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Lenoir Family Papers.
Personal Correspondence, 1861-1865:

Electronic Edition.


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


Text transcribed and annotated by Kristofer Ray
Text encoded by Christie Mawhinney and Natalia Smith
First edition, 2000
ca. 180K
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) Lenoir Family Papers. Personal Correspondence, 1861-1865
ca. 120 p.

Inventory # 426, 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.
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Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998

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Revision History:


[Secession]

        [Secession]


[Letter to Mrs. John Wall Norwood Hillsborough, N. C., Jan 3, 1861]

         . . . I am so nervous that I hold my pen with difficulty. I walked with a bad headache and Nancy brought me a cup of coffee which was just warm, but I drank it, and it nearly killed me; but somehow or other the dread of the consequences or something else has scared off the headache.

        The Wilmington people sent up to Gov. Ellis, to take possession of the forts at Smithville, for the state, but he declines.

        All the papers seem eagerly to look for the next exciting things to inculcate, many of them obviously having no foundation in fact, and our people are getting into a terrible conflict of sentiment. There was a large meeting at Graham last Saturday, and great excitement. Judge Ruffin spoke and offered a proposition but it was voted down. I am glad I did not go. I send you the Fayetteville Observer giving an account of our meeting here. I have been called upon for a copy of my speech for publication, but I declined, because I said things in it intended only for that meeting, which I do not desire to see in print.

        Tell the boys and hothead Phil too that the old North State will not go out until after she has counselled with Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, and Tennessee. And then we will be for all the slave states getting together, if the Cotton States will agree to fair terms, if not we will form a Central Confederacy. I think the Union is gone, while the sentiment of the North remains unchanged. As for the great majority of the people in the interior of those states, the prospect is bad; and there seems as yet to be little encouragement in that way.

Your affectionate husband,

J. W. Norwood


        [Religion and Secession]


         [The opening statements of this letter is in reference to the recent suicide by William Lenoir]


Fayetteville April 12th 1861

Dear Aunt Sade:

        I know I can say but little, indeed, nothing to comfort you in your great sorrow, but I feel as if I must tell you that we have heard of your affliction, and can feel for you for we have suffered--

        I never could feel for the distressed as I now can, I could always rejoice with the rejoicing; but now I can weep with the weeping--

        You have had a great shock, but I trust you will be sustained by God's grace, "it will be sufficient for you." We must "only believe" and our Heavenly Father will let us take comfort even when the sky seems entirely overcast, "sorrow may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning"--

        When bowed down with grief it seems hard, at times, to realize that it is God that deals thus with us, when the cup of sorrow seems full to overflowing, we can not understand why another drop is added? So often do we see Gods faithful children deprived of almost every joy and comfort, and if we did not believe the chastening was a token of love--what a dark world this would be!

        If we could feel always that we are but sojourning here to be fitted for another world, we would not be so aversed to the means used to prepare our souls for the heavenly kingdom. We are so short-sighted as to want prosperity forever, forgetting that if the cold dark days of adversity did not wake us from our dream and convince us that this is not our sure abiding place, we might lose that mansion prepared for us by our blessed Savior--Oh! Aunt Sade it was the greatest comfort to me to feel that Jesus had suffered grief and had even wept on Lazarus' grave--I never felt the same way about it before--I never appreciated my Redeemer--I had to be laid in the depths of wo [sic], so that I might taste the greatest blessing of my life.

        Our troubles are all buried now in the great calamity that is threatening our once favored land. We are sending our loved ones to meet their death perhaps, for our country's freedom--This once favored land, the home of the oppressed, seems given up to madness, it does seem as if the devils are really possessing men as of old--and our friends and kinsmen must array themselves for battle to meet "the Northern army"--we have already equipped and sent nearly three hundred men and there are there are two more companies getting ready--almost every family has sent one some two and three--sad hearts are many about here, for if they should escape being killed I fear most of our young men will be ruined, camp life is not at all condusive [sic] to religion or morality.

        I have hoped and believed that we would be allowed to depart in peace from the old Union, but so many are desponding [sic] and the news every day seems to be against peace--but I will not give up, though as a nation we deserve punishment and as individuals we all deserve death, yet I do trust that God will hear our prayers, and save us from such horrors. We believe our cause is righteous and we must have the [issue] with the God of battles--

        Bro' John got home last week, the Seminary broke up for they were kept in such an excited state that study was almost impossible there. He seems very well indeed, and seems to appreciate the old North State. I wish David was here too, but we thought he had better stay at the Institution until the session is out.

        We have all been very busy sewing for our soldiers, we did not think this time last year of our ever making military suits . . .

Your affectionate Cousin

R. N. L.


        [Fayetteville]

Fayetteville May 2nd, 1861

Dear Mame,

         . . . I consider myself now fully posted in regard to all the preperations [sic] necessary for a military company--Uniforms--haversacks canteens tents & all. The ladies have been exceedingly busy serving for the companies here & I expect they are better provided than any in the state--I think all volunteers armies, at least, ought to be fully equipped--You did not mention the names of any of the volunteers at Lenoir--The Banner will have to go of course. Tell Uncle Will, I say it is anything but patriotic in him to go and get the blues now--It is time now for action & "There is work for every man to do!" If he can't fight, he can plant all those big fields of his--Do you think Uncle Wall will go, really? Well, it is hard to give up our friends--it is dreadful to think of--but if it is necessary for the defense of our rights & our humour; our homes,--we should not raise a finger to keep them. No! Let them go! And God speed them! I cannot quite understand your allusion to Tom--I wrote to him that unless the call were more urgent than at present, I hoped he would be satisfied to go on studying, for I want him to serve his country as a man & not to be cut down, a mere boy: And she will have need of him in the future--perhaps more than now. I exhorted him furthermore to study to make a man for the times & he anounced [sic] that he hoped to be allowed to finish his education unmolested--expressing at the same time, his exceeding willingness to go at the first call. If he should be needed, I shall shed no tear of regret when he starts--We had a trying and crying time yesterday when the Lafayette Light Infantry left for Raleigh, destined for Washington citty [sic]--What a first of May! Fayetteville has never seen such a May day before--How little Capt. Hunt must have anticipated such a picnic--when he offered his boat to the High school for the May day excursion--It was a new and startling sight to us--in this quiet old tow--men tearing themselves from their wives and children, fathers & [brothers] to defend their homes against an invading army of their invading countrymen! Judge Shepherd made a short address to them as they stood drawn up on the [shore], the finest looking company of men in NC I expect--presenting them with some elegant flowers from the ladies a last token of the farm-- & the Captain replied briefly--thanking them for their kindness and saying Goodbye! Ah--how mournfully it sounded--I never saw such a shaking of hands--so many goodbyes & God bless you's to be said--at last they were "all aboard!" And moved off after a prayer, & three cheers for the ladies--three cheers for the liberal citizens of Fayetteville-- & three cheers, from our [shore], for the [L.L.I.]--while the band played a very pretty piece which was echoed & reached along the shady banks of their beloved Cape Fear--It was a touching scene & tears streamed from the eyes of men and soldiers as well as from women and children as they waved their last adieus--Next Monday it must all be gone over again with the Independent company--Isn't it sad to think how many such partings are taking place all over our land--Perhaps there may be no more fighting after all! But I suppose you know our ports are blockaded! (on paper)--There are two ladies in town whose husbands are in the Northern Army--One sends to his wife, saying how much he & his friends [miss] her, but says they are coming here to cut all our throats as soon as possible, determined to bring the south [sic] its knees if it takes 20 yrs [sic]--she folds up the letters & writes on the back--"I want no more of such love neither do I send you anymore of mine"--To what are we coming?

yours,

Louis


        [Education and Secession]

Oaks, NC 2 Oct. 1861

Dear Cousin Wal;

        There is no good reason why your "hope" of hearing from me "soon", should not have been realized, except that the excitement of the times keeps me slack-twisted to every thing but my daily work, and not very tight-twisted to that. Our minds are not big enough to hold but one thing at a time; and it is well, if amid the all engrossing concerns of the state we do not neglect our necessary business altogether. My work happens to be not so pressing this year, as I have the lower classes, and I find I can do it as well as usual, despite the din of arms, and catch an hour or two of each day for the composition of a Latin Grammar which I hope to make a more complete & practical beginning book than any now published. I am making free use of all the works within my reach, but can't use the scissors as much as I could wish. My plan is what I think an improvement upon the Ollendorf method, as I take the whole of a subject when I touch it, & then give a number of Latin exercises to translated into English, with English ones to be translated into Latin. It is a slow & laborious work, but an improving one.

        We have forty two boys on our roll, 2/3 of a school; but as we have our full number of classes, there is abundant employment for us all. We teach from 9 to 2 and drill from 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 P.M. thus keeping the boys profitably employed, and saving ourselves the intolerable nuisance of afternoon recitations.

        Though no man is too good to serve as a private in a war such as this, I must say that I begrudge such a man as you to the ranks. Men of mind are needed in office, but they can be useful anywhere. It is galling to think, however, that such men are to be opposed man for man to the vile reptiles who are sent to get a living by destroying our liberties. I fear I am getting bloodthirsty, for I must confess I should not be inclined to cumber myself with prisoners if I were at the head of a victorious column, with the vile brutes in reach of steel. Wm Norwood of Richmond is serving as a private under Lee in Western Va. He wrote a few weeks ago to his father that one morning a nice, genteel looking lady came into our lines & stated that she had been compelled to fly for her life & had succeeded in getting off only one servant girl; that her other servants had been dragged off, weeping as if their hearts would break. She did not state whether any other outrage had been perpetrated upon her; but the men brandished their heavy bowie knives & swore, so help them God, they would never take another prisoner or give quarter to another Yankee. By the way, Uncle William is red hot, but he insists upon keeping his boys at the University another year. They left here a few days ago. He says that people north of the Potomac have no idea of the strength of the South. Every injurious (to their cause) circumstance is carefully repressed by the authorities. For example, in the fight at Acquia Creek in June in which [Ward] was killed the public was assured through the papers that the Yankee vessels had rec'd no damage, whereas a number of Georgetown men saw the Freeborn lying at the Navy Yard with a hole through her bows from side to side as big as a barn door. This is a small specimen of their wholesale lying. The fact is, Cousin Wal, I thank God every day that we are separated from such a sink of corruption as the Yankee government and people. I would a thousand times rather fight them than live with them. Our old government was a magnificent structure, and its constitution a wonderful instrument, and I was profoundly grieved to see it exploded; but no people could be safe in such a den of robbers as the United States would have been under Yankee rule. But enough--

        Give my love to all at the Fort and the Barn, and let me hear from you before you leave, & as often thereafter as may be. Owen sends her love.

Y'r aff' cousin

W.W. Lenoir, Esq
Wm Bingham


[Religion]

        [Religion and Secession]


        [The opening statements of this letter is in reference to the recent suicide by William Lenoir]


Fayetteville April 12th 1861

Dear Aunt Sade:

        I know I can say but little, indeed, nothing to comfort you in your great sorrow, but I feel as if I must tell you that we have heard of your affliction, and can feel for you for we have suffered--

        I never could feel for the distressed as I now can, I could always rejoice with the rejoicing; but now I can weep with the weeping--

        You have had a great shock, but I trust you will be sustained by God's grace, "it will be sufficient for you." We must "only believe" and our Heavenly Father will let us take comfort even when the sky seems entirely overcast, "sorrow may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning"--

        When bowed down with grief it seems hard, at times, to realize that it is God that deals thus with us, when the cup of sorrow seems full to overflowing, we can not understand why another drop is added? So often do we see Gods faithful children deprived of almost every joy and comfort, and if we did not believe the chastening was a token of love--what a dark world this would be!

        If we could feel always that we are but sojourning here to be fitted for another world, we would not be so aversed to the means used to prepare our souls for the heavenly kingdom. We are so short-sighted as to want prosperity forever, forgetting that if the cold dark days of adversity did not wake us from our dream and convince us that this is not our sure abiding place, we might lose that mansion prepared for us by our blessed Savior--Oh! Aunt Sade it was the greatest comfort to me to feel that Jesus had suffered grief and had even wept on Lazarus' grave--I never felt the same way about it before--I never appreciated my Redeemer--I had to be laid in the depths of wo [sic], so that I might taste the greatest blessing of my life.

        Our troubles are all buried now in the great calamity that is threatening our once favored land. We are sending our loved ones to meet their death perhaps, for our country's freedom--This once favored land, the home of the oppressed, seems given up to madness, it does seem as if the devils are really possessing men as of old--and our friends and kinsmen must array themselves for battle to meet "the Northern army"--we have already equipped and sent nearly three hundred men and there are there are two more companies getting ready--almost every family has sent one some two and three--sad hearts are many about here, for if they should escape being killed I fear most of our young men will be ruined, camp life is not at all condusive [sic] to religion or morality.

        I have hoped and believed that we would be allowed to depart in peace from the old Union, but so many are desponding [sic] and the news every day seems to be against peace--but I will not give up, though as a nation we deserve punishment and as individuals we all deserve death, yet I do trust that God will hear our prayers, and save us from such horrors. We believe our cause is righteous and we must have the [issue] with the God of battles--

        Bro' John got home last week, the Seminary broke up for they were kept in such an excited state that study was almost impossible there. He seems very well indeed, and seems to appreciate the old North State. I wish David was here too, but we thought he had better stay at the Institution until the session is out.

        We have all been very busy sewing for our soldiers, we did not think this time last year of our ever making military suits . . .

