20 December 1864: “how I wish I were a man and in Georgia”

Item Description: Diary entry dated 20 December 1864 by Sarah Lois Wadley. She writes about rumors she has heard about Sherman’s march through Georgia.

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Item Citation: Folder 5, Sarah Lois Wadley Papers, #01258, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Tuesday, Dec. 20th.
We have had such a long week of warm, cloudy weather; yesterday evening the wind changed to the north and the rain came down in torrents, and we hoped it would clear this morning, but it has kept up a slow, cold drizzle all day.
Mr. Barr passed Sunday evening and left a letter for me from Mrs. Morancy, she says they will expect the children, and insists upon my going up with them, but I cannot do so, I would like it very much if it were best for me to go. She says they have been having concerts and tableaux at Homer for the benefit of our suffering Missouri soldiers, they have already made $3,000. The papers we received yesterday contain very exciting news, we learn that Sherman is down in the heart of Georgia, has passed through Milledgeville, destroying all the public buildings, there are rumours that we have defeated Sherman terribly at Millen; so near Uncle David! Every Georgian is in arms, they mist have passed right by our old Oakland. Oh, I am so excited when I think of it, how I wish I were a man and in Georgia, how I wish I were there anyway, to know what they we doing, to rejoice with our noble Georgians, and with all the brave soldiers who are there fighting for us; for I am sure the Yankees are but marching to their own destruction; it seems to me Sherman’s audacity is unequalled, but he will meet his just reward. Yet though I do thus wish to be as it were on the scene of action, yet it seemed to me yesterday for the first time that I could begin to see a mercy in our being held back from crossing the river, we should probably have been in that part of Georgia which has been made a battle ground.
I read the President’s message this morning, it is indeed fine in every respect, so calm, earnest, eloquent, and bringing all it’s strength from that high faith in right and humanity, and that strong reliance on God which so enobles human nature.
We have finished “The Antiquary,” which we all liked very much of course, and which we shall be talking about for the next week or two; we were interrupted two nights in the most exciting part. Mr. Gordon has been attending to some business for Father, and in return Father undertook to do a part of his tax assessing over here, he was absent three days. The first night Mr. Gordon very unexpectedly came over to stay all night, and we were all highly astonished by a call from Dr. Melton in the evening; the next night as Loring was away, we thought we would wait until Saturday night when Father would be at home. Mr. Gordon came up again Saturday night to see Father, but we read in spite of his visit, and he seemed highly entertained. I have been writing more by feeling than sight for some time, and precious penmanship I have made of it, it is now quite too dark to write any more.

 

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19 December 1864:

Item Description:

Item Citation: Folder 7, George W. Burwell Papers, #04291, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Richmond and Danville Railroad,

Richmond, Va., Dec 19 1864

Dr Burwell

Sir,

We wish to hire your hands for the ensuing year, (1865,) and will pay $450 per year for Train hands, Firemen and Mechanics, and $400 per year for all others. Please let me hear from you, and state whether you will hire your hands to us at these rates.

Respectfully, yours,

 

http://www2.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/b/Burwell,George_W.html

19 December 1864: a notice from the Richmond and Danville Railroad hiring hands at $450 and $400 per annum.

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18 December 1864: “I want to fight the Yankees with our gun boat but they is aferd to come in shooting distance”

Item Description: Letter from Jerome Riggins to Martin Moser about conditions near Kinston NC, including Union reluctance to engage with the Confederate “gun boat.” The boat referred to is likely the CSS Neuse, which sunk in March 1865 when the crew set it on fire instead of letting it fall into the hands of the enemy.

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Item Citation: From Folder 3, in the Martin Moser Papers, #3972-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Martin Moser
Mr. Martin Moser
Alamance Co.
Rock Creek Rd.
N. Carolina

C.S. Steamer Nuse

December 18, 1864

Kinston, N. C.

Dear Sir,

i sit mi self down to write you a few lines to let you no that i am well at this time and i hope that when this few lins come to hand they may find you and the rest of the famley well and doing well   i have ben looking for a letter for the last two munts and have not got one yet but i am well satisfide at presents. I gane to think that you had forgot me but i hear from you every week. I have not got any nuse at this time. I learn this morning that the yankees taking Tarbough aboat 2 days ago. I want to fight the Yankees with our gun boat but they is aferd to come in shooting distance. Our gunboat is what hole Kinston. We have 75 men on our boat and we can whip 10 hundred Yankees. We have good wether now. I will send you a few lines about the Yanks. Mr. Moser I want you to write as soon as you get this so I will close my time by asking you to write to me at presents.

