2 December 1864: “I will now tell you how I made my escape.”

Item Description: A letter from W.D. Wharton to his future wife Mollie. Wharton was from North Carolina and served in the Confederate Cavalry in Virginia. Here he describes a narrow escape from Spring Creek, Virginia, and thanks God for sparing him.

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Citation: From Folder 7 in the W.D Wharton Papers, #5059, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Transcription:

Spring Creek Va. Dec 2nd 1864

My Dear Mollie, 

Fearing that you will hear of the capture of Spring Creek & all the men there, I send a man to Belfield Station to mail a letter to you to relieve you, I will now tell you how I made my escape. Capt. Waldhauer just – as the Yanks came in eight – ordered me to camp to bring out men that had not reported, & just as I got in about two hundred guards of the Depot, they made a charge, & captured the place, with all the men that were there. & I left there. I feel my thankful to & all wise providence that I am spared. I have not time to write more. Will write you soon, if you write direct your letter to this Brigade, & I can get them from there.

Good by my Mollie, “Will”

Direct this way,

W.D. Wharton
Col. 5th N.C. Cav.
Barringer’s Brigade
A.Ct. Va.  

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1 December 1864: “We are ordered to the war”

Item Description: Letter from Peter Adams to John Steele Henderson.  He is being sent off to serve in the war.

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Item Citation: Folder 36 in the John S. Henderson Papers, #327, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Chapel Hill

Dec 1 1864

Dear John,

We are ordered to the war; shift for yourself and watch out well.

I leave here tonight.

I have just seen Bernie he is nearly dead.

Yours in the bonds,

Peter Adams

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30 November 1864: “Thou hast nobly done thy duty, In thy Country’s holy strife, And thy soul of Christian beauty Hath assumed immortal life.”

Item Description: Letter from Polly Tunstall to her cousin Jane Alston, lamenting the death of her brother George Dudley Tunstall.  She also worries about the health of her father and her brothers Nathaniel and Landon who are serving in the Confederate Army.

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Item Citation: Folder 22 in the Lucy Tunstall Alston Williams, #4351, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Home Nov. 30th 1864

My dear cousin,

Can it be or is it a horrible drama? Can it be that my first my good my precious Brother is no more? Something says it is unalterably truth. Oh! what must I do in my sorrow! I am no longer myself; my very being seems to sink beneath the power of this unexpected stroke. Why was my heart’s Idol so soon torn from me?

Who will fill the void in our hearts? But O blessed, comforting reflection that he is now resting in the bosom of the one, who sweet lackings have ever blessed him, enjoying eternal light and felicity, free from the tortures of an earthly existence.

“Thou art gone, my darling Brother.

Called from earth in youth’s bright bloom;

Gone to join our sainted Mother, Though death’s awful, silent gloom.

Thou hast nobly done thy duty,

In thy Country’s holy strife,

And thy soul of Christian beauty

Hath assumed immortal life.”

It may be well that in life’s bright morn he should pass away from earth so dark and clean. He was too sensitive to bear the many ills which must inevitably meet us all before the end of Time. His mission is fulfilled, the page of his life’s history is unsullied.

Even in our hearts will he live, and his memory will be cherished and interned with the charcoal flowers of affection whose delicious aroma will ever awake to the recollection of our loved one, bidding us look away from earth to those bright regions of eternal day where all the “pure in heart” shall dwell.

A Power Divine makes our destiny and we his helpless creatures creatures must submit. It does indeed seem that God has withdrawn his arm from around our family but let us remember:

“Judge not the Lord, by feeble sense

But trust him for his grace

Behind a smiling fairing Providence

He hides a smiling face.”

God’s chastisements are never needlessly inflicted upon his children.

He has always some object in view, either to incite us to reflect on our utter dependence on him Him or to arouse us from a lethargy or to arouse lukewarmness into which perhaps we had fallen; get it is hard for us to recognize His consistent decrees. “Thy will be done O, Lord not mine.” Could our hearts at all times respond to that sublime expression, life would be stripped of its vicissitudes.

