13 November 1864: “I hear that you have had supplementary drafts there and it has ruinated the township.”

Item Description: Letter from W. W. McKnight, Company E, 175th Ohio Volunteers in the hospital for jaundice at Columbia, Tenn., to his friend John Heaton in Fincastle, Ohio, describing his illness and the hometown boys in Company E and inquiring about the draft in Fincastle.


Item Citation: From Unit 52 of the Federal Soldiers’ Letters, #3185, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Columbia Tenn Nov 13th 1864

Friend John,

I though I would write you a few lines this Sunday morning and let you know of my whereabouts.

I have been in the hospital one week yesterday.

I have the jaunders but am getting better. I have lost about 20 or 25 pounds since I come to the state of Tenn. The Doctor thinks I will be all right as soon as I get used to the climate and he says I must get used to the hard tack and sow belly for it was that that brought my sickness on in the first place. I am able to go around and go out in the country and get apples and vegetables.  The Fincastle boys of my company are here in town on detached duty.

Our regiment is scattered along the rail road for a distance of 50 miles to guard it but the Fincastle boys all got detached before the regiment was all taken away. Duffy is in the Post Saddler Shop and the rest of the boys are Post teamsters. We have never been paid anything yet and I don’t know how soon will be paid.

Well John I full sorry for my old township. I hear that you have had supplementary drafts there and it has ruinated the township. I do wish that the township had acted wise when we made the first effort there to clear the township.

I want you to write and give me all the particulars of the drafts and who all run away. Give my respects to every member of your family and believe that I am Fraternally yours.

W. W. McKnight

P.S. Direct to Columbia Tenn Co. E. 175 O.V.I.


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12 November 1864: “The Yankees is not doing at Plymouth as yet only taking Brandy and getting drunk”

Item Description: Letter written by John Blekepon to William S. Pettigrew in response to Pettigrew’s letter on November 5th.  In the letter he discusses sending Pettigrew’s belongings, Union activity in Plymouth, NC, and Pettigrew’s personal health.



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

Item Transcription:

Tarboro Novr 12/64

Dear sir,

Yours of the 5th inst. has just come to hand the contents carfuly notise and will be attended to.  I hath sent off your watch money and papers to day Col Dowd hath taken them up ther was $636 40/100 the papers were all seald up securly and directed to J B Shepard.  Mr. Cate will take up the remainder in a few days all will be attended to you did not name the song in your letter therefor I did not send it.  Pleas say in your next what disposition I shole make of it.

The Yankees is not doing at Plymouth as yet only taking Brandy and getting drunk as our people did it so said that they are bursting some of the guns and the others they are coming off.

Ther was two letters come to the office before I received your direction and I directed them to the care of the Rev. Mr. Watson should ther come any others they will be directed as you say in your letter.  You did not say a word about you health or your frend Jane.  I fear you are not making out as well as you aught as you say nothin about your fare should you be taken sick so that you think you would nead assistance I use drop me a line and I will come on fourth with I hath Last heard from all of my Boys they are all getting along quite well.  James has the ?, Major Collins offered him all desire to be remembered.  Andrew sends with me his best wishes.

Your frend,

Jn Blekepon

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11 November 1864: “We fear that the disaster at Plymouth may have a tendancy to increase the feeing of jealousy between the army and navy . . .”

Item Description: “The Army and Navy, &tc., &tc.” (editorial), The Daily Journal (Wilmington, N.C.), 11 November 1864.








See a list of the Members of the next Legislature, and other reading matter on 4th page of this morning’s JOURNAL.

The Army and Navy, &tc., &tc.

IT is always a matter of regret when jealousies or even possible causes of jealousy arise between different branches of the public service. It is especially a matter of regret when such things arise at a time when all the efforts of all branches are absolutely necessary to keep the ship of state from drifting upon the rocks which threaten to destroy her.

We fear that the disaster at Plymouth may have a tendency to increase the feeling of jealousy between the army and navy which, we regret to believe, exists in some quarters, and even to arouse such feelings where they have not yet been manifested. The destruction of the Albemarle involved the loss of Plymouth, and of much more besides. By whose fault—if it was by a fault—was the Albemarle lost? Was it by the fault of the navy in charge of the Albemarle, or by the negligence of the army pickets? Some say one thing, come say another. We do not design now to express an opinion, farther than to say that it is natural that men’s feelings should, to some extent at least, influence their judgments, and thus that army men should lay the blame on the navy and navy men upon the army.— A full investigation might be necessary to decide all the questions involved, and that can hardly be obtained during times like these. It would be better, if a full hearing cannot be had, to have none, at least no wrangling through the newspapers.

