27 January 1865: “Sometimes I wish I would just get sick enough to get a furlough but it may be wicked for me to wish that”

Item Description: Letter dated 27 January 1865 from Lewis Warlick to Laura Cornelia McGimsey. Warlick was a Second Lieutenant in Company B, 11th Regiment N.C. Troops.


Item Citation: Folder 4, Cornelia McGimsey Papers, #02680-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Near Petersburg
Jan 27th 1865

My dear Corrie,

Knowing you are always anxious to hear from me I have concluded to pen you a few lines today although it is remarkably cold and has been for several days, it seems that we are not to have any more pleasant weather soon. I have been jamed close up in the chimney corner for 3 or 4 days and calculate to hold my position as long as I can until detailed to go on picket again or some other duty.

Galloway hasn’t made his appearance yet and from what I hear from the crowded state of the roads, I give him till the first of next week to arrive – hope how soon he may come as I think all probability he will bring me something good to eat. I went to Capt. Kerr Comdg. Regt. Last Monday and asked him if he would forward a furlough for me, he replied, no as Genl. MacRae had ordered him not to forward any more until those who were absent should report. I fear it will be some time before I will be able to get a furlough as nearly every officer in the regiment are waiting for the absentees to return so they can send up furloughs. I fear they will get in ahead of me, but I have studied out another plan, it is this. I’m going to Genl. MacRae and tell him I have some unsettled business at home that requires my immediate attention and I wish to have a furlough forwarded. It may be that he will forward mine instead of some others, if he should believe my statement. I do hope and trust that I will get home soon for I’m as anxious to see you. My health is improved but little since I last wrote – not sick enough for the surgeon to recommend me to the board for furlough and barely able to do duty.

Sometimes I wish I would just get sick enough to get a furlough but it may be wicked for me to wish that.

Everything is quiet – no news afloat except camp rumors of every kind. Write often to your devoted


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26 January 1865: “the very general indifference everywhere out of the army, to what I conceive to be the most momentous earthly crisis which men were ever allied upon to meet”

Item Description: A letter, most like to Lt. General Stephen D. Lee, from his friend and army official, Patton Anderson, regarding both of their health as well as the locations and conditions of their Division. He mentions some frustration with the attitude of the others who have been wounded, but have not yet returned to duty.

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Item Citation: From Folder 3, in the Stephen D. Lee Papers #2440, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Monticello, Fla. Jany. 26the 1865

My dear General,

I should have written to you immediately upon hearing that the Army of Tenn. had returned from Middle Tennessee but for the hope and expectation I entertained of being able to report to you in proper person before this. I thought I was ready for the field and accordingly was on the eve of starting to the front when the vague news- through Yankee channels- reached us of the repulse from before Nashville. I waited a day or two to hear more definitely that my comds. might be shaped more intelligently, and in the meantime an abscess made its appearance in the jaw, which required nursing. In the course of a week however, the fragment of bone which was the cause of the trouble made its escape and left me once more in a condition to think of duty in the field. Then came rumors, apparently well founded, that the army of Tenn. was ordered to S. Carolina then the freshets, tornadoes and what not! to prevent such a consummation. All the while I am laying in wait, keeping scouts at Macon to inform me of the movements should it take place. I am all this time, the subject of surveillance by the Surgeons, who advise delay &c till the weather becomes less rigorous &c. But I am tired, tired to death of looking out of my door daily near almost every hour of the day, and seeing Tom who is “pretty well” well enough in fact to be with his regiment if he ” could only get the food there, suitable to his stomack” or Dick whose wound is “healed” but “too tender to withstand the winter of Va or Ten.” or Harry who “really would go” but he does not know how he can possible reach his command when all the Rail Roads are cut either by Yankees or freshets!!!! &c &c. Such spectacles as these, superadded to the croaking here the dissatisfaction there, and the very general indifference everywhere out of the army, to what I conceive to be the most momentous earthly crisis which men were ever allied upon to meet, embitter even the sweets of home to me, while my comrades are in the ‘field’. Today a friend in Macon reports that my old Division was to have passage through that city last Saturday on its way to S. C. but that on account of the breaks in the Ala. road it would probably not be along for several weeks. Whether or not he whole Corps. is coming he does not inform me; and this gives me considerable concern. I am anxious to remain with the army of Tenn: and when with that army to be with your corps and when with your corps to have my old Division. Should the Corps be sent to S. C. I suppose it would be proper for me to report to its commander there but should the Division only be sent I take it, I would have to report to my old Corps Commander in the Army of Tenn. wherever that army might be, and then, in order to get my old Division would have to get special orders from the War Dept. transferring me to the S.C. Department? Please englighten me on this point when you write. I will start the moment I hear from you if not before, whether the Surgeons say so or not.

