Posts Tagged ‘potatoes’

Sunday 10th [July 1864]

This is a very pleasant morning. Cloudy with occasional sunshine. Dr. Baker left early before breakfast. Rachel will stay till evening I suppose. Atheline was down at the kitchen yesterday evening. Jim brought her down. I think she will never come again. He took her back to sleep at Tena’s house. She is a good deal worse this morning. I fear she will not live through the week. They are very uneasy about her. Gus still improving. Matt, Rachel & the children hulling peas. We have plenty of peas, beans, & fine potatoes now. Mr. Henry & Pinck came home this evening. We were very glad to see them. Pinck has improved a great deal & grown a heap. Mr. Henry staid at Mr. Bill Miller’s last night. They were all well at home when he left. Dora and Matt speak of coming up this summer. Sister Frank sent me a sack of nice cotton. I am certainly greatly obliged to her for it. Mr. Henry & I went to the Murray place this evening. We have eight nice little kids, only four goats have kids yet. Four others to have kids. We had quite a pleasant walk.


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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Monday 23rd [May 1864]

I cut eight pairs pants today & nearly made George’s. ‘Tis very sorrow cloth but tolerable thick. Matt spinning for her dresses. I have had the wool commenced on today. Fannie & Tena washing it. The other hands planting potatoes in the meadow. Billie Ledford is at work here. Bently still working at flax. Mr. Henry thinks he will not raise any more as it costs too much. Not much news tonight. The fight still goes on at Richmond in our favor.

Tuesday 24th [May 1864]

I finished George’s pants, made Lonzo a pair & began Sam’s today. I wrote a long letter to Pinck, Dora & Matt yesterday evening & sent him some raisings & candy in the letter. He will be delighted & know he is a good boy, affectionate. I think Willie will be a good deal like him. Zona is very affectionate too. Gus is a lovely baby, tries to talk. Atheline is not improving much. She sews a little every day on a quilt of mine. Her babe does not nurse her at all, only the bottle. It is growing some. I fear she will never be well again. I fear she has consumption. She has been a faithful nurse to my children.

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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April 18, 1864

We have had since the first of this month a succession of heavy rains & consequent freshets in the river. So cold, wet, & backward a Spring has rarely been known. Corn planting which should be over is but fairly begun & the Low grounds are a Lake, with the prospect of continuing so for some time to come. Since the Snow Storm of the 22d of March there has been five distinct freshets, one 21 ft 1 in, another 21 ft 7 in, so there has been but little dry land to be seen. We have made three trips to Hascosea & three times has the weather disappointed us & delayed our work there. We came back from one nearly fruitless one on Sat. We succeeded, however, in bedding Potatoes & I in planting my Dahlia & Tube Rose Roots. Sad to say I found on opening my “bank” of the former that I have lost more than half of my ample stock. This would not be so much a subject of regret did I not fear that some of my finest varieties have perished altogether. The prospect for Pears is good & that for Peaches, spite of our fears, fair. The crop is much thinned out, but if we escape future late frosts we will have an abundance. Sowed my Flower seed but was forced to entrust my Ochre & Corn to Allen’s superintendance.

Whilst at Hascosea soldiers were constantly passing & from some Georgians belonging to a Battery, which was en route from Hamilton to Weldon, we learned that an attack was considered iminent there, the Yankees having thrown a Pontoon bridge over the Chowan at Murfreesboro & a cavalry advance in force is expected across the county of Northampton in the tract of that taken by Onderdonk & his plunderers last summer. The men we entertained were intelligent, & most grateful for the little kindness we had it in our power to show them; they confirmed the account we had previously heard of the repulse of a Regt of negro Cavalry at Suffolk by a charge of Artillery. anomalous as it appears! It is a fact they ran too fast for the infantry to keep up or even to get in range when “a Charge” by sections of two Batteries was ordered. They said it was ludicrous in the extreme — Field pieces thundering down upon the ranks of the cavalry! — no need to stop to unlimber, pursuit was the word! & Cuffee scattered right & left. They took no prisoners & never intending taking any. A beautiful field peice was captured from them & tied to it was a prisoner, one of our men, who understood that he was to be hanged! One other was liberated in Suffolk, who had been informed that such was to be his fate the next day!

