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Kimberly Family.
Personal Correspondence, 1862-1864:

Electronic Edition.

Kimberly Family


Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services
supported the electronic publication of this title.


Letters transcribed and annotated by Kristofer Ray
Text encoded by Christie Mawhinney and Natalia Smith
First edition, 2000
ca. 100K
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
2000.

        © This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.

Source Description:
(text) Kimberly Family Personal Correspondence
Manuscripts Dept., Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


        The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH digitization project, Documenting the American South.
        Transcript of the personal correspondence. Originals are in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
        All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
        All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as " and " respectively.
        All em dashes are encoded as --
        Indentation in lines has not been preserved.
        Spell-check and verification made against printed text using Author/Editor (SoftQuad) and Microsoft Word spell check programs.

Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998

Languages Used:

  • English

LC Subject Headings:

  • Kimberly family -- Correspondence.
  • Family -- Southern States -- Social life and customs -- 19th century.
  • Chapel Hill (N.C.) -- Social life and customs -- 19th centur
  • Chapel Hill (N.C.) -- Social conditions -- 19th century.
  • Southern States -- Social life and customs -- 19th century.
  • Nashville (Tenn.) -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.
  • Atlanta (Ga.) -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.
  • Chapel Hill (N.C.) -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.
  • Loyalty oaths -- Southern States.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives, Confederate.

Revision History:

  • 2001-12-06,
    Natalia Smith, project manager,
    finished adding page images to the transcription of the manuscript.

  • 2000-11-13,
    Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther
    revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.

  • 2000-01-06,
    Natalia Smith, project manager,
    finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.

  • 1999-12-29,
    Christie Mawhinney
    finished TEI/SGML encoding

  • 1999-08-29,
    Kristofer Ray
    finished transcribing and annotating letters.


[Union Invasion]

        [Invasion of Nashville]

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Nashville Feb 16th/62

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         My own precious sister, I have but a few moments to write, and as this may be the last opportunity I will ever have to write to you I will tell you of our wretched situation. You need not expect to hear again from me as I suppose in a few hours we will be entirely cut off from all communication with our beloved, oppressed & almost crushed South. We are in hourly expectation of hearing the approach of the Northern Army. Mr Sehon, Capt Wright and all our Government officers fly to night for their lives with Gen Johnston's immense army which is here from Bowling Green and is retreating as fast as possible Southward. O my sister I cannot tell you how my heart is almost breaking to part from my precious Husband who is far more than life to me. Without him I would pray, pray


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for death, pray that God would take me from this prison world to my husband in Heaven for I know he will be there if he falls, he is so good so pure so noble. But oh God defend us spare us and avert the calamities we so much dread. Mr Sehon will take this with him & mail it. I dare not say where they are going to, but it is where I can follow him and no power on earth could keep me from going to night with my darling husband but the fact that he must fly for his life on horseback and I being with him would retard his progress. I might be the means of his being taken. We received the news this morning and I expected to be able to go with him until a few hours ago when Mr Sehon told me he would have to go on horseback. My dear sister I hope that I am not asking too much of you when I make this request. Keep posted as to the whereabouts of Gen Johnston's Army and if anything


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should happen to Mr Sehon and you can hear of it, do all in your power for him. I will be cut off from all communication from him and I dread that I may be allowed to pass to him. If you will do this my dear sister I can never repay you for your kindness, will thank you Bettie to my dying hour and bless you for any kindness to my precious darling. O God to think of our situation! But I still hope for & trust in God and I believe he will animate our brave defenders with a superhuman power and we will yet drive from our soil the hated invaders whose tread [unclear] profanation, but this is an hour to try men's souls--Fort Donelson has been taken by the enemy. Frank was there and covered himself with honor but his bravery cost him a wound; he was wounded in the leg slightly--a flesh wound only, you must not be uneasy. We can hear nothing from


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our forces there but I suppose he is a prisoner. You must not be unhappy about him. His wound is slight, only a flesh wound. I wish I had time to tell you of his noble conduct but I can not now. I pray I may soon be able to follow my husband when I can write you fully. Will is at Cumberland Gap, was not with Gen Zollicoffer. I will try dear Bettie to take care of all the little things we value so much, the portraits your bonnet box with its contents and those things for which no money could repay us. Goodbye my darling sister, probably the last goodbye but may God protect us and if we never meet on earth may we meet at last in Heaven where all is happiness, strife & turmoil never come, no breaking bleeding hearts are there. May God bless you. Your husband and your precious little children is the prayers of your loving sister

Annie M. Sehon


        [Flight from Nashville]

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Atlanta March 10th/62

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My dear Sister

        You are a little surprised are you not to hear from me at Atlanta? But I am really here and here I expect to remain until we can drive back the hated enemy and return victorious to our dear old home. You have before this learned of the taking of Nashville. It is a sad fact and woeful, woeful are its consequences. I do not know what to think of Gen Johnston to have failed to reinforce Donelson, to have given up Nashville and cowardly retreated as he has done, a general in whom we have heretofore reposed such confidence! On his shoulders rests the awful responsibility of our great disaster and probably the subjugation and ruin of the whole South. He has behaved cowardly, and will I hope meet


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his reward in having his command taken from him. Of course all our officers had to flee from Nashville, Mr Sehon and Capt Wright have been ordered to open their offices here. They left Nashville on the 19th of Feb at night and on horseback. I did not leave until the 23rd. Mr Sehon was ordered first to Murfreesboro to which place the whole army retreated, next to Chattanooga, then to Atlanta where he is stationed permanently. In Nashville he was complimented by being placed on Gen Johnston's staff and offered a high position but it was one that carried him on the field, to that I was and will ever be bitterly opposed. I am willing to make any personal sacrifice for the good of my bleeding, almost crushed country, my own life I would cheerfully give if that could save her from the impending ruin, but I am not willing to risk my Husband's life, for that is to me far far dearer than my own, without him life itself would be a burden, and daily, hourly I thank Heaven


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that I have in all our other trials & sorrows the sweetest comfort left me, that of being with my Husband under all circumstances. Let Fate lead us where it may. It was on Sunday the 16th Feb, the mournful surrender of Fort Donelson took place. We received the news just at Church time when the whole town became perfectly paralyzed, perfectly panic stricken, I believe there was not a Southern heart in Nashville that was not in complete despair. All the government officers were ordered to be in readiness to leave at any moment that Johnston should issue their orders, as gunboats from Donelson were expected every hour. This was Sunday and it was not until Wednesday night that Mr Sehon received his orders to leave. To think of such suspense! For four days & nights I was nearly frantic, not knowing what moment the Federal troops might arrive, Mr Sehon still kept in Nashville and in danger of being taken a prisoner. I never saw any human being work as he did those four days & nights.


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I don't know how human nature endured it. He had but one of the nights to sleep, and not only did he work day after day, night after night, but for a whole day & night & until the next morning that he would not stop to take any refreshment, not even a mouthful. As heart broken as I was when I had to give him up, as desolate as I felt after he left, it was yet a relief to see him go, for I know a week of such intense excitement and work day and night would have prostrated him. All this time Mr Stevenson was safe out of Nashville, had fled with his wife, household furniture, wines &c. to some safe place at the first warning of danger. The night Mr Sehon left, the suspension bridge was torn up, the rail road bridge was burned and oh how frightful was the burning, the whole town was illuminated by the flames, not a bell was rung, not a sound heard, all Nashville was stricken with a stony despair. As soon as Mr Sehon reached Murfreesboro & could get boarding


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he sent for me which was four days after he left. Never while I live shall I forget, can I forget the morning when I bade my old home Good-bye; as I turned the last lingering look upon it I felt that I was leaving it forever, but I pray God will be with us in this dark trying hour and give us strength to drive from our Soil our hated oppressors, when we can return in happiness to our dear homes. When I left Nashville it was Sunday, and the calmest brightest Spring morning I ever saw, so warm that we had been sitting out on McLemore porch. At half past ten, Mother came running in & told me I had not a moment to lose, that the Federal troops had reached Edgefield (Buell's Army) and were crossing on some Steamboats which by the miserable policy of Gen Johnston were not ordered to be burned when the bridge was. When I heard this I was in despair, for one of the railroad bridges had been swept away


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by the heavy rains between Nashville & Murfreesboro, someone had stolen one of Pa's carriage horses (the young one) and not a hackman in Nashville could be induced to drive me out even six miles, out of the range of the pickets, for one hundred dollars which was offered them. They refused to go out for any sum of money, so intense was their fright. As a last resort I had to ask sister for her carriage in which I drove to Murfreesboro & sent it back the next day. Just as I was leaving, two of the Federal officers rode by home, down McLemore St. I could scarcely control my indignation but felt what would not I give to send a dagger to the heart of each! When I saw them my heart sickened and I closed my eyes to shut out the sight, realizing at last that our home was desecrated by their tread upon its soil. Their policy in Nashville is different from what every one expected. They are trying to reconcile the people to their subjugation, are very mild and


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have spoken publicly in which they promised their rights & slaves should be protected. I cannot get a letter from Nashville, but Mr Sehon saw Mr Gleaves, who married Miss Clark, just from there who gave us the news. The Federal force there is estimated at 40.000, Gen Buell, Gen Ormsby Mitchell and Gen Nelson all there, al three old acquaintances of Fathers. Mr Gleaves told Mr Sehon a joke they had in Nashville upon Father. It was really true. One night the door bell rang and Father answered it himself. When he opened the door, he saw three Federal officers, Gen Mitchell one of them who immediately stepped up to Father & said you are my prisoner Sir. You know Father's innocent unsuspecting disposition, in terror he replied can I see my wife & children Sir. Gen Mitchell assented when all four walked in, & Father went back to tell the family. On hearing it Mother & the girls rushed in the parlor to plead for him and in a few moments Father


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recognized for the first time Gen Mitchell. Gen M then laughed & told him he had not come to arrest him but to invite him to breakfast next morning at Headquarters to meet some of his old friends. The invitation Father cooly declined. I think it was presumption in Mitchell to have called. If they had come amongst us a conquered instead of a victorious people I could treat them kindly, but now I would spurn their acquaintance & request them never again enter my door. But the greatest piece of presumption was that of a young Federal officer who called on Sallie & Fannie. He being an old acquaintance called & expressed his pleasure at meeting them. They received him distantly and told him they were once glad when they would meet, but now they regretted to see him. He laughed & told them they would soon get over that feeling and asked them to visit some of the young ladies of Nashville with him. They refused telling him that those ladies would dislike as much as they did to see him. He left


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and we did not learn whether or not he repeated the visit. Did you ever hear of such impudence? It made me indignant when I heard of it. Sister and the children with Mrs Crutcher are staying with Pa & Ma. I have no doubt every thing is perfectly safe there. I was anxious to send away the portraits, your little bonnet box, my trunk of silver & c, but the road was so loaded with Government goods I thought they would be lost on the way and now I am glad I left them as I consider our homes & property in no danger. None of the private citizens have been arrested, their object is to be as mild and conciliatory as possible. My greatest anxiety is to hear of the fate of poor dear Frank. He was taken a prisoner at Fort Donelson. I have heard nothing of him since. His wound was very slight, merely a scratch. I have heard from persons who were with him at Donelson & made their escape. They left him perfectly well. He may also have made his escape, as I cannot hear from Nashville.