And now General let me say that I deeply sympathise with you in the suffering which you have been called on to endure. I sincerely hope that long ere this, your worms has ceased to be painful and that in due time you will be restored to that command which under your lead + by your guidance, has won all the laurels that the Tenn. campaign seems to have afforded. I deeply regret that others did not do so well, but I rejoice that you and your corps did all that skill endurance and courage could do and that the country demanded. The enemy themselves admit as much. Then I may be pardoned the vanity in saying that I am proud to belong to that corps. I know you are well-cared for in Columbus. In time gone by, I had some valued friends and acquaintances in that refined and hospitable city. Among them, the Barry, the Sykes, Col. Young, James T. Harrison + his father-in-law, May. Blueth &c. Should you jostle against any with your crutch, present my kind remembrances to them.

Remember me also to your staff, and to my friends generally in the corps, particularly to Brantly, Sharp, Dan, and others of the old Division who may inquire.

I am General,
Very truly,
Yr. friend

Patton Anderson

Lt. Genl. S.C. Sec.
Columbus, Miss.

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25 January 1865: “the only noble, honourable one a young man can now be engaged in, that is in active service for his country”

Item Description: Diary entry dated 25 January 1865 by Sarah Lois Wadley.


Item Citation: Folder 5, Sarah Lois Wadley Papers, #01258, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Wednesday, Jan. 25th. 1865.

Father went to them yesterday, he brought me a letter from Willie, he is still in Tensas, we were very glad indeed to hear from him, his letters always give me so much pleasure. He is perfectly well, and faring quite well too, but says he is very tired of being without a change of clothes, he expected to get some from home before this, how unfortunate it is that we could not send Prince. Willie says he has a yankee rifle of the newest patent, which shoots eight hundred yards, he has also a colt’s army pistol. Mother used often to laugh and tell Willie he must not dare to come home without Yankee arms; she little thought he would really get them so soon. Though I feel a great deal of sympathy for the hardships Willie must endure, and anxiety about his welfare, yet I cannot help being very much gratified that he is now in a position which I conceive to be the only noble, honourable one a young man can now be engaged in, that is in active service for his country. I am sorry though, that the culpability or ignorance of the high officers rendered his command much less useful then it ought to be. I do not love Willie any more, my tenderness for him could scarcely have admitted increase, but this feeling is now joined with a sort of proud satisfaction that he is now doing his clear and manifest duty; and I am so deeply thankful that this course has resulted in an improvement of his health; may God graciously preserve him unto the end.

Father brought me word yesterday that Mary Stevens and Mrs. Kenison were coming out to spend the night the night with us; Mrs. Kenison was going on the stage to Shreveport, thence by boat to Alexandria to see her husband who is sick. We expected them of course, but the carriage did not drive up until twilight, meeting Mrs. Kenison first after greeting her I turned to Mary, as I supposed, how great was my surprise to see a figure a foot shorter, it was Mrs. Lemmy, who had come with Mrs. Kenison as Mary found she could not leave home, I was so much disappointed, and was not at all consoled by her short note which only said “it is impossible” without any reason for the impossibility; however she promised to come soon, and though that is very indefinite, still it affords some ground for expectation.