Dec. 1864

Jerome Riggins to Martin Moser

 

There is also transcribed copy with corrected spelling to make it easier to understand:

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17 December 1864: “one feels about in despair sometimes, but we must keep up a brave heart…”

Item description: Letter, dated 17 December 1864, from Ann B.S. Pettigrew McKay to her brother William S. Pettigrew.
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Item citation: From folder 254 of the Pettigrew Family Papers #592, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Richmond Dec. 17th, 1864

My dear Brother,

I received a letter to day from Octavia in Wilmington. I was particularly glad at the mention of you. I have written to you a number of times, & do hope my letters have reached you. I think you must have written to me too, but no letter from you has come to me since that in which you so kindly sent me the $150.00 dollars. I hope my leter of acknowledgement & thanks went safely; for I was truly obliged to you. I think you do not suffer during this cold season in camp. It is a troubled time, one feels about in despair sometimes, but we must keep up a brave heart I think of the time when all our conflicts done we shall stand complete at last. In the mean time, we can struggle to do our heavenly father’s will. You have had the sincere pleasure of seeing our good friend Mr. Watson. That is a treat, there are few like Mr. Watson, and this reminds me, did you hear anything about the cathedral in Wilmington? Suppose I was to go there some day I work under Mr. Watson, what would you think of it? It is a comfort to me to think of some object in the future. This life is too heavy without it & the best hope is to work for Eternity. Time passes very swiftly with me & still it seems so long. I am going to miss so many letters. I did not get Mr. McKay’s & none from [C?] for a long time until the last. I wished so much to hear from you of your visit to Summerville & to receive from you an account of our dear Grandmother’s death. It is truly a heavy world! Please tell me if the row in the cemetery looked the same. Many times daily do I think of our dear Brother & Sister. I try to be comforted by the hope that they will rise to Glory & shall be among the Blessed – God be praised for this only solace, coupled with the heavenly duty of submitting my will to his Holy will.

Did you see Adele? I see Charley [Parker] often. I hope the dear boy will do well. He told me the other day that it would be great pleasure for him to visit me, that in coming to Richmond that was always be one of the pleasantest anticipations. I was truly gratified. I wish I could be [?] the young generation. Did you get the letter of introduction I gave Mrs. James for you? If you are still near Wilmington I am sure he will find you. He is a fine, honest, gallant fellow. And has served his country to the utmost of his ability. He is disabled now by the loss of his fore right arm.

This paper is a present from my good friend, Dr. [B?]. Mary R. sends her kind regards to you. We move next week into our new rooms – this establishment is to be broken up. Every body glad; we are all tired of the []. Mrs. Patterson did not know of my writing when he sees my letter he will say, “Did you give him my love?” My papers is exhausted & I am tired so I must bid you good night. My dear Brother, I am very much improved in health & appearance all say, thank incessant occupation & our Blessed Heavenly Father sending my greater peace from [?] & submission to his will may He bless you my dear brother William. Always your affectionate sis, [Ann B.S. McKay]

 

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16 December 1864: “The fair that the have here at the hospital is not fit for a sick man to eate”

Item Description: Letter dated 16 December 1864. George Burwell’s cousin Peter writes to him to inform him about his being wounded.

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Item Citation: Folder 7, George W. Burwell Papers, #04291, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Farmville. Dec 16-1864

Dear Cousin,

I reseaived your kind token of remembance yesterday + I tell you I was more then glad to here from you. I have no nuse of much importance to write. I presume that you herd of my misfortune of being wounded. Which has caused me a great ? of paine that is my wound is improving very fast though I am suffering a great ? from a severe cold + nervous affection I has bin confined to my bed ever since I reach this plase + am very weak + feeable this morning. Though I hope I am on the mend. You wanted to know if you could assist me in any way. I dount know that you could do me any good. Though I would be very glad if you could come + see me. + bring me some little trickes to eate. The fair that the have here at the hospital is not fit for a sick man to eate. if you could conveantley come without putting yourself to too much trouble + would be very glad in deed to see you I must draw to a close by ? + remaine as your cousin give my highes reguards to all of the family + reseive a portion your self.

Peter A Gagle

To his cousin Georg. W. Burwell

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15 December 1864: “Would you not like to get a chance “to make the fight” on either line?”