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I can hear nothing of him. Ma can now hear from him as communication is opened with all the North. His fate seems a hard one, imprisonment, but I felt so relieved to hear he had passed through that terrific battle with his life saved & he not a cripple that I can feel reconciled to his being a prisoner, and being a prisoner he is safe, in no danger of his life being again imperiled in battle. The battle of Fort Donelson was the bloodiest, the most terrific struggle that has yet taken place and oh if Johnston had only reinforced then we would have been saved. Our men fought with a courage and desperation almost superhuman and bravest among the brave was dear Frank. In the thickest of the battle, he took off his cap, waved his sword above, rallied his men around him and told them he would fight and die there and like lions they all fought. He lost every one of his officers and many of his men and oh with a heart full of fervent gratitude I thank the Good God who protected him


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in his imminent peril while his men fell thick and fast around him. I have a dispatch from Gen Pillow which I shall always preserve. While the battle was raging my anxiety was so intense Mr Sehon telegraphed to know how he was. Gen Pillow took the time to answer which he did in these words, "Capt Maney wounded slightly in the leg, fought as bravely as any boy I ever saw." The Editor of the Gazette was present when the dispatch was received and asked permission to publish it, which he did the next morning. I received three letters from you while at Chattanooga, the Nashville mail is now stopped and distributed there. I received also while there a letter from Will. He is still at Cumberland Gap and perfectly well. George's regiment is at Knoxville. But it is so dark I cannot see what I write. Direct your letters to me to this place. Give my best love to Mr K and a kiss to the little darlings. Mr S tells me always to give his best love.

Your affectionate Sister

Annie M. Sehon


        Nashville occupation

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Atlanta July 22nd 1862

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My dear Bettie

        I wrote you a few hurried lines some days ago and this afternoon as Mr Sehon is sleeping I will write again. Mr Sehon is improving very rapidly and will soon be able to travel. We will leave Atlanta on the 2nd of August, (Saturday) spend Sunday in Augusta, then my dear sister go on to see you, and oh how happy I will be to see you all once more. We will only travel in the day, will stop every night on Mr Sehon's account. We will sell all our furniture &c, Mr George Cunningham will I think buy it, as her ladyship, his wife seems willing to live for the present in such an humble little home. As plain as it is, I shall ever remember it with tender love, as the birth place of my boy and the home where many happy hours have been spent. I know you wish to hear from home. A few days ago I received a letter from Ma, in which she sends you love & messages which I will deliver by letting you read her letter. She writes of you dear Bettie with so much affection. All well at home. Kittie McEwen & Lit Trimble Ma writes me are going to marry Federal officers. Isn't that shameful! Miss Hays writes to her brother that at the examination in the Catholic convent near


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Nashville, the Bankhead girls appeared leaning on the arms of Federal officers. I regret that any of our Nashville girls should have so disgraced themselves. Father has been arrested and confined in the Penitentiary in company with the other ministers of Nashville, all in one room 15 feet square, and allowed none but the coarsest fare, not even wheat bread. Poor Father I think it is so unjustifiable to treat him in such a manner, they are however allowed to receive visitors & Mother writes me for once in her life she thanks the inventor of hoops as they are excellent for smuggling, which she adds is carried on extensively. On yesterday Jim spent the day with us on his way to Tupelo to join George. G_ has given him the position of brigade quartermaster. And you think Frank & Mr Sehon treated you shabbily in passing you by--really you must excuse them as it was impossible for them to stop, Frank was under orders to proceed directly to join Gen Bragg. The dear boy I wish you could have seen him, he is such a noble fellow. He talked so much about you & said he would get a leave as soon as he could go & go to Chapel Hill to see you, he declared he was going to write to you to tell you how sorry he was he could not stop, but I expect that letter has shared the fate of the one he promised me, lost before he could find pen ink and paper.


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Jim told me he expected Will would soon be ordered to Tupelo. How pleasant that will be, all four together, and such a proud return to Nashville, all four marching home with the first of the Army. Mr Sehon received a letter from Will a few days ago, he is well. I think I wrote you that he has been made the surgeon of his regiment, now ranks as major, so also does Jim. Our brothers have positions that we may be proud of, George a General, Jim & Will majors & Frank a Captain. Mr Sehon says if the war continues George will make Major General. I sent your letter & paper to Ma a day or two since, I know it will go safely. I sent them by Mr John W Walker, who has a pass for sealed baggage probably you would like to hear something of the baby. He grows & improves it seems to me every day. I will not tell you how beautiful he is, but leave that for you to say, and oh I have such a treasure of a nurse for him, Mrs Kennedy has promised to stay with me.

        But now dear Bettie I must close. Give my best love to Mr K_ and kisses to the darling children. my love to Susan & Nannie, with best best love for the dearest of sisters.

Your Affectionate Sister

Annie M Sehon


[Nashville Occupation]
[excerpted]

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Chapel Hill Jan 5th 1863

My dear Sis

        "I intended to start this little bundle on last Thursday but was disapointed [sic] in getting a little dress that I had been promised and wished to send to Johnnie. And after it did come it is such a short pattern that I am almost ashamed to send it. It is the specaled [sic] callico, you see I began to cut it out, but afterwards thought I had better not so I send it so. As it is French, callico two widths will make it wide enough and you must tear off the belt before you tear the widths in two the ballance [sic] will make the body and the piece I have torn off will make the sleeves. If however you will let him wear a plain tight waist it will make him one with less trouble to you. There is enough to make a full dress in the pink lawn and the pink callico. The one you gave my Johnnie I send back as he has all Maney's old clothes for next summer


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and will not need it. There is a piece of linen that will make him two or three aprons and a piece of cambrie for a petticoat for him. There is a chemise I cut out for my self when I was last in Nashville but have never had time to make it so I send it to you. I am really ashamed of the meagerness of my bundle Sis and would not send it if you had not lost every thing but as you did I hope even these few things may be of service to you. Mr Kimberly received yesterday a letter from Pa written by Cousin Bettie Frazer. Written on the back of the envelope is "Examined and approved by Brig Gen Negly" and that is some what of an excuse for its perplexing content. It is written with the greatest caution evidently with the expectation of its being read by the authoritys [sic] at Nashville, which seemed was done. All I can make out of the four pages is that Pa and Ma wish us to come to Nashville but for what reason is the perplexing


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part of it. Whether they think we could be of service to them or whether they wish to do us a service I cannot draw out of the tangled words. The oath of course would be required of Mr Kimberly should he go and Pa certainly knows that, and so it seems that that contradicts the letter, for Pa must know that Mr Kimberly would never take the oath of allegiance to the Federal Government for only personal advantage to himself. But to imagine, how Mr K could be an advantage to Pa is equally confounding he has nothing to fear from any one except the Federal authorities and no man can protect him from them. I can not understand the letter and it has made me more miserable than ever and still more anxious to go to Nashville. Cousin Bettie says Ma has been very sick but was setting up when she wrote. I am all anxiety for the termination of the battle of Murfreesboro hoping we may gain some


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advantage from a great victory there, though I am in fear and trembling for the boys. They are all there I expect and God grant that they may all escape."

Bettie M Kimberly


[Morale (Nashville)]
[excerpted]

Atlanta Jan 28th 1863

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Dear Bettie [ . . . ]


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        [ . . . ]". . . for I am terrible afraid the Federals will destroy Nashville if they ever have to give it up. Mother says they are determined upon it. I can't say when I am going to Nashville--I beg Mr Sehon nearly every time he comes in the house but he says it is now impossible as a battle is constantly expected, but as soon as I can I shall go. I am so anxious about Pa & Ma. I can think


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of nothing else, & since the 15th of this month am especially so, that being the day that the oath was to be required of every citizen of Nashville. It would do you good to hear Mother & the girls talk about Pa. They say he is the most violent southern man they ever saw and is about the only one who dares to express his feelings fully. On one occasion he & Negley had high words about the soldiers tearing down all his fencing, not a piece of it is left except the iron railing in front. When I go, I will try in every way to induce Pa & Ma to come to Atlanta & from here to visit you, it would be so horrible to have them there if Nashville should be destroyed. Mother says she was sitting with Pa & Ma one day when she heard their bands of music, she said "well, Judge, if they are our enemies we will have to admit they have fine music, to which Pa replied "no Madam I don't think any of their music is fine except their funeral dirges & I could rejoice to see a thousand of them hanging from every tree & as to taking their oath I will die first." I know Pa will be as firm as a rock, but Ma is an enigma as ever, she becomes provoked & talks not as she would feel upon second thought, she is very anxious for you & Mr Kimberly to go there & stay with her & even says she is willing for Mr K to take the oath

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and save his Northern property & as for Nashville she says she does not care anything for it & does not want her children to fight for it. All this is of course repeated & magnified by every body who comes South. It is so gratifying to hear Mother's account of old Susan and Mary, she says they are perfectly true & Ma told her that Mary was such a nonesuch to use her own expression. Ma says she is so devoted to her that if she hears her cough or groan in the night she jumps up & runs to her to know if she can do anything for her. I can't imagine what has changed her so, for you know she can run away & was in a Federal camp 2 weeks when the Federals first went to N_ After such devotion as that I would like to have those two negroes just to repay them & give them every thing they could want. How is Pennie doing? Isaac is dead. George hired him in Bragg's army and he died in Ky." [. . . ]

Your devoted sister

Annie M Sehon


[Federal Occupation]
[excerpted]

Atlanta May 4th '63

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My dear Bettie

        ". . . To day we are all feeling anxious and miserable enough, feeling as we did when we were expecting the fall of Nashville. You will see from the papers that the Federals have passed Rome which you know is not very far from here. where they are going we cannot tell, our officers here think they are either coming into Atlanta to destroy our departments or are going to take the Ettowa iron works. It is a regiment of cavalry, 1000 strong, and it is thought they could easily dash into Atlanta and do an immense amount of damage though of course they could not


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hold the place longer than a day or two. There is great excitement about it. Yesterday though Sunday, the citizens armed themselves and started to meet them. I tell you it is no pleasant thought, when I think some night they may dash in, take Mr Sehon, with the other officers, prisoner, burn the Government buildings & probably our home. They have done such things and we have no assurance they would not do the same to us. They are becoming more rigid & brutal. In Nashville it is terrible. They are making arrests every day, and say they intend to send out of Nashville every family that will not take the oath if they have to send out the whole city. It is appalling and I do not see how even Pa's affliction & age can protect him

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much longer. We have just received a new list of arrested which I send you. Amongst the number you see Cousin W. Murfree & Mr Frazer. These have refused all of them to take the oath & are now in the Penitentiary, what will be done with them I do not know, sent south, I suppose. Poor Cousin Priscilla, how I pity her, the excitement will almost kill her. You see they have begun to arrest ladies, Mrs Dr Cheatham & others, so I have lost all hope of going to Nashville. They are so strict that if I were to go to N_ Pa would be compelled to report immediately who I was, where I came from & what I came for & then I would be treated accordingly, if Pa failed to report he would be severely dealt with. That is now an established law

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in Nashville in regard to every one. What will come next? O I am so anxious about Pa & Ma. Suppose they should arrest Pa, wouldn't it be terrible? [. . . ]"



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Your devoted sister

Annie M Sehon


[Disease and Death]

[Disease]
[excerpted]

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Atlanta March 28th [1864]

Dear Bettie

        "I have time for only a few lines this morning as Johnnie is still sick and requires constant nursing. The reason that I now have an opportunity of writing is because I have persuaded him to lie down a little while on hid bed promising him that I would sit by him and he is now lying beside me, so my letter must be hastily written, as he will not stay out of my arms scarcely a moment at a time. But just as I am writing he is falling asleep. O Bettie how my heart aches to see his suffering, to see his wan colorless little face and his helpless condition. Before his sickness he could run & walk as steady as I could, but now he can not even stand alone, and cries out


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in pain & terror if I put him on his feet. Though he is much better I think he is far from being out of danger. I sometimes fear that he will be paralyzed he has so completely lost the use of his limbs, but the physician assures me that there is no danger of this. He says he knows of no disease so prostrating as diptheria & that in such severe attacks as Johnnie's has been it takes weeks and sometimes months to recover entirely, he says it is a disease that apparently affects only the throat but in reality ravages the whole system, and one little child in Atlanta was stone blind for three months from it. Dr. Alexander has never lost a case of diptheria, every one speaks of his success with this disease as remarkable and his medicines are simple, two tea spoonfulls [sic] of potash every two hours until the white membrane in the throat disappears, also five drops of iron every five hours and rub the throat outside well with turpentine and oil.