I received a delightful letter from Miss Mary Saturday, answered it yesterday, she writes with all the unaffected freedom which is so pleasant in her manners; her letter was ten days on the way. She was very homesick, this I hope has worn off now that she has commenced school and become engrossed in her studies. I shall hope for a letter from Eva next Saturday, shall not hear as often as I expected since the mail leaves Homer but once a week.

It is very cold indeed today, Mrs. Kenison was obliged to rise very early this morning, and from some misunderstanding about the hour the stage started, she was ready three hours or more before the time. She rose at two o’clock, of course we were all awake, I slept no more at all, but lay talking to her until dawn, my usual time for rising. Our room was very warm, and we had a cup of hot coffee at about three, so she was quite comfortable. Her escort as far as Shreveport is Lieut. Henry Holmes, who called for her this morning. I am afraid all her wrappings and hot bricks will hardly prevent suffering from the cold today; it was so clear yesterday evening that we hoped the weather would moderate, but it is even colder today than yesterday, the sun has shone, but water has been freezing all day long, we have a very warm fire in the dining room which has been kept up all day, but though I am only three or four feet from it my right hand is quite numb. Mother has taken a walk to Mrs. Craig’s to warm her, the three little boys are gone with her, and Father and I are here alone, he is quite engrossed in O’Meara’s “Napoleon at St. Helena,” and this, together with a very severe cold, keeps him confined to the fireside. I spent the first part of my afternoon very delightfully in a careful perusal of two of Blair’s lectures on Rhetoric, I think it is such an admirable and agreeable book; I am so fond of the study of Rhetoric and language in every form, and this book is so clear and easy that it is perfectly intelligible and enjoyable even to such a tyro as I am; while it seems to me that its gracefulness and accuracy must be agreeable to the most polished taste.

I forgot to say above that Mrs. Lemmy left about ten o’clock this morning, she is a kind hearted, credulous, talkative little woman, and though full of simplicity, is not free either from affectation or a sort of childlike conceit. There now, I have multiplied adjectives and descriptive nouns enough for the most marvellous heroine of the most commonplace novel; the general resource of those who feel the feebleness of their descriptive powers.


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24 January 1865: “…for the unsurpassed gallantry and skill exhibited by them in the attack upon Fort Fisher”

Item Description: Public resolution from the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, commending Brevet Major General Alfred H. Terry and his forces for their bravery in the Union victory at Fort Fisher, the last major Confederate port on the Atlantic seacoast. Issued by the Secretary of War on January 24, 1865.

Item Transcription:

General Orders No. 10 War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, Washington, January 26, 1865

The following resolution of the Senate and House of Representatives is published for the information of all concerned:

[Public Resolution, No. 6.]

A Resolution to present the thanks of Congress to Brevet Major General Alfred H. Terry, and the officers and men under his command.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the thanks of Congress are hereby presented to Brevet Major General Alfred H. Terry, and to the officers and men under his command, for the unsurpassed gallantry and skill exhibited by them in the attack upon Fort Fisher, and the brilliant and decisive victory by which that important work has been captured from the rebel forces and placed in the possession and under the authority of the United States; and for their long and faithful services and unwavering devotion to the cause of the country in the midst of the greatest difficulties and dangers.
Sec. 2. And be it further resolved, That the President of the United States be, and he hereby is, requested to communicate this resolution to General Terry, and through him to the officers and soldiers under his command.

Approved January 24 1865.

By the order of the Secretary of War.
E.D. Townsend
Assistant Adjutant General
Assistant Adjutant General

Item Citation: U.S. Congress. A resolution to present the thanks of Congress to Brevet Major General Alfred H. Terry. Cb970.75 U58c. From the North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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23 January 1865: “We hear so many rumors of the movements of the Yankees and of our own troops”

Item Description: A diary entry by Emma LaConte from Columbia describing their conditions as they prepare for the arrival of Yankee and confederate troops. She describes the quality of her clothes as as well as the price of food.