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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Camp, Fourth NC

Near Orange Court House

February 1864

My Dear Mother,

I received your letter dated February 21st, Friday, and I should have answered it yesterday, but for the want of time. Our Brigade has about one mile of plank road to ditch and grade and there is a very heavy detail from the regiment every day. The whole regiment is on duty every day and will be for eight or ten days more. Those are are not on guard at at work on the roads. I came off guard this morning and will be on fatigue duty tomorrow until we make some move. We got orders this morning to cook up two days’ rations and keep it on hand until further orders. I can’t imagine what it is for. We have had so much nice weather for the past week or two. I think our General anticipates an attack. I don’t like the idea of leaving our winter quarters this time of the year. We are bound to have some very severe weather yet. The day Cullen left, it snowed snow about two or three inches deep and before the next day at 12 o’clock all traces of it had disappeared. It is warm enough at present to be without a fire. All are busy cooking up rations for fear we may have to leave. I haven’t cut the ham you sent by Cullen, yet, and I have about half the middling which Mr. Christman brought me. I have one or two potatoes left yet. If we stay here until Spring, I think I shall have enough to last me. If you have an opportunity, I should like to have about a peck of peas. They go farther and do a man more good than anything that I know of.

I wish you would send my copy of Shakespeare; it’s a brown colored back, with my name in it. Wrap it up and send it by May Warren, and ask him to give it to Pat Wooten; he promised to bring it for me. The needles you sent me are the very sizes I wanted. I am very much obliged to you for them. You need not send me any more paper and envelopes until I let you know, as I have five or six on hand and I want to use them up first. I have not received the letter yet that General Battle undertook to deliver for sister. His Brigade has been back for some week or more. Give my love to all the family, and believe me, as ever,

Your sincere and affectionate son


Source: Laura Elizabeth Lee, Forget-Me-Nots of the Civil War: A Romance Containing Reminiscences and Original Letters of Two Confederate Soldiers (St. Louis, Missouri: A.R. Fleming Printing Co, 1909).  See also Joel Craig and Sharlene Baker, eds., As You May Never See Us Again: The Civil War Letters of George and Walter Battle, 4th North Carolina Infantry (Wake Forest, NC: The Scuppernong Press, 2010).

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Fried Potatoes

How few cooks know how to fry potatoes. There is nothing so easy to get and yet so palatable for breakfast, with a thick, tender beef-steak, or a mutton chop fizzing from the grid-iron. To fry raw potatoes properly, they should be pared, cut lengthwise into slices an eighth of an inch in thickness, dropped into a pan over a fire containing hot beef drippings, turned frequently, nicely browned all over, but never burned. The addition of a little salt and pepper, while in the pan, and a little flour dredged over them, is an improvement. (So says some anonymous but sensible cook) We have, however, found that a thick slice of good salt pork, instead of the “beef drippings,” answered well.  Everyone to his taste.

Source: Edgefield Advertiser, March 19, 1863 as found in John Hammond Moore, ed., The Confederate Housewife (Columbia, SC: Summerhouse Press, 1997).

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March 5, 1863

Have been riding on horseback with Mr E. every afternoon for a week past & find much benefit from it. Yesterday saw the first Plumb blossom fully expanded. Spring will soon be upon us. We have planted a larger crop of Irish Potatoes than we ever did before, in view of the need of our Army & the high prices they command. We were fortunate in being able to buy good seed. A letter from brother to father yesterday fills us with alarm on account of the supplies of food for our Army in Va. He says the Sec of War has written to Gov Vance that unless supplies of provisions come in faster for the next five weeks than they have done for the past five that our Army in Va will be out of food & that in consequence Richmond must be abandoned and the Army fall back here into N C. Startling news! I hope exagerated in the hope of increasing the amount of corn sent on & to excuse the conduct of the Quartermasters. If they exerted themselves, however, more corn could be got. They stay at Weldon & content themselves with Agents who idle through the country. There is corn enough in the neighborhood to last them some time, in small lots it is true & requiring trouble to hunt it up, but I think we can rub on until the wheat Harvest. The want is not provisions but management. They do not feel uneasy about meat. It is bread. Government now pays $5 per bu in some sections. It offers us two & we have 800 bu waiting for the water to fall so that it can be shelled and shipped. Brother thinks the Army will be down upon us and urges that we plant 100 bu of Irish Potatoes & all the Sweet that can be bedded, as our corn for bread will in that case be seized. We will do it but I do not think we are in such danger as that; but what looks a little ominous, yesterday a C S Engineer deputed, to examine & make a report of the country between Roanoke & Tar Rivers a (Topographical Engineer), dined at father’s, having got so far in the prosecution of his work. He sees our property just now, most of it under water, under most unfavorable auspices for military manoevres; all the better for us.

 Below Savannah our Steamer Nashville coming up the Ogeechee got aground on a sand bar above Fort McAllister. The Abolition Iron Clads opened fire upon her across the Marsh & an Incendiary shell striking her she was soon a total loss. The fort attempted but vainly to protect her. Her captain, William McBlair, who when I was a girl I remember visited at our fathers house died the week before & was succeeded by Capt Sinclair 51 on a day or two before the accident.