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Gradually this membrane which forms across the throat & suffocates the child disappears and the throat becomes well, then the patient is in no danger, but requires weeks of nursing and care before he recovers from the complete prostration. When John was first taken sick Dr. Alexander was not in town so I had to call in another physician who pronounced it merely a badly ulcerated throat, he treated it for such for several days but John got no better and I became very much alarmed and sent again for Dr. A--who had returned. As soon as he saw John's throat he told me that there was no doubt of its being diptheria & that twelve hours must decide the case. You can imagine Bettie how I felt. I think John would not have lived had Dr. A been called in a few hours later. O Bettie how thankful I am that God has spared him to me!"



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        "[ . . . ] I know I have written an uninteresting letter Bettie, but I know of nothing to write. I never leave John a moment, & since he has been sick I have not been out of the house except to take him a little walk or drive. Poor little darling I would give all I have on earth to see him as he was a few months ago. Give much love to Mr. K & kisses for the dear children & know always that when I do not write it is because sickness prevents.

Annie


[Disease]
[excerpted]

Atlanta April 4th '64

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        My dear Bettie

        "I received on yesterday your letter containing one from Pa, both of which I was delighted to receive. It was such a gratifying letter from Pa and I always feel so relieved when I hear from him and hear that he is still comfortably situated and unmolested by the Federals [in Nashville]. O what I wouldn't give to see Pa again! but I fear dear Bettie that our reunion with him must be on a day far distant. There is not a day, scarcely an hour that I do not think of him. Tomorrow is the 5th of April! Six years since dear Henry entered the happy home where I often wish I were with him. O how I long to visit his grave again and place fresh flowers above his breast. I am thankful to be able to write you


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that my precious little John is improving, but I never was more miserable about him than I was on last Saturday. He seemed to be sinking so rapidly that I feared that we should lose him, but yesterday & today he is much better, though, poor little fellow, he is very feeble still. He can not stand alone, nor take a single step--your heart would ache to see him--his little head is all down to one side--I have felt very much alarmed about that, fearing it would never be straight again, but Dr. Alexander assures me that these are all consequent upon the disease and that in the course of time he will recover entirely, and I myself see a great improvement in the way he holds his head, but oh how many bitter pangs it has cost me to see his suffering, and when he would try to look up or look around to see the expression of keen pain in his little face. On last Friday

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we had a consultation of four physicians--they decided in the opinion that though John's whole system had received a terrible shock, he was not permanently injured and with a course of treatment he would recover surely but slowly. He now suffers with paralysis of the bowels, for which he takes a mixture of nitric acid & strychnine and three times a day his spine & neck are rubbed with a liniment. The doctor also advised that he should have cold water poured on his spine every morning after his bath. I trust in another week that I shall see a decided improvement in him. Maney is as fat and as well as he can be and I think is as bright and beautiful as he can be. He is considered very much like John, but I do not think he will be so fair as John. He notices a great deal, & mother says he certainly knows me. I hope that you are all well & that Ma continues well. I am glad that Pa has written to Judge

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Catron to get Ma a pass and I hope she will be satisfied to remain until it comes."

        "You ask Bettie how to have your waist and sleeves made. I think the tight waist & small open sleeves are the prettiest. I wish I had some patterns to send you. Fannie says that in Richmond the ladies dress a great deal & the most fashionable style for making dresses, is the tight waist with the short-skirt behind & points in front, very much like the old fashioned short basque. If I can get a pattern of one I will send it to you, even if I do not get it until after you have made your dresses. You must tell Ma that I am going to send her by the first opportunity the dress she gave me, for

I know she will need it."

Your devoted sister

Annie M. S.


        [Death, religion]

        [Annie Maney Sehon wrote this letter to her sister Bettie Maney Kimberly upon the death of their Father, Judge Maney of Nashville, Tennessee. Annie herself would pass away in August]

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Atlanta May 22nd 1864

My Dear Bettie

        I received your letter with Cousin Bettie's to Ma. Jim came up and I sent the letter by him. It was much more full and satisfactory than was her letter to me, but oh Bettie as long as life lasts will his dying words ring in my ears. I hear them in every thing that I do, every where I go, during the occupation of the day, in the stillness of the night. Those plaintive words echo around me, "he had pined for his wife and children." my dear sister my heart has ached until I feel that Death would be a sweet, sweet relief, even were there no hopes, no life beyond the peaceful quiet grave, but blessed be God, there is a home above, where parting is unknown, and tears and want and care--oh Bettie no bleeding hearts are there, is it not the sweetest thought, that when this troubled life is over we shall go to a home far happier than any on earth could be, we shall there find joys far more enduring than those of earth, without its sorrows and trials. God is a wise, merciful and tender Father. He sends sorrow upon us here, but let us remember "Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth," "He tempers the wind to the shorn lamb," then let us say as dear Henry said in his last beautiful Christmas address, bear bravely on oh stricken soul. Who knows, perchance before another year hath passed into Eternity, thou shalt have ceased thy weary beating at thy prison bars and shalt be at rest. I do not remember his words, but this is the idea.


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O could I but know, that a few months hence and I too would walk the golden streets of Heaven, there with our dear Father and Henry and those little ones we never knew, to surround the great White Throne, praising the Lamb continually and keeping a loving watch over the loved ones left to suffer. Ah there is the only bitterness in death, leaving my husband, my precious children, you my dear sister and the other loved ones, it would cost an agonizing pang, strong enough to bring great drops of blood to the death pale forehead, the thought of leaving my little helpless children to battle with the storm of life, but in that trial also God would sustain the suffering soul and give us strength to commend the little innocents in faith and trust to His tender care.

        You asked me for directions for writing to Nashville. I do not know the regulations concerning flag of truce letters. When I write I always direct my letters to the person Nashville Tenn and in one corner write Per flag of Truce, via Fortress Monroe and then stamp the letter with a U. S. stamp, after which Mr. Sehon encloses it with a note to a friend in Richmond, who sees that it is not lost or mislaid. I wrote to Cousin Bettie a few days ago. If you will send me your letters, Mr. Sehon will send them to Richmond to a friend who will take particular care to send them off. I will send you the black calico as soon as we can send a bundle by express. At present every one is in such a state of excitement that nothing is done. We are looking every hour for notice to leave Atlanta, it is thought our army will be compelled to retreat to this point and that the enemy will press on. It is very disturbing, but I never can feel again


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on leaving a place as I felt when I left Nashville, for I have no tender ties to bind me to any place but Nashville. O Bettie I can never forget my parting with father--God only knows how I felt when I looked back and saw him standing upon the McLemore pavement, his eyes shaded by the green shade he always wore, and I thought how helpless he was and when would we meet again! little did I think that our meeting would be "on the other shore." Isn't it strange that Cousin Bettie gave us no messages from our dear Father? Can it be that he left non for us? That is such a bitter, bitter thought. You ask me if I expect to go home with Ma. I did expect fully to go until our return from Covington, since which time Mr. Sehon has said that he will not consent for me to take John, which is just the same as saying I shall not go, for I could not be induced to leave one of my children"were the lines between us, he might be sick and die before I could be notified of his illness. John has been very ill since our return from Covington--he is now improving. If I cannot go to Nashville it will be a sore trial to me, for I would give all I have on earth to go to our Father's sacred resting place, to be once more beneath that dear roof and in the room where his last moments were spent. It would be a sweet comfort to me, but I sometimes feel that it would almost kill me to see the old McLemore porch and


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the benches without the dear form that I have so often seen there. I feel very unhappy about Ma. She looks much worse than when she was last in Atlanta. I have begun now Bettie to prepare myself for another sorrow. Ma is old, her health very feeble and I feel that she cannot last much longer. No one knows how much it distresses me that I have not a home, so as to have her with me. I shall always do every thing in my power to make the remainder of her life as happy as possible and if we have to leave Atlanta, I hope in our next change that we can keep house if we have but three rooms, when I will of course have Ma with me. Sister is boarding in Atlanta. She has not changed her dress and to see and hear her, a stranger would not think that any tie of relationship existed between her and the Dead. It is painful to me to see her, and I must acknowledge my feelings for her have changed very much.

        Before I close I will ask you if you could get me several packages of mourning envelopes and paper to correspond. I cannot find any in Atlanta, Mr. Sehon has looked every where for me. I like yours very much, my only objection is the little black flower on the back of them, I like them with just a broad black band around them. If you can get them, do not send them to Atlanta yet, as we do not know what hour we may have to leave. Give much love to Mr. Kimberly and kisses to your precious children. do not fail to write every week and have Mr. Kimberly write me when you safely through your trial, I feel so anxious about you.

Your devoted Sister

Annie M. Sehon


        [Death, religion, philosophy]

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Augusta, Ga. Oct. 20 1864

My Dear Sister:

         Even yet I cannot write to you as I would and should. Ten weeks ago on yesterday my darling was taken from earth to heaven, and each day since then, and oh my dear Bettie how sad, how wearisome they are, as I have stood at my Annie's grave, my prayers and thoughts have embraced you and yours, for whom her love was so deep, so tender. At her grave, now, the dearest spot of earth to me, I find no consolation in the truths of religion--this lightening of my burden is not for me--my mind will not, in fact cannot think of the future--dwells only on the past--sees only her form, her face lighted by her living eyes, as they looked on me in those hours, when we were dreaming only of happiness and were happy--oh so happy. If I could but feel in my heart reconciled to such a manifestation of God's will--and trusting implicitly in his divine mercy--look only forward to that heaven to which she so constantly in life endeavored to turn my thoughts--then I might realize the consolation said to be reserved for the Christian--but, Bettie I cannot school my heart nor control my thoughts; they will travel backward, not forward--the hours first spent with her, our engagement and all those treasured days of our married life--these recollections even at the side of her grave, I cannot exchange for the thoughts of heavenly reunion and happiness. My heart will repine--I cannot see why God, that God she so loved and served, should have selected, and taken from me, her, whose purity and love might have moulded my thoughts, and influenced


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my heart to follow in the path she trod. At the hours when she used to pray for me, I can now only with uncontrolled thought attempt to offer prayer. God grant that I may find strength to bear my burden. All is now dark to me, robbed of her, so good, so pure, so true, one who in her love, would have with bare feet followed me the wide world over--no test too severe, no sacrifice too great. Think you I did not appreciate this devotion--Ah, yes Bettie, I had no thought of life, that did not centre in her, no hope that did not blend with dreams of her--to make her happy--to see her smile, and her eye beam with content--this was my aim, my joy. I worked for her, yes struggled for her, and now she, for whom I lived and loved to live is taken from me. My dear sister, I cannot write connectedly, you cannot expect it--you know what I have lost, wife, angel, guide, heaven, all to me.

