eat for 24 hours, and here we found abundance including many delicacies.  Our men supplied themselves with all they could carry, all captured wagons were loaded, and the remainder was then burned.  Our Brigade got about $25,000 worh of Medicines—I got two horses.  Wednesday night we marched upon and took Centerville.  There we rested until noon, when we commenced our march backward.  Jackson had about 20,000 men—the enemy in large force under Pope, lay between us and Longstreet to intercept us.  McClellan with an immense army was marching upon us from Washington.—About four o’clock Thursday evening the battle opened, and raged furiously until about 10 o’clock.  All was quiet for the night.  Neither side had gained any advantage.

Friday all day the battle raged, yet still against tremendous odds, we held our own.  Longstreet should have arrived Friday morning but where was he?  Would he come in time?  Could we hold out until then?  These painful questions occurred to me hundreds of times.  Late Friday evening the distant “boom-boom” of cannon was heard upon our right.—We all understood it.—A Joyous shout rose from our lines—“Longstreet has come,” “Longstreet has come,” was the universal exclamation of delight.  He had indeed arrived with 30,000 fresh troops.  Soundly we slept that night.  All must be well on the morrow.—By early dawn the fight was renewed—& before sunset we remained victors on the  field of Manassas, rendered famous a second time.  The confused and routed masses of the enemy were rapidly falling back upon Washington.  Many prisoners were taken, thousands of small arms, an umber of cannon and many other stores.  His dead and wounded literally covered the ground.  Sunday we employed in burying the dead, caring for the wounded.—I had plenty to do, being the Brigade Surgeon.

Monday evening we had another fight near Farifax C.H., which resulted again in our favor.  Our loss in this series of engagements will not exceed 5,000.  The enemy admit 15,000.

In the 21st, Col. Fulton was killed, Major Graves painfully, but not mortally wounded, Lts. Jackson & Owens killed, Capt. Hadly & Lt. Miller wounded in hands.  Sergt. Shepperd sounded.  Sergt. Copeland, Donell Wright, Old town Gus Butner killed—none other that I have learned.  Sam is unhurt also Capts Pfohl and Miller.  Col. Hoke is wounded in hand, our two remaining Captains also wounded.  We lost quite severely, being engaged in every fight.  General Pender was slightly wounded, but is now with his Brigade.  General Ewell lost a leg, and is reported in Critical condition.  General Trimble wounded.

On Friday we crossed the Potomac into Maryland & yesterday occupied this city, which has a population of some 12,000.  The people are mostly glad to see us & hail us as deliverers.  We have certainly made a tour of conquest, the most remarkable in history.  Our troops are enthusiastic & under Lee and Jackson invincible.  Will not our enemy now make peace?  Must we again & Jackson demonstrate our invincibility?  Time will show.  I sent the receipt for pills to your mother, but fearing they may not have reached you, I will give it again extemporaneously.  Perhaps the two differ slightly but their effect will be the same: Blue Mass—60 grains, Calomel—30 grains, Rhubarb—20 grains.  Make it into 30 pills of which one to two make a dose.

Please give my kindest regards to your parents and Miss Mollie.  Also to the others of the family.  I would write more but time presses.  We know not our destination, but  think its onward.  Address letters to Gordonsville.  Let me enjoin upon all to take good care of yourselves & remain well.  Surely our prospects are bright enough now to give joy to every heart.  If I could communicate with loved ones at home more frequently than our opportunities allow, I would be better pleased.  I am quite well.  Write early as convenient, and believe me as ever.

Yours most truly

J.F. Shaffner

Sources: Christopher Watford, ed. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865, Volume 1. (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2003). Original in the Shaffner papers, North Carolina State Archives.

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Sunday 4th 1862 May

Cloudy & rain up to this time 2 o’clock. We had fish for breakfast (Mr. Henry bought them) the first we have had. The hands began to fix the trap this week but did not finish as the water was too high. Beginning to grind at the mill again. Preaching at the Academy today, also yesterday. The negroes all went today, all but Tena & family. Atheline still sick. Charlie went after Dr. Nielson. He will be here in the morning. Sent some pills by Charlie. We have not had our dinner yet 2 o’clock. It will soon be ready. Tanner Smith has been here all day. Willie has taken a good nap. Perhaps he will not cry so much this evening. He has just woke up. I must write to Sister Jane this evening if Willis is not too cross. I have not received a line from Lou in a long time. Pinck & Zona are both asleep & Mr. Henry has just woke up. I will stop for I am hungry. It looks now as if it would clear off. Dinner is coming in so I stop. Mr. Henry & I took a long walk this evening, went the old road way past the old Joe Green house. We over took Joe Green just as we came out the lane. We went on with him till it began to rain & then we had several races before we got to the mill. I got a little damp. It rained a very good shower after we got in the mill.  Atheline is no better.

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 Barton, Va., April 7th, 1862

My dear Wife

            We have just heard of the glorious victory in Tennessee, saddened however by the fall of Gen. A.S. Johnston.  Ten hours fighting, we taking 6000 prisoners and 100 guns—artillery—and of course a great many small arms.  Now if we whip them at Yorktown where we are bound to have a fight if it has not already commenced, they will have their plans considerably disarranged again.  Gen. McClellan is there with nearly all of his army.  We have an insignificant part to play here for we have scarcely no one in our front.  They will make a desperate effort on “on to Richmond” at Yorktown, in which I believe they will be foiled again.  I hope father will be alittle cheered up if it is as we have feared.  Our news came from Gen. [P.T.] Beauregard through the President to Gen. Smith.

            I did not write last night, Darling, as it was late before I got back from church.  I heard two sermons yesterday.  I have but little to write about this time having given you all my  views of the war in my last, as well as having expatiated quite extensively on another prolific subject of mine: Pamela’s matrimonial prospects.  I am looking anxiously for Jake every day.  If I find he needs a horse I will send home for Fan for him.  I hope, Honey, you will find the medicine beneficial, and soon get strong again….

            I find that my clothes are getting so seedy that I will soon have to buy me a suit, but I tell you it goes against the grain.  It will cost about $100.  I never contemplated the purchase of anything with so little pleasure in my life, and if I were not ashamed to go so shabby, I would not do it.  I am getting to be quite a miser these days.  The mail has not yet come, which deprives me of my expected letter.  It was due here six hours ago.


 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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Cure for Small Pox

We find in the Selma (Ala) Reporter the following recipe, which is said to be a sure cure for small pox. Take one grain each of powdered foxglove (digitalis) and sulphate of zinc. Rub them together thoroughly in a mortar with five or six drops of water. This done, add four or five ounces of water and sweeten with sugar. Does – a tablespoonful for an adult, and one or two teaspoonfuls for a child, every two or three hours until the symptoms of the disease vanish.


Source: Southern Cultivator, March – April 1862 as found in John Hammond Moore, ed., The Confederate Housewife (Columbia, SC: Summerhouse Press, 1997).


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