13 Febrary 1865: “You have no objection to my marrying on the spot or do you prefer my waiting until I am Brigadier General”

Item Description: A letter from R. Roulhac to his mother regarding, provisions for clothes, his romantic pursuits at home, as well as his rank in his regiment. He speaks at length about how much letters from home mean to him.

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Item Citation: From Folder 92, in the Ruffin, Roulhac, and Hamilton Family #643, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Petersburg, Va
Feb 13th 65

Dear Mother,

Your long letter came duly to hand and would have been answered but I thought that you would have received my letter written immediately on my arrival here, before this & I might answer both at the same time.

I was very glad to hear from you and I think you might have answered my letter before this since I have been looking for an answer day after day for the past week but day doomed to disappointments, I have written to Hillsboro about a dozen times since I left there & your letters constitute the totum et tutum of mind, make every body answer my letters and please like a good mother set them the example, for although I love dearly to hear from all my friends your letters Dear Mother make me a better boy for a week afterwards if I could  you to believe this I know you would write once a week and that’s exactly what you ought to do. Give my best love to all at home, I suppose ? has returned from Columbia, if so kiss her & dear little Katya a thousand times for me. I would like so much to see them both.

I sent a letter Dear Mother from Major Graham you will send the length of cloth by xpress to Hillsboro. I hope you have rec’d it as it will be a great loss to myself & Lt. Barrett, they are in the same bundle but tied up separately. I presume, out is for myself (the finest) & the other I wish you would send by Wallie when he comes next. You have had my pants and vest made, I suppose, please send my whole suit by Walter Thompson when he comes in the valise, which is the very thing I want to carry with me in the army.

I shall want my suit to go to Shirling Suix wedding if I can get off at that time and when I get my suit I am sure I can feel like a white man & a gentleman all I want is a pr. of nice boots or shows to dance in & I shall be annoyed; the wedding will come off about the 12th of 15th of March. You need not say anything about it. I hope to go & shall try to do so but I do not know if Miss. Robert will let me. I hope you have my pants made with enough in the legs.

I expect I may soon be made Captain tho. I am not certain that are some promotions to make shortly.  in the Rg’t & Brigade and I have several friends of influence at work for me this is of course entre nous. I am ambitious you know & am working with all my might, should I succeed I suppose you will have no objection to my marrying on the spot or do you prefer my waiting until I am Brigadier General I believe I am in favor of waiting myself, in the meanwhile I have you to do my courting in Hillsboro with Lizzie Manly or Miss Lara. I am not particular, which provided Lizzie will get over the habit of fatiguing or exhausting, speaking of that remind me you said in your letter that “the young gentlemen say they will never have another storm here” What do they mean by “here” at your home or in Hillsboro. I would like very much to know. For if they mean at home they are a dirty set of blackguards.

I am sorry Robert Graham was not at home while I was there as I know any would have had a good time, he is a nice fellow and deserves he enjoy himself for his gallant conduct during the past campaign. I hope he may do so.

Write soon to me, John Long got your letter I am sorry you mentioned about the clothes for I had already done so. As you desired I tried to do it as politely & delicately as possible but I do not think he has the clothes, he has promised to look when we go to the Baggage Train which will be done after tomorrow Wednesday.

Love, to all. Kiss Becca Ruffin she the dearest somebody I know. Any which, Love to all friends. God bless you Dear Mother,

??

The R.R.

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12 February 1865: “The shells were thrown at the fort but when they exploded, the fragments flew in different directions, which caused us to do some tall dodging.”

Item Description:  Letter written by Zaccheus Ellis to his sister.  He discusses the living arrangements at Fort Anderson in North Carolina including the shelling by Union gunboats.  He also mentions fall in morale regarding Wilmington and lack of faith in the command of General Bragg.  He also talks about politics, arming slaves, and runaway slaves.  He was killed in action at Bentonville, N.C.

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Item Citation: Folder 1, in the Zaccheus Ellis Letters, #3266-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Headquarters Taylor’s Battalion near Fort Anderson

Febry 12 ’65

My dear Sister

I received yours of 31st a few days ago, and was truly glad to hear from you all. If the mail arrangements get any worse, I think the department might as well be abolished.