        Mother has doubtless told many incidents connected with my darling's illness and her last hours. When I arrived in Covington on the 20th of July, I found Annie sad, pale and thin--and with fever but still going actively about the house insisting she was not sick. The evening of that day, however, I went for Dr. Hendrick, who was recommended as the best physician in the place. He returned with me to the house, and after seeing Annie, told me, she was from her symptoms suffering from [ ] fever which might lapse into typhoid. The following day the first Yankee raiding party entered Covington, while I was making preparations to remove my darling to Augusta. This raid of course excited her and increased her fever. As was ever the case, she


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forgot herself to think of me--she feared that I would be arrested. James had been compelled to leave as the Yankees entered but I prefered [sic] to take the risk of remaining. I COULD not leave Annie. This raiding party tore up the rail road, thereby interrupting the mails, so that I could not write you. I could not even communicate with Augusta to obtain delicacies and other things that I knew would conduce to Annie's comfort. After a few days Annie apparently began to convalesce--but the second raiding party, entering soon after, was I think the occasion of a relapse. Again, James who had returned after his flight was obliged to leave--this time taking with him his wife & children, Bettie and our little John. Annie prefered to send John, believing he would be more comfortable in Augusta than in Covington. The hours of excitement consequent to these scenes induced fever, and again she became worse, but soon after began again to improve--so much so, that she sat up in her bed, then in her chair for two or three days--an hours or two each day, and then walked across from her room to that of Mother's. and oh! Bettie at that time in my heart I felt so thankful, so grateful to God that my darling was gaining strength, but now that my darling is no more, I fear from what I know of her great anxiety to leave Covington and be once more settled, and from what Mother has since told me she said to her, that she my darling, overtaxed her feeble strength, and endeavored to induce me to believe that she was much better, than she really was. Dr. Hendrick said that under ordinary circumstances he would not consent for Annie in her then


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feeble condition to travel, but considering her anxiety and great desire she had to leave Covington, and the injurious effect, it was having on her convalescence, he would most decidedly advise me to start with her. Accordingly on Saturday morning, 6th day of August, I started with her, Mother, little Maney and his nurse. I walked by the side of the carriage from Covington to Social Circle, ten miles, that she might not be crowded in the bed I had made for her in her carriage. Stopping at intervals on the road, and driving slowly, , we reached Social Circle at three o'clock Saturday afternoon--here I carried Annie in my arms to a house, and placing her on a sofa, made her rest until the train started at Six o'clk. Then again carrying her, I placed her at full length on a comfortable bed made for her in the passenger car, there she rested comfortably for some hours, when she asked me to raise her up and fan her, at the same time holding her head on my shoulder--she complaining much of faintness, difficulty in breathing and great fatigue--but after an hour or two, she revived and so continued until our arrival in Augusta. Here I carried her in my arms to my father's carriage, in which she rode to the house, into which she was carried by my father. This was on Sunday morning August 7; after stopping in Sallie's room to see her baby she insisted upon bathing, and did partly bathe her chest and shoulders, and then went to bed--to bed, Bettie, never to leave it, except for the grave. All that day, Sunday, she appeared better, so also on Monday morning and I, as did we all, felt confident that my darling was indeed convalescing. Monday afternoon, just before


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dusk, I took Ma, Bettie and John a short drive, leaving Mother with Annie, when we returned, my father met me at the gate, and told me that Annie was extremely prostrate, and had almost swooned away. Hurrying to her room, I found her with her pulse very low, prostrated by what I was satisfied was a hemorrhage from the bowels. I immediately sent for Dr. Ford and Dr. Joseph Eve of Augusta--before their arrival Annie had two more similar hemorrhages--so prostrating her that I did not think she could survive during the night. Consulting the physicians, (one or the other of whom from that time constantly remained in the house, and both of whom were with her, in the hour of death) I found that my worst fears were correct. Placing myself on the side of the bed beside her, I was compelled to tell her, my angel, my darling, my wife, Oh, my God, how can I write it, that she was about to be taken home to heaven. She answered me, "My husband I am not afraid to die, but I would not think I am dying, surely, God will give me some sign, some feeling that I am to die, I have no such feeling yet." I then told her that, of which she was still ignorant, that the discharges from her bowels were of blood, in the nature of hemorrhages, and that the physicians thought she could not live long. Turning them full on me her heavenly eyes, she asked, "Can I be kept alive until darling Frank comes?" The physicians nodded to me to answer yes, and by administering stimulants she was revived, and her pulse quickened. Asking then for John and Maney, they were wakened and brought to her from their little beds. Holding them in a long embrace, she fondly kissed them again and again, and then to Mother, Ma, Pa, Fannie, Bettie and my cousin David


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Gwynne, speaking in turn to each, she assured them of her Christian faith, her love for each of them, and hope of a blessed reunion in heaven. To my sister Sallie, who was confined to her bed in the next room she also sent messages of love. When Frank arrived, and knelt by her bed side--placing her hands upon his head, she said, "Oh, Frank, my darling brother, I am about to die, will you not try to meet in heaven; try oh try Frank to be a Christian, try to meet in Heaven, those dear ones who have gone before, there dear Pa and darling Henry are waiting for us." Then Bettie turning to me, she said, "And now my husband lie down by me, and put your arms around me, let my head lie on your shoulder as it has done every night" folding her in my arms, she said, "Oh! husband we have been so happy, so happy, and I have loved you so much more than you could ever know." And apparently having reserved until this hour her messages for you, to whom in death as in life, her heart was so devoted, she said, "And Bettie, dear Bettie, Oh! how I love her--how I love her; tell her I thought of her at the very last, and how I longed to see her--promise me, my husband that you will take out children to see Bettie, and that there in the little church where John was baptized, you will have dear Maney baptized by Mr. Johnson." This promise I made her, Bettie, and will most solemnly and with melancholy pleasure keep it. I am now only waiting for my little Maney to grow strong enough to travel. She then asked me to keep the children always with me, and among other directions she gave me, requested me to give to John for his wife her watch, and to Maney for his wife the parasol you had given her. I could not my dear


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Bettie lie there, and composedly listen to that dear voice, so soon to be hushed in death. Observing my emotion, she softly placed her hand upon my cheek, and said, "My dear husband, you will always love me, will you not? Remember my virtues, and forget my faults." She have faults, Oh Bettie, I bear but slight testimony to the memory of my loved angel, when I say, that if ever there lived one human being from faults, it was my darling Annie--if faults she had, I, her husband knew them not. In all the days of our married life, I found her always pure, gentle, loving, just and true-thinking no evil, serving her God, doing good; kind in word and look--affection evidenced in every act--just even in her benevolence, and true to her God and her duties. Oh, great God, how can I bear the burden now imposed on me? My dear Sister I am torturing my heart to write you this letter--I cannot yet write of her. After lying quiet a few moments, Annie looking me full in the face, said, "Husband I am not afraid to die--Jesus Christ died for me," and then added in the language of David in the 23rd Psalm, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." The hemorrhages having ceased, the physicians urged me to keep her quiet, saying that while there was barely a probability of saving her, yet while there was life, there was hope. I therefore said to her, "Annie, my darling try to sleep. I will lie here by you, and hold your hand. The doctors say sleep will do you good and might tend to your recovery. Would you not like to live and make us all happy again?" with a bright, yes beautiful smile, she answered, "Oh, yes husband, oh yes, So much, but if God wills it,


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I am ready to die." She rested quietly during the night, but after day break of the next day Tuesday, she evidently failed rapidly--about mid-day her mind began to wander, and she talked incoherently--and from that time until her death, recognized me only at intervals, and then only for a few seconds at a time. After night fall her delirium became violent, and I was compelled frequently to hold her in her bed. But about three o'clk in the morning this delirium subsided, and she became quiet, and so remained until her last breath, which, oh, my sister, bore to heaven the gentlest spirit, the truest soul that ever made man happy. My mother and Bettie prepared my darling for the grave. Robed in that dress in which she took her bridal vows, with her marriage ring upon her finger, and her hair braided from her calm cold brow, as she so often worn it for me in life, when her eyes shown with love. Thus they placed her in her coffin--her coffin, would Bettie, it were mine. I endeavored my dear sister, to have her body kept for you, but could not. She now lies buried in a quiet spot, in a cemetery, about one mile and a half from the house, in which I live; to her grave I go ever morning at sunrise, and there Bettie with an anguished heart live over the days that are gone forever. Great God what am I to do? I feel sometimes Bettie so perfectly reckless, so lost, so ruined that I fear for my future.

        But if, my dear sister, I have one desire stronger than all others, it is, that you, upon whom my angel had lavished all the wealth of sisterly love, it is, I add, that you will receive me into your heart, and give to me a portion of that love my, yes, our Annie so prized. Will you not my dear Bettie? Let out children, yours and hers, know and feel, as it would have been her


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delight to teach them--how more than tender the ties that bind them. So soon as Maney is able I will bring him to Chapel Hill--this will I hope be in a short time--as it is more than probable that I will leave this country about the last of next month--going first under instructions to Nassau, thence to Bermuda, and then probably to Liverpool--however of this I cannot speak positively. The position offered me is responsible as well as lucrative--and in my present condition--my happiness gone, I shall probably accept.

        John is enjoying fine health, stout and active--would that his mother could have seen him thus. Maney, poor little fellow, improves very slowly--worn by disease to a mere skeleton, I often look in pity on the poor child, so early robbed of a mother's love# [sic], but my Mother and Sisters by day and night minister to his little wants with such tenderness and love, that I feel my Annie must bless them in heaven.

        I have several times gone to Annie's trunks to take from them some articles, I know she would have liked you to have, but each time my anguish drove me from them. There lie letters, clothing, books, everything as placed by her dear hands--this article and that she touched and handled--that poor cold hand, that I have so often held in mine, and in whose warm pressure there was so much happiness for me. Where is it? What is it? Oh, my Sister, my Sister, my heart is in agony. What am I to do? What am I to do? I will either soon send by express or bring to you such things as you would like to have. Is there any thing or things of hers, that you particularly desire, if so, please name them to me. Within the last ten days I have had


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one slight spitting of blood. When Will left I felt very unwell, and for ten days afterwards was confined to my bed by a severe attack of what, I at first supposed was pleurisy, but which my physician said was rheumatism. This was followed by an eruption on my hands and pains in them and my arms, so that I could not use them; but I am now quite well and feel as usual.

        Dear Sister, please write me once a week as you did to my darling, and oh how eagerly she looked for, and read those letters. Write of yourself, your husband, your children, your plans, your wishes. Write, of you can, as you did to her, and above all--remember that in your heart I claim a brother's place, and that in mine, my Annie first implanted a love for you. And if at any time I can serve you or yours, remember, I repeat, it is a brother, whose happiness it will be to do so. With this I send you an obituary of our dear Annie written by my father. Kiss for me your little ones, and Mother to whom I send much love. My love to Mr. Kimberly & Will. Remember me most kindly to the young ladies.

With much love my dear sister
I am ever
Your affectionate brother

John Sehon.


[Homefront]

         [Nashville homefront]

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Nashville Jan 20th/62

My Dear Sister

        It has been two weeks since I had a letter from you--I am afraid either you or the children are sick but I hope not, but that the delay may be attributed to the irregularity of the mails. But I must tell you of my beautiful, beautiful birth day present. It is from Mr. Sehon and is a Set of jewelry made of his hair, breast pin, ear rings, bracelet and necklace. It is what I have wanted and wished for so much, & nothing would have been so acceptable. It was my twentieth birthday--out of my teens and 20 years old! The thought makes me feel quite aged. Yesterday we attended the funeral of Men Nichol, Son of James Nichol. You probably remember him, he was a clerk in Mr. McNairy's store. Father preached his funeral by the request of his family, although they are all Presbyterians. Do you remember Bettie which hymns and chants were Sung at Henry's


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funeral? Please tell me in your next letter. When I die I wish the same exactly sung over me and would like to have the same over every member of the family. I like the same chants over every member of the family that are sung over one. They thus become peculiarly expressive, and beautiful to those left behind.

