28 May 1863: “Exiles from New Orleans + refugees from Jackson continue to pour into Mobile.”

Item Description:  Letter, dated 28 May 1863, from Margaret (Maggie) Lea Graves to her husband, Charles Iverson Graves.  In this letter, Maggie describes aspects of her life in Mobile, AL to her husband, Charles, while he is away on active duty during the Civil War.

Item Citation:  From Folder 14 of the Charles Iverson Graves Papers #2606,  Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

At Genl. Greene’s       Mobile
Thursday       May 28th 1863.
 
My darling, sweetest, precious husband,
 
 I have not yet heard what Major Mackall will not be ordered to join the officers going out from Charleston, + as where is therefore a possibility that he will go.  I feel that I must send a letter by him.  I am sitting in Ms. Greene’s Chamber while she is on the opposite side of the fire-place also engaged in writing.  As is always the case, my visit here is delightful.  I feel really like me at home + know that I have the heart-felt sympathy of the entire family in my separation from you.  Although you have never been here, I miss you so much everywhere + particularly in my secret, cozy little room.  Indeed, so lonely was I last night after retiring, I called Ann + made her sleep in here to keep me from feeling that I was entirely alone.  Your good fortune in being ordered off + thereby escaping the delightful companionship of G.W. H. is the continual topic of conversation.  I feel whenever I begin to get “blue” that that view of the subject is more consoling to me than any other – for nothing could induce me to wish you were here again – I would suffer all I do + a thousand times more, were it possible,  from this separation, rather than have you perplexed + worried as you have been for two months past.  It is bed-time.  I have just come to my room, but I cannot retire without completing this letter tonight, in order to send it in by Genl. Green in the morning lest Major Mackall leaves on tomorrow’s boat – he + Capt. McBlain have an engagement to take tea with Mrs. Elder tomorrow night + I very much hope the major will not leave till Saturday, for he thinks there can be no doubt of his going.  I received a long, long letter from Ma this morning – she writes that Brother’s wound  is improving most rapidly is indeed nearly well – says every-body in the county is coming to see Col. Lea + while she writes a merry party are laughing + talking on the front gallery.  Gen ge is now Lieut. Col of 22nd N.C. Regt.  his Lieut. Col + Major having both been killed at Chancellorsville.  Bettie in bad health + low spirits suffering much from dyspepsia.  I intend to take the rounds this summer among all my relatives first.  I want to pay Aunt Lizzy + Sallie a visit, then I must go to Leasburg for several weeks, then a week here + there + in I know it summer will be one + I will receive a dispatch saying I must meet one C.J. Graves as Mobile in the winter as the Blockade business calls him there.  What think you?  I am improving rapidly – am recovering slowly my appetite + really feel almost as well as ever.  Sometimes I suffer acute pain when I walk too much but I am very careful + am determined no mishap shall occur, if the utmost caution will prevent it.  I must to bed now – Oh! How happy would we be if tonight I could sleep with your arm around me + my head pillowed on your heart.  The chickens are crowing for day!!  Good night, darling.  Holy angels guard your pillow this + every night.  Lovingly, fondly – “Chicken”
 
Friday morning – 6 ‘o’ clock in bed.  Ann has just left my bedside having come to wake me early according to my directions.  I dreamed last night of having a few words with Capt. H _ his delectable spouse on the subject of your leaving his ship + our leaving Mrs. C’s.  Little Carrie talks continuously about “Tarlie Dabe” at the table sometimes when no one is noticing her, she will say “yes, I do love Tarlie”.  Genl + Mrs. Green express the deepest interest in you – + have exacted the promise from me to write them whenever I receive a letter from you.  Genl G. is going to Dalton, Ga to see his Father + has so arranged his matters as to leave here when I do, so we have the pleasure of travelling to Atlanta together.  Exiles from New Orleans + refugees from Jackson continue to pour into Mobile – Mrs. Eggleton’s Father + Sisters arrived yesterday morning – They have lost everything  – only escaped with two trunks of clothing + $3,000 Confederate money.  My sympathy is freely aroused for them, Mrs. E. though is not despondent + seems as thankful that her sisters escaped from the Yankees, (who remained beastly drunk two days and right in their house), without injury or violence.  No tongue can tell how impatient, darling, I am to hear what vessel you are ordered to + how long before you are in active service.  While you remain in Europe you can write me regularly, can you not?  I think I shall feel so much happiness when all this uncertainty is removed.  I feel as if I were lost sometimes – + such strange feelings oppress me, I have at once to leave my seat + go to reading or to the piano – I try to do, dearest, just what I know you would have me do + I do not intend to give way to serious foreboding:   I believe God will bless + protect us both + restore you to me in his own good time.  I do not + it is well that I cannot realize you have left me for so long a time – but it is time to dress for breakfast + I must close my letter now.  All send love to you, [?] not to forget to deliver it when I wrote this morning.  I am very well this morning – a little sea-sick – !  God Bless you darling + spare you to me many, many long years – May he shield you from every disease + in every harm of danger.  I send you a thousand kisses + a heart overflowing with love.  Oh!  I do want to see you so much -!  
 
Your loving, devoted wife, “Chicken”
 
My kind regards to Mr. Bachart
 

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