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Item Citation: From Folder 1, in the Emma LeConte Diary, #420-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Jan. 23rd
No more news from father. I begin to think he has stayed to get the negroes out. We hear so many rumors of the movements of the Yankees and of our own troops, but they are not worth noting. ******* Mother has packed up the clothing and bed-linen that we may save those at least. All the books are packed too. I have not been in the library since they were taken down. It would make me too sad to look at the empty shelves. *** It may be of interest some day to recall the poor style in which we lived during the war, so I shall make a few notes. My underclothing is of coarse unbleached homespun, such as we gave the negroes formerly only much coarser. My stockings I knit myself, and my shoes are of heavy calfskin. My dresses are two calicoes, (the last one bought cost sixteen dollars a yard) a homespun of black and white plaid, and an old delaine of pre-war times that hangs on in a dilapidated condition, a reminiscence of better days. We have a couple of old silks, carefully preserved for great occasions and which do not look shabby for the simple reason that all the other old silks that still survive the war are in the same state of decay. The homespun cost about eight or ten dollars a yard, – calico is 20 to 30 dollars a yard now, and going higher from week to week. My shoes are 150 dollars a pair. In two or three months these prices will be doubled. We live tolerably poorly. Two meals a day. Two plates of bread for breakfast, one of wheat flour as five bags of flour were recently made a present to us else we would only have corn bread. Corn itself is forty dollars a bushel. Dinner consists of a very small piece of meat, generally beef, a few potatoes and a dish of hominy and a pone of corn bread. We have no reason to complain, so many families are so much worse off. Many have not tasted meat for months, and we too having a cow are able to have butter. Wood is hard to get at one hundred dollars a load. We keep but one fire in the dining room where we sit. We have been fortunate in having gas thus far, (at eighty dollars a thousand) but since the freshet the supply of rosin has been deficient and now and then it is cut off and we burn tallow candles at two dollars apiece. We never have sweet things now, and even molasses candy is a rarity seldom to be thought of.


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22 January 1865: “Tis a melancholy truth, that there is not corn enough in the county for its inhabitants to subsist on, and yet it is being made up into whiskey.”

Item Description: Letter to Sarah (Sade) J. Lenoir from her niece. She writes about a series of raids involving armed women stealing corn.  She goes into great detail about a raid on Pinesville where the women were driven off by a drunk man wielding a brush.  She also describes social functions being thrown in honor of soldiers on furlough.


Item Citation: Folder 156, in the Lenoir Family Papers, #426, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Jan 22nd 65

My dear Aunt Sade

I feel in the humor somehow to write you a few lines tonight, sunday as it is. It has been so long since we heard from any of you, that I have forgotten when it was. We dont write often, and when we do, scarcely ever get any answer. Mother wrote to you during Christmas week. Did you get it? We hear through Tick last letter that the Tories had been at Uncle Toms vc. Mother is very uneasy about him, he surely will leave that country. We lived in constant anxiety and suspense for several months, on account of the miserable deserters and robbers, it has been pretty quiet for some weeks past. I do hope that they will never be suffered to get the upper hand again. The highest move Ive heard lately was a raid made on Pinesville the other day. It consisted of a band of women, armed with axes, came down on the place, to press the tithe corn vc, brought wagons along to carry it off. There was only one man in the place, and he, (Leonidas like) stood in the door of the house and bid defiance to the crowd. You know women generally want to carry their point, and it was with great difficulty that our hero could withstand them. They were happily thrown into confusion, by an old drunk man coming up with a huge brush in his hand, striking their horses with it, causing them to run away with their wagon and some of them in it vc. They didnt get any of the corn. We hear that a similar attack was made on Hamptonsville a few days ago and with more success too. They took as much as they wanted without meeting with any resistance. They were doubtless instigated to this unbecoming behavior by men, who were afraid to undertake the scheme themselves. deserters perhaps or distillers. There are several distilleries in operation not very far from us. Tis a melancholy truth, that there is not corn enough in the county for its inhabitants to subsist on, and yet it is being made up into whiskey. The degeneracy of the times is truly alarming. My faith almost fails me sometimes that God will save us, for are we not sinning in the face of his uplifted rod? We do not deserve His blessings, when we will so lightly regard His chastisements. We have had a shower of misfortunes lately. The catastrophe at Wilmington the worst of all, if the many unfavorable rumors about it, are to be credited. These reverses too, instead of having the effect to unite our people, only make them more divided. We are sure to be free, if time to ourselves, but we are working our own destruction by this disaffection, and this contemptible party spirit, and selfish desire for popularity, which prevails among us in our legislature vc. But you are laughing at me I expect, and I had better “haul in my horns,” unless I knew what I was talking about. There seems to be some “Party” spirit among the young folks around here, have been several parties given in the neighborhood lately given to soldiers on furlough vc. I have attended only one so far, was invited out to Mr Edwards the other evening, but by some opportune interference I didnt get the note in time. It strikes me that such amusements are illtimed now and I dont enjoy it at all, especially when I have to be mixed up with all kind of folks.