Your affectionate Cousin

R. N. L.


        [Religion]

Watauga House Day after Christmas

My own dear uncle Tom;

        . . . I hope you received all the information you wished in regard to the wife of the Capt. Of Co. F 25 Reg--for I am not able to tell you very much about her as I have not seen her in sometime--and only once or twice since you left. We were all anxious for her to come over and spend Christmas with us, but the Fort people objected--and said some of us must go over there--so Lile Mat Garret_and the boys "toated" [sic] off this morning to spend a few days. Tom is going on down to Aunt Mary's. we have been expecting Grandma for several days--and I think maybe she will come today, it is such a charming morning--it will be something new for Christmas if she does come. Did you get anything good yesterday Uncle Tom? I wished for you to get some of our nice Christmas dinner. Cousin Sarah & Gen and Mat_Annie and Peervee were all the company we had. Cousin Sarah is getting very thin & weak, but stands it better than her friends thought she would. She does not suffer a great deal of pain--but you never saw such a dreadful looking place--and her face is so much swollen and very stiff. Oh it is so sad! I don't know what her children will do when she is gone--they are so dependent on her--but it is God and we know he doeth all things well, and will make all things work together for good to them that love him, though we can not always see how at the time. Oh! Uncle Tom I know you love God, why don't you come out and acknowledge him before men? Don't say you are not good enough--works never yet saved a man--"It is by grace we are saved through faith, which is in Christ Jesus." Christ died to save us & he will do if we will let him. He don't want us to get good first--He wants us to give ourselves to him just as we are, and believe that he loves--and he will save us. And our love and gratitude to Him will make us try to keep his commandments and love our fellow creatures--as that is the only way we can do anything for him. Uncle Tom I am afraid you think it is not quite in place for me to say this--but I love you so much, and long for you to be within the "Ark of safety". We are all well and enjoying this beautiful Christmas very much, in a quiet way--that is it is very quiet today since the young ones all left. We could not have been said to have enjoyed ourselves in a very still way last night--we played games and just turned up [Tack] generally. When Mat Jones joins us there are just six of us girls, and three boys--four boys--I beg Sams pardon--he has gone to Salem now--and cousin Soph joins us occasionally you know. We played a great little trick on James & Joe--the other night they proposed to play "hurly burly" and we agreed but told them we knew a new way--at a given signal every one must call out their sweet hearts name--and it would make such a fuss no one could know what anyone else had said. At the signal we all jumped up & opened our mouths--but kept a profound silence--and Jim & Joe called out their sweet hearts at the top of their voices--which was exceedingly getting-to the young men. I do think Uncle Tom my brothers are the sweetest boys in the world! I am so thankful I have got such brothers. Uncle Wal is at the Fort now, he expects to start Monday. I suppose you have heard from him and Lizzie--very lately--I expect they all are having all sorts of a time over there--I mean the young folks of course--not the old married ones, Though they do tell me the Captains wife takes on a sight with Tom but I low [sic] its all because he is named Thomas Lenoir--no doubt they are pulling candy together tonight. By the way--I had an invite to a candy [stew] at your Camp Christmas day--but I did not recive [sic] it in time to attend. But I dare say I have written more now than you will have time to read so I will quit off with much love to my dear uncle Tom.

I am his Devoted niece

Mame



        [This prayer was written by an unknown member of the Lenoir family in October of 1863]


        Most merciful God--Give us grace to come before Thee in a proper spirit_ feeling our unworthiness, Our weakness and dependence upon Thee_ May we approach Thee through the merits of a crucified Redeemer_ Pardon for his sake the offences [sic] of this day_ every rash or angry word that we have spoken and every sinful thought that we may have indulged_ Our indolence and want of care for the comfort of others. Give us more love for our fellow creatures and for Thee the source of all Good. Give us patience and forbearance toward those who are under us, and due reverence for our elders & betters. We feel that we have neglected many opportunities of improving our minds and cultivating our hearts. We confess with shame the careless manner in which we have read thy holy word & the little study we have given those things which concern our eternal welfare. Enlighten our minds we pray Thee, and enable us rightly to appreciate the promises that you hast given us through Jesus Christ thy son--Let his merits and suffering plead our cause, for we are weak & sinful. Oh! that thy goodness and mercy and not thy wrath may lead us to repentance. Give us grace so to teach the children committed to our care that they may become useful citizens and humble Christians.

        Fit us we pray Thee for any trials which may await us. If it should be thy will that we are driven from our home, and deprived of temporal comforts, give us strength to bear it and to look forward to those eternal blessings which are promised to the truly faithful; Oh! strengthen our faith that we may trust thee in the darkest hour of our trials here. We pray thee to look in much mercy upon our afflicted country, and stay the strife which imbues a brothers hand in a brothers blood. Grant our rulers wisdom, and be pleased so to order the affairs of the nation that peace may be restored without further bloodshed. If our enemies persist, and our cause is just in thy sight, be pleased to give us such decisive advantages over them as will drive them with shame and confusion from our borders, and thereby obtain for us an honorable and lasting peace. May we humble ourselves as a nation, that when our day of deliverance shall come, we may rejoice in Thee the giver of all victory.

        Have mercy we pray thee on the sick and wounded soldier. Give him patience in his afflictions and be blessed to restore him to health and usefulness. Pity the widow and the fatherless, & grant them such temporal and spiritual comforts as they most need--Hear we pray thee the wailing and moans that proceed from thousands of bereaved hearts united in one common cause and sympathizing each with others woes. Oh! that this together with the shrieks of the wounded and dying soldiers might penetrate the hearts of those who have it in their power to stop this cruel war. If our cause is unjust, be pleased to open the eyes of our rulers before it is too late, and prepare us as a people for any trials to which we may be subjected.

        Watch over us this night as a family, refresh us with sleep and fit us for the duties of another day. Bless the absent ones--the Mother and helpless child--may their visit be pleasant and profitable. May they return in health & safety. Bless all who are near and dear to us and all for whom it is our duty to pray. If we have asked amiss pardon our ignorance and be pleased to grant us such things as thou seest we most need--And prepare us for thy Kingdom above, we ask for Christ's sake

        Amen


                         "There is everlasting peace,"
                         "Rest enduring rest in heaven,"
                         "There will sorrow ever cease,"
                         "And crowns of joy be given."

October
AD 1863


        [Religion]

Crab Orchard Sept 27th 1863

Dear brother,

        Yours of the 18th reached brother Tom's on the 22nd, a shorter trip than usual. How could you think that I could have any idea that you hoped for the fall of Richmond and the other places you mentioned? I took you to task for not hoping that our arms would successfully defend them, and lectured you perhaps more than I ought, for your desponding temper. I may do the same thing again in this letter. But how could I think you an enemy of North Carolina and of the South with which she is identified? If you had sunk so low in my regard, how could I continue an intimate correspondence with you, even though you are my brother and the only boy playmate of my childhood? I think you a patriotic citizen of North Carolina and the South, that you love them, and that it became your duty you would fight for them and die for them. The strength with which you feel this love and sense of duty seems I have no doubt to aggravate your unhappy despondency. Can I do nothing to help you shake it off? you must have seen that it has caused me a great deal of anxiety, more, indeed, than I have felt about myself, or any other one person since the war commenced. Allow me to suggest again that the best remedy for it a simple non-hesitating affectionate reliance on the goodness and mercy of God. The worst now that can be taken of the war only shows that our arms of flesh may fail us; that man's wisdom and man's strength may fail to maintain us in the enjoyment of those temporal blessings which they have heretofore enabled us to call our own. But is does not appear in all that that God's favor is withdrawn or that his almighty arm will fail to support us. Our very disasters may be blessings sent from him in disguise; they most assuredly will prove so to those that love him and trust in him, and to their children and children's children. And when you fancy that it would be better for your children, and your good humble pious wife's children to be dead than alive merely because temporal calamities threaten them or fall upon them is not the thought in some degree at variance with that child like confidence in the fulfillment of God's promises which we all ought to feel; and may it not be suggested by a sinful tendency to lean upon an arm of flesh, when we should cast our burden on the Lord, trusting that he will sustain us and comfort us? It seems to me to be very clear that there is something wrong in such a feeling and that you ought to strive against and overcome it. It is not temporal blessings that can carry your children to heaven. They are but too apt to prove clogs to their feet. It is not the continuance of your life or their mother's life that can save their souls. It is God's mercy, through the atonement of Christ. He has said he will be a father to the fatherless; and do you fear that he will not provide as well as you? He has said, Fear not them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul. He has said, Take no thought, saying what shall we eat? or what shall we drink? or wherewithal shall we be clothed? For your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. He has said, Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you. And can his words fail?

        And now let us consider our situation in some of the temporal points of view. I tried to show you in one of my former letters that even if the South could become so degraded as to submit to Yankee rule, and those who remained true to themselves had to flee into exile from before the face of the conquerors of what had been their country their situation would be even in a temporal point of view by no means desperate. Perhaps if such a fate were already upon you, you would be more cheerful than you are. I believe that you would be, and that part of your gloom and that of many other good people arises from the want of a definite idea of what their duty would be in such a state of affairs, if they still live. You at least look upon the conquest of the south as very possible. I would advise you to look the contingency strait [sic] in the face, to reflect calmly on what your duty to yourself and family would be, to talk with your wife and Sarah and Mother about it, and to make up your mind, as to what your course ought to be in such an [unclear] . I do not think the contingency will come upon you; but if it should come be ready for it. It will give you a choice between submission an oath of allegiance and some chance to retain your land on the one hand, and poverty and exile on the other. Make the choice now, and if you make it in accordance with your convictions of duty you will soon I hope find your self a much more cheerful and hopeful man. I am merely recommending you to take the course which I have long since taken myself, and to which I attribute much of the cheerfulness with which I have always been able to look upon the war; and perhaps as good a plan as any to make you understand my suggestion to you will be to relate to you what has been some of the experience of my own mind. I have on two occasions during the war found it necessary to reflect very seriously upon what course it might be my duty to take. The first time was when I first became certain that the war was actually upon us. For ten or fifteen minutes I studied perhaps harder than I ever did in my life. I remember that large drops of sweat stood on my forehead. At the end of that time I had taken my course. I reflected that, under God, I owed my life my ease my enjoyment my property to the laws and institutions of my country; and I paid the debt. I gave them all back to my country to be used, if needed, in asserting its liberty, and its power to protect me and those that were dear to me. From that moment I have had nothing to lose by the war, and a first rate chance as it seems to me, to get back life, ease, enjoyment, and a good plantation. How could I take any but a cheerful view of a war by which I could lose nothing, and which held out to me such high hopes? I was not brought to my studies again till after the fall of Vicksburg, and I would not have been then, if I had two legs. For my course would have been just as plain before me as ever, to go on fighting for my country to the last, enduring if need be hunger, cold, fatigue disease and death. But I was no longer able to give battle. I could not even promise myself the poor consolation which I had intended to have of killing the first Yankee or traitor who should come into possession of my dwelling. And where so many began to despond and to talk about what terms might be got from the Yankees if we would submit, I could not avoid reflecting what I ought to do in such a contingency. I was not brought to my studies so suddenly or so violently as I was at first; but I was out of spirits for two or three days, I scarcely knew why. At the end of that time, I had thought the whole matter over, my mind was made up, its struggle over, and I was cheerful again and have been ever since, and hope to remain so come what will. I had but to bring the proposition before my mind to be convinced that I could never submit to Yankee rule and become the fellow citizen of Joseph Isbell James Gaither and the like, liable to be elbowed out of the road by them or to see my mother or my sisters insulted by their wenches who would flaunt the highways with them. I would rather lose all my property, loathe in a dungeon, die. I would not expect to hold my property on any other terms, even if I would be allowed to do so on those terms, which I consider improbable. In case then of the submission of the South, which I will never believe, however, till I see it, it is my fixed purpose leaving every thing behind to get out of the country if I can. If I had a wife and children I think I would be but more determined to get them away if I could from the hell on earth that the South would become. I might be prevented from going. I might be cast into prison or denied a passport; for the Yankees know how to refine the torture of their victims. I might be too poor and weak and helpless to get away. But I would live for that object till it was accomplished or I died, and having something in this world to live for and work for and pray for I believe I would find life desirable and that I would be more cheerful than my persecutors. Perhaps when the trial comes, if it even does, my heart may fail me, but I don't think it will. I feel sure that it will not, and I await the issue with a firm mind and cheerful spirits. I do not think I would be singular in my course. I have not doubt that thousands and thousands of the best people of the South would go unto voluntary exile with me, in the case supposed, but they would stand many a hard fight first, and that among those poor exiles and their descendants on foreign shores would be found a remnant of genuine southern refinement, long after their native land had been given up to the Yankee and negro and mulatto brutality. You may wonder, knowing my great attachment to my home, and the eagerness with which I am making plans for its improvements that I can look so cheerfully at a course which would banish me from it forever and reduce me to helpless poverty. I wonder at it myself, but I have always found myself cheerful when I was trying to do my duty, and it seems to me that in the case supposed, I would not be true to myself if I took any other course. As for such smaller evils as temporary occupation by the Yankee armies, and loss of loose property and being pinched in food and clothing for a while in consequence, I have seen so many good people for long miles together bearing such things with patience and cheerfulness that I would feel ashamed to think that my courage or patriotism was in danger of failing for such comparatively light evils which so many others are bearing [unclear] and consider but small sacrifices for the sake of their country. Do not imagine that you see the calmness of despair in the strong feeling and fixed resolution with which I hope I am prepared to meet our overthrow if it comes. I am more hopeful about the issue of the war than perhaps any one I meet with here, and enjoy a regular flow of good spirits that is surprising even to myself. All as well as usual here and at brother Tom's. We have been blessed with the best of weather, to take care of our better corn. I have cut down nearly half of mine. Tom has shipped down the shuck on some of his. Love to all. Your affectionate brother

Walter


        [Morale, Education, Religion]

Oaks, 1 Dec 1863

Dear Cousin Wal;

        My long indebtedness to you is not owing to want of intention, or of frequent admonitory nudges of memory--I have purposed to do the deed several times "but have been let hitherto" by various obstacles. I have a Caesar half ready for the press which the publishers are ready for. I have been preparing notes for a Sallust, just ahead of my class; and Sallust is a hard book to annotate upon, though I enjoy it hugely. I never felt half as much inclined before to investigate the causes which led to the overthrow of the Roman power, and consequently never studied Marius or Catalina with half my present interest. What a bobtail Marius Bill Holden is! (more of him anon.) Well, besides the books, I have spent about half my time latterly in hunting up cowardly, skulking deserters, & have caught some, with much "cussing" from the women, "Which iin [sic] to name wod [sic] be unlawful!" The fact is I have been pretty much run off my legs, & haven't had time to write to any body, though I have been full of a letter for some months. I would have written some, however, had I not supposed that you would probably accept the appointment tendered you in the army, & my lucubration might never reach you, a loss to humanity that could not be thought of.