        For the last two weeks the weather has been like the times, exceedingly gloomy. Thus far we have had no winter, until within the last two weeks we have had almost entirely the most beautiful balmy spring weather, the brightest sunshine and clearest skies. I think it the peculiar blessing of God upon our Southern troops. Accustomed to a warm climate, particularly those from the very far South, they could not bear up under a severe Winter campaign as could the hardier Northerners. The last two weeks have, however, been all rain and so warm fires have often been oppressive and winter wrappings entirely given up. The political excitement now is very great. An attack was made a few days ago on Fort Henry twelve miles from Frank. [Annie's and Bettie's brother, serving at Ft. Donelson] Our leaders seem


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to think we have the force to meet them, but I am anxious, fearing Frank's company may be called for to aid them. The attack is considered a flash from the fire, it is believed the Northern plan was to attack these forts, Bowling Green, Columbus and the Coast simultaneously, but they are afraid to advance upon Bowling Green, we are there fully prepared for them and are anxious for them to attack, so the South may See another gymnastic feat in a Bull Run. O for peace, peace! What wouldn't I give to hear it proclaimed! George is now in the most delightful portion of Virginia and under a fine leader Stonewall Jackson--I am looking now to hear of him distinguishing himself, where he is now I think he will have an opportunity. Mr. Sehon received a letter from his partner a day or two ago, saying in the late engagement at Bath, George said to Jackson, though his men had been a day without any thin to eat, they were not willing to stop to get any thing but desired unanimously to be placed in the front rank. But they were not in the engagement, why I do not know. Col


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Taylor is now here from Virginia and will I have no doubt be lionized considerably. Will is well and still at the Gap. Frank I suppose is also well. The young people of Nashville Mr Alex Porter & others have gotten up a fancy ball to come off next Thursday to which Mr & Mrs Sehon have received two invitations, but we will not be present. I don't know how any one can enjoy Such gaiety or participate in it, when we know not what moment may bring tidings of friends who have fallen. Since the attack on Fort Henry, some are alarmed for the safety of Nashville, but I have no such fear. Though I read constantly the confident expectation of the enemy to possess Nashville, I can't realize that it is possible. But we will never give it up, we will defend it as long as possible--rather than yield we will not leave one stone upon another. Should they come (but I know they never will, never can) I trust every citizen would fire his home and fall arms in hand with the Southern banner waving from every house as long as they stand. But I must now close, as I have but a short time to write to Will by a gentleman going in two hours. Give best love to Mr. Kimberly with a thousand kisses for the little darlings and love to all the servants.

Annie M. Sehon


[Nashville homefront]
[excerpted]

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Nashville Feb 8th 1862

Dear Bettie

        "I received your letter of the 2nd this morning. I am glad to hear Rebecca is well but sorry Mr Kimberly is suffering with rheumatism. I have nothing to write you this week dear Bettie but painful news. Fort Henry has been taken by the Federal troops with a loss on our side of three or four killed and eighty taken prisoners. Our men retreated in good order, Saved their guns I am glad to say, instead of throwing them away as in the disgraceful stampede of Fishing Creek. Our field pieces however we were obliged to leave. My anxiety about Frank is intense. He is at Fort Donelson (11 miles from Fort Henry) where a desperate battle is hourly expected. It is thought they may now be fighting there. The battle must be a hard fought and decided


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one but it is believed we have the force and bravery concentrated there to be victorious. That we may have, and I pray God that we may repulse them or Nashville is gone. Nashville is thought by many of our most reliable people to be in imminent danger. If they come and we can't defend ourselves we are prepared to welcome them to a pile of ruins, our people would immediately fire every place that could afford them quarters or in any way benefit from them. If they come I hope to be able to entertain a large number. I would with pleasure give each a cup of coffee and I think it would be the last any of them would ever drink. I think Nashville [is] in great danger and have wished very much to send your portrait together with the two of Henry to Chapel Hill, but Mr Sehon advised me not to do it, as it could not be done but with great difficulty, and probably in the present disturbed and burdened State of the roads they could not reach Chapel Hill safely.


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I can think of nothing but dear Frank and his danger. Ma is nearly crazy about him and on her account I have to appear hopeful but I feel more gloomy than I have ever felt about the war. It is seriously believed that Gen Johnston will soon order from Nashville to some safer point all the Government Stores, the Quartermasters stores, the Ordnance and Commissary's, when of course Mr Sehon will have to go. But I should regret that only on account of the circumstances being such as to render it impossible to retain the supplies in Nashville. As far as I am personally concerned I would thank Heaven that I could leave Nashville to go any where upon the face of the habitable globe that I could board until the war is over and we can go to housekeeping. As long as Mr Sehon is in the Army and may any moment have to leave it is useless to think of commencing housekeeping. I have been so dissatisfied that Mr Sehon determined to risk it and rent a house, but on mentioning to some of his friends his expectations, he was told [by] men of influence & other officers that it would ruin him in the estimation of the officers in the Army, that it would look to them as though he was determined to settle down with no expectation of being


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ordered away. He told me this but was still willing to do any thing to make me feel satisfied. Of course I say nothing more about housekeeping as I will never do any thing that will make me feel that my course has done my husband an injury, but daily I become more restless and dissatisfied. In comparison with myself I consider you blessed in having a home of your own. I would I assure you joyfully exchange circumstances for the war.

        You ask if your enema is safe. Yes perfectly and if you are willing to trust it by express I will send it to you. Tell me in your next about the vaccine matter. I do not know that there is any in Nashville, but I will try to get some from one of the physicians."

Your affectionate sister

A. M. S.


         [Atlanta homefront]

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Atlanta March 29th 1862

My dear Sister

        I received your letter of March 17th--the reason I have not written for some time is that I have been so busy I have not had time. We are now housekeeping. I was perfectly willing to board but Mr Sehon insisted upon keeping house as it would be so much more pleasant for me and indeed I do find it a great comfort to be in a home of my own where I can be quiet and do just as I wish. It is much more pleasant to us both, the only reason I objected was the expense it would be to rent a house, furnish it and hire servants. We have been in the house two weeks tomorrow and you would be really astonished to look in upon us and see how cozy and home like every thing already looks. Of course every thing is plain but I have every thing for my comfort. Mr Sehon is without a doubt the most thoughtful considerate being I ever knew. When we reached Atlanta, for a week we had nothing but the rainiest most gloomy weather I ever saw, but that did not deter him. For two entire days he walked all over the town through the Storm and stopped at nearly every door in the place to know if the house was for rent--he at last succeeded. Houses here are in great


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demand. After getting the house Mr Sehon went to all the furniture china & dry goods stores to see which was the best then brought a carriage up for me and we went down to make a selection. You ought to have seen me for a week after we came in the house. The day after we came in, Gen Johnston ordered Mr Sehon to repair to his headquarters where he was for nearly a week. You can imagine how lonely & lost I felt but by his absence I accomplished a great deal of sewing, hemmed the sheets the towels the napkins, made the pillow cases &c &c, But to do it I sewed constantly, all day and nearly all night. I felt so unsettled I could not rest until every thing was in order and I must confess that I sewed so late at night, because I was afraid to go to bed. Every thing around me was so strange and queer I was afraid to go to bed and afraid to sit up alone so you can imagine I was glad for more than one reason to see Mr Sehon at home again. Here the houses are nearly all frame, sweet little cottages but for its size the place looks very village like. Our house is a little white frame cottage with four rooms, windows opening to the floor & porch running across the front of the house. You enter the hall, on the right is my bed room, on the left the parlor, back of the parlor is the dining room, back of my room is Cousin David Gwynn's room. Cousin David is a cousin of Mr Sehon's from Texas, now in the department with him. I have matting on all the floors, carpet


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could not be found in the place. Mr Sehon had it all put down, the furniture all arranged and the closets filled with groceries enough to last it seems to me a year at least--groceries of every kind, sugar, flour, meal, lard, molasses, rice, potatoes, dried fruit, coffee, peas, maccarone [sic], butter & eggs &c &c. every thing necessary for a meal at any time except meats that is all for which we depend upon the market. We were very fortunate in getting servants, all through Mr Sehon's perseverance. My cook is an excellent one, she certainly makes the best coffee I ever tasted, my house woman is a kind affectionate girl, and learns readily but she has never been trained much. But she is devoted to me already and never goes out to her home that she does not manifest her affection by bringing me back some flowers. Yesterday she brought me the sweetest boquet [sic] of spring flowers, and oh how much my heart ached to see them particularly the hyacinth they reminded me so much of home. O Bettie to think of the condition of our dear old home, its desecration. I don't know how my love for it can be so intense, I have know[n] but little there but sorrow and trials and my sorrows have been such that I always shrink from the memory of them, my trials so great that the thought of what I endured for nearly a year embitters many a moment of my present life, even when other & so great Sorrows have come upon us. In your letter you ask me Bettie for some news from home. I wish from my heart I could tell you some for notwithstanding all the past my heart clings to the old home, yearns for it and I wish I could live and die beneath the dear old roof that sheltered my infancy & childhood. Not


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one line not even a message have I received from Pa or Ma since I left. They seem to have forgotten my existence, all I hear from home is through Father & Mother & the girls, they write constantly by every opportunity. Since I left Nashville I have written by every opportunity, on an average twice a week to Ma & Pa. I never answer the letters from Mother & the girls that I do not send at the same time a long letter to Pa & Ma, in which I tell them every thing I know to interest them, all I can hear from you Will or Jim or George, but they have taken no notice of any of my letters, did not even send me a message by Mother who came a few days ago. I write to them, I think it is my duty, and I have asked them in my letters to write me but I will never make the request again. I wrote Ma 8 pages yesterday, I say as little as possible of myself that does not seem a subject of any interest but I wrote her about your letters, how anxious you are for her & Pa to pay you a visit, all about Will & Jim, and asked her if she would not write & tell me of Mount Olivet. How this makes me feel I do not care to say. I saw Bettie in one of the Nashville papers & Mother tells me it is true, that those cold blooded Federal villains have actually selected Mount Olivet Cemetery in which they drill. It makes my blood curdle to think of it. In my most exaggerated ideas of their barbarity I never imagined they could be so inhumane as thus to invade the Sacred resting place of the dead and thus to harrow every feeling of the living. Merciful God! Did you ever know any thing so heartless! To think that in all probability it was over our precious Henry's Sacred grave that file after file so ruthlessly trod, they the inhuman wretches upon whom his pure spirit must look in horror. O if I were a man to strike if but one blow to avenge those so dear to me! When I think of this Bettie, and dear gallant Frank a prisoner in their hands, our home in their possession,


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I feel that a woman as I am, my strength would be superhuman, could I meet on the field those dastardly wretches, and oh how I could drain their hearts blood. I have some Nashville papers & many Cincinnati papers which I will send to you after Mr Sehon reads them. They are of an old date but probably you would like to see the tone of them. I had a letter from Jim yesterday and one from Will. They are both well, Will says that Cumberland Gap is perfectly safe. Poor Jim has lost his little Bettie, his favorite child. I feel a great deal for him for I can well imagine how acute must be the pang. When you have left home and taken dear little Rebecca for days and weeks every thing would seem so desolate with out her sweet loving voice and winning ways, and I have often thought that should it be death instead of separation for a time it would almost break my heart. If I feel thus for Rebecca's absence what must be a parents suffering over the death of the favorite child. Poor Jim I pity him. Dear little Rebecca, God bless the darling child, how I love her, better than all the children in the world & how I wish I could see her. And dear little Maney I know I shall love him just as much. Now we are settled & housekeeping dear Bettie. Mr Sehon & I are both anxious for you all to come pay us a visit. I cannot ask you now, Mother is here, for I cannot make you comfortable but when she leaves I shall be oh so happy to see you. Mr Sehon talks about it constantly and says you must make Mr Kimberly get a leave of absence & come with you & the little darlings & if Mr Kimberly can't leave, you must


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come any way to see us, but don't you dare to come without both of the children & Mr Kimberly if he can possibly come. You will probably wonder how I am going to stow you away with only four rooms, but you come & I promise you you shall be comfortable. Cousin David Gwynne will sleep at the office and give you his room with the greatest pleasure, the office is perfectly comfortable. If you will come, I will promise Mr Sehon & I will return the visit after a while. Do come won't you Bettie. I shall be so delighted to have you & Mr Sehon will be as glad to see you as I will. You don't know how much he talks about it & wishes you would come. He speals of it & wishes for you oftener than for any member of his own family. but I must now close as it is very late. You must excuse hasty writing, but I have so much to do I can not take the time to write carefully. Give my best love to Mr Kimberly and a thousand kisses to the little darlings. Just as soon as Mother leaves I will write for you and you must come, we will be so glad to see you all. If you would like to write to Nashville I will send the letter if you will send it to me as early as possible. There is a gentleman here who goes directly there on next Thursday or Friday. We received a letter from Fannie Sehon yesterday who said her Sister was getting ready to come out to stay with George. His regiment is at Corinth. Mr Sehon always sends best love, he is so anxious for you to come and oh I would be so happy to see you. Won't you come!

