Posts Tagged ‘slavery’

September 19, 1864

Came Amo back from Raleigh on Sat jaded & worn out. He brought good accounts of Hood’s army from an intelligent officer with whom he “fore gathered” in his journey. The army is in fine spirits, well disiplined, & defiant, but long for Johnston to be again at their head. They do not undervalue Hood & he possesses their confidence & affection but in a less degree than Joe Johnston whom they all look upon not only as unequaled in strategy but as martyr to personal ill will, either of the President or some one high in his influence. Rumour whispers that Mrs Davis has much to do with it, that Mrs Johnston and herself do not visit whilst Mrs Bragg is her warm personal friend. I must believe, however, that Mr Davis is superior to such influences. He is not a man to be led by a “Commercia Major” & has the good of the country too much at heart to sacrifice it to personal pique. If he makes mistakes, & who that is mortal does not?, they are honest ones!

Patrick sent Amo some Turnip seed sometime since with directions to sell them & divide the proceeds for his trouble. He brought us on our portion in the shape of Sugar [ — ] lbs of the seed buying [ — ] lbs of Sugar — the one being sold for $[ — ] and the other bought at $6, so ten lbs of sugar standing normally at $60 cost us only [ — ] lbs of turnip seed, for which we have no use & which we never before sold! Indeed barter has become the order of the day. We pay for our weaving in Lard! Two lbs of Lard pays for the weaving of 2 yds of coarse cloth & recently two of our neighbors, Mrs Peter & Mrs Ben Smith, desiring to carry their children for change of air to the up country could get board only on promising to pay for it in Bacon & Lard, and part of their baggage actually consisted of bags of bacon and kegs of lard! Spartan simplicity. The Yankees are endeavouring to force our authorities into a special exchange of prisoners by placing our officers in a Stockade on Morris island outside of Gregg & Wagner & exposed to our fire. They want their officers but not their men & tho we have expressed a desire & have done all that in us lay to effect a general exchange of all prisoners they refuse to accede to it, raising innumerable difficulties & now demanding that we shall surrender our own slaves, captured from them, in return for our free white citizens captured by them. Our government refuses to admit the status of negroes to be equal to that of whites & claim that when we recapture slaves they are ours & return at once to their normal state. Butler has written a letter on the subject, distinguished only for bad Logic & impertinence, which I hope Mr Ould will treat with the contempt it deserves.

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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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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Mount Hope, September 4th 1864