        Well, both your letters came duly to hand, and I am much obliged for the information contained. I can't purchase at present--I thought of doing so 6 months ago--because all my surplus funds are at present otherwise occupied; but I look with longing eyes to Pigeon, and will consider a small slice of that last mentioned old fellow's landed estate, as a sort of reserve on which I may fall back if need be.

        The boy Walter Lenoir (by Willy eclept [sic] "Walter Manoah," which latter term the diminutive Africans, (alas for the dignity of all things human!) have corrupted in innocent ignorance to "Walter Manure") is a most remarkable boy for bigness, fatness, and goodness, and is said to be good looking. He grows well, has a good appetite, is never sick, laughs, cooes, sucks his fist, and jabbers, in the most approved style. He is three months old, and begins to look about & have sense, and I often sit down and play with him as happily as if we were not in the midst of a horrible war. O that we could all be children!

        As to my personal affairs, I am in a quandary just now. Our landlords will not board except for provisions, putting board and provisions both at old prices, or what will buy them, which runs board up to $150 per month, and this our patrons can't stand. We have pretty much despaired of getting boys enough boarded here to justify us in holding on, and are looking around to see if board can't be had on better terms somewhere else; & if so, Lynch & myself (Lynch is now associated with us) propose removing the school temporarily & perhaps permanently. Our folks are possessed with the idea that we can get a school, no matter what the price of board may be, and I think the last move has cut the goose. We have written to several points, but have not yet heard from any. Perhaps Lynch & myself may separate temporarily, I keeping up a little school here, & he elsewhere; but this I don't incline at all to do, especially as I induced him to resign his professorship with a view to a permanent partnership, on the ground that blood is thicker than water, & that our school would last as long as any other. Schools are scarce now, and Confederate money is abundant--much more so than it will be a month after Congress meets--and consequently we have had at least 250 applications for places this session; but board is the rub; and we are unfortunately dependent on others to feed our boys. We could feed at cost, if we had the necessary arrangements for boarding, depending on profit on tuition; but when men insist on former profits on board, with a currency depreciated as ours is, it requires a deep pocket to stand it.

        What a whipping we have got at Missionary Ridge! Though if it has resulted in the removal of Bragg, it will pay. I have never joined in the hue & cry against him; but he is unfit to command the army of the West, if from no other cause, because his men don't believe in him. Ain't you thankful you are not a General or President of the C. S.? My faith in God has, I trust, never wavered, but my opinion as to his purpose in this war has undergone material alteration. You know what it was at first. I believed that we of the South were destined to retain republican institutions, and that God would vindicate his wisdom & his own decree by making a slave holding people one of the great powers of the earth. Then I believed that there was virtue enough among us to sustain free institutions; but the triumph of such a man as Holden, and the election of such men as Turner, Christian, and Leach to make our laws, has forced me to the conclusion that this was but a dream. I have watched the progress of the peace party in N. C. with the most intense interest, because I regarded its success or failure as a solution of the problem of our fitness for self government. If when dangers begin to thicken our people should forget how the hand of Jehovah was outstretched for their deliverance, and should say "Let us go back into Egypt that we perish not in this wilderness," I concluded that they would prove themselves unfit for freedom. Now this is exactly what they have done; and if we reach the promised land of independence, it will be after a long and painful journey through the desert, until the carcasses of these sinners against their own political salvation shall have fallen in the wilderness. By the way, I made a fast day talk last Thursday--the day set apart by our synod--our preacher being absent. After stating what I conceived to be the causes of our present troubles, so far as these causes were related to ourselves, viz.

        The sin of covetousness, which God is punishing by financial disaster, thus turning our idol into [unclear] ;

        The sin of Sabbath breaking, which he is punishing by a state of things which knows no Sabbath;

        The sin of neglecting the government and religious training of children, which he is punishing by sending our children to fall on distant battle-fields;

        The sin of neglecting the proper discipline and training of our slaves, which he is punishing by permitting the enemy to arm themselves against us;

        The sin of murmuring against him while under chastisement, which he is punishing by permitting the enemy to persist in his efforts on account of that very murmuring, and to be encouraged thereby;

        --after stating the causes, I proceeded to inquire what lessons God would have us learn by these troubles, which lessons I perceive to be the following:

        I have thought much about these things, and it took me an hour to talk it out, & I didn't do more than touch the surface at that; but don't begin to be alarmed lest I preach it all over to you; I have no such purpose.

        I am in a state of suspended judgment about the war. I never thought it was to be a short one; though I couldn't make up my mind that it was to be a long one. We certainly are not fit for peace yet, & I don't believe we ever shall be; but God does not deal with us according to our deserts, and I believe he will deliver us whenever we realize that our only hope is in him.

        We heard from Robert last week--still at Johnson's Island, & very well treated. Pa's health is bad. He still sticks to his work, however, and he [has] a class every day. The others of us are as usual.

        I want you to take the Southern Literary Messenger, published by Macfarlane & Furguson, Richmond, Va. It ought to be encouraged. I will send you a copy shortly which I want you to read-especially "My Uncle Flatback's Plantation". It afforded me a good laugh, and a good laugh is worth ten dollars (the subscription price), in these sad times. Furthermore, I would be much obliged to you to observe the thermometer for me this winter--if it will not trouble you too much--at Sunrise, midday, & sunset.

Yr' aff' cousin,

Wm Bingham


[Morale]

        [Texas homefront]

Norton's Grove Texas Aug 25th/-61

My beloved sister--

        This holy Sabbath is one of the darkest rainest [sic] ones I nearly ever witnessed, & corresponds with my feelings to some extent. It seems that I appreciate and enjoy it more than if it were a bright sunny day here. alone with my sweet little precious darling well and gaily, nothing atal [sic] to disturb their quiet and innocent souls--O! what a sad thought that it should not always be the case with them--but alas! stern reality proves that it will not be; soon--yes--too soon--must their hearts be changed & prepared to meet disappointments sorrows and troubles--Altho' I may wish & pray that clouds should never darken their sky_ that they should never waken to truth that friends are false & changeful as the ever wandering wind--these things I know will not be--all must suffer and especially woman--whose heart is so delicately strung that a breath can stir its' deep fountain wells "waking [noles] of sorrowful sadness or estatic [sic] joys--Then all I can do is to go to Him & pray that if sorrows come may they be cheered by the smile of the Son of Righteousness--if midnight darkness shrouds their souls--may they remember the One that sticketh closer than a brother--" & who is able to give them strength to keep until the sunlight cometh-- Dear sister I've been thinking so much of you lately--your troubles and sorrows--What--O! what sad changes since last we met & since the happy, sunny days we use [sic] to spend together--If we then cold [sic] only have lifted the veil of futurity that is now present with us--how we would have shuddered at the idea of having to meet it-- & the future now is indeed sad and dark--then all was gaily & sunshine as we thought. If the experience of the future now corresponds with anticipation, our best and happiest days are indeed gone--gone--forever--and life has no preceding days like them. Added to the common troubles of our once blessed & prosperous country--we have to give up our friends to die--to no longer exist & permit us one ray of hope to meet again on earth, Sister, it seems to us hard to bear-- & hard to be reconciled [to that] fate--Nature is so much against it, & so hard to resist. But we have one consolation--the Lord hath said--"He will be with is in the sixth and not forsake us in the seventh." & "All things work together for good to them that loves God-- & that "he chasteneth whom he loveth--"

        How glad and happy I would be to meet you & sympathise with you in your bereavements--tho' it would do you no good--no one has power on earth to restore the broken link in the chain of the family circle--From my own sad experience sympathy does but little good, & I can't see how we could bear all of our crosses if it were not for the hope beyond the grave--The hope of meeting in Heaven where alone no sorrows known for there's no parting there--Sister do you recollect that old chorus? Who you first heard sing it? So many--ten thousand thoughts and reveries & things remind me of the loved & lost, & how their memory lingers around our hearts--I sometimes wish I could forget the past-- & then again it is a feast to my mind. . .

        We don't hear from our old homes often these days--I had a letter last week from Mr. Gilmer for the first in a long, long time. The letters do not go as direct as they did--such a state of confusion--They all seem to be in a great deal of trouble about Mt. Airy giving up their boys for the war & P. & more suffer--so much anxiety about their whereabouts &P. It does seem to me I can never bear to hear that my dear bro- is killed by our ruthless enemy. Sister does it not seem to you that this war is the most awful thing that ever did befall a nation? & the misery sorrow-- & troubles that is apparently now in store for us seems almost beyond endurance--What it will end in--or where or when--is known only to Him who rules the sword. We hear the news in papers very punctually--generally send expresses from N.O.--I've never heard whether our boys were in the battle at Manassa [sic] or not--I had a letter from Mr. Gilmer written 20th of July & they were in Richmond & C. I see no account of any N.C. regiments in the Battle--It was a glorious victory & a dear one to us--So many of our good brave men have been killed it almost makes me shudder at hearing of it. A gentleman near here just from Richmond brought a pair of hand cuffs that were taken with their spoils--I do wish I had the power and the opportunity of putting them on old Scott & [lariling] him out awhile on our Prairie grass--Great excitement here about the [unclear] . The Com-- that Mr. Speer belonged to started for Mo- this morn-- he went to tell them "good bie [sic]" two other Com- starts from the Farle- this week sometime--They expect to go right on to Ben McColluch. Mr. Speer would go readily if it were not for me and the family--Says if they have a draft which is very probably he will take me either to uncle Martins in East Texas or to D.C. ere he goes--I don't want to go home now--it would be no satisfaction to leave our little fam- of negroes so exposed-- & be in gooddeal [sic] more danger too there, then here--You all I fear will wish yourselves away from there ere it ends.

        Monday 26

        . . .We have plenty of every thing to eat--have had all kinds of mellons ever since the 20th of June--now coming on in great abundance since fall rains set in--[Cabbage] the finest you ever say--Beets--Tomatoes in abundance--Pumpkins--sweet potatoes-- & C. & C. Our little peach orchard was full of peaches--I only dried a bushel--had to divide with all the neighbors for preserves. I put up about five gal-cooked in molases [sic] for pies--made some nice preserves--dried some nice green corn--a bush of large red wild plums--some grapes-- & have half bush of dried large butter beens [sic]--good many large white beens [sic] for winter use-- & now the vines hanging with young snaps again--greatest country for two crops of every thing you ever saw--Everything is very high here now & no money atall [sic]. Coffee--25--Sugar--20--salt-- $10 per sack--bale of cotton $2 1/2 per bale--we raised gooddeal [sic] of cotton this year and have negroes spinning now--its too dear to buy--I have had 60 yards of negroes winter cloth wove--going to make it up (soon). ..

        My best love to Aunt Sade--Cousin Rufe--your mother & all--a kiss to the sweet little boys for us

[Callie]


        [Homefront]

Home Nov 4th 1861

My Dear Grandma

        It has been a long time since I wrote to you last, and I am ashamed for having neglected it so long, I hope you will forgive me for the delay. We have all been so very busy, that I actually have not taken time to write a letter to anybody. We have been working a good deal for the soldiers, I believe the homeguard have supplied the first company with clothing for the winter and will soon begin to work for the second. Mr Barber's company started about two weeks ago, I was at Wilkesboro during the time that the uniform was making up, but I did not stay until the company started. Some of us were going up to see them start but the river was up so that we could not go. Cousin Ransom went up, he said that it was a splendid looking company, and left in perfect order, no drinking atall [sic]. We did not work as much for Mr Barber's as we wished, but we kept telling them to send us more work and they did not do it. Mother sent them six blankets. Mrs Barber is very lovely, she wants some of us to go and stay with her this winter, I think Millie will go and stay awhile she wants to go and wear her homespun dress. We have made some very pretty homespun this fall, it is the most uncommon looking I ever saw. Cousin Dick speaks of starting to Manassa [sic] with the boxes of clothing to day, I believe Tom is going with him, they got a letter from Cousin Nath dated the 28th he was very well then. Cousin Lizzie has been working very hard lately they have had a great many overcoats to make, and a great many gloves and socks to knit. We made some shirts, and knit some gloves, socks, and comforters for their box, I think Uncle Dickie intends to have them warm enough, he has has had [sic] some jeans shirts made and ever so many overcoats to come down to their feet nearly. Cousin Sallie Hugh has not been up to see us yet, Millie has been down there several times but she has not been up yet, I have not seen her since she came over. Mary and I have been spinning and weaving lately, I wove a dress for myself or nearly all of it. I have not told you anything about the children yet. I know one thing about them, they are very bad and nearly all in rags, for we have been working so much for the soldiers that we have not done anything scarcely for the family and now it is absolutely necessary. Joyce is a mighty sweet little thing when she tries to be, and very bright and smart, she will soon be walking I think. Willie is not very well he has been sick a day or two, but is better now he "says he is going to get behind Coon on a horse and shoot the Yankees". I believe Nora is as fat as ever Millie has shingled her head and she looks mighty sweet. Laura is pretty rapid I tell you, she is learning right fast can read very well, she has been knitting some too, she wants to see little Jule mighty bad she says. Jim and Wat are just running wild I do wish Jim was going to school in Lenoir he could learn so fast and he is not learning a thing here at home. Now is the very time for him to be studying as hard as he can I know he can study when he tries.