Cousin Jennie will you pray God to give me strength to bear ? by this, my first great sorrow. I am trying to do so but it is hard to still my heart-throbbings; yet I know it would almost kill my poor grief-stricken father to see me so distressed. I am young and all that he has with him, so it ? on me to endeavor to [illegible] sweeten if possible his cup of not which is now ? once flowing. My poor father! He cannot survive many more crushing strokes; That ere long he the noble the generous man the best of fathers will soon sleep sweetly beneath the soil and his spirit will wing ito flight to realms of everlasting light. Poor Bro Nat is now a captain as well as my noble Cousin whom I shall always love [illegible] good to me. How much it would incur his anguish to know that my darling Brother is dead. “Dud and Hugh” precious names which will ever linger in my ear. And dear little Landon! is there not a thought for him in the midst of our anguish, for him who was snatched almost from his father’s arm and left all alone in this unfeeling world. No good brother to protect you now and supply you every want.

I feel that soon I will be left to trudge life’s rugged thorny pathway all alone with nothing to cheer me in my pilgrimage. What a sudden transition from happiness to misery, mine has been.

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29 November 1864: “The thieving scamps have broken Mr. Hunt, the Lipscombs and most everyone else in our county completely up.”

Item Description: Letter from H. R. Moore to Smith Lipscomb.  He discusses looting by Union Soldiers, wounded men at home, and contemplates joining the Army.  He also asks Lipscomb to secure his cotton to protect it from the Union soldiers.

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Item Citation: Folder 5, Lipscomb Family Papers, #429, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Bay Springs Mipi Nov. 29th 1864

Smith Lipscomb:

I have recently come out of the Yankees lines for the first time since soon after I left your house. The thieving scamps have broken Mr. Hunt, the Lipscombs and most everyone else in our county completely up. If John and Tom are still with you, say to them John Day Lipscomb will go after them soon. If he don’t go I will. Take as good care of my cotton as if it was your own and I will satisfy you when I move it. I think it would be best to have it in a house, securely fastened if there is as much thieving there as there is in most parts where I have been. Spare no paines to fully protect it from waste and from rogues and I will be satisfied. The Factors for which it was purchased has not yet been burned but does but little good inside the enemy’s lines.

Should Hood relieve our oppressed country I will want the cotton removed. My health is not good but think of going into the army. I am here on a visit to my Father’s family for the first time since the evacuation of Corinth. I found two Brother’s wounded and a sister’s Husband who has lost a leg and other broken. We have a much distressed world but we will have better times after awhile.

Our family was well when I left home. Give my best respects to your family.

Very Truly,

H. R. Moore

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28 November 1864: “We hear sad news from your State which makes us all very miserable about you”

Item Description: A letter to Elizabeth Seawell Hairston from her sister, E. Jentmeyer, describing the movements of family and friends within and outside the confederate army. Also, the letter describes some of her daily activities, and her worry for Elizabeth after the burning of Atlanta and Sherman’s march toward Macon.

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Item Citation: Folder 6, Elizabeth Seawell Hairston Hairston Papers, #1518, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

At Home Nov 28th 1864

My dear Sister,

I would have written you all this acknowledging your dear kind letter which came in a few days but Ma has written, and I have been writing to our dear brothers and my darling boys every week and my eyes are very weak, and I always suffer much from writing. so I know you will excuse me. Ma and I have received letters of late date written only a few days all are tolerable well. (From our dear brothers) Poor dear Thomas Green left on last Friday for the Army suffering with his breast and bowels, and the weather was very cold indeed. We are expecting Joseph every day, for his horse he is much pleased with the tenth Va, Co. D — The Officers are polite clever men he says and he is as much pleased as he could be in the Army. Willie poor fellow is so anxious to be in that Reg. Joe says he intends trying to get him in his Co. They will after they have their papers all served up and get settled have a boy to wait on them. No news of importance from Richmond or Petersburg. Early has had some skirmishing and Wheeler and Forest have been having some considerable victories but we hear sad news from your State which makes us all very miserable about you– the burning of Atlanta and Sherman’s marching on toward Macon.

 I do hope the good Lord will preserve your lives & your interests out there. Oh my Sister, let us pray more and put our whole trust in the arm of Jehovah, that is all we can do now, “Vain is the help of man.” 

Ma bears up astonishingly, but oh you know she must suffer most deeply. When Thomas Green started it seemed that it would almost take her life for some time, but I stayed with her and tried in my poor feeble way to heal the wound as well as I could Mr. Jentmeyer was suffering very much from rheumatism, he would write until 10 oclock and then go down and stay all night with us. 