The fact is that Yankee vessels in several instances have also been struck in the same way, and one at least, a large Steamship, sunk off Charleston bar, without serious reproach being cast upon any of the Yankee naval commanders. We, however, have so few vessels, and they have been constructed under so many disadvantages, that we perhaps expect more from them than we are justified in doing, and are unduly excited by the information of any disaster to them.

The disadvantages to which we have above referred press hard on the personnel of the Navy. The officers of the old Navy who resigned for the purpose of tendering their services to the South, sacrificed mere than any one can well imagine. They sacrificed a career.— They must have felt that the Confederacy had no bright hopes of promotion to hold out to them, while the United States had many inducements to offer. They must have felt themselves confined to the irksome routine of mere harbor defence, or, if going to sea, forced to adopt a mere predatory character as sea raiders, without venturing to come into collision with the heavier and infinitely more powerful war vessels of the enemy.— Nothing but, patriotism could hare prompted their course, and we feel the more bound to honor those who have obeyed its teachings, because of their contrast to those who, like FARRAGUT, DRAYTON,. DUPONT, GOLDSBOROUGH, and many others, elected to remain with the North and make war upon their own section, and, as in the case of DRAYTON, upon his own State and his own home. DRAYTON is a South Carolinian, from the sea islands, it is said. He was engaged in the bombardment of Port Royal.

Thus it comes abort that, while all respect the gentlemen of the Navy, appreciate their patriotism and admire their courage and enterprise whenever an opportunity is afforded for their display, the Navy Department cannot be said to be a favourite with the people. Owing perhaps to our inadequate facilities, something is always the matter with our boats, which seem to be built only to be blown up or sunk by the enemy or by ourselves. From the first Merrimac down to the Albemarle such seems to have been their usual fate. We will say nothing about matters nearer home. It needs not that we should,—We don’t know that all or any part of this is Mr. MALLORY’S fault, or anybody’s fault, but fault or no fault, it is so. Our navy men have had an up-hill business from the first, and there are no signs of improvement. Men even begin to doubt the policy of sending out vessels like the Tallahassee to make a few days dash and then return to some port to lie supine for five or ten times as long. While the dashes made do credit to the daring of our officers and men, they have the effect rather of exasperating the enemy than of weakening his resources, or making him tired of the war. It may be said, and with truth, that the enemy is doing his worst at any rate. This is so, but we do not know whether it is a thing to be desired by the Confederacy for his strength to be concentrated, and his efforts put forth to close our main avenue to the ocean. It is the thought that recent events tempt him to make the trial—may, almost compel him to do so. Perhaps people here take a wrong view of this thing, or at least attach more importance to certain considerations already referred to, than would be done by others occupying a different standpoint. It is so hard to see perfectly straight and without bias. But right or wrong, these dashes out and dashes in are regarded with considerable distrust here by very many persons not engaged in running the blockade, while the government itself has suffered directly and incidentally by captures, to an extent likely to weigh heavily in the scale. We do not know that increased efforts of the enemy are due to the Tallahassee but it is perfectly reasonable to suppose that they are. To suppose that the Yankee government would not put an increased and more vigilant watch here for the purpose of capturing armed vessels, is to suppose sheer nonsense. No doubt they have done so.

But all these considerations have reference simply to the policy pursued, and not at all to the officers engaged in carrying out that policy, which they no doubt do gallantly and well. Mr. MALLORY may not be able to do any better, save by not doing it at all—that is, if, as some contend, the disadvantages overcome the advantages of a warfare so carried on. This is a question which we cannot pretend to decide. We do not know that it leaves much balance in our favour, certainly.

Item Citation: “The Army and Navy, &tc., &tc.” (editorial), The Daily Journal. (Wilmington, N.C.), 11 November 1864.  Call number C071 Z, North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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10 November 1864: “Gen Sherman says it will be the grandest move of the war.”

Item Description: Letter dated 10 November 1964, written by Joseph S. Reynolds. He was an officer of the 64th Illinois Infantry Regiment and the Yates Sharpshooters, taking part in 17 battles, including Sherman’s March to the Sea. In this letter, Reynolds writes about Sherman’s March to the Sea.