        I want to see you all very much, I would like so much to go up there, but I don't know when I can again, I wish I could see Gwyn and Tommie, they are such sweet little fellows. Mother got a letter from Mrs Fulton last week she had not hear from her before in several years, she said that Uncle Tom called to see her once, and she hoped to see him very often. We had a great many pumpkins This year, we are going to make some molasses in a few weeks don't you want some? I do not like it as much as the sugar cane molasses, Uncle Hickinson made some very nice and sent us some. We have had another glorious victory, the scene at the battle of Leesburg must have been terrific, our forces driving the Yankees in the Potomac river like a herd of swine or something so, and shooting at their heads every time they would pop up out of the water. It does seem that Providence is on our side we have gained so many brilliant victories over them, and they always have every advantage almost. I hope this wind is blowing old Abe's ships the wrong way, I think that storm the other night must have swept some of them to David Jones I hope so anyhow. Well! Grandma I reckon I must stop Jim is going to start to Elkin in a few minutes and I must have my letter ready to send by him, I know it is a poor one, but I am sorry to say that I do not write any other sort. Mother says that she has so much word to send and so much to say that she gets out of [unclear] and wont begin.

        Give a heap of love to all for me and accept a double portion for yourself. I reckon the other children would send theirs if I would as them so you can take it for granted sent.

Your Very Affectionate Grandchild

Julia


        [Morale]

Camp Lee, S. C., Feb. 20th, 1862

Dear Brother [Rufus Lenoir],

        Company F is on guard, to-day, and the intervals between my two hours tramps on the guard lines ought, I suppose, in strict discipline to be spent at the guard tent; but if you ever get to be a soldier you will find that in practice there is of necessity a very perceptible difference between the discipline of twelve months volunteers, and that of regulars or that prescribed in army regulations, (a difference which has not, however, prevented the twelve months men from fighting well and with enthusiasm and which I hope will never so result.) So as I wished to commune with you awhile in this imperfect way I have permission from the Lieutenant who is officer of the guard, and have retired to our tent, or rather cabin, to commence another letter to you. I have felt much more concern on your account than on my own, dear brother, since the news of our disaster at Ft Donelson began to reach us. We knew nothing yesterday and day before except the first wild rumor of the surrender of 1500 troops and of the city of Nashville. To-day we who were in camp heard the glad sound of cheers from the regiment, while out on drill; and soon learned that the news had reached them that Nashville was not taken, and that the main body of our troops at the rear Ft Donelson had cut their way through the enemy and escaped. We are still without any reliable particulars, and I fear that our loss has been more serious than to-day's advices seem to indicate. It is probable that you will know more about it before this reaches you than I do now. I feel it more on your account than my own because I know with what gloomy apprehension you have viewed the war; and I cannot but feel how trying to you will be the present hour when our prospects are darkened by the news of defeat. I wish to ask you to shake off the gloom, and to remind you of some things which will help you to do it. War is not so hazardous or destructive of life or property as your apprehensions picture it to be. Remember that your grandfather fought through an eight years war, a few infant colonies struggling against the richest and most powerful and war like nation on earth, exposed to constant dangers, but that he survived it all, and with your grandmother reached extreme old age, after a life of prosperity. Your father once buckled on his sword in the fearful task of making war upon the same mighty nation, but he too survived it and lived to ripe old age, seeing both himself and his country prospering. Remember that all the fearful civil and foreign wars that have for many centuries convulsed modern Europe, have not prevented the nations engaged in them from advancing constantly in civilization, refinement and material prosperity, and you will surely conclude that war, however fierce, is by no means likely to result in the destruction of a nation, or even to prevent its continued progress in all that is great when peace is restored. And if your heart begins to fail you when you think of your wife and children, in case the casualties of the war should take you from them to die a patriot's death fighting for your country, read the 37th Psalm, and remember that the promises in it are intended for them, or if you should think of being reduced to poverty by the progress of the invasion seek consolation from the same source. For my own part, I feel still so perfectly certain of the final result of the war in our favor, and have so resigned myself to receive whatever it may be, the fate that its progress to that final issue may assign me, that I have been unusually free from care since I reached the camp, and even the bad news has very little depressing effect upon my spirits. I hope to have strength to meet my fate, whatever it may be, 'with a sigh for those who love me, and a smile for those who hate', and I feel my determination increasing as the prospect darkens. When I remember that adversity only serves to develop the better qualities both of men and nations I can not but believe that your manly and loyal nature will be aroused by the calamities of our country, and that your despondency will give place to a firmness which will even border on cheerfulness. Since commencing this letter we have news that the Yankees are landing to-night at Boyd's Landing. We are ordered to cook a day's rations and may have a fight to-morrow. The issue is with the God of battles. May he be our strength and shield. I am more willing to lay down my life than to submit. I am not writing with any view to urge you at this time to become a soldier. It is clear to my mind that it would be very wrong for you to do so. God bless and protect you all. Tom sends his love to you all. We are both in good health.

Your affectionate brother

Walter


        [Morale]

Crab Orchard, July 23d, 1863

Dear Brother,

        A shower of rain has made me hobble in from the cornfield; to which I sometimes venture for a while, though to but little purpose; and I have set down to scratch you a line. It continues very wet, and I like the rest of farmers have a poor chance to work. My forward corn is beginning to tassle, and I will have to lay some of it by with the third working. I have made myself a leg which I am beginning to use in walking about the farm. I hope I will be able to use it for walking without discontinuing the use of the Montgomery leg for riding and an occasional change.

        After writing to you last week as to the course which I thought our army ought to pursue as to private property in Pennsylvania, I received in the papers Gen. Lee's orders to his army on the subject. I hope you have seen and read them. They breathe the spirit of a noble hearted christian soldier and have raised that great man still higher in my estimation than he stood before. And the good conduct of our army towards the people of Pennsylvania, (to which there were necessarily but too many exceptions,) has raised it and the South still higher in my love and admiration than they stood before; and will shine forever in bright contrast with the infamous conduct of our enemies. Gen. Jenkins, whose command the Yankees themselves are forced to compliment for the gentlemanly behavior, has a fine dwelling house in western Va. the parlor of which the Yankees have for a long time used for a cavalry stable, and many of his troopers are his neighbors who have been used in like manner. Retaliation in kind would have done us no good. His mode of retaliation has gained a great and substantial advantage.

        The course of events and my reflections of late have led me to modify my opinions as to some of the darker and more horrid aspects of the war, growing out of the subject of slavery. You know that I have never regarded Lincoln's Proclamation as making of itself much substantial difference in the conduct of the war. The Yankees have gone on since doing just what they were doing before, and in the same manner, so far as the slaves and slavery is concerned.

        You know too that I have not dreaded their attempts to arm the slaves, believing that their presence in their armies would be a cause of weakness instead of strength, and that they would be shrewd enough to know that or soon find it out, and limit the experiment to such bounds as they thought would be sufficient to keep the South in a state of alarm. I did think, however, that to the extent that they were introduced, it would make the war more horrid, because I supposed that our men would refuse to capture them when found fighting, as well as the white officers who commanded them. In this I find I was mistaken. Our troops capture negro soldiers and their officers and treat them as they do the others. And this I have no doubt now will continue to be the case to the end of the war. I still think, for the reasons that I have already mentioned, that there will be but little use made by the Yankees of their negro soldiers, though I see that Gen. Banks tries to make them out quite valiant. It is so natural to man to fight that it is possible that even the negro diciplined [sic] and led by white men may stand fire better than we of the South have supposed. But even if this is so, amalgamation in the ranks with them as well as every where else is so very unnatural that even Yankee fanaticism will fail in the attempt. That, however, is not the point which I set out to state, which was merely that the addition of negro troops to the Yankee army would not as I now think prevent them from being taken prisoners by our troops when in their power, as their mean white associates now are.

        My views have undergone a still greater change on another and much more important point in this connexion [sic]. I have as you know never thought that the Yankees would succeed in liberating our slaves. I believe that God over rules the affairs of nations, and that He will not suffer the Yankees to perpetrate so great a crime as that against us and their species. But while we know that God is just and merciful and does all things right, we know that His ways are not our ways, and are past finding out, and often seem very mysterious to our imperfect perceptions. We are not certain therefore beyond a doubt but that it may be his righteous will that our enemies may succeed in this. Looking at the possibility of such a thing, and considering it in the light of human reason and experience, I took it almost for granted at first that such a forcible emancipation would lead to scenes of horrid massacre and butchery; that the negroes finding freedom in their grasp, and having their passions inflamed by the fierce teachings of abolitionsists would attempt to slay their masters, and that they in turn would be compelled to destroy the negroes. This was the view commonly taken of the matter at the South, and no doubt still is; and with the history of Hayti [sic] before their eyes and the knowledge that it was such men as Lane and Lovejoy and such books as Helper's impending crisis that had brought the Yankees to attempt such a thing, it was very natural that such should have been the feeling at the South. But I now believe that if the Yankees succeed in subjugating the white people of the South and freeing the negroes it will be without any massacres except such as are now taking place upon the battle field. There will be no rising upon the non-combatant men, women or children. Those of us who choose to see it will see their Yankee masters set the negroes free and then govern them and their fellow citizens, their late masters and mistresses, as well as the people of subjugated are governed by other enlightened nations. Bad as the Yankees are they would not wish the whites of the South to be massacred by the negroes and would not permit it. You may wonder why my views have changed in this respect. Partly by reflection, partly by the light of facts. The Yankees have for the present at least actually freed the slaves in a large part of the South, and in portions where they were in the greatest numbers, and had had the worst treatment on the sugar plantations in La. for instance. Yet it has led to no massacre and there is less probability that it would lead to it if they were entirely successful in their attempt. What that mercenary and speculating people expect to make by reducing us to the condition of Jamaica is a great mystery to me. But if they succeed I have no doubt that it will be done as peaceably, so far as collision between the two races is concerned as it was done in Jamaica. If the Yankees are strong enough to put down our fierce and strong fight for independence they will be strong enough to govern the negroes afterwards, and I have little doubt for my part that if the South is subdued by the North it will be as well governed and prosperous as Jamaica. Not a very tempting prospect truly, not one that I would expect to remain to witness if I could pay or beg my way to some other country. I have drawn this gloomy picture, not for the purpose of adding to it the many gloomy ones that already darken your mind, but in order to rid it, if I can, as I have done my own of the still gloomier one of assassination and general massacre, which being the worst possible result of the entire success of the Yankees is I fear the one which your mind is too prone at times to fasten upon to the exclusion of every other. Nor do I write such things because I have any greatly increased apprehensions that we will fail in establishing our independence. I am by no means disheartened by the loss of Vicksburg and Port Hudson. They held out so well that I began to hope they would be relieved by Johnson, cholera and yellow fever. But who would have anticipated after the comparative easy fall of New Orleans and Memphis that they would have resisted so long the gigantic efforts that have been made to take them? Our next position will be away from the water, and if Lincoln is as long in reducing it he will have to hand over the job unfinished to his successor. We still hold Charleston, Wilmington and Mobile and Savannah it is true, all upon the water, at least we still hold them all according to my last news. But if they were reduced, and it would take time to reduce them all, if we may judge the future by the past, we would still have an army that Lincoln could not reduce before his democratic congress meets. The peace party which seems to be growing rapidly now at the North will then become stronger and more clamerous [sic] and I hope that the North will begin to conclude that the war is 'played out'. You know I thought last winter we would have more and harder fighting this year than any before, and that there would not be much afterwards. I still think so.

        We are very anxious about Tom Norwood and many other friends who were in the battle of Gettysburg. I have not see a word about the 37th. We saw it stated that Col. Avery was killed but see no confirmation of it since, and hope it is not so. Please write to me about the Averys and tell me what you can about the casualties in the Caldwell companies. I have written you a much longer letter than I intended and am not through yet. I wrote Cous. Will Lenoir of Ten. And got an answer telling who of his nephews are in the service which I must write about next time. Love to all.

Your brother

Walter


        [Women, Morale]

July 25, 1863

Dear Uncle

        "Well Uncle Walt I must tell you how domestic we have grown since the war broke out. We have learned to spin weave &c &c. Mary and Mother spun filling enough for a fine piece of cloth and it is mighty nice and soft. Mary is a first rate spinner; she can beat me all to pieces. We have kept two looms going constantly all summer and spring, nearly. I guess the weaving operations will be suspended for a time now, I have to go to school, and Millie will have to sew so there will be no one to weave but Betsy. I am sorry to tell you of the Union sentiment existing in this county, among the women as well as the men; the women write to their husbands to leave the army and come home and that's the reason that so many of them are deserting. They have a regular union company up at trap hill! March under an old dirty United States rag! &c. Some of the people about here actually rejoiced at the death of Genl Jackson! Oh! It makes me so mad to think about that I just want to fight. I wish the Yankees had the last one of them.

Your Affectionate Niece

Julia P Gwynn


        [Outlaws, Morale]

Aug 13, 1863

My Dear Walter

        "They have a terrible state of things upon the Tennessee line particularly in Watauga [County]. There is a band of robbers & villains who are constantly plundering the people in the night, when resolute and prepared they succeed in driving them off, but a man is occasionally killed on either side. Some ten days ago they attacked the house of Paul Farthing--his brother Young being there[.] They resisted and fired upon them out of the house & a skirmish ensued[.] Thomas Farthing heard the firing from his house and hurried over with his gun but unfortunately was discovered & fired upon by a guard stationed on the road side--two balls passing through his heart. You may imagine my distress knowing the high estimation in which I held him. I regarded him decidedly the first man in the County-- & I think he was a fast friend of our family. The bad was headed by a man by the name of Guy he has been arrested & released heretofore--They go in bands of 12 or 14--Nine of Paul Farthing's family were hurt & they found a good deal of blood about the porch & corner of the house: but as they always carry off their wounded the damage done the robbers was not ascertained--The same party robbed Mr. Evans' house while he was down here, carrying off about four or five hundred dollars worth of his & Mr. Skiles's effects--They put his wife under guard & rummaged the house thoroughly--expecting to find money. Evans has since moved his family down here & occupies the Methodist Parsonage."