The Abolition Congress has passed a Conscription Act, similar in some respects but better than ours. Any one can be exempt by paying $300 to the Sec of War. Lincoln is invested with Dictatorial powers in all save the name; they have allowed him to suspend the Act of Habeas Corpus, an exercise of power which on the part of the British Parliament would shake Victoria’s throne. The people I suppose will submit. The Frankfort Convention has been dispersed by a file of soldiers yet we hear no news of a revolt in Kentucky. A negro Regt is in service under Milroy at Winchester Va. Ah! that Stonewall Jackson could bring him to his bearings! Baton Rouge is garrisoned by them & their conduct is reported as infamous. In Northen Ala one Abolition hero has immortalized himself by confiscating all agricultural & even garden tools, has issued an order to the effect that not a seed shall be put into the ground & ordering the arrest of all farmers found in the pursuit of their avocations. We do not yet know his name but I will get it & the Order. Senator Wilson, 52 a hypocrite, after prating all his political life about the “Equality of the Negro,” has introduced a bill in the Abolition Congress providing that “No white man shall be put under the orders of any one of African descent.” There is consistency for you! They are to be equal here with us but not with the blue blood (blue from poverty) of the Yankee’s! Vice President Hamlin has gone to Maine to raise a Brigade of Negroes. He as the highest in rank of the children of Ham, ought to be made Brigadier & let the gradations in command be determined by the Anglo Saxon Blood in their veins until it descends to the full blooded African private. Wait until a Brigade of Cuffies sees one of their Regts annihilated by their Southern Masters. The rest will be hard to catch.

 A very pleasant letter from Margaret urging me to come up & see her and get well, but I am so much better that I think I do not need a change, and this is no time for visiting. We find by a recent reconnoisance that there is no material change in the Army before Fredericksburg as we had supposed. Fighting Joe is still “waiting for the roads to harden.” We hear that Tom Jones has been sent to Savannah & George Miller 53 is now with his Regt in Charleston, so I have two nephews engaged in the defence of that place. And Amo Coffin, too, will be called out when the attack is made, three stakes in the field!

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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Camp of Daniel’s Brigade near Drewry’s Bluff October 7th 1862

Ma Chere Socur,

This is the seventh of October, your birthday. Allow me to congratulate you & wish you many happy returns, hoping the children won’t hit you too hard, in giving you your slaps in accordance with the old custom.

This is your seventeenth, I believe. I hope you won’t begin to feel too much like an old woman yet, or an old maid either. You mustn’t give up all hope so soon.

Ma’s letter of the 25th ult only reached us yesterday afternoon. I hope the mail isn’t taking up its bad habits again, after going on as well as it has for so long. But Ma didn’t direct exactly right, she ought to put “Proctor’s Creek, near Drewry’s Bluff, Va.” I’m glad to hear that you’re getting better, but I was hoping you were well.

Go to the Mineral Spring every morning about sunrise, & you’ll be well in a little while. Jon Webb was hurt right badly tother day, just like Eck Hirkland was, only not so much. The horse fell back on him & bruised his knee considerably, but fortunately no bones were broken. The saddle was smashed all to pieces. He’s almost well again now; he walks about a good deal with very little difficulty. He was mighty lucky in escaping as well as he did.

Plenty of “taters” come into camp at a dollar a peck which we sometimes give, by way of variety. We eat you a birthday dinner today of beef steak, but we might almost as well have eaten old shoe soles, twas so tough & tasteless. However it went off pretty fast, although, as Papa says, if it hadn’t been beef, we wouldn’t have eaten it. To console ourselves for that, we went & bought a couple of ducks to have for dinner tomorrow. Persimmons are ripe here. There’s a tree right by our tent of the best I ever saw, & as it’s about the only fruit we can get we make way with them as fast as they fall.

Pa’s letter of the 2nd came this morning, informing us of his return from Lincolnton. It came right quickly so you may as well keep on directing in the same way that Ma did. It’s been a tremendously long time since you’ve written to me. What’s the matter with you? Ma says you’ve heard from Ashe’s “Tete” lately, & that she’s well, at which Ashe seemed to be delighted. But the Yankees have been stealing their property it seems. They better stay away from there & let our friends alone.

Col. Tew, I hear, was certainly not killed, but taken prisoner. I hope it maybe so, that is, that it may prove to be no worse than that. He has been reported killed three times. I hope it’s the same way this time that is has been before.

Tell Minna Lou thankye for her letter. I’ll try to find time to answer it soon.

How are all the people of Hillsboro? Have there been any improvements lately? Miss Alethea married yet? Carrie isn’t sick much is she? Are the rest of you well? We are getting along firstrate. So now wishing you a Merry Birthday & many happy returns.

Sam &e Nonelum

Source: North Carolina State Historic Sites Collections, Accession number SHS2008.6.12

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