We are getting along pretty well now and have made ourselves very comfortable having built a pretty good shanty with a fire chimney, and about 3 feet of g nice fine straw to sleep on, and we are as warm as a toast. We are getting used to the life too, and after all have a better time than the troops in Virginia.

I am acting adjutant for Lt. Col. Taylor’s Battalion which is comprised of the 1st Battalion and 2 attached companies. This posting clears me of all guard and picket duty, which is quite a consideration. The Battalion occupies the same position as when I last wrote. Yesterday there was fighting all day on the other side with what result I have not heard. But Hoke still holds his position at Sugar Loaf and I suppose holds his entire lines. A monitor, and two or three gunboats engage the fort from about 11 till 4 o’clock, throwing about 150 shells, with no damage to our troops, except one man of our co. was slightly wounded in the heel. The shells were thrown at the fort but when they exploded, the fragments flew in different directions, which caused us to do some tall dodging. Their object in engaging the fort was, I think, to keep us from sending troops to Hoke. Everything quiet today.

I was in town a few days ago, saw Chas., who is quite well. Everybody there thinks Wiln is gone just when the Yankees ar come for it. They have no confidence whatever in Gen. Bragg, neither do the soldiers. I hope the place can be held, but must say that if we had some other general in command, my confidence would be greater. Nearly everyone, I believe, is going to stay if the place is taken. Mr Mitchell has gone to Sumter to bring down his family, and will remain.

A Nothing No heavy guns have been mounted since we came, and but very little done to strengthen the works. Whether this is for the want of guns or it is intention of Gen. Bragg to fall back to the obstrts below town I can’t say. I think, however, that it is the latter is his intention.

Our af Our national affairs are very gloomy now but I hope will brighten up before long. The peace commissions have accomplished nothing, which has quite disappointed me, and was in hopes that the mission would lead to something by which the war would be ended. I see no alternative now but fighting it out. I have no doubt but what the negroes will be put in our army, before long as soldiers. You know everyone opposed this bitterly at first, but I think now the people are prepared for it, it preference to being subjected. In care this is done, if father has no objections, I will take one of the stove boys with me as a cook. Please say to him that I have the pony here with me, as I thought he would have no objections, and in case of a move she will be of great service to me in moving.

I made an application about two weeks ago for a furlough but it was disapproved, which was quite a disappointment to me. I will make another one before long which I do hope will be approved. I am longing to see you all, my dear sister, and do hope I will be able to do so before long.

I was quite surprised at Sophy’s running away but the negroes now think that they will be free before long, and have pretty high notions.

Lt. Evans was captured at Fisher, slightly wounded I understand he behaved very well. You know he belongs to Capt. McCormick’s company now of our Battalion.

Dearest love to all

Affectionately

Zac

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11 February 1865: “The delay which all these causes have produced in the payment of the troops, whilst it is painfully regretted by all who appreciate their invaluable services, ought and should be promptly redressed by the action of Congress, and the officers charged with the same.”

Item Description: Report, dated 11 February 1865, of the Special Committee on the Pay and Clothing of the Army, House of Representatives of the Confederate States of America.

[Scans courtesy of Internet Archive and Duke University Library. This item can also be found via the Rare Book Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.]

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Item Citation: “Report of the Special Committee on the Pay and Clothing of the Army.” Confederate States of America. Congress. House of Representatives.; Richmond, Va., 11 February 1865. Call number 637 Conf., Rare Book Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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10 February 1865: “Congress does not hereby assume to change the social and political status of the slave population of the States”

Item Description: A Bill to Provide for Raising Two Hundred Thousand Negro Troops by the Confederate Army. It specifies that any slave that enters into the service will have the written permission of his owners, and that they do not wish to change the status of any slave.

[Scans courtesy of Internet Archive and Duke University Library. This item can also be found via the Rare Book Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.]

 

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Item Citation: “A bill to provide for raising two hundred thousand Negro troops”Confederate States of America. Congress. Senate. Richmond, Va., 1865. Call number 216 Conf., Rare Book Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

 

Item Transcription:

[SENATE BILL, No. 190,]

        SENATE, February 10, 1865.–Read first and second times, referred to Committee on Military Affairs, and ordered to be printed.