Item Citation: Folder 5, Joseph S. Reynolds, #5060-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Near Marietta Ga

Nov 10/64

Brother Charles,

I have time but for a word. We have just got the Reg Clother all paid and we start again tomorrow for a long march. Gen Sherman says it will be the grandest move of the war. I have command of the old 64th Ills and will during the trip. I am well and feel tip top at the head of so noble a Regiment. Col Manning goes north today


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9 November 1864: “the election day in the United States, what a struggle it must have been!”

Item Description: Diary entry dated 9 November 1864, written by Sarah Lois Wadley.



Item Citation: Folder 5, Sarah Lois Wadley Papers, #1258, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Wednesday, Nov. 9th. 1864


Yesterday was a day which will be ever memorable on this continent, the election day in the United States, what a struggle it must have been! We cannot hear the result for some time, we shall wait with great anxiety, there is probably more solicitude about this election in the South, and more excitement in the North than in the one of four years ago.

I have been very busy in my little garden, planting some violets and hyacinths, we have laid out half of it in beds and I think it will look quite pretty, it is a great pleasure to work in it, rests my mind a great deal but is very tiresome to the body, my shoulders ache me badly, but this is nothing, nothing to the trouble and anxiety and weariness of my mind this morning, sometimes I feel as if I am doing no good to the children. Oh! if I could only be more patient, if I could only subdue my nervous irritability, I am so much to blame, I should have learned better self control. But the children hurt me so, Loring and Eva by their disregard of my feelings, by their want of love, which they show very often when I correct them ever so mildly, and that irritates me and makes the matter worse instead of mending it. I have resolved and resolved over and over again but it is so hard to see the point of severity to which my duty should make me go, God help me I pray, I am too weak and sinful to aught alone.

A Mr. Vandenberg whom I met in Monroe, not long ago, came here Saturday to tune my piano, it is quite improved though it does not sound as sweet as I had hoped it would. I suppose that is the fault of the instrument, not the tuner. Miss Mary and Eva have commenced to practice again.

I have been so busy with school and my garden lately that I have had little time to read in my “Girondists,” am very much afraid I shall not be able to finish it this month. We have not yet finished David Copperfield, are in the most exciting part of it now, though to me the book is not exciting, it may be because I have read it before, but I think not, it is too deeply pathetic to be exciting.

The weather has for a day or two been very cloudy and as warm as summer but it has cleared off pleasantly cool this evening. Dr. Furness was over Sunday night, says he thinks Mrs. Oliver in a very critical situation, I do indeed hope she will recover. I have had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Bluebecker lately, he spent the evening with us about two weeks ago, I like him tolerably I think, would like him better but that he has such a peculiarly weak, thin voice, which strikes one unfavourably. I think a great deal of character is manifested in the tones of voice. Dr. Melton came over about a week ago with Capt. Oliver’s brother. I liked Dr. M. no better than at first, though his conversation was more pleasing, not being on political matters.

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8 November 1864: “It seems like every body have forgotten me”

Item Description:  A letter to Emma Alexander, wife of Sydenham Benoni Alexander, from her cousin Eugene B. Wiggins

18641108_01 18641108_02

Item Citation:From Folder 1, in the Emma Pauline Nicholson Alexander papers #4632, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Item Transcription:

Camp Manly’s Battery
Nov. 8 1864

Dear Cousin Em, 

I have been hoping to here from you for some time but have not. So I have come to the conclusion to write to you and if you do not answer my letter, never to write another letter, as long as I stay in the army. It seems like every body have forgotten me since I came in the army. I went over to Lanis Birgade a few day ago. And Billie got there while I was there he had been in Richmond ever since he left Hillsboro. Ed was looking very sad untill Bill got there and told him about Miss Sallie. Tom and Da were still getting letters from the Badham’s. I heard that Gill had left Pattie Leu and was flying round Bettie Austin. When did you here from little Perry. When I passed through Weldon he asked me about you. Cousin Em, you must excuse this short and badly writen letter for we have a poor chance for writing. Please answer soon. 

Your Cousin, 

Eugene B. Wiggins.

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7 November 1864: “she sent a great deal of love to you and complained that you never wrote to her now.”