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21 January 1865: “the feeling owing on people that negroes right to be considered, is gaining strength daily”

Item Description: A letter written to Walter Lenoir from his cousin W. Bingham regarding the opening of his school, and his hopes for creating the moral character of the boys there. Walter Lenoir was a lawyer during the Civil War, and much of his correspondence relates to the politics of the time. Bingham discusses the outcome of several skirmishes as well as the feelings on the issues that started the war in confederate congress. He feels that many people would be willing to compromise on key issues (i.e. slavery) as long as they can be granted independence at the end of the war.

Item Citation: Folder 156, in the Lenoir Family Papers #426, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Transcription (of handwritten portions):

Capt. W. W. Lenoir Forks of Pigeon N.C. 

Oaks, 21 Jan. 1865

Dear Cousin Wat, 

It is Sat. night, 10 Pm a hard weeks work just finished; but as harder ones are to come for the next Thurs. for a fear, + I am pregnant with a letter + must deliver myself, I will answer you of the 3rd. Glad you approve our plan of a military-classical school. I am doubtful from the experiment thus far made, of the advantage of military discipline hereafter. 

The less rules the better + military discipline creates so many “mala prohibita” which are not “mala in se” that boys’ ideas of right + wrong become confused, + military schools are generally young hells; though this is great measure due to negligence in the professors + the absence of timbers. What Burns says of drink may justs be sain of “birch”

“Leegr me on birch; it gies us man
than either school or college; (without it)
It gies us wit, it gies us lean, 
and pangs us for ‘o’ knowledge” 

We give boys demerit marks on their hides as well as their reports; this, with the help of religious precepts canst much impressed will, with God’s blessing keep our boys right. But I think I have said this before. But if you want to see beautiful order + discipline in a school, come down when we are fairly under way. Men think, apparently, that none but an army man can have enough military education to conduct such a school; but I shall show that this is false notion. I mean to have as good a military school, + as well , disciplined + instructed a corps of cadets as any in the land, as far as I go. 

The English Grammar progresses slowly. I wish it possible to use advanced sheets with the next class, if the Publishers can get them ready for me. I shall make the best look I can, but know far too little of English to make one satisfaction to myself. I am studying the history of the language, + trying to produce a work at once simple, philosophence, thorough, but it is a big job. 

The rascals! what a pity you couldn’t have whipped them off. If I could have taken them in the rear with some of my boys they would have paid dear for the cowardly assault. A house to make a fight in ought to have all entrances removed, + all trees armed it cut down; the doors + windows barricaded with boys, + loopholes made elsewhere. Three men well armed in such a house can hold it against 20; but without fences + trees for cover, there is nothing to do but surrender. Of course when the scoundrels are caught no army is troubled with them. And to think that such knaves are encouraged by men who call themselves legislators! The foolish, traitorous, + wicked attacks upon the Gov’t, which occupied much of the first of this session of the General Assembly, invited the attack on Wilmington, make the Yankees believe that they had what press vigorously other would find friends enough. I was in Raleigh Thursday, seeing bodies whipped. I verily believe that if Gen. Lee don’t clear out the legislators they will call a convention in less than 3 weeks, which, in less than a month its assembly will seel us. 

