17 November 1864: “Tell her to knit another pair just like them onley a litle larger round”

Item Description: Letter to James B. and E. Knight from their son, James F. Knight, near Kinston, NC.  He writes to thank his parents for the package containing figs, bacon, and gloves.  He asks that they knit him more gloves so he can sell them for $10 to others.



Item Citation: Folder 2 in the John R. Peacock Papers, 1895-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Camp Whiten near Kinston N.C.

Nov the 17/64

Dear Father and Mother

Yours of the 11 come to hand in due time. I was glad to her that you was all well this learns me well and fairing well truly hoping. these few lines may go safe. to hund and fin of you and famley all well I have no nuse to write at present though I can say to you that Mr. Williams got back monday night you cant tell how proud I was to git that box it like to a made a fool of me when I smelt that backen. Tell the girls that I a thousand time a blige to them for them figs. I am more than a thousand times a blige to you for the Rest of the things turn over. Tell Moley that when I saw them gloves I was proud as a niger with a head shirt. Tell her to knit another pair just like them onley a litle larger round and send them to me by C. L. Vick when he goes home he is got a furlow sent up now. I can git ten dollars for them & other if you and waring them shoes you may send them to me. So I must close by saying write soon fail not exchuse my short leter I still remain yours son untill death.

J. F. Knight to J. B. & E. Knight

Write soon fail not. I weigh 170 lbs yours truly J. F. Knight to J. B. & E. Knight

Posted in Southern Historical Collection | Tagged , , | Comments Off

16 November 1864: “This is the day set apart by President Davis as a day of public worship”

Item Description: A letter from James Graham to his mother. James Augustus Graham was an officer stationed in Virginia and South Carolina during the war. In this letter he requests items for his troops. It reveals a lot about what the soldiers needed during winter months.

18641116_01 18641116_02 18641116_03

Item Citation: From Folder 3, in the James Augustus Graham Papers, #283, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Camp 27th NoCa. Infry
near Petersburg Va. Nov 16th 

Dear Mother, 

We are having a very quiet time in camp new. Contrary to the expectations of almost every body we have had no fight this month and I don’t think there is much chance of our fighting any more this campaign at least about Petersburg. I wish things would settle down so that we could go into winter quarters; for the winter seems to have set in in good earnest. The nights are very cold and we have a heavy frost almost every evening. 

This is the day set apart by President Davis as a day of public worship and we will have no drill or military obletes of any sort until Parade this afternoon. 

As it is getting so near winter and our men are needing gloves, cannot your “Soldier’s Aid Society” send me about 30 or 40 pairs of gloves for my company. 

Some socks also would be very acceptable as the socks we draw are very inferior and we seldom draw any. 

Please ask father to bring my cloth on with him when he returns to Richmond and I will try and get a leave of three or four days to come to Richmond and have it made up. The cloth I got this fall is that I want him to bring. 

When you send me a box I wish you would send me some sorghum and onions as they are about the best things for us in camp, also my herring. 

I have a good many bottles that I will send you by the first opportunity if you we don’t move camp; and I compelled to brave tem; before I get a chance to send them. 

Please send me some Postage stamps if there are any in Hillsboro. It is impossible to get any here. 

I must close as the mail came. Is waiting for my letter. Write soon. Love you.

As ever, Your affectionate son 

John Graham

Posted in Southern Historical Collection | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

15 November 1864: “I do not take that lively interest in writing that I used to”

Item Description: Diary entry dated 15 November 1864, written by Sarah Lois Wadley. She writes about her social engagements and activities of the past week.


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

Item Transcription:

Tuesday, Nov. 15th. / 1864.

This is Georgie’s seventh birthday, how fast the children are growing up! it does not seem like seven years since we left Georgia, but it seems as if we had been here such a long time, our old home and all the associations of my childhood are like a dream. We have holiday today in Georgie’s honour, and I have been writing letters all the morning, it is a murky, chilly day, peculiarly suited to letter writing, but now that my correspondence is so irregular and uncertain, I do not take that lively interest in writing that I used to. We have had such delightful, clear, warm weather lately, so unlike November. I have spent almost every afternoon in my flower garden which is beginning to assume a somewhat orderly appearance. I was in the garden Saturday when I was delighted by a visit from Mary Stevens and Eliza Baker, we spent a very pleasant day, what made it doubly pleasant was that it was Father’s birthday and the anniversary of his and Mother’s wedding, they have been married twenty-four years. I like Miss Eliza Baker very much indeed, she is only sixteen and is quite girlish and unaffected. Miss Mary rode with them about a mile on their way home, and enjoyed it very much, as we also did the walk back in the clear quiet evening light. Father received a note from Willie, dated a week ago Sunday at Shreveport, he was quite well and had carried all the negroes that far quite safely. I received a letter from Grandma and Lois last week, it was written in July, they were quite well. Also received one from Julia Compton, she had been sick but was then better.