She wrote Waller Staples to aid her in getting one of the boys and he answered promptly and very affectionately and said he had read her letter to the Secretary of War and he said if she would send on her petition. He would do the best he could for her—Waller has promised to use all the efforts he is capable of to get it through, but said he was afraid she would not succeed there was such a vast number of worst cases but I do think Ma will get one of them. 

I suppose Ma wrote you that Joseph’s Polly was dead she was sick only a few days was first taken with a hemorrhage from her lungs and had a baby a few days old that died one day and she the next. 

Mr. Marin who formally taught school at the Panuck Springs died a short time since. King Coger one of old Joe Rogers sons died in Richmond a few days since. had been a prisoner a long time at Fort Deleware and just returned exchanged. I suppose she wrote that Miss Lee who taught school at Mr Panelle’s was married to ? John Dillard

Tell Tyler brother Jackson took Lois down to Trinity College two weeks ago and left Edwin & Peter very well and much pleased–They will come home xmas as they are anxious to come and I can’t deny them, as Edwin poor dear boy will have to go into service a few months perhaps and it may be the last xmas they may spend together. Sad thought! It will cost a good deal but they must come. I wish dear Tyler could come over xmas and be with them.

Tell Lizzie Sarah Lee has commenced writing to her but has never finished. She wrote a nice letter to Edwin. Tell Mary Lou she must write to me, my letters are for you all my eyes are so weak I can’t write often. Ma received a note from Lucinda yesterday all well there, day before yesterday she heard from Sarah & all were well there. All are well at brother Jacksons & Uncle Joe also.

Ma sent a box to dear Willie on Saturday or started it. A Mr. Powel near Horse Pasture is to take it directly to the Regiment. Sarah sent him a box too of good things. She is a kind hearted good creature. I knit the dear fellow a pair of socks in two days ask Mary Lou if she could beat that. 

I also sent him some nice Pickles and butter I get a great deal of milk now– milk two cows and they give a great quantity I churn nearly every day. Tell Sam pork is selling at from 2 and half to 3 dollars. Corn from one hundred to a hundred and thirty dollars a barrel. Mr. Jetmeyer has gotten a supply with cotton and dry goods – he bought some beautiful goods the last time he was in Richmond beautiful silk handkerchiefs 30 dollars a piece – calico at 11 dollars and a great many little things too tedious to mention. 

Tell Sam about half of the mas killing hogs have been stolen from her and about 12 of old John Roger’s killing hogs. There is a great deal of stealing going on since the boys left. Joes Peter has been stealing hogs again and was discovered and took to the woods again. I fear Joe will never get him again. He is so artful and ingenious 

You must all write often we will be so uneasy all the time about you all. Some of us will write every week to you- Mr. Jentmeyer will write to Sam just as soon as he can do so now my dearest sister I must bid you good bye for the present- and may the good Lord preserve you all and shield you from every ill and grant us a happy meeting in peace very soon. With my warmest love & prayers for you all. I am as ever Your devoted Sister

Ms. A Jentmeyer

To Mrs E A Hairston

Mrs ? Somether who was so kind to Johnnie has written to me to get her a situation for her. Ma has written to Mrs. Somether to come & teach our children she has accepted & will be at Mas some time in December- her husband is dead. Mr Jentmeyer has gone to Patrick Court or would send messages. 

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27 November 1864: “This extra issue of vegetable coming at this particular time may lead the troops to believe that it was made in consequence of the late mutiny…”

Item Description: Letter, dated 27 November 1864, from Maj. R.S. Gage (commissary officer in Clingman’s Brigade) to Col. Hector McKeithan. In the letter, Gage explains that he has distributed extra vegetables (“one and a half pounds of turnips and about one fourth pounds of cabbage”) to the troops, but makes clear that this additional food distribution has nothing to do with the “late mutiny,” nor is it meant to boost morale.

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Item Citation: Folder 18, T.L. Clingman Papers, #00157, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Office T.L. Clingman Brigade
November 27th 1864

Col.

I have to day issued to each man of your Brigade, one and a half pounds of turnips and about one fourth pounds of cabbage.

This extra issue of vegetable coming at this particular time may lead the troops to believe that it was made in consequence of the late mutiny, but I have had the purchase in progress for some days, and had made arrangements previously to issue them today. I had no way of keeping the vegetables on hand, or I should have done so, for a few days in order to have dissipated any idea of the kind entertained by the troops.

I would therefore respectfully suggest that you let the troops know that this is not intended as a peace offering; but it is only such as I would be glad to give them oftener if I could – by so doing you will probably destroy the seed of any similar riot that may be brewing.