My own precious Husband,

This is a gloomy rainy day and I do not feel like doing anything in the world, but conversing with you but as I am denied the delightful privilege of doing so verbally, I must even content myself with an epistolary conversation. My last letter to you was very unsatisfactory to me, as it did not express one half I wished to say, being written in such a hurry – and I fully intended writing another and sending it off this week, but could not well do it as my time has been almost entirely occupied with first with one thing and then another. In the first place Ann was here all the week until Friday evening, and it is not an easy matter to write a letter when Ann is around. Monday evening Ann and I, with Sephy and Tom went fishing. Ann caught four fish, I three and Tom one. Poor old Sephy got discouraged and put up his pole long before we came ashore. The Louisiana was lying just below here, and Rhoden and Tom were both afraid to go out fishing but I made Tom go at last though he was considerably frightened.  Thursday Ann and I went to see Mollie Archbell and I spent the day very pleasantly indeed. Mollie is a nice girl and I like her very much. The old folks are very kind indeed – enquired very particularly after you, and insisted on my going agin.  Willie I think that you are entirely mistaken about Mrs. Archbell being a deceitful woman. There seems to be nothing but real plain straight-forward dealing about her, no honeyed words, no flattery, and you know that deceitful persons are apt to be flatterers.  Now I agree with you that old Mrs. Bonner is deceitful, and she is not only deceitful but absolutely disgusting. Mrs. Archbell is an entirely different woman. I cannot say that I like her very much, for I have been prejudiced against her, and prejudice is not easily overcome, but I do think you are mistaken about her. Mary Snell and William Henry spent the day there, that day, and we had a very pleasant time. I do feel really sorry for them. Mr Archbell is old and inform and to be left destitute in his old age seems very hard. That looks like a very old place. The house looks old and the floor of the piazza is rotting badly, but it is a very and exceedingly pleasant place. Poor Mollie must have a lonely time of it, but I believe she gets along very well. She is a good girl and very industrious. Mary Snell is certainly in a delicate situation and looks quite interesting, or rather she is just beginning to look interesting. I made some watermelon molasses Friday. I had three tubs full of juice and made a gallon and a half of molasses. It is good to eat but not to sweeten with, as it got scorched. It would have been nice if I had boiled it down in the preserving kettle. It has a taste of iron. Rhoden made a gallon for himself. We have had some splendid watermelons but I have not enjoyed them very much, as they did not agree with me. Tommy has a chill on him now poor little fellow, and is lying in the cradle. He was restless all night, but I did not think he was going to be sick. I am feeling much better this morning. I do not suffer so much with sick stomache now, but am generally very dull and lanquid, and the least exertion almost prostrates me. I cannot imagine what makes me so weak, it seems to me that I get weaker all the time, and yet I am not so sick in my stomache as I wash. I do hope that helath will come with cool weather. I shall be so much disappointed if you do not come home Sept. Court, for I am very very anxious to see you. I understand that the Yankees had destroyed several miles of the Weldon rail road but that we had whipped and captured 5000 of them. Mr. Crawford will distill our cider next week, and I am glad of it, for it has been leaking badly I understand. Our arbor is full of grapes and they are beginning to ripen. I want to make some nice wine this year if I live. I have a bushel and a half of dried apples. I want you to have the most of them, for I do not care much for them and have no sugar and but very little honey to put in them. Sary and Angeline send their love to you and Mars and Sary says tell Mars that he hasn’t sent her that Saleratus yet that he promised her. Simon sends his love to Mas William. Rhoden is going about but isn’t well yet. Joe is mending, but is still swollen in his bowel. I hope he will be well sometime. He goes all about and hasn’t had [torn] him for a long time. It looks as if it will clear off and I hope it will, for I do not like to be confined to the house. Cold weather will soon be here and I really do not know where I shall get shoes for the children and negroes. Rhoden Homer and little Rhoden has to have shoes all the summer, and we have only one hide for next winter and that is sole leather. It will cost almost a fortune to buy leather for our family and then hire the shoes made, if we can be lucky enough to get them made. One of our hides spoilt Rhoden said. I should have thought he would have attended to that, knowing how high leather was. Aunt Rose came in just now to tell me to send her love to you, and to tell you how do and that she is very ansious to see you and that she is still alive. Little Rhoden sends his love to you Mars and Louis. Angeline says ask Mars what has become of that jacket he was going to send her? I am getting quite tired so I will stop for the present. So good bye my own darling until the evening, or whenever I shall fell like writing again. I feel much more like talking to you and nestling in your dear arms that I do like writing, for that would never tire me. O how I do want you darling. I should feel so happy and so at rest if you were with me and could stay. Now if feel tired all the time, even thinking wearies me. I do so need you to lean on. Good bye.


Source: William Henry Tripp and Araminta Guilford Tripp Papers, Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill.


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Friday 9th [September 1864]

Mr. Vic brought the wrong mail his morning & took it back so we got now news. I finished Jinnie’s dresses & began Fannie’s. Jim’s baby died today about 12 o’clock. It has been sick for three weeks. It was very poor. I crocheted a little sheet & made a pillow for it. This has been a beautiful day, the first bright day we have had in several.


Saturday 10th [September 1864]

They buried the baby at the middle of the day. I finished Fannie’s dress today and began Mr. Henry a pair socks. Matt is going to knit one. This day six years ago, my dear little Cora died. I know it was best that she died but ‘tis hard to think so even now. I often think of her and almost wish her back again to this troublesome world but I can go to her but she can never come to me. May I be ready & willing to go & be with my friends that have gone before.


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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Wednesday 7th September 1864

I did not get the shirt done today as I washed the children this morning & after dinner fixed some thread to make up the negro’s dresses. Elsie cut out 26 ¾ yds yesterday. Sister Jane did not come today as it has been cloudy all day & some rain this evening. Bad time to save hay.