Item Description: Letter dated 15 1864 from Lieutenant General Alexander P. Stewart serving for the Confederate army. He writes about the positioning of his lines.

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Item Citation: Folder 3, Stephen D. Lee Papers, #02440, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Headquarters Stewarts’ Corps

Dec. 15 1864

General:

I have to acknowledge receipt of your note of yesterday. My new line is now tenable, and I am only occupying the old one as a skirmish line- a line of videttes in front of it. The few pieces of artillery on the old line have been withdrawn.

Would you not like to get a chance “to make the fight” on either line? I think the men have very great confidence, now, in a line of rifle pits.

Very Respectfully,

Your Obedient Servant,

Alex P. Stewart

Lieut. Genl

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14 December 1864: “I respectfully request that all men belonging to this army and any reinforcements that can be spared be sent forward as soon as possible.”

Item Description: Telegram from General Good to General Beauregard sent on December 14, 1864 from the vicinity of Nashville, TN.  He reports on enemy movements near Memphis, TN and requests reinforcements.

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Item Citation: In Folder 9 of the William Asbury Whitaker Papers, #3433, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Received at Dec 14 1864 at __ o’clock, __ minutes,

By telegraph from Hd Qrs-AT 6 miles from Nashville to Gen G T Beauregard

7 via Boston via m14-

Capt Reid commanding at Corinth Miss reports that scouts from vicinity of Memphis report that Steele with fifteen thousand men landed at that point last Thursday and passed up the River Saturday. I respectfully request that all men belonging to this army and any reinforcements that can be spared be sent forward as soon as possible.

J B Hood

Genl

57-Col 342 Opd 2280

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13 December 1864: “should Raleigh fall into the hands of the enemy please retain it”

Item Description: William S. Pettigrew sent this letter to his Uncle in Raleigh with instructions for the care of his possessions during his absence. He requests some be returned to him, and instructs him what to do with it if Raleigh becomes in danger of being lost to the Union.

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Item Citation: From Folder 270, in the Pettigrew Family Papers #592, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Camp Jackson, Masonboro Sound near
Wilmington, N. C., December 13, 1864

My Dear Uncle, 

As it is more than probably I will be in camp for some time to come. At least through the winter. I would be glad to have a pair of new shoes that were made for me at Summerville, when last there. I am not sure whether they were left in your office or carried by me to Tarboro: But, I think, the latter. If so, they were returned, I presume, with my baggage to Raleigh by Mr Cekepon. May I ask of you the favour to send them to me to the care of the Rev. Alfred A. Watson, Wilmington, N. C. , who will convey them to me at this encampment. You will recognize them, I am sure, as they are much warmer then my other shoes, & have never been worn. They were made for the army. I wish them now that I may break them to my feet before those I now have are worn-out. I presume Mr. Cokepon has sent them: But, if he have not, have written him to forward them to me. Please send them to Mr. Watson’s car, if you have them, by express. 

In my last, I made some requests of you respecting my baggage, which I beg here to repeat under the apprehension that the letter may have been miscarried & as it may be that the reserves will not be released from the war until the close of the war, it would be very agreeable to me if you would be good enough to comply with the request. 

In my trunk & carpet bags are some woollen clothes. The keys to the same have been sent you by Mr. Cekepon. If I do not return before the 1st May, will you please open them & take out the clothes & have them so attended to as to prevent them being eaten with moths. ? & ? will pick them out of clothes, will you please open them & pick them out of clothes. Will you, at the same time, open the flat box I brought from Summerville, & remove from it a piece of home spun that I brought. Please have it secured from moths also. 

I brought with me from Summerville another box much deeper than the flat one alluded to. In it are some books, with letters & papers that I prise most highly: Be pleased to take special care of them. It would be unnecessary to open it. In fact, I would wish not. But only request you to take care of the box & its contents until my return. I beg you to take the best of care of this & the small tin box left with you, permitting no one to open letters, as what they contain is for my eye alone, until after my death. After which , you will deliver the wooden box to sister. Many, & the tin box request my brother or sister to destroy without opening. I prefer my baggage remaining in your charge until my return. If you regard it safe with you, should Raleigh fall into the hands of the enemy please retain it. But if you regard it safer in Harnett, should Raleigh be i danger, Mr. Maleon McKay, of Summerville would send a waggon for it at any time you may write him. If there be danger at Raleigh, please confer with MR. Brown as to what had best be done to secure my property that are in his hands. My address in care of Capt. J. W. Hart, Company B Gen. Reserves. Camp Jackson, Masonboro Sound near Wilmington your affect. nephew, William S. Pettigrew 

for R. Shepard Raleigh N.C. 