[By Mr. OLDHAM.]

A BILL
To provide for Raising Two Hundred Thousand Negro Troops.

1         SECTION 1. The Congress of the Confederate States of America
2 do enact, That the President of the Confederate States be
3 and he is hereby authorized to receive into the military service,
4 any number of negro troops not to exceed two hundred thousand.

1         SEC. 2. That the President be and he is authorized, to assign
2 officers already appointed, or make appointments of officers, to
3 raise and command said troops; and the same, when raised,
4 shall be organized as provided under existing laws.

1         SEC. 3. That no negro slave shall be received into the service
2 without the written consent of his owner and under such
3 regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary of War to
4 carry into effect this act.

1         SEC. 4. That it is hereby declared, that Congress does not
2 hereby assume to change the social and political status of the
3 slave population of the States, but leaves the same under the
4 jurisdiction and control of the States to which it belongs.

 

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9 February 1865: “…it shall be the duty of the Governor to cause to be enrolled as a Guard for Home Defence, all white male persons not already enrolled in the service of the Confederate States…”

Item Description: A broadside containing General Orders for the operation of the North Carolina Home Guard. The order describes who may be exempted from service and the structure and organization of the units. An additional order from the Fifth Regiment Home Guard unit based in Statesville, North Carolina, is included on the bottom right.

Item Citation: “General orders, no. 2.” North Carolina Adjutant General’s Department. [Raleigh, N.C. : s.n., 1865]. Cb970.74 N87a2. From the North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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8 February 1865: “the enemy have repaired burnt bridge and are crossing”

Item Description: George Anderson Mercer was a lawyer and Confederate officer from Savannah, Ga. He kept an intermittent diary throughout his life. During the War he was captured in Macon, Ga, and returned to service after his release. During this period in the war he served in Mercer and Wright’s Division, and was in South Carolina. Diary entries from this time include troop movements from both armies and tactical decisions made by both sides, as well as the outcomes of several small skirmishes. This entry describes the advantages of his enemy, and the weapons held by both sides.

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Item Citation: From Folder 4a, in the George Anderson Mercer Diary, #503, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Wed. Feb. 8th

Notified by Genl. Wright that he forces of the enemy near White Hall had retired. 2 1/2 P.M. informed by Genl. Blanchard that the enemy have repaired burnt bridge and are crossing horse-men and foot-man. Enemy’s long range gun’s give them great advantage: our men are armed with smooth bore muskets that are not effective beyond 200 yards, while the rifles of the enemy are effective at 500 to 800 yards. 

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7 February 1865: ” I am in a big hurry to get away from this place as I fear we are all destined to go up if we stay here long.”

Item Description: Letter from William Henry Tripp to his wife Araminta Guilford Tripp.  He describes evacuation Savannah and Bald Head.  He also details the dire situation at Fort Anderson which is under attack from Union naval ships.  He has submitted his resignation from the Confederate Army and is waiting for it to be processed.  He also mentions his health, farm planting, his wedding anniversary, and his upcoming birthday.

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Item Citation: Folder 8, in the William Henry Tripp and Araminta Guilford Papers, #4551, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Ft Anderson