Thursday 8th [September 1864]

I finished the shirt this morning and cut Jinnie’s & Fannie’s dresses. Made the waist of Jinnie’s. Matt has some boils of her arms, very bad ones. I think ‘tis from the itch. She has been spinning some this week. Zona got through her primer today. She is very proud of it. Pinck is learning very fast. Mr. Henry promised Zona he would take her to Asheville & get her a new book. She is anxious to go. Willie & Gus amuse themselves at the swing under the cedar trees while I am hearing the other 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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Fort Holmes

August 9th 1864

Dear Wife

Having an opportunity to send a letter by Mr B F Havens to Washington, I avail myself of the chance of writing you a short letter to let you know that I am quite well.  I have not had a letter from you now in a fortnight, and am uneasy for fear you are sick which may the Lord protect you from. JW Clayton arrived back here yesterday and by him I learned that your family were quite sickly. I hope ere this they are getting better. I feel very uneasy when I hear that any of our loved ones are sick and much worse so when I hear you are sick yourself.  We have a good deal of sickness in garrison now and some of the cases are quite stubborn. Hardenbergh is verry unwell indeed and has been so now for 2 months or more. There is not much news stirring here now. We got the news of Genl Lees blowing up a parcel of Yankees in one of their mines before Petersburgh yesterday and also that the Yankees had blowed some of our men in the same way. There is nothing new from Georgia just now. One piece of good news I have to tell you of that took place here on Sunday night. One of the Yankee blockaders while running close to the inlet got aground and they worked all night nearly trying to get her off but finding that day would catch them right under our guns they set her on fire and left her . She burned to the waters edge and then we boarded her in boats and got a good deal of plunder. This morning we got off one of her guns a beautiful brass 12 pounder Dahlgreen gun and a parcel of shells also. There is still another 25 lb gun on board which we will try to get. She is about mille off right in front of Fort Holmes and on the outer reef. We will save a good many useful things off of her. She has a fine engine but I fear we cannot save it as it is so rough where she lays. Several blockade runners have come in with yellow fever on them but it has not been communicated to land as no one is allowed to go on board except the physician and no one is allowed to go on shore from there. I hope John Thomas carried your cotton to Washington with him. He said he would if it had come to with him and let you know about its being there so you can send for it. I hope one or the other of them will carry it down for you. Oh! How I wish I could be with you now if only for one hour just to see you and know for myself how you are, but love it cannot be so now but if we live until another year this time I hope and fully believe I shall be with you. Have all the cider made you can and have some of it made into brandy. Have some wine made too dear if nothing happens to the grapes. Put 1/5 brandy to the grape juice. I hard by John that your crop at South Creek is quite likely. Give my best respects to all the negroes and my love to Aunts Rose and Charity. Mars is very well indeed. Give my warmest paternal love to all our dear ones. Tell Josephus and Vene to write to me.


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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August 31, 1864

It is as we suppose, A P Hill has flanked Grant on the left & holds the R R at Ream’s Station whilst Grant still occupies his entrenchments on it before Petersburg. The Examiner tells us that Grant is in a situation of great difficulty. God grant it! Before Atlanta Sherman is on the move, has abandoned one line of entrenchments which we hold. Some think it a feint to draw Hood out; others that Wheeler’s exploits in his rear have put him on short commons. If the telegrams speak truth (they are not official) our captures of supplies there are enormous. One item is seven thousand beeves!

We get some good stories of our common people from Yankee correspondants & which bear the stamp of truth. One old Lady near Atlanta said to a Yankee officer who rode up to her house immediately after the attempted flanking of Joe Johnson by Sherman “you’uns don’t fight we’uns fair! Mr Hooker now he went round!” Good soul, to her notions of military strategy were comprised in a fair stand up give & take fight!

Another was accosted by a party of Yankees “Well how goes it old Lady. You’re Secesh too I suppose?” “No! honey that I aint!” “Why hows that? You’re Union then?” “No, thank the Lord I aint that neither.” “Well what in the name of wonder then are you?” “I’me a Baptist, honey, a Baptist! For forty years I’ve been a hard shell Baptist and please the Lord I’ll die one too!”

As I am in an anecdotical vein this morning; I cannot do better than give one of Cuffee which is excellent. The negro baker of the Va Military Institute belonged to the Institution & during Hunter’s late brutal foray through the Valley, when he destroyed it & plundered the citizens of Lexington, Abram lost everything he had, clothes, money, everything stolen by the Yankees. After their retreat, relating his losses to some sympathizing friend he was asked, “Did you tell them that you belonged to the State of Virginia?” “No! No! sir that I did’nt if I had they’d have burnt me up along with the rest of the State property!”

In the Enquirer of yesterday is published an official Circular from Mr Benjamin giving an account of the late visit of Mr Lincoln’s Peace commissioners to Richmond. Comment is unnecessary.  Yankee, Yankee, when will you learn fair dealings? Mr B’s statement shows conclusively that Mr Lincoln’s move for Peace is but a political trick to blind the Peace party.

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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