God made Judas for a good purpose + I suppose these traitors are made for a good purpose likewise. Could I get at the leaders of them, they would never be drowned. The Progress + Standard we braying openly for a convention to take the state back to Lincoln, or what amounts to the same thing. If Fisher fell through treachery + cowardice. Several assualts had been gallantly repulsed, + while the enemy were preparing of the final one, a Cap’t Brogman, with about 300 men of the 3rd reg’t, deserted to the enemy; we surrendered without orders, delivering up the sully-port; whereupon a S.C. reg’t of Hagood’s brig., seeing themselves outflanked, took to their heels. Whiting made a desperate  fight with the rest, several times tearing down the enemy’s flag; but was soon overpowered. Whether Wilmington will fall or not, is yet to be seen. Gen. Bragg says he will hold it at all hazards. 

But dark as the prospect is, I don’t despair, + see, or think I see, a ray of light. Foreign powers are getting alarmed lest the Yankees succeed in a grand military mischief-maker on this continent + summons of an early recognition are rife at the north. From Seward’s manifest + what has lately transpired in the Confederate Congress. I believe that a proposition has been made to abolish slavery on condition of an independence being acknowledged transports opened the assertions on the past Grant that the war is not for slavery, has always seemed to me significant, the feeling owing on people that negroes right to be considered, is gaining strength daily, that among slave holders Emancipation in any shape will be too with to the negro, but best for us, at last in the border states. All well send love. If namesaker’s the handsomest boy in the class. 

In haste, your aff’ cousin, 

W. Bingham



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20 January 1865: “more despondent than I ever was in my life”

Item Description: Letter dated 20 January 1965 by Robert W. Parker. Parker was a farmer in Bedford County, Va. He served as 4th Sergeant in the Virginia Cavalry for the Confederacy. He eventually was killed in action at Appomattox Courthouse, Va., on the morning of 9 April 1865, the same day that Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to the Union Army.


Item Citation: Oversize Volume SV-5261/4, Robert W. Parker Papers, #05261, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Camp 2nd Va Cav

Near Cornersville

Orange CO Va

Jan th 20, 65

Dear Beck

I have been waiting for an opportunity to drop you a fiew lines and I guess I will not have a better one soon so I will try and give you a short note  This leaves me in usual health but more despondent than I ever was in my life prospects are so gloomy here we are sometimes with rations and some times without our horses I might say and tell you the truth starving I have not drawn a year of corn since I have been at this camp and but little of any thing else. The news also from Richmond and down south is also little of any thing else. The news also from Richmond and down south is also discouraging– and my watch stopped last night and wount run a tick and I miss it so much, and another thing that keeps me down in the month I have not heard or gotten a line from any of you since I left hearing from you and the children often is one of my greatest comforts in camp. I wish I could give you an interesting note but tis out of my power our company or whats here is in usual health thougt we have but 14 present more of those who left without leave home returned yet and a good many gone after horses are over time  I have been looking for alick buck for the past day or two but he has not arrived in camp yet

I guess ere this you have heard that co A has been detached from the regimen to procure rations in bedford wish it had been our company but we are unlucky. And as to disbanding thats out of the question and some who have been furlowed by general Russer Has been ordered back to their commands by general… Lee