Item Description: Letter from William Porter Alexander to his wife.  He discusses aspects of his social life in town as well as his sentiments about arming slaves as soldiers.  Edward Porter Alexander (1835-1910) was an engineer, United States and Confederate army officer, university professor, businessman, and planter.



Item Citation: Folder 21, Edward Porter Alexander Papers, #7, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Camp Same Place Nov 7th 1864

Your letters of the 26th and 30th have both arrived my Darling Wife since My last to U and I have enjoyed them as I always do every line you write more than you can well appreciate until U are separated from me and the little ones also.  I have got the saucepan U want I believe and will send it out by Hilly’s servant.  Sister Sally will go out to her plantation via Savannah in a couple of weeks and I will send by her the flannel, soap, and alpaca for you, getting her to leave them in Sav. with Aunt Lou to be send either by Express or private hand to Nash.  I don’t like to trust them with a servant.  If I don’t get any underclothes thru the blockade or in some other way, I may need a pair of drawers or two out of the flannel but I hope to be able to let U have it all.  I called to see Mrs. Woolfold on Saturday, she sent a great deal of love to you and complained that you never wrote to her now.  She and and Mrs. Nannie both kissed me very affectionately on meeting and parting.  I took dinner also with Lucy (Webb) yesterday and she also complained of no letter from you greatly.  So write to her.  I’m afraid you don’t like Lucy as much as you ought for she is very kind and affectionate to me.  She has been in poor health recently and looks very badly.  My factotum Charley has taken a great fancy to sister Lou and says “she is the most tender hearted sister I’ve got cause she cried when she told me goodbye and always wants to send me things to eat.”  I saw Hilly and Sally at church yesterday and Hilly gave me a gallon of molasses.  Sister Lou hasn’t seen Hilly once since Sally came on, he never having been to the house.    She called on Sally once and Sally returned the call.  If father hasn’t sent on the box of muck a muck for me yet please ask him to send in it a shot of tin to make a strainer for our pea soup with the pea hulls in it don’t improve it.  There is no word of news to write except that we are still busy working on our lines and the enemy will apparently wait to vote for Lincoln before risking their valuable lives again.  Meanwhile we grow stronger every day.  I have recently gotten one and expect to get more of the celebrated Armstrong guns from England.  They are very valuable.  The question of arming the Darkeys is now discussed a great deal and Field and many officers are strongly in favor of it.  I believe they may be made to fight tolerably but am much opposed to it as inhumane and unchristian and bad policy.  We could never rely upon them at all.  I do want to see about 5000 conscripted for this army as a working force to build new lines and open roads for us and they will add much more to our strength than the same number of white men.  My application for Mr. Dunwoody only reached the War Office a few days ago, tho written on the 28th Sept.  Much love to all and kiss our dear little ones for me.  May God ever bless and keep you all Darling and soon return us to each other ever prays.

Your loving Husband

I find in my desk the accompanying letter of Willie’s and as he is out today I endorse it.

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6 November 1864: “We wold blo it up before thay shood have it.”

Item Description: Letter from Jerome Rigins, a sailor in the Confederate Navy, to Martin Moser.  He discusses how Union troops have taken Plymouth and will likely take Kinston.  If Kinston were to fall, they would destroy their ship (believed to be the CSS Neuse).



Item Citation: Martin Moser Papers # 3972-z

Item Transcription:

November the 6 1864

Kinston NC

Der frend,

i seat my self Down to write you a few lins to let you no that i am better.  i have been very sick with the fever.  i am nerly well agane.  I am only week now.  the officers pade a good tention to me while i was down.  We have good wether now.  The rivver is low.  The Yankee is taking Plymouth agane.  I expects the Yankee will under take Kinston.  if thay do thay will take it i think but i don’t think thay can take our boat easy.  We wold fight hard it.  We wold di at it rather than to give it up.  We wold blo it up before thay shood have it.  tell July that I will send her somthing if i cand git the chace i will send her nuf prety stuff to make her A bonet if i can.  we have preaching evry Sunday the chuch bell is ringing now for preaching now.  our Capt is got orders not to give ferlow enymore.  now till ellic and Eli howdy for me that i only way one hundread and fifty ponds.  So I mast close by asking you to write soon.  give my respcts to all my frends.  So no more at this time you must excuse my bad writing my hand tremble so I cand half write.