Ever your affectionate Sister

Annie M. S.


         [Homefront, morale]

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Atlanta May 1st 1862

My own dearest Sister

        I have time this afternoon for but a hurried note and I would not attempt to write but I want to thank you for your last kind letter and say I will write again at the earliest opportunity. I thank you sincerely my dear sister for the deep interest you feel and your constant & repeated invitations to me to go to see you and I only wish I could my dear sister be with you, there is no one living to whom I would go so soon as to yourself, but Mother being with me you know it is impossible. I would give any thing to have you with me and I wish I could make you comfortable enough to ask you to come now, but I cannot promise to make you comfortable until Mother leaves, as our house is such a tiny mite. She is beginning to be very impatient to return home as her sister Aunt Sarah Gwynne is now at her house in the most delicate health, not expected to last much longer. But I do not know that she will be able to return for months, for I don't see how it is possible for a lady to get through. Every one who has come out says it is attended with the greatest difficulty and for miles across the mountains it is impossible to go in a carriage or buggy, in no way but by horseback, which of course Mother could not attempt, so I think she


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will be compelled to remain until we can all return, which I fear dear Bettie will be a long, long time, every thing looks so discouraging now. The enemy are almost upon Chattanooga, New Orleans has fallen, in short they are hemming us in all around and if we have to continue retreating farther South we will soon be driven into the Gulf. I tell you I feel downhearted but I still trust in God & pray for victory in the next battle, which I suppose will soon take place at Corinth. I think I told you that George is at Corinth and has been made a Brigadier. I am now writing on the 4th of May. I commenced my letter on the 1st but was interrupted & have not Since had time to write. Just as I began writing I was called to the parlor by the most pitiful object I ever saw, a soldier an old man fifty years old & wounded at Shiloh. He is a miserable cripple & is one of the men who fought under George in Mexico. I saw the poor creature the evening before, hobbling along, he looked so wretchedly I could not help stopping him to ask if I could do nothing to relieve him & on talking to him I found he was in George's company in Mexico. The poor creature is perfectly devoted to George & brought me a breast pin which he told me I must show to G & tell him who gave it to me. Of course I prize the gift as a manifestation of his love for George which is very gratifying to me. He is proud & independent and did not like to take the skirts & handkerchiefs


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I found he needed & insisted upon giving him. Day before yesterday you can't imagine what a treat I had in letters. Some one came through & brought me a letter from Fannie who inclosed [sic] to me a letter which had come to Nashville for me from Miss Huttner, a long letter of eight pages and so kind and affectionate. She has been ill all the winter, her life despaired of. At the same time I received a letter from Emma Woodruff of Phila. directed to Miss Annie R Maney, in which she said she did not know what might have happened during the long time we had been debarred the pleasure of writing and I thought from the address she certainly did not. I wrote home by a safe opportunity I think for your little enema which I expect in about two weeks. The gentleman will return by that time and I do hope it will come safely, without being broken. I wrote to Ma to pack in with cotton in a little box. Well my dear sister I must say good bye as I have not time to write longer now. Excuse such a scrawl. I did not tell you that Frank has been removed to Bull's Island in Lake Erie & very near Sandusky. I received a few days since a letter from Will in which he sent "best love to Bettie & a kiss to the little ones." I saw in a paper the notice of Frank's removal. Pa & Ma have never received a line from him although they have written several times & sent him money. Give my best love to Mr K & a thousand, thousand kisses to the little darlings. O I wish I could see you all.

Your devoted sister

Annie


        [Chapel Hill homefront]

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Chapel Hill June 8th 1862

My Dear Sis

        I was somewhat surprised on yesterday to receive your letter of May 27th as I had been anxiously expecting one from your Mother every morning since your last announcing the event safely over. I expect you are almost as bad a calculator in such matters as I am. You speak of the very high prices you have to pay for every thing in Atlanta in the way of provisions. I am not at all surprised to hear it and that was one reason I was so anxious for you to come here and stay with me. To be sure I have no right to intrude my lessons on economy upon you, but my unpleasant experience in reduced salarys [sic] and war prices have given me such a habit of counting cost and studying out where a little may be saved here and a little there that I could not help thinking that it was great extravagance in you two to go to housekeeping with all its attending expense when you might just as well have come here and staid with me till the times looked brighter. I could not it is very true have given you as good fare as you have in Atlanta but considering all things I think you could have tolerated the


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Chapel Hill market for a time. Beef is a rarity we but seldom see, when we do get it we pay from ten to twelve cts a pound which I should not imagine was any thing like as dear as it is in Atlanta. For very good butter we pay 35 and 40cts. Chickens full grown 50 cts, young ones 30 cts, eggs 20cts a dozen. Strawberries we get for 10 cts a quart, flour meal and bacon are very high, but nothing is as dear as in Atlanta I do not expect. Money is so very scarce here that nothing hardly would be sold if the prices were any higher. I am sorry to hear you have an idea of taking a handsomer establishment, it will I should think cause you much more trouble and expense and I think it is very doubtfull [sic] how long you will be in Atlanta. If our forces should be defeated at Corinth you would have to leave Atlanta and if you will not think me meddlesome I would advise you to have as little that you would have to leave behind you as possible. As for my coming to see you my dear Sis that is entirely impossible. If your Mother was not with you I would come immediately and stay with you as long as I could be of the least service to you, but I should leave both the children and Mr Kimberly here. A pleasure trip even to see you is a luxury I must forego till the bow of peace and plenty spans a fairer sky than is now above me. I was most delighted


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to hear from Frank last night, the news in your letter of his escaping made me very miserable for fear he should have been retaken and delt [sic] with all the more severely. But last night a gentleman got here from Baltimore he is a nephew of Dr Jones of this place and is on a visit to him. He sent me word last night that he left Frank in Baltimore well and with plenty of friends and that he would call Monday morning to tell me all about him. But I am so impatient to hear more that Mr Kimberly has now gone up to call on him and if possible to bring him down to dine with us. What a life of adventure that boy has had. I doubt not in the least Sis that a long honored and usefull [sic] and a glorious life is yet before him. Nor would I be surprised to see him yet ministering at God's holy altar in his Bishops robes. I cannot but believe that there is a special providence watching over him and may it ever guide him to the good and right I pray. You hear often from Will. I wish he would write to me. I have been intending to write him for two weeks past but something has constantly prevented me. Give my best best love to him whenever you write and tell him too that Rebecca often talks about him and every night in her prayers says "God bless my dear Uncle Willie" and often adds "and make him come to see me."


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I do hope he will not join a guerilla [sic] company it is a fascinating life I know and one that would just with Wills disposition but it is one of so much danger that I do hope he will not think of it any longer. Pennie has run away again Sis, she has been gone now a week and we have hear nothing from her. To be sure we have not been active in our endeavors to do so, for my own part I would be glad if I never saw her again. the children are both well and as sweet and bright as possible. Mr Kimberly took Rebecca up to the Collage [sic] commencement on last Thursday much to her delight. Just as they were starting Mr Elliot a friend of Mr Kimberlys from Norfolk came in he asked Rebecca where she was going and she replied that she had put on her pretty dress and hat to go to see the boys. He said yes you love the boys too don't you she said yes I do with such a knowing toss of the head that we all laughed which rather confused her and she added and Mama does too and Mama Annie too. Mr K_ says she was more looked at and admired than all the other girls in the Chapel together. Gov Manly came home with them and complimented me very much about my beautiful daughter and said she bid fair to be as great a belle as was Miss Rebecca Southall some forty or forty five years ago. Gov M_ was an old friend of Pa's in their young days and he says Ma was one of the greatest belles North Carolina has
[continuing on the page 1]
ever boasted of and that she has boasted of many beautiful women. Give best love to your Mother and to Mr Sehon and with very much for your dear self.

Your affectionate sister

B M K


         [Home life, morale]

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Atlanta Jan 9th '63

Dear Bettie

        I received this evening your letter and the nice bundle you sent me. I can't tell you my dear sister how much I thank you, but I really feel mean about it. If I had one thought of your sending me any thing I would not have written you one word about the fire for I know such nice material as you sent me cannot now be replaced at any price. I will accept the chemise for I have not enough to feel [page torn] but as for the others I will not think of taking for I have tried and I know you cannot get such material. I do no think there is one yard of linen in any store in Atlanta and the idea of making Johnnie linen aprons is unheard of. I cannot even get linen for chemise bands & sleeves--common domestic is now $2.00 a yard. The dresses you send Johnnie are beautiful. I think the pink muslin is the sweetest little thing I ever saw but I know your children will need all those things next summer if they do not now and next summer I fear will be even harder times than the present. I will use your skirt until I can get enough


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and as you do not need these things now I will not send them until your bonnet box comes, which I trust will be soon, but I am afraid it will not. When Mother was in Murfreesboro she sent me word to telegraph immediately what I wanted from Nashville. I immediately dispatched to her to bring clothes for myself and Johnnie, also your bonnet box, your enema, and the contents of Henry's trunk, but before she could receive the dispatch she had to return to Nashville and since then I have not been able to get a letter to her as there has been no communication with Nashville. But if I can possibly go to Nashville I intend to go when I will bring those things to you. We have not heard a word from Mother since she returned to Nashville and I am so afraid they will not be able to come out. Now that our army is retreating from Tennessee I am afraid I cannot pass our lines, our authorities are so rigid about allowing any one from the South to go within the Federal lines but I hope to be able to get through, through George's influence. He was in the battle at Murfreesboro & fought as he always does gallantly. Jim though a Quartermaster went into the battle, and Frank fought like a tiger as a gentleman expressed himself when telling me of him. They are all three


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safe. From dear Will I have heard nothing since the battle. Poor fellow I feel more anxiety about him than any of the others, I have heard he is looking so thin and badly. Frank took a battery. I suppose you have heard that Jim Rains was killed there. How Nashville has suffered! Gen Zollicoffer, Gen Rains, Henry Fogg, Col Patterson, Pretty Frank McNairy, young Orville Ewing, and some others I have forgotten, all killed. O Bettie how thankful I am that though tried in other ways, death the deepest sorrow has been spared us--and all four brothers in the service we have no right to expect all to pass safely through. I think I can explain your letter from Pa. When [page torn] came out she told Mr Sehon that Pa & Ma were very anxious for you and Mr Kimberly to come and stay in Nashville to save Mr K's Northern property from confiscation. They were talking about it one day & Mother said "but Judge Mr Kimberly would have to take the oath if he came" to which Pa replied he would never be willing to see him take the oath & knew he would never do it, but Ma said she would rather he would come & take the oath than to lose his property. Ma may have said that under the impulse of the moment, but of course she did not mean it if she gave it a second thought. Another reason for wishing you to go there may be


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that if you & Mr K had the house, they could leave it to come South to see the boys--they would not leave it with no one in it for they know it would be taken. Pa and Ma may be anxious to come South to remain and may think if you would take the house you could at the same time save it and Mr K's Northern property. The reason I think this their reason for writing you to come is from what Mother told Mr Sehon. You ask if Mr Sehon received his apple brandy. Yes some time ago. But I must now close. I thank you dear Bettie more than I can express for the beautiful things you sent me, but I will not think of using them all for I know you cannot replace them. Give a thousand [kisses] to the darling children with best love to Mr Kimberly Lizzie & Emm. Do write often. Are you & Mr K willing to go to Nashville?