I will try and give you a sort of list of the clothes I sent to A A belles by sargt Lee  I sent A cap rapped in my shirts and draws to mory also Two shirts Two pair of draws (two pair of socks cotton) two pair of Blue pants the largest pair mine th other pair Bob Johnson and a pair of shoes with my name on them are mine you will also take the jacket and take care of it for me The old Black had in my shoes is bob johnsons please take care of it for him or have it done for him  the shoes with black vamps are sargt Lee  The Rest of the things in the sack are bob johnsons and George Johnsons) besides the things I sent home I drew a good little tent and a good blancet which I have with me you can do as you think with the shirts but I think the draws are large enough for me and I wish to save you all the trouble I can so I drew every thing I could  all that were present in the compay made a good draw for clothing. The cotton socks I thought would last me a while next summer I hope the clothes have gotten to Pas ere this  I forgot to tell you the people of Albermare aimed to give our brigade a big dinner and it made quite a big show altogether but when divided out to the men twas rather a small meal I got plenty being one of the committie to receive it and devide it all in our company got 4 or 5 apples a piece (and meat and bread in Proportion)

Duck as John crantze will come back to the command on the train I want you tell ma to send me several little tricks I want (a piece of soap) (a little piece of talow) also some thread and a little snack if he can bring it and if alick dont bring my coat get john Krantye to Bring it.

he promised to Bring any little thing he could forme I must close for this time This leaves me in usual health  my love to you and the children and all. Remember your Promise to write to me twice a week farewell for this time

Devotedly yours until Death

R W Parker

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19 January 1865: “expressing my sympathy for you in your double sore bereavement”

Item Description: Letter dated 19 January 1865 to the widow of George Hovey Cadman. Cadman was a soldier in the 39th Ohio Infantry Regiment during the Civil War.


Item Citation: Folder 10, George Hovey Cadman Papers, #122, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Pocataligo, S.C.,

Jan. 19, 1865.

Mrs. Cadman:

Dear Madam: Your letter of Nov. 7th was received by me upon reaching Savannah about one month since. I should have answered it before, but my time has been very much occupied.

I do not know that I can communicate much more information to you concerning your husband’s death. The Surgeon’s name who attended him was Davis. He belongs to the 17th New York, now in the 14th Corps.

George was buried decently in the burial spot occupied by the 4th Division, 16th Corps. A neat head board marks his grave. A fence surrounds the burial spot. It is on the outer edge of Marietta, on the left hand side of the Railroad as you come in from the north.

Again expressing my sympathy for you in your double sore bereavement, I remain

Respectfully yours,

Geo. R. Gear.

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18 January 1865: “I hope the war will be over and the rebellion crushed before another Christmas comes around”

Item Description: A letter from Robert Stuart Finley to his fiancee, Mary A. Cabeen, describing his movements with his Regiment through Georgia and South Carolina. He served in the 30th Illinois Infantry. He describes skirmishes on their way to Beaufort, as well overcoming the African American troops holding the area.

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Item Citation: From Folder 1, in the Robert Stuart Finley papers #3685-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription: 

Pocotaligo S. C. Jan 18th 1865

Miss M. A. C. 

Kind Friend, 

Your welcome letter came to hand last night, and I will try + answer it this evening lest by delay I may not soon have another opportunity, Your letter is the only one I have received from Mercer since we entered the city of Savanah and I was anxious to hear from there, for if any of my folks at home were sick I know you would have written about it. 

Since I last wrote you we have been traveling-not far-enough to get a firm foot-hold in the Paluetto State. 

After stopping in Savanah from the 21st of Dec. until the 4th of January we had orders to move with all our effects + transportation for some other point. Marching down the river for five or six miles we came to Fort Thunderbolt where we took shipping for the town of Beaufort.  We had the pleasure of a six hours ride on a steam Ship over the briny deep reach this place which is a town of respectable size situated on an Island which however belongs to the State of South Carolina. I luckily escaped that much dreaded feeling called sea sickness which more less affected the most our Regt. Those who were the sickest say it was the most unpleasant feeling they ever experienced. 

Arriving at Beaufort we went into camp and received a bountiful supply of almost everything that we needed. We had full rations including soft bread and also were supplied by the Sanitary commission with several barrels of potatoes + onion besides canned fruits + meats-soda crackers-letter paper-envelopes-tobacco and a few housewives. 

I got one of these last useful articles (I suppose you know what they are) containing pins-needles thread and buttons, the handiwork no doubt of some kind hearted, soldier loving girl of the North. 