        "I have terrible forebodings at times--not that I think that we are not able to defend ourselves and achieve our independence--but fear that the whole strength of the country can not be got out. The men who have heretofore avoided the fight & by coming forward at this crisis & encouraging the remaining conscripts and deserters might restore confidence are increasing the difficulty by crying out for peace which means submission--In the meantime desertion is rife[.] the men regard their money as worthless & the government is unable to remedy its evil. Thomas says he has seen them give $10 for a water mellon."

Your Affectionate

Jos C Norwood


        [Morale]

Crab Orchard Aug 17th 1863

Dear Brother [Rufus]

        I have received yours of the 9th inst. Though I frequently write about the war I nearly always dislike to do so, and your letter is so incorrigibly blue that I feel more than usual difficulty in answering. You say that you have been expecting defeat. And coupled with the declaration that Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, Mobile and Knoxville will fall, your meaning seems to be that you have hoped for nothing else. I hope that I am humble as well as sincere in believing that such a frame of mind is sinful. I hope you may never have to go to the army, because let affairs take what turn they may, I believe that in your state of health you can be more useful at home. But if it should be otherwise, God grant that you may not go into battle believing that He is against you while you are fighting in a just cause. And such a frame of mind is just as wrong for those at home, for whom the soldiers are fighting to indulge. Such a spirit never yet [animated] an oppressed people who struggled successfully to be free. Such was not the spirit of Tell or Bruce or Washington, or of those for whom and with whom they fought. We have not the odds against us that they had. We are not as much torn by dissentions [sic]. We have not suffered near as much or as long under the ravages of war. We have not been so much overrun. We are not in such straits for food. You say we will not have salt enough to save our meat. Meat is a luxury. The Roman soldiers who conquered the world had little or no flesh. Who that deserves to be free would not rather wander forty years in the wilderness and live on bread alone, rather than return to the flesh [pots] and be a slave? You read the Bible and you know that God rules the world. He is just and merciful, and he can't be on the side of the wicked. He is always on the side of the just, not of the perfectly just, for there are none such in this world, but of those who are acting most in conformity with his commandments and are just and righteous will. Ordinarily this is apparent to human wisdom, and we have a right therefore to hope, and it is our duty to hope, that it will be apparent to human observation in the ordinary way that he will favor us, as he has already so often signally done, to the end of that contest, in which we are only striving to be let alone, against our oppressors, who without justice or mercy are trying to inflict the most dreadful injuries upon us. It is very true on the other hand that neither men nor nations can hope with certainty as to the results of God's temporal dealings with them, and it would no doubt be the greatest calamity to us if we could. It is much too hard for us as it is to be weaned from the things of time and sense, and if our good deeds here were seen to be rewarded with temporal happiness both men and nations would soon forget God in the enjoyment of the very blessings with which he had rewarded them. God therefore sometimes in his infinite wisdom and mercy lays the heaviest afflictions on those who have most of his love and favor. And these darker providences however mysterious they may seem are in perfect harmony with the ordinary and obvious dispensations of his favor. It may be, therefore, though we have such good reason to hope other wise, that through one of these inscrutable providences it is God's will that our nation shall be destroyed, and the remnant left of the people be driven out to find their way to other lands. Suppose it to be so. Why, even then, so we are but resolved to do our whole duty for our country, need our hearts fail us? If we are on God's side we will know that it is done in mercy, and for our good, that behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face, that however mysterious it may seem to human foresight, "God is his own interpreter, And he will make it plain." Even in a temporal point of view, why should we of all others despair? This war found the Lenoirs temporally all well to do. And yet our forefathers on one side were Huguenots who fled from their country escaping with their bare lives from the knife of the assassin, in a national massacre; and on the other they were puritans, who fled to the wilderness from a colder and more calculating but scarcely less cruel persecution. Suppose us to be [unclear] . What worse worldly prospect would seem to be before than whose ill fortune it would be to survive the glorious but ill fated struggle? And yet our ancestors prospered, and we their descendants are rich in this worlds goods. And if we have to seek refuge in the Amazon, or farther, why may not Tommie and Gwyn and Walter become the founders of a long race of Lenoirs who like the same race in this happy land may contrive to be the best farmers and get the best land and the best [unclear] that the country affords? And of how little importance is all that, if they are only taught by the vanity of the world to seek that better country where there is no war, (and I was about to add no Yankees) where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest. Cheer up then. Look the worst square in the face if you will, and still be a man. Feel cheerfully, and then you can talk cheerfully, and look cheerfully, and you can do so without concealing any bad nerves. It is best not to do so from yourself or others, but to face it. Every thing that you or any of the family do or say [unclear] have its weight with some soldier through his wife or other friend at home. Hope for the best, be ready for the worst; trust firmly in God; and your face will be brighter, and your step firmer, and you will be doing good service along the Rappahannock. The right spirit blazes out in your letter when in speaking of reconstruction you say "would not the many bleaching bones of a hundred battle fields say for what did we fight?" But I hope you are mistaken in saying that many of the Caldwell people say we are whipped, and the sooner we make terms with our enemies the better. Caldwell has come too much along at Gettysburg and many other battle fields to lose it so lightly. The South has all at stake in this contest and every true Southern man knows it, and knows that reconstruction is impossible. The union was voluntary. Coercion is conquest, not reconstruction. I believe that every reconstructionist is an abolitionist at heart, and likes Lincoln's emancipation proclamation. I would suspect on very slight grounds that he was an amalgamationist and had some notion of taking a negro wife. It would be painful to me to associate in any way with such wretches. I would much prefer to be thrown among Bleuker's Dutch than the lowest yankees. For the sake of the country I was born in and my dear friends in it, I hope there are very few such people there. I am but little from home except my rides down to the quarter, but I hear of no such sentiments in the neighborhood. I am sorry to hear so bad an account of your crops in Caldwell. The prospect here is better. Wheat was very good and I hear of none lost. Rye the same. Oats light, impaired by lice. Did you ever hear of such a thing before? Meadows rather light, which is remarkable considering the wet season, and we have a bad time for making hay and no doubt some will be spoiled. Tom has saved part of his. I have made a stack and a piece tolerably well saved, and my meadows being very late I have suspended cutting for the present. The weather being showery. Corn generally is I believe looking very well.

        Tell Sade please to put me out some more cuttings of her sweetest leaved roses, and those that seem least, including the tea roses at Gen Pattersons, and a little bunch of her red cinnamon pinks and other sweetest pinks. I may or may not ever get them. And to mark the names of the roses. The name written in pencil on a stick of soft wood stuck in the ground by them would last long enough and be easily fixed up. Tom and Lizzie and cousin Julia were well enough to go 7 miles to a camp meeting yesterday. I am in fine health and eat bacon and snaps and cucumbers and honey. Love to all. No room for more your affectionate brother

WW Lenoir


[Slavery]

        [Slave Trade]

Monday night 9th Feby 63

Dear Rufus

        "There are many negro buyers in this part of the country & I dare say it's the same way with you & that you obtain large prices[.] I have been selling some of mine & as I generally do, sold too soon & at too low a price. I had to sell one of Bryans & Betseys children (Polly) which I disliked very much, but she got too far along in the slight of hand to keep; I got only $1250 for her[.] Could now get 1800$--I also sold Lark a few weeks ago for 2000$ which I then thought an exorbitant price but it seems like there is no telling what property will go to. I understand that No 1 boys are selling at Richmond for 2500 & upwards. Lark had taken it into his head to engage in speculation & of course to succeed must travel about a good deal. I am opposed to that business generally & I thought he & I would not agree so well in [the] future & I sold him.

        I have had several persons to see me to buy George & his family, but I have not sold him yet & I hardly think I will for awhile at least, altho' I do not think I will keep him, but maybe they are as safe as the money I would get for them."

Affectionately yours

J Gwynn


        [Medical, Slave trade]

Feb 25, 1863

Dear Brother [Thomas J. Lenoir]

        "I am encouraged some and discouraged some about my leg. I have learned enough to know that the best artificial leg will not supply the natural one as well as I hoped, and that I must be more of a cripple when the best has been done for me than I allowed myself at first to anticipate. On the other hand I find myself improving in the use of the temporary wooden leg which Rufus made for me, and I hope that even with it I could get about well enough after practice to see to the management of a farm."

        "Rufus has written to you that we have sold Elsy & Fanny for $1400.00, and Judy and her two youngest children or $1700.00. The change made by the legislature in the time of holding the courts having disappointed the public sale which we had advertised, we thought it best to sell them at private sale and did so. Three of Andy's children, Jenny, Delia and Jacob, Judy's child, Sid, and Elsy's Mose, remain undisposed of. Thomas [Norwood, a cousin] is willing to take Sid, Rufus to take Jenny & Jacob & Mose, & I to take Delia, if prices satisfactory to the parties can be settled. The sooner this is done or abandoned, of course the better. It seems to devolve on you and Mr. Norwood to fix the prices which the rest of us can either take them if it is still our wish, or else leave them to be sold which I think should be done forthwith.

        I will want to be in Haywood pretty soon after the roads are fit for me to get a wagon through. Thomas will probably be in before I leave, but has not written when he will come. I hope you will hold yourself in readiness to meet him here, in order that we may fix there valuations, and make division of the money on hand and of the prices agreed on. I will be prepared out of the prices of Judy & her children to pay you the debt due you from brother William's estate if it will suit you to receive treasury notes. I would of course like to pay the debt if it would suit you. But I would not think it right to insist on it in the present state of the currency, if you preferred waiting for a sale or division of the lands or a supplement portion of them."

Your affectionate brother

WW Lenoir


        [Reliance on slaves]

April 26, 1863
Crab Orchard, NC

Dear Brother

        "An energetic farmer settling here at twenty instead of forty, and having two good legs might hope to make it a charming place, and a number one stock farm. What I can accomplish will prove perhaps nothing. I will do a little if my negroes prove industrious and honest, which you will no doubt think a forlorn hope. If they turn out badly, I may find my self going down hill so fast that I will have to give up them and my land and put my self out to board with somebody, but I will not write my self a cypher till I find that I am one. I have to give up every thing to Andy and Maria [slaves] for the present, as I have no locks, except a borrowed pad lock on the corn crib, which I found in Andy's keeping, and for the present shall leave it there. The meat is in Maria's charge, and the supply on hand when I came, gave out so much sooner than Tom had allowed it for, as to show that I have some tremendous eaters to feed. Maria has quite a flock of chickens, and her hens produce abundance of eggs. Besides the eggs, they have turnip greens and what is left of one cow's milk, after furnishing me a cup full each meal. But as all that makes but a small addition to their meat and bread, I suppose it is to be expected that they would consume more of them than usual."

You Affectionate Brother

WW Lenoir


        [Slavery]

Crab Orchard Jany 15th 1864

Dear Mother

        I have been rather negligent of late about writing letters, for a reason that should perhaps have made me write the oftener [sic], the irregularity of the mails. There has been no snow here yet; but for all that we are having they say a colder winter than usual. I have not yet quite finished the cabin for my negroes which has been so much in the way of my other work. The boys are now at work upon the chimney which they are making of stone, and I think are succeeding partly well for their first attempt. It will be quite a comfortable cabin for them when finished, and I hope to see them at length moved into it some day next week. My farming operations make but a poor figure, owing to the destructive frost in September. I am short of every thing except rough food for my stock, of which I have enough, perhaps some to spare. My corn and other grain ought to do me very well till harvest, after paying my tithes. I made 1400 lbs of pork which is not enough for my folks for a year, at the rate they have been consuming bacon since I came out. If the corn fed to the hogs had not been seriously injured by the frost, I would have had some bacon to spare after paying my tithe. Maria and Delia have done very badly about spinning, not having spun filling enough during the year to make a comfortable allowance of clothing for the negroes. Maria has not worked but a day, Delia only in the corn [unclear] , and a few other days in the hay and oat harvest, and Clarissa none for about two months, besides helping some times during crop time, about washing &c. I have had a poor chance to regulate them and have not attempted it, but if the Yankees are not kind enough to take them off my hands, they will have to make a great change soon, or have another master. I find upon trial so far that I can manage the men and boys with more comfort than I expected; but though I always considered she negroes a pest, mine are dirtier and lazier than even I counted on. It is true that I am a good deal to blame for it myself, as I have not attempted yet to control them; but I find that if I am to get along with them at all, I must nerve myself to the very disagreeable task of instituting and keeping up a strict discipline over them. I have been postponing what I know will be a hard piece of work, in the hope that circumstances would soon make it more clear to my mind whether I would be willing and able to keep them. Maria has not been doing very well since the birth of her last child and seems to be threatened with something like falling of the womb. She seems to be getting better now and I hope will escape from so serious a calamity. Except that she and all my negroes have so far been blessed with remarkably good health.

        The Yankees have made no demonstration in this direction yet; but I fear we will not escape them when warm weather comes. Our best protections will be our poverty and bad roads, which will make it cheaper for them to buy their grain and beef in the north west than steal them here. There is no probability of their coming here except on raids for supplies, as long as we maintain any large armies in the field.

        Tom's and Lizzie's health about as usual. My own continues very good. I send all my love to the family including cousin Julia. Some of the folks at the Fort or the Barn might write to us oftener than they have been doing of late.