Feb 7th 1865

My Dear Wife

Yours of the 13th to the 28th of January was recived two days ago and I fain would have answerd it before this but the weather was so cold yesterday and I had so much drilling to do I could not write especially as my chance is verry bad at the best of times Today it is raining in torrents and Seb & Macon has gone to bed Harrison is at town so there is no one withing this little 8 by 10 house but Gilliam and myself and both of us are engaged in write to those we love but I shall have to hurry for as soon as the rain holds up then will be a crowd as this is the post office and Gilliam is the post master for our Brigade. I am really sorry that what I wrote at Savannah gave you pain tho I wrote what we all thought to be the truth at the time But by hard work and hard fighting we kept a narrow way open by which we escaped in the night. We had to fight for it all the day before tho and had we have 6 hours later that would have been closd against us. As it was we had a hard time of it for we had to march 17 hours without halting only a few minutes at a time to rest a little. Sherman was so close after us that he captured 800 of our men in the City. One of mine was caught there But the evacuation of Savannah was nothing to the evacuation of Bald Head for in the former case it was conducted by sober who knew what they were doing and in the latter case it was done by drunken men and by those who were novices in the business of evacuation. In the former case we brought off all that we could get transportation for and in the latter we brought off nothing when we might have brought off all. even 3 of my men and several from other companies were left on the island One man was burned up in the quarters when they were set on fire Over a million of Quartermasters and Company stores were left and destroyd The men were not allowed even to bring off their clothes and cooking utensils and now we are without either. If negroes were selling for a good price I would make fortune selling my company as far as colour goes They are the blackest smuttiest set of white men you ever saw both in clothes and complexion. Half of my men are without shoes almost entirely and your humble servant will have to go on the retired list if he cant get a pair of shoes soon. I sent forward my resignation on the 23 of Jan and am in hopes of haring from it soon now but for fear it might not recive prompt attention I have written to the Hon Thos Fuller to attend to it for me and send its acceptance to me as soon as possible if not sooner I am in a big hurry to get away from this place as I fear we are all destined to go up if we stay here long. There are some 40 or 50 ships including two iron clads just below us and I have no doubt they will attack us soon Last friday they shelled us for two hours only one of them at a time and one shell wounded 6 of my men One of them has since died and another is dangerously hurt on the head. There are several more of my men stunned and I came verry near getting hit myself I was in 30 feet of it and was covered over in dirt. I was the only Capt who had any men hurt My men that were hurt was Alfred Robinson torn up since dead Robt Greene skull fractured Bracy E Jackson severly wounded in the side face and arm Segt J A Thomas in the arm slightly J L Potter in both knees slightly Wm Whitaker in leg right bad. They have not shelled us since but will do so again soon Had my men done as they were directed now would have got hurt. They will look out hereafter. Today we hear was set apart for them to attack us but the weather is so bad they will have to pospone it until better times. We expect to get attacked both by land and water at the same time. But thank the Lord there is a chance to escape if we get whipt and you may be sure I shall try hard to do so if I am not hurt The odds is against us be we can give odds of 2 to 1 and whip them if the men will only do with it. I am quite well except having the dysentery. I was taken with it about mid night and have lost a good deal of blood from my bowels since then I have never had so much blood to come from my bowels in my life before but I hope it will soon stop. John Bonner is quite well and getting along quite well. I am glad to hear of your keeping well and of the childrens good health. Bad colds are incident to the season of the year and can hardly be called sickness, I do sincerely hope and trust you may keep in good health so as to be able to get through with your trial when your full time has come with ease comparatively. I am sorry to her that you think you will not have corn enough. I am well aware that Roden has no judgement in feeding and things that hods in the woods must have all they can swallow or they are not fed. Homer & Roden must have done a sorry business at South Creek. If I should get home I will see if we cant make enough to eat. Big Roden did not plant near as much as he aught to at home but I cannot blame him he is so faithful and true and no doubt thought he was doing for the best I hope your wheat got up and is doing well as I think this weill be a good wheat year as the winter has been so cold. I hope Roden will sow the oats on the first good spell of weather as they to be sure of a good crop must be sowed early. Have the Irish potatoes planted this month a good many of them as they are an excellent crop to raise. If I get home I will plant some in March so as to have two crops of them. You ask me if I recollect the 27th of Jan 1853 Yes darling I never can forget that day as on it I recived the greatest blessing ever vouchsafed to man A good pretty loving little wife the best little or big wife in the world. I shall certainly take leave of my senses before I can ever forget that day how verry happy I felt And darling I look upon it as the best day of my life. I felt perfectly happy and still recur to it as the last days wash I ever did for myself Tomorrow darling is the 45th anniversary of my birth. I am really getting old and should live out the allotted days of man am past the meridian of life. My weak sight and stiffening joints admonish me that I am hastening to the grave. Yet I am a vile sinner yet The Lord knows the dearest wish of my heart is to be a christian yet I am no better now than I was 20 years ago I fear it will be so to the end.

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6 February 1865: “To our enemies I have no complaint to make”

Item Description: A letter regarding the treatment of Confederate prisoners by Union troops at Fort Pulaski for February 6th, 1865.