I regretted that there was no note among its contents revealing the name of the fair donor that I might thank her for it. But all such may rest assured that the soldier is always grateful even for such small favors. The soldiers say that we were getting Potomac rations at Beaufort for they believe that Grants Army fare much better than Sherman’s western Army. 

Beaufort is a nice place but it was garrisoned by negro troops and they ruled everything until our army came there. During the first two or three days we were there our soldiers came in contact with the negroes several times and killed + wounded nine of them. After that they were very respectful and kept their distance when any of Sherman’s men were around. There were quite a number of Massachusetts ladies there teaching the young Africans. 

The island was confiscated early in the war and sold to loyal Northern men, and the soldiers were much chagrined when they found that they were not allowed to appropriate anything that they wished. We had an abundance of oysters while we were at Savanah + Beauffort and I saw yellow rich oranges growing in Beaufort. 

While at Beaufort we had a call from Dr. Bigges he was on his way to Savanah to join his command, We said he had a commission as Surg. of the 102nd Ills., and expected to be mustered in as soon as he arrived at Savanah. 

Our stay in Beaufort although pleasant was destined to be short for on the 13th we had orders to move again + marched out 6 or 7 miles, and on the next day crossed the river which separates the island from the mainland, skirmished with the rebels all day, drove them from out of their forts + halted for the night in sight of their works one + a half miles from this place the next morning the troops were ordered to fall in double quick and move forward. The rebs had evacuated during the night and we reached this Station on the Savanah + Charleston R.R where we are now encamped. 

We are now about forty miles from Savanah and sixty miles from Charleston, The 15th Corps is with us and the 14th and the 20th are reported marching across above us from Savanah. I suppose our destination is Charleston and from the town of Charleston papers which we captured at this place they are already beginning to tremble in their boots in anticipation of Sherman’s visit to their city. 

We have a nice camp here in a grove of Live Oak and a beautiful Magnolia with its bright green leaves strands near our tent + furnishes us during the day with its grateful Shade. You will think it strange that I should speak of shade trees but the weather is very mild here and as pleasant as May, the nights are cool but the Sun is hot enough at midday to make even a shade tree desirable. Fortifications have been erected here and we will probably remain here a few days to bring up supplies + I think that this road will be repaired + held as a line of communication. We may expect to have a rough campaigning this spring but I hope it will end sooner than last summers campaign ended, and I hope the war will be over and the rebellion crushed before another Christmas comes around. Appearances are now favorable for our cause + the termination of the war , Will finish a leaf of rebel paper a fair sample of rebel manufacture. I wonder how the southern ladies of refinement and wealth like to take this kind of paper to write their dainty notes upon, after being used to the finest of gilt edged + scented tissue paper. This is only one of ht smallest inconveniences to which they have to submit since the war commenced, their envelopes are after the same fashion. 

I hope you had a merry christmas and a happy New Year. I cannot say that I had any enjoyment during the hollidays more than any other time. The only thing that the soldier gets as a general thing to remind him of Christmas is a ration of whiskey. 

This they received on Christmas and although there was a good deal of noise in camp I am happy to say that There was no serious disturbance in our Regt. I think this is worse than useless for there are too many of the soldiers get to like it and drink too much whenever they can get a hold of it. The soldiers are all in excellent health and are eager to be in the field. 

Capt. Candor is well and getting along fin. He has a good company and makes a good offices Lieut Prak has not gone home yet. He is now acting Adjt Gen’l of our Brigade. 

D. H. Wolfe is Captain and Jas H Logan is 1st Leiut of G–.  

Our Regt is now without a Surgeon A citizen contract Doctor is assigned to the Regt for the present and our Chaplain is still absent at home, so that our physical + moral welfare are but poorly attended to. 

I must close this letter which is already too long + uninteresting and I hope you will excuse me for writing about some things that may not interest you. You request me to write often. Well I will write as often as you do if that should be as often as once a week. Hoping to hear from you soon. I remain your sincere friend, R.S. Finley


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