I remain Dear Mother
Your affectionate Son

WW Lenoir


        [Slavery]

March 15th 1864

Dear Walter

        I received your letter to day and proceed to answer at once. Mother gave me the same table that she gave you, and I have been guided by it for many years, and feel quite sure that it is a plenty. I have not followed it exctly [sic], because having a large white family it frequently suits to give out as part of the allowance for the negroes, what is left on the table. So I generally weight out a week's allowance of breakfast meat for the field hands, which is cooked at Eliza's house, and I have all the dinner cooked in the kitchen and frequently a part of it consists of what is left on the table after the white family have eaten. but I have always been very particular about giving out the meat, frequently weighing from day to day what I had cooked for dinner, and I am sure that mother's table gives a plentiful allowance of meat. Our negroes have been doing with less than that of late, for finding that we had a very inadequate supply of bacon for this year, and no prospect of being able to get any more I have of late allowed the men 1/3 of a pound of bacon a day, and the others in proportion and have heard no complaints--they have plenty of peas but scarcely any milk. Cousin Carrie who is an excellent manager, has the same rule about meat that mother has, and she says it is a plenty and rather more than enough. I think two pounds of salt beef is fully adequate to one of bacon, making allowance where there is much bone in proportion to the meat. I have not much experience about mutton but suppose it would take a little more of that than beef, as it is more delicate. As to pork I don't know what the common practice is, but I make but very little difference between that of bacon. I am guided by mother's table in giving out meal, and think it a plenty, but I think it best not to be very nice and exact about that unless in a time of scarcity. I wish you had someone to relieve you of some of these perplexing cares and to help you hear what is unavoidable. I have come to the conclusion that it is not worthwhile to expect much from negroes in a moral point of view, or in any other point of view--I think we ought to do what we reasonable can to make them do right, and not worry our lives out because we succeed very imperfectly. We are all now tolerably well having had much complaint of late of bad colds. They were tolerably well at the Fort yesterday. Cousin Lizzie Hey is making visit to cousin Carrie at present. Julia Ragan & Laura Lenoir at Uncle Avery's. We have not heard from cousin Avery & Fred & Lewis since they left about a month ago. Tom left us a week ago to day, having staid [sic] with us only ten days--he was in fine health and spirits, but my heart sinks when I think of the coming campaign. We have had visits [successively] from Thomas, [unclear] , & John Norwood, sons of Rrd and Wm Norwood--uncommonly fine fellows all of them. I have no news. I suppose you have heard that Rufus Patterson is going to be married to Miss Mary Frieze of Salam [sic]. I don't know exactly when, but I believe it is to take place about the first of June. WN wrote to you a short time since. Col Key expects to go to the army soon. I should like to hear from Mr Flowers family since that fight near Okalon--was not that glorious? The taking of Suffolk by Ransom is confirmed by to days paper.

        Did anybody tell you that Squire Gaither had sold his place to a Mr Gibson of Kentucky, who now occupies the house. I have not got acquainted with them yet. Cousin Sophy Faucetts baby has been sick a long time but seems to be getting well now. George Harper was home the week before last--he was looking very well. Ella looks better than I ever saw her--seems to be in very good health. Mr Rankins and Mr Harpers families are well. Mr Gaither intends to board in Lenoir this summer, I believe. Mr Stacy has a pretty good school at the college, 24 boarders--Mr Faucette has 18 boys--would have had a great many more if he could have got them boarded. I am so glad to hear that Lizzie is getting better--give my best love to her & Thomas. We heard a rumor to day that Col Palmer had been captured in Heywood with all his command, but don't believe it. Do write soon. You letters take a long time to get here.

Yr affectionate sister

LCN


        [Slavery]

Crab Orchard, Nov. 15th, 1864

Dear Sister,

        I have been very remiss in writing home, for I still think of it, and always will, as home, at the time and for the reason that should have rendered me most assiduous in doing so. The feeling of desolation with which I think of home without father or mother then should have reminded me that you felt desolate, and needed more than heretofore that your brothers should endeavor to cheer you with tokens of their affection for you. We have heard from Tuckers Barn that Tommie had bilious fever, and we have been so long without a letter from the Fort that I have been very uneasy about him for several mails, for fear that the bilious has proved typhoid fever, and that you are all absorbed in trying to save him from falling a prey to it. Poor little Tommie has too much brain to encounter typhoid fever. It has been twenty years since typhoid fever commenced its last progress as an epidemic in the valley, and it is time to begin to dread its reappearance in that form. I have no more cases of it among my negroes, and it is not prevailing any where in this section so far as I know. I lost eight out of thirteen hogs of cholera, have one still sick, and one that has recovered with the loss of its hair and a vast amount of wrinkles about the eyes which give it I assure you a very unique appearance. Cholera as used in these parts means I believe any disease fatal to a hog. They symptoms among mine were different in different hogs and still more different from those at [Jus Trull's], Col Cathey's and other places, where the hogs have been dying. The best treatment I have been able to get hold of is to let them die. The disease among my hogs seems more like a slow [unclear] than any thing else. Those that recover are of very little value.

        Sister Lizzie is at Asheville on a visit to Mr and Mrs Albert Surmmey, and has Dr Dan Surmmey for her Medical adviser. I think that here state of health is becoming very alarming. She gradually grows weaker and thinner and actually weighed only eighty two pounds a short time before she started to Ssheville. If she could become so seriously alarmed herself as to her case, or in some other way muster up so much resolution as to be able entirely to controll [sic] her appetite, I would hope to see her soon growing better.

        I have had another crisis with my negroes. Delia has for a long time besides many other faults been perversely and uncontrollably sulky and sullen whenever I have spoken to her. Her conduct was the more insufferable as she was the cook, and to have submitted to it would have been in effect to have resigned my position as the head of the family, and have reduced myself to a plaything in the hands of my slaves. I could not sell Uriah and her together, as one belonged to me and the other to the estate, nor did it seem right to sell him as he was a good servant. It became necessary to whip her. You can understand that. Horace Greely and Miss Swisholm cannot. So the other day, after repeated warnings, and some very aggravated deportment, I prepared to give her a whipping. She resisted and called for Uriah to assist her. He very wisely went on with his work. But there was a disposition in Maria's other children that had to be restrained or they would soon all be at the same pass. I saw that strong measures were necessary, or else I must resign the rule of my household and be ruled myself by my negroes. So I mounted my horse rode to Burton Cathey's, and hired Delia and Uriah to him for a year; And then returned bringing Thomas with me, and whipped Delia until she humbled herself a little, which was not till she was well punished, for she tried very hard to 'stout it out'. It was a very bitter pill, and I would not go through it all again for the worth of the whole of them in gold. But I did my duty; I can see it in no other light; and the affect on my other negroes seems so far and will I have no doubt continue to be very good. One or two lessons at the Fort years ago would have saved a world of trouble. Andy behaved admirably, as he has always done, and Maria behaved very well. She has profited very much by the lesson I gave her in the Spring.

        Tom had five sides of leather stolen his tan trough the other night. William Hudson who lives between Tom and me had his house robbed lately by armed men. When will my turn come? Your affectionate brother Walter

        16th I have received Rufus's letter of the 7th. Gen. Reagans death was murder, as cold blooded and fiendish as Mr. Dickinson's. We hear through scouts that [unclear] and Walter Lenoir of Ten. are prisoners. We heard somehow, perhaps from Caldwell that Thomas Lenoir was put in jail with Gen. Reagan. None of you write that Cousin Avery is in bad health and do not answer my inquiry as to the cause that detains him from the service. I take it for granted that it is good, for he has good cause to fight.


[Politics]

        [Diplomacy, Unionism]

Lenoir Jan 16th 1862

My Dear Uncle Wal,

        Every body is going to bed, but I must write you a few lines if is only to say how much I miss you, and how glad I am to hear of your safe arrival at your journey's end and of yours and Uncle Tom's good health. Aunt Lizzie confidently expected a letter tonight and seemed very much disappointed when none came, but I hope sickness has not presented uncle T from writing. Letters are scarce enough these times. Our reading circle is almost broken up since you left. Pa is still much devoteed to the dispatch, but needs someone to talk it over with very much indeed. I am afraid he will get blue unless some one is found to fill your place. Your lines on the Mason & Slidell affair seem to be proved correct. It will be to our advantage any way. Valandigham speech in the Fed Congress on their surrender, is exceedingly to the point. He scours the Lincoln Government without mercy. He says they "have [stumbled] insolently into quarrel without right and then abjectly crept out of it without honor." He thinks England will fight any hour on some pretext or other. Pa has been out all day attending to the renting business. For two days the weather has been such that he has been confined to the house, but today has been very beautiful, except that mud and snow mixed up together do not make a very sweet appearance on the ground.

        Jan 17th. I am afraid Uncle Wal that you will never be able to read this. I have a quill pen that is very averse to making hair-lines and my ink is not good either. I hope however that you still will "receive with complasency [sic] this obtrusive messenger and with liberal reciprocity proceed to respond". If you cannot read some of the words you can do as Uncle Mickle [sic] says he does on such occasions--i.e. "say Moses, and go on." I guess it will not make much difference any way unless I had more sense than I can muster this morning. Pa rec'd a letter from Uncle Mickle last night. He had not received the Honey, Butter, &c. Said he expected it was at the depot at Salisbury or Charlotte and he would have to send for it before he got it. He said that people in that section had made up their minds to a long war but thought the blockade would be broken in less than six months. He said he believed in fighting it out to the bitter end, even if the war resulted in our ruin. We have not heard from the Fort for a day or two. All were well when we last heard except Tommy who had had a little sick spell. Tom N left for C. Hill last Tuesday before daylight and in the midst of the sleet and snow. Col. Harper also went down in the [unclear] that day. Cousin Sarah seems a little stronger this cool weather, but she has changed a great deal since you saw her. Cousin Carrie was over the [unclear] this week. Cousin William has heard from his brother Thomas, who married a Taylor in Kentucky you will remember--but not directly from him either. The letter was written by Aemilicus Mason of Richd Va. who had been concealed at Col. Taylor for some time on his return South from N. Jersey where he had been to attend the sick bed of an adopted child. He finally made his way through Rosencrans's [sic] lines, to our army in Western Va. and thence to Richmond. He brought no letters as it was not considered safe to attempt to get them through but promised Col Tom Jones to write to his friends. He says that Col Taylor, who owns several millions of property in Cincinnati, is a union man and that probably his influence and wealth may protect his son-in-law, but that two warrants have already been issued for the arrest of the latter whose secession principles are well known. Col Jones has made two attempts to come South with his family but was prevented once by Mrs. Taylor's sickness and another time by some other accident. He still hopes to escape. The officers refused to arrest him. Mr Mason says the [unclear] is disregarded there any way. Col Taylor's loyalty is strongly suspected. Col Jones has a most beautiful residence which is in full view of Cincinnati, so it seems a secessionist can live in that regime yet awhile. I received a letter from Capt White last night saying that his men were well provided for now having just drawn supplies from the state. I am rejoiced to hear it.

        Sister received an offer of a school from a Mr Jenkins of Williamsboro, but I do not think she will go there, I hope she will not. I cannot well get along without her now. She and Jenkins will hardly trade, however, for he wants her to give instruction in Latin, and she won't undertake that, and she wants him to give her more salary than I think him likely to offer. This teaching Latin seems to be a new kink. Col Carson of Marion wanted me to teach for him last summer and enquired just of all if I could teach it. I can read it with very little difficulty, but it strikes me that if a knowledge of a language is necessary, the teacher should be a first rate Latin scholar, or the pupils will get all sorts of wrong ideas fixed in their heads. I should certainly not undertake to teach it myself thats sure. Sister is giving me lessons in French now, which I find very interesting. She had a very good teacher in Fayetteville. Now that our soldiers have received some clothes I hope we will have a little time to read and study. Some of the folks about here were much concerned because the men complained of the size of the pants we sent. They were too large and the soldiers did not like them, and these people said if they were so particular and [tasty], let them go without. One said to me "I think we might as well let the Society fall through any how, for we got no thanks for what we have done!" That, you perceive, is the main spring. They are tied and want to give up. I told her that any body that wanted to fall through, could fall through, but I should decline to do any such thing yet a while. There is a great deal of Human Nature in woman, as well as in Man. I have found that out. Knew it before, as [well], though it accumulates daily. Julia sends her love to you. She looks very well, and is more terrified than ever before. But she has a great deal of energy and common sense. Mr Cloyd is moving over to the Fountain place. Mrs Cowles declines buying the Cloyd place. Mrs Gaither has returned. Ma and every body join in love to you and uncle Tom. Lizzie is not in just now but would say "tell him do pray to write" if she were.

With much love
You aff. Niece

Laura


        [Governor's politics]

Lenoir 29th June 1862

Dear Walter

        I was disappointed in not hearing from you by the last mail--being anxious to know what the destination of yourself and Thomas is to be. Every thing here is as still as death. There is some little excitement about the Governor's election-- & to my mind that seems all in the wrong direction & seems to me to be a paving of the way to a reconstruction of the union--That the whigs under the lead of such a man as Holden should refuse to except [sic] as a compromise an old line whig because he was a secessionist & insist upon running Vance because of his popularity--surely not because of his fitness for the office at this time--An ultra Union man one of the last who left Washington hanging on to Crittenden's coat tail long after he had rendered himself contemptable [sic] to the whole south-- & who did not cease to oppose the southern movement after his return, clinging to the wreck of the old government untill [sic] swept off by the irresistable tide of popular feeling at the south--when he must either swim with the current or be drowned--With such a man I say to break down the secessionists is to break down the justice of our cause in the minds of our people & will be hailed throughout the north as a triumph of the union party & an evidence of a latent willingness on the part of this state to reconstruct the union & such certainly is the wish of some of the most ardent advocates of the movement here [unclear] by the acknowledgment of some of them & the badly concealed feelings of others--but perhaps you would think me wild--by the bye I may be rubbing you up the wrong way--as I had found I had done Squire Harper the other day--as for ought I know you may be a strong Vance man--I don't care what may have been the past politics our next Governor if he is an able man & an uncompromising southerner. For myself I will hereafter attach myself to whichever party I think means wright [sic]-- but for the present I am for the war--for the government & against all measures which I think will take the wind out of the sails of our ship of state while she is contending with the breakers.