Your affectionate Sister

Annie M. Sehon


        [Atlanta homefront]

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Atlanta March 17th '64

My Dear Mother

        I received your two letters, and would have answered them immediately had not dear little John been sick, but my time has been given entirely to him. He would not stay with any one or let any one nurse him but me. For two or three days past he has seemed much better, but I have felt so completely worn out that I can scarcely sit up, but I expect soon to get over this fatigue, but you can imagine that I have had & still have my hands full with the two children. Not only have I nursed John ever since I was able to sit up, but have had the entire care of the baby--when he was three weeks old I had to commence bathing & dressing him myself as my monthly nurse had


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to leave me and I was afraid to trust Eliza to do it. I received your letter enclosing one to Pa which I immediately enclosed in an envelope & Mr. Sehon sent it on to Richmond to a friend to forward. Whenever you wish to write to Pa if you will send the letter to me Mr. Sehon will send it to a particular friend in Richmond who will see that it goes safely. I wrote to Pa at the same time I sent your letter, but of course enclosed them in separate envelopes as only one page is allowed in a letter. You ask where Bettie Stone is. I heard she was in Atlanta staying with Dr. Huston's family. I would have gone in to see her & ask about home, but I have not been able to do so. As soon as I am well enough I will do so. You ask where Fannie Johnston is! I do no know, she left Atlanta to go to her husband. In one of my letters to you or to Bettie I sent a notice of


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Caddie Bankhead's marriage! Did you see it? As neither of you mentioned it in your letters I thought you did not receive it. You ask about Frank, but I know nothing more of him than you do. I have not had a line from him since you left. I only know that he is in Savannah, sent there to collect stragglers. Mr. Sehon received your letters to Frank & Will & forwarded them. Will wrote that he received his, but we have not heard from Frank. Father said this morning that he would send you some papers amongst them three Nashville papers. I hope you will receive them. You will be amused to read in one a letter of Jim Trimble's. you know he raised a negro regiment, expecting to be appointed the Col, but was disappointed. Will is at Dalton, where every thing is now quiet & Gen. Johnston feels confident of a victory whenever he is attacked--he was down in Atlanta a few days ago. George & Sister have gone


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to Macon, they do not know how long they will remain there. George does not know whether or not he will go to Richmond, nor does Sister know when she will go to Nashville. She has constantly some new plan, at one time she talked of going to Cartersville to remain & be taken with the place, but now we begin to feel that the enemy cannot advance. Sister has to give up all hope of getting a pass under any circumstances, so it is useless for you to apply. You will have to make yourself satisfied to wait until "something turns up." Mrs. Yandell is at Col. Singleton's near Columbus Ga., waiting until she can be allowed to go through, but she has no idea, when she can go. I read your letter to Pa, and do not think you could write him a more satisfactory letter. I hope you will soon receive an answer. I saw nothing in it improper or objectionable. I shall


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write you all the news I hear, and if Sister or Miss Fannie goes through I shall give them full directions what to tell Pa. O how I wish you and Pa were settled out here & satisfied to let the old home go, until you could return to it in peace and quiet. In one of the Nashville papers I saw that Cousin Wm Murfree had gone into business in Nashville, an agent for the sale of real estate, and when I read those long advertisements of poplins merinoes [sic], muslins, calicoes, garters & all kinds of nice goods I did long for a few green backs and an opportunity of sending into Nashville. Well, I must close. Give my best love to all and write soon. I shall be anxious to hear from you and Bettie often.

Your devoted daughter

Annie M. Sehon


[Morale]

         [Morale]

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Atlanta April 27th/62

My dear Father & Mother

        Mr G . . . has just been in to tell Mr Sehon he will carry letters to our friends in Nashville and I will write again as I have a few moments before he calls for the letters. I wrote to you dear Ma a few days ago by Mr R . . . I hope he reached Nashville safely, but if he was arrested by the Federals, I think they ought to have allowed him to forward the letters he carried as they are merely friendly letters to our absent families. In my last letter dear Ma I asked you to roll up in as small a bundle the chemise I was married in & send it to me by Mr R . . . Father can tell you when he will leave. To read my letter it would sound ludicrous to ask for one chemise to be sent to me. I wish I had them all with me, but they would be too much in Mr R . . .'s way, so I must content myself with only one, but one I am very anxious to have as I always like to have with me one nice change of clothes at least. I wish very much I had not only all my clothes with me but every thing we value as I don't know when we can be back in Nashville if we are ever there again. Every thing looks dark & gloomy enough now, and the clouds still gather thick and fast. The enemy seem to be hemming us in all around. This news from New Orleans is most discouraging


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and I am looking every day to hear Savannah is taken. Our reverses heretofore have discouraged me, but never until now did I feel hopeless of our success. While all our friends here would, in our little home circle, express the opinion that our cause is nearly lost, I have always been hopeful and would say in a few months I believed we would return triumphant to our homes, but now our condition appalls me. But my trust is still in God as firm as ever and "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" If our cause is just and sacred as I firmly believe it to be, God will give us the victory in the end, though by reverses to our arms he may now try our faith in Him. Since I last wrote I have heard gratifying news to tell you. You can boast of Gen Maney as your son & eldest hope, Col Maney is no longer known. Gen Beauregard read out the promotion to the army after a dress parade two weeks ago. I have no doubt his bravery in the battle of Shiloh won it for him. I wish I could see George, I know he is happy, though Mr Sehon says he will not be satisfied more than six weeks when he will want to be a Major General. And I expect to live to see him one. If our cause is successful I know George is in the Army for life and I know he will distinguish himself. Sister is not with him so I hear, but at Jackson Miss. I suppose Mrs Crutcher receives letters from her. Give my best love and many kisses to all the darling little children particularly sweet dear little Fannie. How tenderly


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I love that dear child and wish I could have her always with me. You must not let her forget me, and kiss her for me every time you see her. She & Bettie's children are the dearest in the world to me, but George's little Rebecca with her affectionate disposition I learned to appreciate when she staid with us. But they are all sweet lovely children, after Fannie I can make no difference between them. I have not heard from Jim or Will since I last wrote. I received a short letter from Bettie yesterday. They were all well. She tells me to give her best love every time I write home. When you send out my chemise by Mr R . . . dear Ma I wish you would send me Bettie's little enema if he can bring it without breaking it. Bettie wrote me that if she had had it, it would have saved Rebecca a severe spell of illness, that she cannot find another any where. But it is very frail & easily broken and she is not willing to risk having it sent unless it can be brought without breaking, but I think it will come safely if you will get a little box & pack it in with cotton around it. If any one will bring it safely I am sure Mr R . . . will, there is nothing he would not do for Mr Sehon or his family. if I can get it here I can send it on to Bettie. It is in the drawer of the wash stand in the big room. I left it there. Mr R_ promised me he would go to see you, but I am afraid you will not be able to understand his broken English. I hope my dear


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Father & Mother to receive a letter from you both when he returns. You can't know how much happiness letters from you would give me. I have received but one (that of Ma's) since I left home, which was two months ago. By Mr R_ Mr Sehon wrote to Father & to Pa also. You don't know with how much eagerness I look for news from Nashville. Do write me all about the dear old place and all my friends, never forgetting my love to them when you see them. I must now close. Give my best, best love to dear Father & the girls also to Aunt Sarah if she is with them and a kiss to little Sallie. Tell them I would write if I had the time, but Mother has written to them. I wish I had the time to write to them, tell Fannie I want to ask her about a Mr L_ Mother & I accidentally met a few days ago. Tell her he was quite embarrassed when he spoke of her. Give much love to all the servants, Susan Billie & Mary, with a great deal for Betsey & Co. with best, best love for my dear Father & Mother I remain

Your devoted daughter

Annie


[Morale]
[excerpted]

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Atlanta Oct 25/62

Dear Bettie

        ". . . Since I reached here the baby has been really sick, he had a wretched cold and cough and I feared was going to have the Dyptheria [sic] as that has been going the rounds, but I am thankful he has escaped and is now quite well. Mrs Kennedy has returned to me and you can imagine how glad I was to see her. I have written you how pleasantly we are now situated with a private family in Atlanta but just to think we have to leave and what we are to do Heven only knows. I fear I will yet have to go to Marietta or some town near by where Mr Sehon can come to see me once a week. Mrs Cox (the lady we are now boarding with) is very kind and says she could not bear to tell us she could not keep us, but every thing has become so scarce that she finds it almost impossible to supply her family, and her


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husband being away, it is a great care upon her to find supplies, so we are adrift again and what kindly shore is to receive us I don't know. We are now hopeless of taking Nashville or rather about being stationed there. It is believed we will take it but not be able to hold it longer than a few weeks, but as soon as we get it we are going there on a visit. Just to think of such shameful negligence! I don't know what to think of Bragg, he has been so dilatory, he ought to have taken Nashville long ago--even if we take it now what good will it do us? We would not have time to block up those rivers & one gunboat could come down & force the city to surrender again. but I will be thankful if we can go on a visit, so make out a list of any thing you would like for me to get you from Nashville and if we can go, and I can find the articles you want, I will get them for you. Our last letter from Nashville was by Mrs Jones (Cornelia Ford). I wrote you what Ma said about Pennie. She says do any thing you want to do with her, just what she told you when you left Nashville and I will keep this letter from her to justify you should you sell her. We heard a day or two since from Nashville by Mr Powers, who has just gotten through. He saw Pa & Ma, both well & Ma very anxious to come out. I wrote you that the Federals are encamped on our stable lot. Cousin Elizabeth Harding, Mrs Barrow & Mrs Nicholson are imprisoned


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in the Penitentiary. They will live in history, the first Nashville Ladies who have been imprisoned. Frank is now in Atlanta. He is on his way to Chattanooga, George & Jim are at Knoxville on their way to Nashville. You know they were in the battles in Ky, George had his horse shot under him & the enemy seeing him going down concluded he was killed & had it thus published in their accounts of the battle, but he passed through the battles uninjured, but his old regiment the 1st Tenn suffered severely, Young Patterson the Lieut Col was killed shot through the head. Tommy Maney was slightly wounded, & promoted to the Captaincy of his company. I have not heard from Will since I returned to Atlanta. But I must now close. Give my best to Mr Kimberly & kisses to the darling children. how is the boy? Not Maney but my little boy? Write me all about all of them."

Your Affectionate Sister

Annie M S

Dear Bettie

        This letter was carried to Athens Ga, and then brought back here. Annie has not yet heard from you, and feels very anxious, fearing you are sick. Annie is now


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visiting at Mrs Stevens, Athens Ga, where she will remain about three or four weeks. You had better therefore direct to her at that place.

