Item description: Letter from Charles S. Venable (1827-1900) to his four-year-old son, Francis Preston Venable (1856-1934). Charles S. Venable was a mathematician, astronomer, and an officer in the Confederate Army (most notably he served as an aide-de-camp to General Robert E. Lee, 1862-1865). His son, Francis Preston Venable, later became a chemist, educator, and served as president of the University of North Carolina from 1900 to 1914.
Item citation: From folder 1 of the Charles S. Venable Papers, #2213, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Aug 8th 1861
My dear darling boy
I told you I would write a letter. We are not fighting now, but we are going to whip the Yankees again very soon. We have got so many pretty cannons from the rascally Yankees and the great big heavy shot will go three miles. Papa has a round cannon ball for you and a cartridge belt buckle with U.S. on it and when little brother comes you must give him some of your war things. Papa saw a little boy soldier the other day very little, and just sixteen who is Gen. Jackson’s orderly and he has shot at the Yankees well. Tell Grandma I went to see your Uncle Paul day before yesterday and he was very well and big and fat and greasy and did not seem to want anything in the world but some clean water. Tell your Aunt Fannie, that your Uncle Nat [looms?] around among the doctors and Papa did not find out where he was till a day or two ago. Papa is coming soon and will kiss his dear good swell little boy all to pieces. Take care of Mamma for me and pray for Papa and for the war to stop when you say your prayers and God will take care of us all.
Your own old Papa
Master Frank Preston Venable