Item Description: Letter, dated 25 February 1863, presumably to Jane North Pettigrew, from Henry Lesesne.
Charleston Feb. 25. 1863.
My dear sister Jane,
I suppose Gen. Beauregard’s order produces a great sen-sation in your household as it did at [Ceder S.?] Here there has been no excitement whatever. The dear old city is majestically calm, as tho’ she feels that she is under the pro-tecting hand of Heaven. The general belief now is that the threatened attempt will not be made: the approaches are probably found to be too well fortified and defended. Troops have been pouring in in great numbers from North Carolina. I rec’d a note from dear James asking permission to join a company forming at Spartanburg, with the intention of pla-cing themselves under Capt. Thomas of the Arsenal Academy. I consented but told him to do nothing until he hears from me, and I trust there will be no occasion for the ex-posure of his precious life.
I have just returned from a visit to W. Pettigru at McMillan King’s. The Commis-sion appointed to examine his book attended in Charles-ton yesterday, at his earnest desire to appear before them. He was to have come to to town Monday afternoon, but was not well enough. Yesterday he came, and at 11 to-day we waited an hour at M. King’s, but he said he was not e-qual to it at that time, but might be in the course of the morning. After about two hours I went to his room, and finding him no better persuaded him to abandon the idea of seeing the gentleman and they will return to their homes tomorrow. Dropsical symptoms have supervened and he is extremely ill. He was at Ruston’s last week, and went to Summerville Saturday afternoon, completely exhausted. Just before he started I had an impressive inter-view with him at his office. He is fully alive to his situa-tion, and said in the course of our conversation, I feel under a strong necessity of setting my house in order and there is not much time for doing it. He asked me to let him name me as an Exor in a codicil to his will, which he told me this evening he has done on Sunday. I avaiI-ed myself of what he had said on Saturday, & wrote to him earnestly the next day in the [support?] of his making a profession of this faith in the manner commanded by our Lord. He has not made any allusion to the letter in our subsequent intercourse. I think it is doubtful whether he will return to Summerville & that it would be much more for his comfort to remain where he is. Sue was in Columbia when last heard from, but is pro-bably at Summerville to-night. If you desire to come down, I will be most happy to make you as comfortable at my house as circumstances will allow of. I have no hope of his recovery, and the end may be very near at hand. He has not taken to his bed, but the posture of lying distresses him and King says he sits all on most of the night in an easy chair, wrapped in blankets.
I feel with you my dear sis-ter, from the bottom of my heart, in these solemn circumstances. Give my love to sisters Ann and Mary, the nieces all, and Mary P., and believe me
Henry D. Lesesne
Adele went to her new home on Friday. I heard from Har-riette yesterday – all well.
See P.S. in Envelope
More about this item: “Beauregard’s order” likely refers to a proclamation by General P.G.T. Beauregard (CSA) that the cities of Savannah and Charleston were under an imminent threat of attack from Union forces. His announcement served as a warning and call to arms.
LATE NEWS FROM THE SOUTH.; An Immediate Attack Upon Charleston and Savannah Expected. A Bombastic Proclamation from Beauregard. The Richmond Press on French Mediation. (1863, February 20). The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/1863/02/20/news/late-south-immediate-attack-upon-charleston-savannah-expected-bombastic.html