        My father has been unconditionally released; and this morning telegraphed me from Murfreesboro Tenn, saying he would arrive here to-morrow night. He will doubtless bring letters from Father & Mother Maney. I heard from Nashville last week, our families are well.

        Mrs. Gen. Harding, Barrow and Mrs. Nicholson are all in the Penitentiary. A great scarcity of provisions and supplies is still complained of. George and Jim are with the advance of Bragg's army. Bettie and Mrs. Landell and family are in Marietta and will remain there for some time. George will visit her in a few days." "Nothing new in the city. Will you not honor me with a letter in reply to this. My love to Mr. Kimberly, the young ladies, children and yourself. Write soon to Your afft. Bro."

Sehon


[Morale (Nashville)]
[excerpted]

Atlanta Jan 28th 1863

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Dear Bettie [ . . . ]


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        [ . . . ]". . . for I am terrible afraid the Federals will destroy Nashville if they ever have to give it up. Mother says they are determined upon it. I can't say when I am going to Nashville--I beg Mr Sehon nearly every time he comes in the house but he says it is now impossible as a battle is constantly expected, but as soon as I can I shall go. I am so anxious about Pa & Ma. I can think


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of nothing else, & since the 15th of this month am especially so, that being the day that the oath was to be required of every citizen of Nashville. It would do you good to hear Mother & the girls talk about Pa. They say he is the most violent southern man they ever saw and is about the only one who dares to express his feelings fully. On one occasion he & Negley had high words about the soldiers tearing down all his fencing, not a piece of it is left except the iron railing in front. When I go, I will try in every way to induce Pa & Ma to come to Atlanta & from here to visit you, it would be so horrible to have them there if Nashville should be destroyed. Mother says she was sitting with Pa & Ma one day when she heard their bands of music, she said "well, Judge, if they are our enemies we will have to admit they have fine music, to which Pa replied "no Madam I don't think any of their music is fine except their funeral dirges & I could rejoice to see a thousand of them hanging from every tree & as to taking their oath I will die first." I know Pa will be as firm as a rock, but Ma is an enigma as ever, she becomes provoked & talks not as she would feel upon second thought, she is very anxious for you & Mr Kimberly to go there & stay with her & even says she is willing for Mr K to take the oath

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and save his Northern property & as for Nashville she says she does not care anything for it & does not want her children to fight for it. All this is of course repeated & magnified by every body who comes South. It is so gratifying to hear Mother's account of old Susan and Mary, she says they are perfectly true & Ma told her that Mary was such a nonesuch to use her own expression. Ma says she is so devoted to her that if she hears her cough or groan in the night she jumps up & runs to her to know if she can do anything for her. I can't imagine what has changed her so, for you know she can run away & was in a Federal camp 2 weeks when the Federals first went to N_ After such devotion as that I would like to have those two negroes just to repay them & give them every thing they could want. How is Pennie doing? Isaac is dead. George hired him in Bragg's army and he died in Ky." [. . . ]

Your devoted sister

Annie M Sehon


[Loyalty oaths]
[excerpted]

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Atlanta May 25th '63

Dear Bettie

         I have again been disappointed in not receiving a letter from you. Do my letters reach you as irregularly? If so it is not my fault. I write every week. This week I have something very unpleasant to tell you. Would you believe that Cousin William Murfree has taken the oath? I did not, but he has. I saw a lady, Miss Mann, sister in law of the Baptist minister, Mr Ford, a few days since. She was just from Nashville, having been a sent out for refusing to take the oath. She did not like to tell me about Cousin William & did not until I asked her. O I am so disappointed in him, I always thought him a man of such firm unyielding principles, & I am ashamed to confess that a relative of mine has so perjured himself, for I cannot regard it in any other light. I do


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not think any man or woman justified in taking the oath they cannot feel, I would die first. But to do Cousin William justice I must say his is the hardest case I have ever heard of in Nashville. He did not take the oath to save his property, he told them he was willing to give that up if they would permit him to go to Canada, that he could not come South, his wife could not stand a Southern climate. They refused, saying he must take the oath or come South. He was in the Penitentiary for several weeks for refusing, but he yielded at last. But this does not excuse him, he ought to have done what he knew to be right & left the result to God. If ever I see him again I will tell him to remember his children, to revoke his oath and redeem his character. I have respected & loved him enough to tell him how that oath is regarded in the South. It seems that all the gentlemen in Nashville are beginning to feel that it is not wrong to take it, that it is


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forced upon them. They are now requiring every person in Nashville, male & female over eighteen years of age to take the oath or come South. They have also issued an invitation to the people of the north to come to Nashville & take the homes of those who have left. This is all perfectly true as I heard it from a reliable lady. Mr Frazer has also taken the oath, but that does not surprise me, in fact nearly all the men there have done so, but few have come out. Mr Anderson Julia's & Pattie's father, Col Brien your old admirer, his wife & Mr Elliot's wife & daughters have come. I have heard that Mrs Barrow, the Martin girls & Ida Hamilton have taken the oath. I tell you Bettie I am perfectly miserable about Pa & Ma. I know they would not do anything they considered wrong but I am afraid that Cousin William Murfree, Mr Frazer, Mr Woods, Dr Maddin (who is now Ma's physician & she is devoted to him) and others will convince


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Pa & Ma that it is not wrong, but their duty to take the oath & I tell you I had rather die this moment than have them do it. I have begged & implored Mr Sehon to let me go to Nashville & bring them out. He at first positively refused to let me go, saying he could not have me in Nashville at such a time, but I told him I thought I would die if I had to live in such a state of suspense. I tell you Bettie often when I sit & think of the probability of Pa's or Ma's taking the oath I feel that I could start & walk every foot of the way to Nashville. I am completely miserable and Mr Sehon has promised me if Gen Bragg will consent for me to pass our lines, I can go. I am to write to Gen Bragg by today's mail and I hope he will consent. Mr Sehon has promised to do every thing he can for me although he is bitterly opposed to my going & only consents because he cannot refuse such begging. George is a great favorite of Gen Bragg, I hope on his account he will allow me to pass. If he does I will start immediately, but I am afraid he will not consent. I do not like to acknowledge it even to myself that it is possible for Pa to take the oath & were I to hear any one say it I would never forgive them, but I do not know how far his friends there can influence him, and I feel that it is my duty


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to go and see. The boys of course could not go and if they could, I would not mention my fears to them for they feel assured Pa would not take it. You & I are the only ones who could go and with your family it would be much harder for you to leave than for me. To be sure if you were to go any where on a visit, remember you are to leave me all three of the children, but I know it would be much more inconvenient for you to leave your house & go to Nashville than it is for me. I forgot to tell I hear it rumored that Gen Harding has taken the oath, after having been so firm & bearing imprisonment for so many months. Fannie and Mary Murfree begged & implored their father not to take the oath, told him they would feel disgraced forever. When Miss Mann left N_ the oath had not been required of


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Pa & Ma, but it may be any day. [. . .]"

Your devoted sister

Annie M Sehon


         [Wedding, morale]

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Atlanta Sept 22nd 1863

Dear Bettie

        Ma received your letter on Sunday and I will now answer it for her as she never writes you know to any one. We are now deeply concerned and anxious about this battle which is still going on, and I feel little like being present at Sallie's wedding which is to take place day after tomorrow. I send you the cards. The wedding will not be very large, about one hundred will be present, Father [Rev. Sehon] of course will marry them. They are not going away, and will remain altogether with Father & Mother. For some time I have been a very important personage as Sallie has wanted my advice about all her arrangements and for the first-time I have had the direction of a bridal vail [sic]. The milliner insisted upon fixing it on the wreath so that it did not fall over the face at all, but


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I insisted that one side should fall over the face and the other side Sallie must throw a little back so as to look careless & graceful. The[y] all agreed with me and the milliner had to yield. Sallie's dress is beautiful, not what Mother wanted to get, but much handsomer than I thought could be gotten in the South. Mother was anxious to get a white satin and lace veil, but could get nothing prettier than a white crape. It is made a full, long skirt with a flounce at the bottom and on the bottom of the flounce are five beautiful puffs of tulle. The waist is s tight waist with a point before & behind and a tulle berthe made of puffs. The veil of tulle is very long and has three puffs of the tulle around the bottom & is pent [sic] on with a beautiful wreath of artificial flowers, orange blossoms. I forgot to add that on the skirt from the waist to the flounce are four tabs of puffed tulle, the tab pointed at the bottom & attached to the point are those flowers with the


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long green grass that I looped my dress with at Col. Stevenson's party. On the shoulders and breast are the same flowers mixed with those on my bridal bonnet. Sallie has a beautiful English straw bonnet which she got from Augusta, it is trimmed beautifully with white ribbon, black lace and coral, the coral is a beautiful imitation. Fanny waits on her with Dr. Wright's brother to the Col., and Miss Rae a Cousin of Col. Wright's is the other bridesmaid. Every thing is fixed and is as nice as she could have in peaceful times except of course the supper table, that cannot be any thing but very plain as there are no luxuries to be found any where in the Confederacy. But Mother has spared no trouble or expense but has gotten every thing nice for her that could be found. It is a pleasure to be married under such circumstances. Mrs. Gen. Johnston is coming up to make a visit to the family, we expect her on this afternoon's train. I wish I had some news to write you from the battle field, but I hear nothing but the dispatches & you see them. But I am


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thankful that thus far we have a decided advantage over the enemy and it seems to be the object of the entire army to sweep Tennessee & if possible Kentucky. I pray God may grant them success. With our present army we ought to take Tennessee & Ky--for we have had heavy reinforcements from Va. To be sure we have tried to do it before and failed, but there is this very great difference. Then we had not force enough, now we have a full number, every one says men enough, and it is the first time that Tennessee has ever had justice done her, the first time that she has ever had men enough to conduct a campaign successfully. Frank & George [Maney, her brothers] are both in the battle but are safe thus far, thank Heaven. Ma sends best love to you all and says she will certainly go to see you, but cannot leave until this battle is decided, she would have gone before this but this battle has been expected ever since she came. Sister is going to Nashville as soon as this battle is over if all goes well with George. How I hope our army will take us all there. Give best love to Mr. Kimberly & the girls, with a thousand kisses for the dear children.

Your devoted Sister

Annie M[aney] Sehon


        [Poem]

"The Rights of Woman"


                         The rights of woman, what are they?
                         The right to labor, love and pray;
                         The right to weep with those that weep,
                         The right to wake, when others sleep.


                         The right to dry the falling tear;
                         The right to quell the rising fear;
                         The right to smooth the brow of care,
                         And whisper comfort in despair.


                         The right to watch the parting breath,
                         To soothe and cheer the bed of death;
                         The right, when earthly hopes all fail,
                         To point to that within the veil.


                         The Right the wanderer to reclaim,
                         And win the lost, from paths of shame;
                         The right to comfort and to bless
                         The widow and the fatherless.


                         The right the little one to guide
                         In simple faith to him who died;
                         With earnest love, and gentle praise
                         To bless and cheer their youthful days.


                         The right the intellect to train,
                         And guide the sould to noble aim;
                         Teach it to rise above earth's toys
                         And wing into flight for heavenly joys.


                         The right to live for those we love;
                         The right to die, that love to prose;
                         The right to brighten earthly homes
                         With pleasant smiles, and gentle tones.


                         Are these thy rights? Then use them well;
                         Thy silent influence, none can tell.
                         If there are thine, why ask for more?
                         Thou hast enough to answer for.


                         Are these thy rights? Then murmur not
                         That woman's mission is thy lot;
                         Improve the talents God has given;
                         Life's duty done, thy rest is heaven--

        (From Miss Sophie Mallett's Album written by Miss M E Mitchek B M Kimberly.)