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Item Citation: From Folder 3, in the John Lucas Paul Cantwell Papers #3027, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Fort Pulaski, Ga., 6th February, 1865

My Dear Sir,

Believing that it is not contraband & that the Federal Authorities don’t desire to conceal the facts, I write to you to state briefly the suffering of privation to which we are subjected & I challenge a denial. Since the 1st day of January last our ration has been per day 10 ounces of corn meal about 4 ounces of wheat bread salt & more pickels! than we can eat & until very recently this too was the only diet for those of us who were sick. Three fourths of our number are in consequence sick with Scurvy, Diarrhea, & Coughs. & Supplies have not been allowed to reach such of us as had friends to send them but were returned and we are directed to apply to Gnl Wepels at Washingon DC for permits to receive them, a number of applications have been made but as yet no reply has been received. I write requesting that these facts be made known in the proper quarter. To our enemies I have no complaint to make. Very truly yr friend

S Centwell Capt 3rd NC R(?) Prisr War

Hm Geo Davis Atty Genl OSA Richmond VA

 

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5 February 1865: “We learned from them that the message of President Lincoln to the Congress of the United States, in December last, explains clearly and distinctly his sentiments as to the terms, conditions and method of proceeding, by which peace can be secured to the people…”

Item Description: Report, “Message of the President : to the Senate and House of Representatives of the Confederate States of America (with an Extract from Mr. Lincoln’s message of December last, referred to in the foregoing report)”.

[Scans courtesy of Internet Archive and Duke University Library. This item can also be found via the Rare Book Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.]

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Item Citation:  “Message of the President : to the Senate and House of Representatives of the Confederate States of America (with an Extract from Mr. Lincoln’s message of December last, referred to in the foregoing report).” Confederate States of America. President.; Richmond, Va., 1865. Call number 637 Conf., Rare Book Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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4 February 1865: “I don’t see any prospect of me ever visiting N. C. while the war lasts unless I am fortunate enough to get wounded.”

Item Description: A letter from Daniel M. Willis, a friend and Civil War companion to George W. Lewis, about why Willis has stayed with his regiment. He expresses his desire to go home, and hopes that George can remember him to his family and friends.

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Item Citation: From Folder 1, in the George W. Lewis Papers #4354-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription: 

Near Aberdeen Miss. 

4th Feby 1865

Sergt. G. W. Lewis

Frances George, 

Your note dated 29th Jany. last has just been handed me. I am afraid my not will be too late for you. I am sadly disappointed in not getting to visit -N. C. myself. I have for a long time thought I would be sure to be furloughed, but the “war Dept”  refuses to disband any more troops but furloughing every 7th man belonging to the “Trans Miss. Dept”. My Command refused to draw for a long time but at last concluded to draw. I was unfortunate and drew a blank. My Regt. says they are going to Lxsx(?) on the “owl train.” I do not think they out to but if I was situated as the members of my command expected – I would go too – The 10th just is the time set to start. I shall remain with the command until they have them. I know not what to do. Oh how I wish I could go to N.C. with you I feel like I cannot remain away from N.C. much longer, George. 

You must be sure to **** **** the “old folks at home.” Tell them I am well and doing tolerably well. Anything in the way of clothing you can bring me would be very acceptable. If Mother has the goods by her for me, just bring it and I can have it made up. 

I want you to remember me to my relatives as well as all inquiring friends. Tell Father I am nearly dismantled and if he can share the money please to send me by you enough to by me a horse and you will trouble yourself to bring it to me I would feel myself under many obligations to you if you would bring it to me. 

Tell mother I don’t see any prospect of me ever visiting N. C. while the war lasts unless I am fortunate enough to get wounded & furloughed from the ?. Give my special regards to Miss Pat Lane and my love to Connie Sally may & Sister also. Remember me to the Missus Meadow. & miss Eliza when. I would also be pleased to have you remember me to the Misses Lawson and in fact all of my old friendly acquaintances. You must be sure to go see Father’s family. If you fail I never will forgive you. Bring me a letter “old apple or peach brandy” just to remind me of “Auld lang signe” I hope you will have a pleasant trip and enjoy yourself fondly. 

Your Friend, 

Daniel M. Willis

P.S. I am told we will be put in different divisions after this. You will be in Jack *** & Ross will command my Div. We are going down in front of Vicksburg

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