I am, Col., very respectfully
Your obdt. servt.

R.S. Gage
Maj. & CS

Col.
H.McKeithan
Comdg. Brigade

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26 November 1864: “…accoutrements brought into our lines by deserters from the enemy will be turned over to Brigade Ord. officers and taken up in their property…”

Item Description: Memorandum, dated 26 November 1864, issued by the Confederate War Department, concerning ordinances confiscated or recovered from deserters.

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Item Citation: Folder 18, T.L. Clingman Papers, #00157, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

War Dept.
Ord. Bureau
Richmond Nov. 26th 1864

Arms and accoutrements brought into our lines by deserters from the enemy will be turned over to Brigade Ord. officers and taken up in their property returning. The deserter will be furnished with duplicate property receipts, setting forth the condition and value of the articles turned in. Their value to be determined by the rates fixed in G.O. 35 A&I.G.O. 1864 and G.O. 158 of 1863. These accounts will be paid upon presentation to any disbursing Ord. officers of the army to which the Brigade is attached, or at the Ord. Bureau Richmond Va. In exceptional cases by Maj. E.B. Smith – disbursing officer.

(Sigd.) I. Gorgus
Chief of Ord.

Official
sigd. J.A. de Lagnul
Lieut. Col. & Asst.

Official
Sigd. W.H. Taylor
AAGenl.

Official
Sigd. O. Latrobe
AAGenl.

Official L.L. Cross
AAGenl.

Col. H.McKeithan
Comdg. Brigade

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25 November 1864: “All such property shall be upon a like footing with similar property within the lines.”

Item Description: A general order removing protection from the lands and nearby plantations. This order would allow officers to use the property of nearby landowners.

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Item Citation: From Folder 37, in the George William Logan Papers #1560, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Head Quarters Divn. Weston La
Alexandrea Nov.25th 1864

General Orders
No. 133

It is hereby ordered that all “safe guards” heretofore given from these Head Quarters for the protection from Govt Officers of cotton and other products, negroes and plantations situated beyond the lines of this command as there way be at anytime established, be recinded. All such property shall be upon a like footing with similar property within the lines.

By command of 
Line Genreal Buckner
J. N. Galleher 
A. A. Genl. 

To
Head Gen. Logan 
comd, 3nd Batt. La. Hy. Arty. 

 

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24 November 1864: “He would march with 60000 men prepared with (30) days rations and would forage on the country”

Item Description: Letter from James Harvey Joiner to Harry Jayner. He talks about the election results in the United States. He also discusses how Sherman is getting ready to march with 60,000 men on either Savannah or Charleston.

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Item Citation: Folder 2 in the James Harvey Joiner Papers, #1602, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Near Oxford

Nov 24 64

Dear Jayner,

I have this moment seen a Yankee paper Louisville Journal of the 15 inst also Chattanooga Sheet of 16 inst. Thy are full of election news, grouping returns that will elect Lincoln by a majority of three or four hundred thousand. For the benefit of our military chiefs, I would state that the vote of the (14th) Corps ? all tied, 4949- Lincoln 4058 McClellan 894 of course if their full force voted, which is the case I am satisfied as the utmost extension were used to bring our well and sick, giving the the vote at anyvote as a vote of effective men. Then give Sherman five (5) such corps, he leave for Macon Ga with 24745 effective men.  The Louisville Journal states that as the movement of progressed to extens that ? to unnecessary. “It will state that it has been advised of the movement of Sherman for weeks but deemed it impossible to publish what I know. Sherman after leaving Gen. Thomas to hold a front against Hood and Forrest, has moved towards the Atlantic. He would march with 60000 men prepared with (30) days rations and would forage on the country, altho not anticipating to cross many streams. He was provided with pontoons, has plenty of ammunition and would strike for Savannah or Charleston. Which shant would make a rapid move on Wilmington. Thy deny that Atlanta has been destroyed but admit that the Rail Road to Chattanooga is torn up. They say the intentions of Hood is to capture Memphis and make a desperate effort to retake and hold the Mississippi River. Thy say that make their army in the field effective all furloughs and leaves of absence are being drawn in that is a shame showing weakness. Sherman’s nerve is a wrinkle, to get out, instead of ? the East Tennessee, he wriggle this Ga, he is neared us. (B)

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23 November 1864: “If Eva would only love, but I don’t think she does”

Item Description: Diary entry dated 23 November 1864 by Sarah Lois Wadley. She writes about her difficulties with teaching and the dynamics of her family.