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12 December 1864: “instead of the sympathy of people farther south, who have never known the terrors of Yankee rule, we get only eviscerations”

Item Description: This letter, written by Octavia Otey to her sister Ella, describes the hardships they faced on their Mississippi plantation, Green Lawn, throughout the year of 1864. Octavia defends her signing an Oath to the United States saying that she had no choice in order to feed her family while they were “behind enemy lines.” She describes how the Union took everything they had, and that they lost all of their slaves. She worries for her family’s health and ability to find food.

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Item Citation: From Folder #17, in the Wyche and Otey Family Papers #1608, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription: 

Green Lawn
Dec. 12, 1864

Mrs. Ella Burke,
My dear sister, 

Your letter was received today through Johnnie who called here and staid several hours, I was very glad to her from you, my dear sister, and had so much rather have seen you in person. 

I am very sorry you have had your feelings hurt by those representations of my taking “the oath” I should have guarded against it, by telling you of it long ago, but had no idea that any one up here would think it worth their while to chronicle my acts. 

I have never felt like I had taken the oath, although I have signed my name to such a document, which was all that was required of me, and I have no idea that the person who wrote it, wrote anything but “guess work” as it was taken in April or May, and the person who wrote about it, no doubt thought it was taken to buy goods, as no one could buy goods without taking the oath, that is, if they bought over 10 dollars worth, without taking it. Your Brother Matt’s health was such that he could go neither North or South, and he did not want to take the oath, I was violently opposed to his taking it, and if I had not taken it, he would have done it, and my pride was for my husband, more than myself, and believe me dear sister, it is only a matter of pride we who are in the enemies lines, with their clutches, as it were, on our throats, can do our cause no harm by taking their oath and it is generally understood that it lasts only while they hold possession of our part of the country. So I subscribed to their oath, to keep my husband, brother, or Father from taking it. and to keep my family of 10 white ones from beggary, or starvation, we did not have a cent of money that would buy us a morsel of meat, and they had taken anything from us but our cattle (and this fall have taken them, except our milk cow) and we had vouchers for most 700 dollars, and we could not sell them even, unless we took the oath, or got a strong Union citizen to certify that we were legal to the U.S. government, we could not do that, and I thought it more honorable, and less degrading to take the oath in the manner I did, than to beg, to fawn on our enemies, or borrow, when we saw no way to pay our debts. we have heard that everything is gone in Miss but the land they have taken everything here, almost, except the house and the furniture, every negroe we had, had been taken from us or left us, but two women and one little boy, your brother Matt was sick, and nearly distracted about how we were to live, no one to make us any bread. Will was sick and Willie Walter had never been strong since he had the Pneumonia in the spring, and it was distinctly understood between me and the “Provost Marshal” that I took it “because my husband was sick, and I had to attend to his business, and that it was for business purposes.” 

no one can with truth say that I did it willingly, it was the hardest task I ever did, but I made it subject of prayer, and asked my “Heavenly father” to help me, and give me strength to do what was right, whether I wanted to or not, and I feel confident he will fix it all right with those whose good opinion I care for, as for the rest, well, I let them alone. My reporter must hae had their “hands full,” it would be an easy matter to name those who have not taken the oath, but to name all who did, would have kept them very busy. 

The people of South Ala., as any other place, when they have laws to protect them, a plenty to eat, and to wear, secure in the midst of friends, are not competent to judge of what is right, and propper, for a people oppressed as we have been, to do some with starvation staring us in the face, some shot down in the midst of their families, some taken up on mere suspicion and thrown into a loathsome jail, and others with their houses burnt down, only because they may a soldier friend or relation, whom they cannot punish, so punish their friends, all this and more we have borne for the last eighteen months, and instead of the sympathy of people farther south, who have never known the terrors of Yankee rule, we get only eviscerations and malicious slanders; I have not heard it from you my dear sister, but have heard it from others, that by the people, farther south, we of North Ala. are spoken of with greater bitterness and contempt; but I think if ever they are tried the same way, they will not come out of it, any nobler than we have. Of course we think our family have suffered more than any of our acquaintances, because we have had no cotton to sell to get money, to buy the necessaries of life with. 