        We have heard just enough of the great battles at Richmond to raise our anxiety to the highest pitch & fill us with the most inspiring hopes--but still the news which has reached us leaves the matter undecided & gives us no particulars-- & we can hear nothing from Jackson. I have however almost an assurance that we will hear by tomorrow's mail of a most triumphant and decisive victory--Though it may be won with awful loss of life--I refer you to Bro. Harper for all local matters--crops &c & to Laura for Family news--

Your affectionate Brother

Jos. C Norwood


        [Politics]

Camp Vance Near Kittrell July 8th 1862

Dear Brother

        I have received your letter of June 30th, & scarcely know how to reply to it. You ought to strive against the habit of suffering so much from anticipated evil. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. You are forming I fear a habit of foreboding evil, and it is a very bad habit, which like all other habits is very hard to shake off & is apt to grow stronger as we grow older. I have noticed that the abuses of Sallie and the children is apt to make you very blue, and if you let it go as hard with you as you seem to do this time, she will have to give up all idea of ever visiting her father and mother and distant friends, for fear her absences will make you a hypochondriac. I do not agree with you entirely in attributing the war to ambitious politicians and corrupt editors & preachers. Such men are generally the scum which the strong current of public sentiment throws to the surface as it sweeps along. The[y] seem to guide the storm when in fact they are only driven before it, and they point you to its course only as the weather cock does, because they are the first to feel and yield to its earliest motion. They are generally worse to blame than any one else, because from ambitious & selfish motives they often use their talents to precipitate events, which they might use much to ward off or soften in the progress & effects. The causes which have at length separated the north and the south have in my opinion long been at work upon the people at large of both sections, especially those of the north, & have only been prevented several times before this, from producing the present result, by the noble patriotism of some of the better statesmen who were at the helm in those days. But the [caus ] continually growing stronger with the progress of the nation, or rather of the two people who were in one government, and separation sooner or later was perhaps inevitable. It has length come in the horrid form of revolution & war. But I need not go over the examples from history to prove the probability that we will as a nation survive it all and be prosperous.

        I went to Richmond on the 2d & returned on the 6th inst. to see Col Vance as to the disposition of our company. I regret to say that I did not succeed in getting it finally disposed of and that we are still remaining here in uncertainty. The secretary of war said he would dispose of us when he received the muster rolls, which unfortunately were in Col Vance's baggage at Petersburg. Capt Dula made out new rolls & started to Richmond yesterday. He will return in a few days I hope with a positive answer. I was on the battle field of Monday & Tuesday the 30th June & 1st July and picked up some balls and Yankee cartridges &c. as relics which I will send you when I have the chance. On Thursday and Friday when I was on the fields a great many of the Yankee dead were still unburied, and I saw a wounded Yankee on Friday lying on the battlefield of the Monday before, dying but not yet dead. Our dead were buried when they fell & their names marked on pieces of plank & the like placed at the head of their grave. Unless the bodies are sooner removed, the frail memorials of their resting place will disappear in a few weeks, never to be identified again. But they fell fighting as heroes and patriots fight, and they will be remembered and thought of with love & [regret] at home, long after their memory would have been forgotten if they had lived in [unclear] at home. Our troops who had fought the battles were still without tents and almost without camp equipage [sic], having left their baggage at various points behind as they were hurried to the scene of conflict. [unclear] will probably be at home before you receive this. Jus was not well. I saw Capt. [unclear] . He was shot through the left arm, flesh wound. Isaac Avery was wounded again with a buck shot & is at home. Col Barber wounded in the leg with a buckshot. You will probably hear before you get this about the killed and wounded in the Caldwell companies. Our victory was complete.

You brother

WW Lenoir


[Business/Economics]

        [Land sale]

Lenoir, Caldwell Co NC Aug. 31st 1861

Dear Sir,

        My friend EW Jones, of this county, informed me some time since of a conversation which he had with you, in the can, during which you were making inquiries for a suitable locality where you and other gentlemen of your acquaintance in the eastern part of the state could purchase cheap little farms among the mountains eligible for summer residences for your families.

        My brother, Col William A Lenoir, who died last spring, left about 3000 acres of land forming part of his real estate in this vicinity, and embracing a locality which I think you would find remarkably well suited for the purpose indicated. These lands extend for about five miles along a ridge two miles south of Lenoir, and include the summit of [Hiborten?] mountain, which is becoming celebrated for its accessibility and lovely scenery. The top of the ridge forms an undulating table abounding in gentle [unclear] covered with beautiful groves of nature oak. It had a ground elevation of from 1300 to 1400 above the sea and 300 to 400 feet above the rich bottoms of Lower Creek towards which it descends rapidly, and beyond which rises on the west and north a broad and splendid mountain view, including the Black, Table Rock, Hawks Bill, Roane, Grandmother, Grandfather, and a multitude of smaller mountains. The soil is thin upland clay, with sand enough to make firm and pleasant roads, having little mud or dust at any season. It is well watered with numerous hauchs & fine springs of pure water. When not cleared it is heavily timbered with oak, pine, chestnut, &c. Most of the land is above the ordinary frost limit around it, & is very will adapted to the production of apples, peaches, pears, grapes, & other fruits; and some of the land on all the hauches is suitable for meadow. A number of small farms have been opened on the land, with cheap building suitable for tenants by whom it has been tended under careful supervision; and a number of young orchards of well selected fruit have been planted on it. My brother, who had no family, had a fancy, amounting to eccentricity, for beautifying these lands, & rendering them convenient for the very purpose of [becoming] sites for summer residences. One of his fancies concerning them was to connect the little farms upon them with each other & with the summit of [Hiborten] by well graded roads, which he had made through every part of the land. [Hiborten] is the most accessible mountain in the Confederate States, having a well graded & safe carriage road to its very summit; which, with its hauches [sic], affords a pleasant ride and drive to the summit of the mountain from every part of the land. This body of land is about 17 miles from Hickory Station, on the W. N. C. R. Road with which it is connected by one of the best roads in the western part of the state, 10 miles from [Leard?], or Conleys Station, the present head of the road, 15 miles from Morganton, and 12 miles from Flowen's White Sulphur Springs, which have been recently discovered in this country, & are not yet fitted up as a fashionable watering place, but are fast growing into notice as an important part of the meteria medica of our local physicians. I know by personal observation that it is a first class medical spring, or rather series of springs, sulphur and chalybeate, superior to any yet know in Western N. C. except Wilsons, in Cleveland. We have in Lenoir, Davenport Female College, in successful operation, with handsome buildings, & out of debt; and Finley High School, a flourishing male academy in charge of EW Faucette, late president of Concord Female College at Statesville.

        Finally, the contour of these lands, and the improvements which have been placed upon them, fit them for divisions of small farms of from 100 to 200 acres each, which could in turn be subdivided, and which the present owners, who are already large land holders, are willing to sell at the ridiculously low price, if you will allow me to borrow a phrase from the auctioneers, of from $250.00 to $750.00, each.

        My brother owned also five or six hundred acres of land at Hickory Station, now also for sale, of which I have only a general knowledge, but which is similar in some respects to the land I have been describing & has the advantage of being on the rail road. Except in the vicinity of Morganton, where the price of land would be much higher, & the expense of living more, I do not think that you could find among our mountains a more pleasant and convenient location for summer residences than the lands I have described & then I have referred to at Hickory Station. You and your friends, by acting in concert, might now at either place secure a neighborhood together for your summer resort. Please excuse the liberty I have taken in addressing you this letter; & if you should find it convenient to visit our place for the purpose I or my brother in law Jos C Norwood will take pleasure in showing you the lands.

I am your very respectfully

WW Lenoir

To Jos W Bryant Esq


        [Business]

Newbern N. C. Forks of Pigeon December 29th 1861

RT Lenoir

        Dear sir I received yours of the 23rd in which you was [sic] making some inquiry about Thomas Lenoirs [sic] affairs in Haywood his business is getting along very well so far his hands works [sic] very well & his negroes are all well but Norma he complains of the old wound on his leg & was very sick last week from cold I suppose he is better I was in hopes you would send for the [ozeb] horse you spoke of for Thomas has intirely [sic] too much stock of that kind at present he has four grain mules that he wants to sell he wrote to me that he espected [sic] to sell them to Col Clingman for the goverment [sic] but I fear he will fail his corn crop was not as good as last year his stock is all doing finely [sic] at present I killed 15 of the hogs on the 19th they weighed 4034 lbs his five largest hogs is to kill yet I could have sold his hogs at 10 cents gross but I supposed he would rather have them made into bacon fat hogs can be sold at 10 cents gross for Cash at any time in haywood & I hear of some selling at 12 cents gross & salt is very scarce & is selling at from 5 to 6 dollars per but I have a pretty good supply at present for Thomas I went to greenville & bought him four sacks at 11 dollars per sack & Col Cathey bought him 3 more sacks in August. Corn is selling at 75 cents in haywood & wheat is plenty and very little selling at any price tell Walter if he is not coming out to Haywood soon I would like to hear from him about renting his lands some of his tenants are ansious [sic] to rent for next year & there is a part of them that done badly with the rent they throwed [sic] it down in the field & let some get wasted & I had to haul it down to the Quarter & [unclear] it up I brought all his wheat & rye down for there is no chance of getting it secured among the tenants there is some wanting to work on the farm & keep some of the rent corn The reason I wanted to hear from him about renting because I did not know whether he intended to bring any hands to haywood or not there is some seeding done on his lands you mentioned about writing to Col Cathey he was gone to the army at the time your letter came to the office & did not get to see it is the reason he never answered your letter I heard from Thomases [sic] Company last week there was a great many sick with measles & some cases of [unclear] the most of the sick were getting better I will now quit writing by giving you my best respects

AC Hartgrove


        [Business]

Forks of Pigeon Haywood County NC January 13th 1862

Dear Sir

        I now send you a few lines which will inform you that myself & family are all well and the neighbours are generally well & your negroes are all well but Norma his leg still hurts him & his hand yet prevents him from work I wrote to you about the wound on his hand on the 6 inst & I sent the letter by hand and I fear you did not get it & I will now give the cause of it he was making baskits [sic] and stuck a rib in the flesh between his thumb & forefinger it inflamed & swelld [sic] his hand and arm very much & caused him great pain and Doctor then has been attending on him & it is now getting better but he cannot work any and has not done much work in three weeks I killed your large hogs on last wednesday and the weather has been so warm since that time I have fears of its souring well the weather was very cold on last monday & continued so until wednesday & had the appearance of snow on wednesday morning the hogs hung out all night wednesday night and was thoroughly cool when they were salted & there was plenty of salt put on the meat to save it and Norma keeps the draw open evening & mornings to let air in I will now give you the weight of the five largest hogs the first weighed 468 lbs 2nd 440: 3rd 418: 4th 414: 5th 390 & there was five more killed the same day they weighed 882 lbs and the other 15 hogs killd [sic] on the 19th of December weighed 4034 lbs I sold 12 head of your sire sheep yesterday to Lagan Allison at three dollars per head he did not get the best sheep John selected the best ones Joe too Allison said he had been at Camp Lee & seen you about them he said he did not espect [sic] to pay so high a price but sheep is selling at fair prices in this country at this time I seen a letter that Leutenant [sic] Blaylock wrote to his wife directing her to get 10 dollars worth of wool from the Quarter the letter came too late the most of the wool is sold out I could have sold a thousand pounds of wool this fall if you had it Col Cathey is talking of buying you four mules he told me he would let me know about the trade next week A L Herron offers me one hundred and fifty dollars for [ozeb] but you told to sell at 200 dollars & I wont sell for less unless you direct me to do so I think it would be best to sell some stock soon for they are eating up all the feed there is so many old jennets to feed I believe they ought to be half of them sold & the last one of them want to breed she is not with foal yet & the boys has been putting her all fall the young jack. colts are growing finely & your cattle are in fine order the winter has been so warm that all cattle are in good order & have not eat [sic] much feed as yet there is a man in Jackson that is wanting to buy some of your two year old & one year hefers [sic] but I did not believe you wanted to sell such stock & I concluded not to sell any yet the mans name is Chasteen there is a part of Walters tenants that has not taken care of the rents as they should do I think Norris is the worst among them they are all wanting to rent again but I don't believe there [sic] rent would pay taxes I made a reduction of ten per cent on lands in this district for Confederate taxes & I valued your negroes very near the prices you took them at on the list you gave me I put John at 1000 dollars & Lizza at 600 dollars I made an average of four hundred & 43 dollars on the 16 negroes & I had to tax your grain jack & jennets & the 4 mules that you was offering for sale & ozeb & the beef cattle all your young stock was not taxable & your cash notes was taxable I could not tell how much money you had on hand the 1st of October & of course I could not return any your young mules are doing very well & so is your young horses your grey mare is with foal & the sorrel is not there is so much mule stock they are eating up the hay very fast I am still keeping [Walters] oats & hay until I know whether you need it or not when you write say whether you want any bacon sold before you get home or not I believe it will bring 20 cts per lb Col Cathey has spoke for [Walters] wheat & 50 bushel of your wheat at one dollar per bushel I have had a part of your rye thrashed & intend to have the balance thrasht [sic] soon for the rats are wasting it very fast yours & C

A C Hartgrove


        [Tenant farming]

to Capt T J Lenoir March 6, 1863

Dear Brother

        "When I was taken sick I sent Mr. Hartgrove up to call your tenants to crib your corn in the shuck until I called for it, & Gaddy told me several times that nothing was interrupting his but the Squirrel's. John Trull & Jesse Anderson think that you have about 100 bushe[l]s at each of their houses, but I don't think there is so much at Anderson's. I hope you will have plenty & some to spare. Poston's folks made scarcely any grain of any kind. He supposed that you[r] part would be 10 bu. which he promised to pay for. D.L. Trull sowed nearly all of his part in small grain & made a failure as he generally does. He sowed a good deal of oats, & nearly every body failed in the oat crop. He paid about 2 bu. corn rent, 14 bu. rye, and the wheat is not threshed. Suppose there will be 5 or 6 bu.

        Jesse Anderson & Gaddy suppose they will go to the war soon, & Tom Crawford, & I don't know what I am to do with those places.

        John Trull is all the Tenant you have that has done well. If Poston is not called off I hope he [can] do better this year[.] he is a little over forty years old--but I don't know where he is to get bread & meat for his family this summer."