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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. 23rd. 1864.

I feel very sad and troubled, what I have long feared has come, I have been obliged to stop teaching Eva. I don’t know whether I am right or wrong, that is, whether my proceeding will have a good effect or not; I don’t see how I could do otherwise. There has not a day passed for the last week that she has not been insulting in her behaviour to me on no provocation at all, and it has tried me very much, yesterday I prayed as usual to be kept from my own passion and went into school determined to do right and if possible to avoid Eva’s anger. At first I hoped I should succeed, but I soon found that she was out of temper about her geranium, which had nearly frozen the night before. I had gone up into the school room early in the morning while she was up there and had poured cold water around one, which I thought was the best thing to do, she showed nothing but good humour then, but soon after we commenced school she said the water would kill them; I said I had done what I thought best. Eva kept increasing her irritation more and more but I tried not to notice it, and said nothing; but when I came to hear her geography (I think it was) she flew into a violent passion and used very abusive language to me, I was so much agitated that I have quite forgot what it was. Loring had been troubling me that morning, and I was quite weary of this oft recurring abuse of me when I do all I can for them, I was very indignant and I told Eva I would not teach her any longer unless she would apologize for her behaviour and promise not to repeat it, she did this, but in an extremely reluctant and sullen manner which increased the resentment I felt, all the rest of the morning she continued to annoy me in every possible manner. George too was violent and disobedient, this hurt me more than anything else, my feeling for him is tenderer than for any of the others, and his unkindness hurts me more, I was suffering from Eva’s conduct, and when he spoke so, my self command gave way; I made some incoherent exclamation about how they troubled and burst into a passion of tears. I know this was not right nor proper but my passionate nature when it does burst forth is so violent. I recovered my self command before George finished his lesson, but when I came downstairs my eyes were yet reddened, and my face troubled. After dinner I could no longer command myself, I came off into my room and it seemed to me as if my heart would break, all my exertions seemed useless, all my prayers unanswered. After awhile I went back into the dining room, and thought my emotion unnoticed untill Mother asked me what was the matter, and if the children were troubling me. I said not more than usual, but she asked if it was Eva and I said yes, and added with tears that I didn’t believe she cared anything for me. Father said I had better stop teaching the children; this hurt me worse than ever, it seemed a confirmation of my fears that I was doing them no good.

I sat at work for some time without anything more being said. I was very busy making some gloves for Willie. I meant to ask Mother not to say anything to Eva about it, but before Father’s going out had given me an opportunity (I did not like to speak before him) Eva came in and Mother told her she had better not go to school any more until she went to Homer if she could not behave herself properly. Eva has not spoken to me since, nor I to her; I cannot bear to seem to beg for that affection to which I have forfeited no right, if I had done wrong I would ask her pardon, but I have not, I think. If I thought she desired it, I would make advances to her, but she seems so coldly sullen to me that I cannot do it, and yet it seems to me I am hard hearted and wrong to continue in coldness which I am far from feeling. If Eva would only love, but I don’t think she does, I could not be more unkind to an enemy than she is to me. She does not know how it hurts me; I am afraid if she perseveres thus, I shall lose that love for her which I now feel.

This is such a bright, beautiful day, the landscape is all bright and glittering in the cold sunlight, many of the trees have lost all their leaves since Monday, the weather cleared Sunday evening, and has been brightly cold ever since. This morning it froze in our room, my geranium is warmly covered, I have been afraid to open it lest the cold should get in, but I don’t think it is frozen, our plants upstairs are only slightly hurt; the little tender heliotrope is killed.

Jimmy Stone called to see us Sunday afternoon as he was on his way to Trenton with the regiment; he had had a hard trip to and from Alexandria; their horses were for five days without food or grazing, many died, Jimmy’s two took the distemper and were perfect bags of bones. They had come up from Alexandria through all the mud and rain of last week with the horses in this condition. It seems an inexplicable move, this trip to Alexandria, they did not do a thing but ruin their horses. Jimmy says the soldiers are deserting terribly at Alexandria, there were fourteen shot in a week, this is appalling, many of them are the paroled Vicksburg prisoners who have been spoilt by staying at home too long. Dr. Furness came over Sunday evening to bid us goodbye, was ordered down to Alexandria, left yesterday morning.

 

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