Item description: Letter, 22 January 1862, from Mary (“Minnie”) Charlotte North Allston to her sister, Jane Caroline “Carey” North Pettigrew.
Minnie describes her anxieties relating to the impending arrival of the Burnside Expedition and the likelihood that she will soon flee her home, upon the arrival of Union troops. She also comments on a possible order to remove slaves from the area, “I hear that there is an order from Uncle Allston, (who is appointed Provost Marshal of this district by the Convention), that all the negroes should be removed to places of safety.”
Wednesday, Jan. 22d., ’62
My dearest Carey,
Yesterday the papers announced for the first time the destination of the Burnside expedition. The coast of No. Ca. & Norfolk. Dear Sister, now I regret that your fears should have been realized. I trust Gen. [Hugh?] will prove himself equal to the great trust [?] in him. The papers say you are prepared but I have learnt to distrust the statements of the papers. My greatest trust is in the national defenses of the coast which are certainly great. They evidently want the Chowan River, & the railroad. Heaven frustrate their designs. You will see by the papers that the large fleet which has been stationary at Port Royal has disappeared no one knows whither. I hear that there is an order from Uncle Allston, (who is appointed Provost Marshal of this district by the Convention), that all the negroes should be removed to places of safety. I don’t know what it means for I thought our present fear was form the Burnside expedition. I await the news with the greatest anxiety. Pray write to me at once, & tell me what you will do. You are far from the danger just at present, because of those almost impenetrable swamps & gloomy streams, but I dread that the means of retreat may be cut off. Will not Brother Charles move you at once to Cherry Hill, & Badwell. It is a hard necessity which compels us to fly our homes, and hardest of all is it to leave behind those with whom we would wish to remain [thru?] every chance. I feel very anxious as to what will be done – would to Heaven I could beg you to come to us but the apprehension and uncertain feeling which you now experience has been ours for two months. I am packed for flight and from day to day we do not know when the order to leave may come. I see Joe very seldom. He is greatly occupied. He has been suffering for the last two weeks from a severe cold, which is now better. I am thankful today. Jane has been feverish for two days with a cold, but is like herself today. Mary thrives but is very little. I heard from [M..?] the other day. Her letter was dated 13th, all were well. How much this will add to her anxieties. I have written in haste, only to express my fear about you & yours & the dear old North State. My love to Mrs. Collins & kisses to my darlings.
Ever, with dear love to Brother Charles & yourself,
Your devoted sister,