We are all very anxious for all of our kinfolks to come back, I am afraid they are too well fixed to be in a hurry about it. Ella, I won’t deceive you, we are living very hard, but if you and Dr. Burke can stand our fare, we will share, all we have with you. I don’t want you to think we are living as well as we were when you left, but you might come and try it, and see if you can stand it; no Yankees here now, and we are beginning to straighten up, and feel free once more, we are all very anxious fo ryou and D. Burke to come up, Imogen and I, are affraid to fix a room for you, for fear you won’t come. Mr. Otey has been a little better since the Yankees have left, he has brought his rifle to light and has killed squirrels and duck already; there is plenty of game all around. Father too, has his traps, he has caught several rabbits and partridges; Will had the jaundice this fall, and they left him in a weak state of health, which caused him to have chills, I think thought they will soon leave him & I received a letter from dear sister Frances by Johnnie which I must answer; my dear sister you must not grieve too deeply for dear little Occie, you never heard the dear little “angel,” being for something to eat, or have to eat dry biscuits for her supper, whenever I hear Lucy begging for milk or butter, I would think of dear little Occie, whose wants are all supplied. Our poor children have all run wild, they are perfectly uncivilized, and I have no heart to manage them, or do anything, I strove so long to we cheerful and pleasant, when i felt like my heart was breaking, that my spirits have given way, and I do believe if the Yankees had said here a month longer it would have most killed me. Give a good deal of love to sister Caroline and family, for me, tell them I am very anxious for them to come back, but I do not know what they will do about living in that house, I should think it could be cleaned out entirely, I am in hopes you will meet this letter, if you do, and sister Caroline has heard the same thing about me, that you have, you can use your own judgement about sending it on to her, by Johnnie; I hope I have satisfied you, but it is hard to explain anything satisfactorily by letter. Mr. Otey sends his love to you, Dr. Burke, sister Caroline and sister Frances families. Will, Imogene also. Give my love to Dr. Burke also, I hope to see you all soon and may God bless and take care of you, is the prayer of your affectionate sister, Octavia A. Otey. 

Come up soon as you can, we are non of us well, will has to stay in bed holy every day to keep off chills, Tell sister Frances I would answer her letter by Johnnie, but Have been very sick even since I received you letter. Just able to write you. 

We did not dare to write our situation while the Yanks were in here, for fear the letter would be captured. Rest assured my dear sister my subscribing to their oath was a perfect sacrifice of myself to my family.

 

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11 December 1864: “they shot fifteen at once, with one ball”

Item Description: Diary entry dated 11 December 1864 by Sarah Lois Wadley. She writes about her various social engagements from the previous weeks. In particular, she recounts a meeting with a Confederate soldier. She also writes about attending at dance and receiving a letter from a dear friend.

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Item Citation: Folder 5, Sarah Lois Wadley, #01258, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Monday, Dec. 11th. 1864.

It has been so long since I wrote that I can scarcely remember where I left off. I have not had school for about two weeks. Father went to Downsville to carry the wheat to mill a week ago last Tuesday, and George and Loring went with him, they returned Wednesday it is true, but we were very busy making over some old dresses for Miss Mary and Eva and so we did not have school. Monday Miss Mary and I went over to Mrs. Dortch’s and spent the day and night, and such a delightful day as it was, Mrs. Dortch is such a sweet, agreeable lady and has such a pleasant husband, and nice boys and such a cunning little boy, and altogether there are so many such agreeables about the family, I could never eulogize them enough. We found Eliza Baker and her Grandmother, Mrs. Warfleld, there spending the day, which added to its pleasantness. The next morning before leaving Mrs. Dortch gave as a number of rose cuttings and one or two roots which I have not yet set out in my garden an account of the cold.

We called at Mrs. Willson’s on our return to Monroe, and while there a soldier came up who was on his way home from the other side of the Mississippi river, and wanted Mrs. W. to send him to Monroe, as we were going directly in we took him in the carriage with us; in return he entertained us with many miraculous stories which I have not time to recount here, but one was so extraordinary I cannot omit it. He had been in prison in Elmira, New York, for ten months; said the Yankees were very cruel to them, for instance, once they shot fifteen at once, with one ball, as they were lying asleep! “are you sure, sir?” said I “Oh yes, he said, the ball passed through the bodies of five, killing them instantly, and wounded the other ten so they died.” What a pity people can’t tell the truth!