Jorome Rigins

To Mr. Martin Moser

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5 November 1864: “these will be but little security to any thing below the Wilmington”

Item Description: Letter dated 5 November 1864 written by William S. Pettigrew. He writes regarding the charge of his baggage, will, and other personal belongings. His worry over the possibility of a Wilmington invasion informs his instructions.


Item Citation: Folder 270, Pettigrew Family Papers, #00592, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

To Mr John Blekepon



Copy Camp Writing near Wilmington N.C.

Nov. 5, 1864

My dear Sir:

I wrote you on the day after my arrival in camp; which I hope will be received; if it have not already been. In addition to what was then written I would be glad to add the request that you would wet the mucilage on the envelope that contains my will, and seal it up (not with a wafer however, but merely with the mucilage). As it is paper of some importance to me perhaps it would be best to have it closed from the observation of every one but myself. When my baggage is lent to Raleigh, to the care of my Uncle, Mr. James B. Shepard, as I have requested in my former letter, you will please place  the will, my watch & money in the hands of the person who will be good enough to take charge of the baggage, and request him to deliver them to Mr Shepard. Will you please wrap them up securely in paper, counting the money & putting with it strip of paper specifying the amount.

Lest my last letter should not have reached you, I will repeat some of the instructions there given. In consequence of the fall of Plymouth & the probability of raids being made by the enemy, into the counties above, these will be but little security to any thing below the Wilmington & Weldon R.R. you will therefore oblige me by sending my baggage to Raleigh, to the care of Mr Shephard, by the first safe opportunity, even should one offer before Mr Len. Hapell goes on to the Legislation. It will be safer in Raleigh than Edgecombe. The pair of new shoes, intended for my own use in the service, please retain for the present, as well as George’s new shoes & clothes, unless there be reason to apprehend that they will fall in the hands of the enemy if so then please do with them as in your judgment may appear best. My shoes ? we could not part with particularly the former without much inconvenience. The Daguerreotypes belonging to ? son Hines you will please retain until I have heard from my sister Mary, unless there is a probability of their being lost in unsettled state of the country. If there be such a probability, it would be best to send them to her, accompanied with an apology for not accompanying them with a letter.

As to the length of our stay here, I am unable to form an opinion. Some think there is a probability of an attack on Wilmington; others that there is none. The Regt of So. Reserve, that was ordered from this encampment on Monday last to the north eastern part of the State, has been ordered back & is now near here. For what purpose I have not heard. Our Capt, who has just left our cabin, says Maj. Riley, the commander of the post- remarked today that we had as well make ourselves content. It was one of the Lieutenants instead of the Captain. Should a letter arrive at Tarboro from my sister at Richmond in the course of a few days, please forward it to me to the care of Capt. J.M. Hart, Camp Whiting near Wilmington, Company B. Senior Reserves. I commenced drilling yesterday. We have so fitted up our cabin that it is comfortable. With my best respects to your family & the ? Jones, I am, very truly yours, W.S. Pettigrew

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4 November 1864: “Morning Report of 1st, 2nd, & 4th GA, Cav.”

Item description: The morning report of the brigade commanding by Colonel C. C. Crews


???????????????????????????????Item Citation:

From Folder 9, in the William Asbury Whitaker Papers #3433, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription: 

Exhibit 4
November 4th 1864 

C. C. Crews

Morning Report of 
1st, 2nd, + 4th GA, Cav


Morning report of the:                 Regiment of: Crews Brigade            Commanded by: Col. C. C. Crews


1st Cav. lead by Col. S. W. Dailts (?)  (…) Total Present for duty: 611
2nd Cav. Capt. T. M. Mim’t               (…)  Total Present for duty: 468    7 off 48 men prisoners of war
4th Cav. Maj. Stewart                     (…)  Total Present for duty: 361    3 off 109 men prisoners of war
added by                                      (…)    Total Present for duty: 1440
Major Bryan from Memoranda
3rd Gen Col. Thompson                    (…)    Total Present for duty: 536
6th ”       ” Hart                               (…)     Total Present for duty: 379
4th ”       ” Clinch                             (…)    Total Present for duty: 805
Lt. Col. Harris Coring                                                                                         

                                                          (…)                               1720
                                                          (…)                              1440


Date: Nov 4th             JohnPlinkJn A.A. (sic.) Adjutant. L.     Col C. C. Crews Commanding. Maj



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