Posted in Southern Historical Collection | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

14 November 1864: “we are saddled up to meet the Yanks.”

Item Description: A letter from the cousin of Margaret E. Blackwell describing his experience in the Confederate Army in Alabama. He explains several small skirmishes between his men and the Union army, a wagon stampede, and what he gets up to in his free time.


Item Citation: From Folder 2, in the Margaret E. Blackwell Papers #4790-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

 Item Transcription: 

Camp near Bailey’s Springs Ala. Nov. 14th 1864
Misses M.A. Blackwell and TR. Crawford. Dear Cousin and Niece,

I received a letter from Cousin Agnes of 27th & 28th Oct(?) a few days ago, and one from Bob a few weeks ago, but have  not time to reply till now. Will likely be stopped ere I get through, as we are saddled up to meet the Yanks. I have been on picket duty at Bailey’s Springs for the last three day, and am just  relieved. Have had no Beef issued us for four or five days, but I am not hungry. The boys have been conscripting Hop and I have got one meal a day from the citizens, who have generally very little to eat, and who will have to move off or starve. Our Army ruins the country wherever it goes. Sucks everything from the rich and the poor. The soldiers have no money, not being paid. 13 months pay due them and not half enough issued to the Cavalry to subsist them and the results is the county is plundered where ever we go. It is generally thought we (the army) will move forwards on tomorrow, to middle Tennessee. Infantry now crossing at Florence. Armstrong Brig crossed and came here on the 5th oct, since which time we have been fighting every day. On the sixth I went out to piquet(?) and had placed out a half dozen cadettes and a few scouts to the front and had just retired to reserve camp when we came full the cadettes and Scouts, before I had my other intimation of the attack. The Yanks close upon their heels and firing into them, we did not hear their guns till they got with 300 yds of us. It amounted almost to a surprise, but I had plenty of men (7 companies) to hold the place, and as good luck would have it I was mounted and found enough men ready to meet them instantly, and check them till the others could get into position. We fought till night when they retired. Lt. Lenox, of your acquaintance I suppose, was badly wounded, had just tendered his resignation and expected it within a few days. They tried us in heavier force next day but we were better fixed and drew them off directly. Col. Pinson has lost more men than any other Rgt. I think he has lost 8 or 10 men. Comd. King and Lieut Henly among the killed in his Rgt.; the names of the men killed and wounded I do not know. When the Yanks would let us along I had a nice time piqueting? at Baleys Springs. Met with some pretty young Ladies one of who I began to fancy and thought I had begun to interest her a little when she very seriously asked me if I were not a relation Davy Crockets. I have determined to get a better suit of clothing, if I have to nob a yank; I met an old acquaintance of Pas. Rev. Robt Williams, of McNairy County, Tenn. in very bad health at the Springs; another old acquaintance of his Rev B. L. Andrews lives not far form here. Nearly all the Captains living in North Georgia & North Alab. are poor. Some of them very poor and I can’t see how they can live here. Tom Grace is well but getting very tired of the service. Cross went 7 or 5 miles North West after forage yesterday. And while the wagons were loading we went out a half mile in front to picket and, finding a squirrel, commenced firing at it with his pistol. The wagons stampeded and lost a good load of the forage. He and another man took after them to stop them but the wagoners thought the were yanks, and drove furiously forward beating them to camp. Tom met with a number of his Tippard acquaintances in the Infantry yesterday. I sent some memoranda for you to transcribe up to some time in September, but do not know whether you received it. Please let me know when you do receive it and Up to what date, so I may know where to commence next time. I commence and go over again partly by guess-as my pencil notes are defaced. I would write much more if I had good paper and oftener if I had leisure. You must both write me every opportunity I have been looking for Cousin & Bro. Joseph, as time of furlough is up. Yours Truly,


Posted in Southern Historical Collection | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

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

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


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

Item Transcription:

Columbia Tenn Nov 13th 1864

Friend John,

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

I have been in the hospital one week yesterday.

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

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

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

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

W. W. McKnight

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


Posted in Southern Historical Collection | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

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

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



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

Item Transcription:

Tarboro Novr 12/64

Dear sir,

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

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

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

Your frend,

Jn Blekepon

Posted in Southern Historical Collection | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

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

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








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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in North Carolina Collection | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

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

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


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

Item Transcription:

Near Marietta Ga

Nov 10/64

Brother Charles,

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


Posted in Southern Historical Collection | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

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

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



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

Item Transcription:

Wednesday, Nov. 9th. 1864


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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Southern Historical Collection | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

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

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

18641108_01 18641108_02

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


Item Transcription:

Camp Manly’s Battery
Nov. 8 1864

Dear Cousin Em, 

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

Your Cousin, 

Eugene B. Wiggins.

Posted in Southern Historical Collection | Tagged | Comments Off