We got to Mrs. Stevens’ some time before dimmer, I felt very weak and ill all day, and did not enjoy it as much as I usually do a visit to Mary. In the evening Eliza Baker came up to tea, and some gentlemen came in afterwards. I suppose it was on account of my dullness that the evening passed heavily to me; I have been so little in society for so long a time that the light conversation which generally forms the staple between young ladies and gentlemen is quite strange and distasteful to me, as it always was, and I am utterly unable to carry it on with any spirit.

The next day we received an invitation to spend the day at Miss Warfield’s, we did so and found it extremely pleasant; Mrs. Warfield is a very nice lady and exerted herself easily and agreeably to entertain us. She gave me some rose cuttings and quite a number of bulbous roots for my garden. It was quite late when the carriage came up from Mrs. Stevens’ for us, and the evening had grown cold though the morning had been very pleasant. We found we could not cross at the Trenton ferry and drove down to Monroe. There was a very obliging wagon master there, who gave himself a good deal of trouble to put us across, the flat was just loading, and had a government wagon with four mules on it; but he uncoupled the mules and drew up his wagon, and Uncle Jim drove down, when lo and behold! the front wheels only of the carriage could get on the flat, but they took out the mules, pulled in the carriage, took out the tongue, and we were all on. The flat was jammed, there was not room for the men to row hardly, Miss Mary and I sat in the carriage, the sky was darkly clouded, the north wind blew us down the river and we were twenty minutes crossing. Oh, how thankful and rejoiced we were when we reached this side, we closed up the carriage and rode comfortably home, they were all quite surprised to see us at such a late hour. We found Mr. Templeton here on his way to Texas. Mary Stevens had asked me to come in Friday and go to a surprise party to be given at Mr. M’Fee’s. I told Mother about it, and at first she did not appear to want me to go, I had not expected she would and was not disappointed, but was much surprised the next morning when she sent for me out of the school room to come and prepare a dress to go. It was a purple grenadine which Father had bought for her five years ago in New York, and which she had never made up; we worked very busily, and succeeded in finishing it just in time Friday. Father went to Trenton and crossed the river with me, and we found Mrs. Stevens’ carriage waiting for me on the other side. It was quite cold, very cold indeed, for it had sleeted the night before and the ground was wet, but we went to the party. The rooms were well warmed, and there were a great many young ladies there, most of them pretty and well dressed, and a plenty of young men. We had, or at least I had, a delightful evening, I danced about half the sets, would have danced more as I am so fond of it but there were so many prettier young ladies present, and better acquainted with the gentlemen, that I could not expect much attention, however, I enjoyed looking on very much when I did not dance. This is the first party I ever attended. It was quite late when we returned home, Mrs. Willson and Julia were of our party but went out home that night. Mrs. Willson’s second daughter has at last reached home, she has been away seven years, and it is four years since her Mother saw her! And now I come to what I have been hardly restraining myself all this time, I have got a letter, a long, precious letter at last from my dear Valeria. Oh, it has made me so happy, every now and then I wonder what makes me feel so happy and then I remember it in her letter. I cannot describe the pleasure it gives me; somehow it seems as if all the bitter past four years were blotted out, and it was as when I last saw her, before the war. Ah, before the war. I was at Mrs. Stevens’, I have been looking for a letter for several weeks and hoping every time I sent to the post office, but this time I had sent and a mail from the east had come, but was obliged to go to Shreveport for distribution, but Father came up to Mrs. Stevens’ Saturday before dinner and after I had spoken to him and kissed him said “What would you give for a letter” I said “You are joking Pa, there is none for me.” I began to feel in his coat pocket, no, he said, and stooped to his overcoat. I took the letter in a sort of maze and looked at it blindly, he said “Eufaula at last.” I could have cried for joy, I could open the letter but turned it over and over and was so glad. I have read it over and over since then, I have her again in my sight as I read those lines so lately from her hand, my darling, my dearest friend.

But I am very tired and cold, and though I could write pages thus, my tired side admonishes me I have been sitting too long. Mary Stevens came out with me, I full of my happiness enjoyed the ride fully, but she was made sick by the motion, she spent the night with us, and returned yesterday afternoon.

I received a note from Willie Saturday, he was just starting on a raid to the river, after mules he thought, all the Yankees had left the river. He was quite well, I am so glad of that, but Oh how cold he must be this freezing weather, it has been very cold for several days, and last night made thick ice; and poor Willie has but two blankets an the frozen ground.

 

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