Your affectionate Brother

Tom


        [Economy, Currency]

April 24, 1863

Dear Rufus

        "They are greatly rushed there [at the Yadkin County textile mill] for cotton and cloth[.] Such a mess as they have there daily & such pulling & hauling, growling[,] grumbling & even cursing you hardly ever heard--its impossible to supply half that go for yarn & cloth & its a scuffle who shall have it--the Co are abused at round rates, & threatened with mobs & with burning &c. because they cannot after running night & day supply all that come for yarn and cloth."

        "I met with Calvin Jones at Wilkesboro on Monday & he wanted to know if I would take Confd. money on the note I got of the estate of Thos Jones & others--I told him for property I had to sell or for any I had sold since the war began, I received that money & expected none other, that the price of property was in keeping with the money but that I received that note in lieu of that much money which was then equal or nearly so to gold & silver & that in justice to myself & family I did not think I ought to take Confd money for it--He seemed to get asky [?] & said I ought not to refuse it at all! I asked him why? He said because I was able & did not owe any thing & it was my pet government money & I ought to take it--I asked him if it was not his govt too, no it is not I abhor it, I detest it &c--a good deal more was said by us both about cecession [sic] &c & he went out & up to Cowles & made a great blow about it . . ."

J Gwynn


[Medicine]

        [Wound]

Middleburg, Loudin County Virginia Sept 13th 1862

Dear Mother

        It is not very encouraging to write home from this place as it is quite uncertain when we will have any chance to send the letter. Tom has one on hand now 4 or 5 days old, which he has not succeeded in starting towards Richmond yet. I presume that you will have heard through some of our letters about my wound and Tom's. we were first wounded on the 1st inst. in the battle near Fairfax court house. Tom was wounded through the heel with a mini ball. The bones of his heel, seem fortunately to be uninjured & his wound is doing well. I think though it will be quite a while before he will be fit for the service. The ball entered behind his left heel as he turned to load & came out through the middle of the sole in the front part of the ball of the heel. I was shot through the right leg about halfway between the knee and the ankle, the ball striking both bones and breaking the leg. Just afterwards a ball struck the same leg, taking off the end of the toe & baring the shin bone between the other wound and the knee. On Wednesday 3d my leg was amputated below the last received wound, and on that day & part of the next I was brought to this place in a rough road wagon. That and my previous suffering almost took my life. Two miles before reaching the place I was fortunate enough to procure a [rockaway] for the balance of the journey. On arriving here, a most excellent lady, Mrs Chancellor, who has proved a good angel to me saw me on the street in the rockaway, & approached & spoke to me. & interesting herself in my behalf, soon procured the very pleasant situation for me which Tom and myself still occupy, at the house of a Mr Richey a Methodist clergyman, whose wife is one of the excellent of the earth, & is very kind to us. It seems to me quite certain that I would have died in the hospital. The hospitals are crowded and in fact the whole town is a hospital & is overrun with wounded soldiers. It is probable that many of them will be removed soon and the [problem] thus somewhat diminished. I am recovering slowly, & situated as we are here I cannot look upon myself as out of danger yet. I wrote to Rufus to come to me immediately. I hope he was on his way before my letter reached Lenoir, for Willoughby Avery was kind enough to drop him a line on the 2d by a man who was starting back. But Oh what distressing uncertainties arise when I think of the irregular mails, & the difficulty he might have in finding me soon after coming into this section of the country. I even fear the possibility of his being picked up by a Yankee marauding party in looking round for the right hospital, & indeed we are not thought to be entirely exempt from a Yankee cavalry dash in Middleburg. But these are probably but the fears of a languishing sick man.

        Dear mother I wish to say to you that I am entirely reconciled to bear my wounds & sufferings in the good cause of my country's independence & that viewed in that light I look upon them with entire content and cheerfulness. But, dear mother, I have been most powerfully impressed all the while in viewing my sufferings as part of God's dealings with me as a sinner. And although his chastisements which I have brought upon myself have seemed very fierce, his mercies & his loving kindness which he has at the same time showered upon me have seemed more overwhelming still, though all undeserved. I trust that my stubborn human will has been overcome, & that a change has commenced in my heart of stone. If I live to get home I hope that one of my first acts will be to make an open profession of Christianity, & enlist as a soldier of the cross. God bless you & all the loved ones at home & grant that I may see yall [sic] alive and well once more.

Your affectionate Son

WW Lenoir


        [Medicinal, Slave Trade]

Feb 25, 1863

Dear Brother [Thomas J. Lenoir]

        "I am encouraged some and discouraged some about my leg. I have learned enough to know that the best artificial leg will not supply the natural one as well as I hoped, and that I must be more of a cripple when the best has been done for me than I allowed myself at first to anticipate. On the other hand I find myself improving in the use of the temporary wooden leg which Rufus made for me, and I hope that even with it I could get about well enough after practice to see to the management of a farm."

        "Rufus has written to you that we have sold Elsy & Fanny for $1400.00, and Judy and her two youngest children or $1700.00. The change made by the legislature in the time of holding the courts having disappointed the public sale which we had advertised, we thought it best to sell them at private sale and did so. Three of Andy's children, Jenny, Delia and Jacob, Judy's child, Sid, and Elsy's Mose, remain undisposed of. Thomas [Norwood, a cousin] is willing to take Sid, Rufus to take Jenny & Jacob & Mose, & I to take Delia, if prices satisfactory to the parties can be settled. The sooner this is done or abandoned, of course the better. It seems to devolve on you and Mr. Norwood to fix the prices which the rest of us can either take them if it is still our wish, or else leave them to be sold which I think should be done forthwith.

        I will want to be in Haywood pretty soon after the roads are fit for me to get a wagon through. Thomas will probably be in before I leave, but has not written when he will come. I hope you will hold yourself in readiness to meet him here, in order that we may fix there valuations, and make division of the money on hand and of the prices agreed on. I will be prepared out of the prices of Judy & her children to pay you the debt due you from brother William's estate if it will suit you to receive treasury notes. I would of course like to pay the debt if it would suit you. But I would not think it right to insist on it in the present state of the currency, if you preferred waiting for a sale or division of the lands or a supplement portion of them."

Your affectionate brother

WW Lenoir


        [Amputation]

April 8, 1863

Dear Thomas

        "My leg is finished at last, and I have been using it for over a week. It is, I suppose, as good as they make 'em,' but it is a wretched substitute for the one that I left in Virginia. It will take me a good while to become enough accustomed to it to know how it will do, as the skin and flesh where the weight is received will have to become hardened by degrees. At present I can't walk near as well with it as I could with the one Rufus made me; but as I learned that others had the same difficulty at first in using such legs I will not get out of heart yet. I will have to make up my mind however to take very little exercise and to do very little work, which goes hard when I think how much I ought to do. I am greatly pleased to find that I can ride with ease, though I will have to have a gentle and sure footed horse to ride in safety. I can sit, too, much more comfortably with the new leg than I could with the old one."

Your Brother

WW Lenoir


[Tories, Union Invasion]

        [Outlaws, Morale]

Aug 13, 1863

My Dear Walter

        "They have a terrible state of things upon the Tennessee line particularly in Watauga [County]. There is a band of robbers & villains who are constantly plundering the people in the night, when resolute and prepared they succeed in driving them off, but a man is occasionally killed on either side. Some ten days ago they attacked the house of Paul Farthing--his brother Young being there[.] They resisted and fired upon them out of the house & a skirmish ensued[.] Thomas Farthing heard the firing from his house and hurried over with his gun but unfortunately was discovered & fired upon by a guard stationed on the road side--two balls passing through his heart. You may imagine my distress knowing the high estimation in which I held him. I regarded him decidedly the first man in the County-- & I think he was a fast friend of our family. The bad was headed by a man by the name of Guy he has been arrested & released heretofore--They go in bands of 12 or 14--Nine of Paul Farthing's family were hurt & they found a good deal of blood about the porch & corner of the house: but as they always carry off their wounded the damage done the robbers was not ascertained--The same party robbed Mr. Evans' house while he was down here, carrying off about four or five hundred dollars worth of his & Mr. Skiles's effects--They put his wife under guard & rummaged the house thoroughly--expecting to find money. Evans has since moved his family down here & occupies the Methodist Parsonage."

        "I have terrible forebodings at times--not that I think that we are not able to defend ourselves and achieve our independence--but fear that the whole strength of the country can not be got out. The men who have heretofore avoided the fight & by coming forward at this crisis & encouraging the remaining conscripts and deserters might restore confidence are increasing the difficulty by crying out for peace which means submission--In the meantime desertion is rife[.] the men regard their money as worthless & the government is unable to remedy its evil. Thomas says he has seen them give $10 for a water mellon."

Your Affectionate

Jos C Norwood


        [Calvary on the homefront]

Lenoir Feb 4th 1864

My dear little auntie;

        I did not think I would let so much time pass without writing to you--and I really feel badly about it--I hardly know how it has happened. I started several times to write but Sister or Lile always stopt [sic] me by saying they were just going to write. And for the last week or two I have been getting ready to go to Hillsboro--and have been so tore up in my mind about that. Sister and I did expect to start next Monday--but Dr Scroggs examined my throat yesterday, and says he does not think it necessary for me to go just now--he says the tumor is very small--so I suppose I am to have a few more days to rest. I did dread the thought of going to Hillsboro! but I believe I had rather go now than to have to go in the summer.

        Well Lizzie honey it has been so long since I wrote to you, and I've so much to say--I hardly know what to say first. Have you heard of cousin Fred's sisters being in the Valley? least ways there's cousin Lizzie Hey[wood]. her husband and children--and then Laura Lenoir. Laura and the Heys are at Palmrya I believe. Millie Gwyn is also at the Fort. She came here first and spent a week with us. I reckon she will go home soon. Tom Gwyn has been at the Fort very ill with typhoid pneumonia--they were very uneasy about him for a few days--but he was almost well the last time we heard and I expect he has gone home. Do you think Julia Reagan has ever been here since you left? I don't think I will say anything more to her about coming! Oh! I must proceed to tell you what a panic! what an excite! we all had last week! A Brigade of cavalry actually passed through here!! they came in at the creek and passed by the barn and camped in the woods round towards Mr Helonds. It was a Kentucky brigade Gen Hodge commanding. The Gen made his head quarters here at this house--and I reckon it was well for us he did: he had a strong guard out--and made the soldiers behave themselves. He is one of the handsomest men I ever saw, and a perfect gentleman--we all fell in love with him. His staff--"the Stove" as we called them) were all handsome young officers-- & we had a heap of fun with them. One of them is President Davis' nephew--Major Balfour--he is very handsome! black eyes & hair--beautiful teeth! & very wealthy--or was before the war--he's some I tell you! Another one of the staff was Gen Buckner's nephew--he was the nicest little fellow I ever saw! They came to dinner & stayed all night. We went to the camp and saw the soldiers getting their suppers--making up head &c. The camp fires looked very pretty. They took two of the finest cows Pa had--a quantity of hay--some corn &c. but they paid what they thought it was worth--and Pa said he got off lighter than he expected. Next morning when they were settling for the corn &c Nettie told one of them that Pa had forgotten to put one thing on the bill--they wanted to know what it was--and she told him "for young ladies vision dazzled" so much. I forgot to tell you what fine uniforms the staff officers had! They dressed after they came here--cousin Bee was coming by their door and heard one of them say "ever so many young ladies here-- & we've got to dress up." And you never saw so much gold lace & brass buttons in your life! little Balfour was perfectly radiant!

        The brigade passed through the Valley and went in towards Withville, Va.--but this is enough about "the cavalry"--though I don't know if I can write about anything else or not! Laura and Nettie went to the Valley with Millie--and I am looking for them back to day also with them Frederick--Fred is a real nice clever fellow--also quite handsome. Col J. T. Jones is in the vallet--but I have not had the felicity of seeing him. Cousin Fred says he is the handsomest he has ever seen in N C! They say he has improved very much. I must stop now and write to Tom. Give a heap of love to my uncles for me. I reckon it is not worth while to ask you to write soon.

Yours affectionately

Mame


        [Tories, Robbers]

Thursday Night
17th Nov 64

Dear Rufus

        I am sorry to hear of the illness of your dear little boys; I hope they have recovered before this time & that you & Sallie are better, you had a time of it--When children keep well, we can get on with them but when they get sick it is bad. I hope you are not in such tribulation about robbers & tories as we are down here--We do not know, sometimes whether to go to bed or not, for they are committing robberies on some one nearly every night & we are expecting them upon us constantly--I heard today at Elkin that they were taking [Mitchely River] yesterday & robbing every house on both sides in day time--I hope the [Surry?] Guard will be after them--they are more effective than our Wilkes Men. Our company has been staying at Liberty for a few days past, while they are out there I reckon we will be safe. They are going to Wilkesboro tomorrow though & may be gone for several days; & if they find it out I guess they will be down upon us. It's a bad fix to be constantly in dread--I hope there will be a force present here before long to keep them under--if this state of affairs or any thing like it should continue till Thomas & Walter come in, there is no chance for me to go up; but if we should get some troops here to clear out these scamps, I will go with much pleasure--you must write to me about the time they come & I will then do as circumstances seem to dictate--so far as any disposition of property or effects of the estates of any of our dear friends is concerned I am very willing to be governed by anything you and they may do, but it may be necessary to sign receipts &C & I will go if it seems prudent for me to do so. I have to send a hand to Wilmington again, be gone to Wilkesboro tomorrow to start from there I suppose. I am not done gathering corn yet, my crop is about up. I expected about 2/3 of a crop I suppose. My hogs are doing well I think. I am boiling corn and pumpkins for them & it does improve them rapidly. I can't tell you what will take the lie off yours, they are very hard to get rid of-- find charcoal and ashes very good to give fattening hogs once in a while it makes them eat heartily & that's the main object in fattening. I saw brother R & the family today. They are all as well as common or nearly so & are like we are, very uneasy about the robbers. My folks are as well as usual except Sally who has been unwell for several days but is better tonight & will be as well as usual tomorrow I hope.

        All send a heap of love to you & Sallie & Aunt Sade

Yours affectionately

J Gwyn


        [Union occupation]

Lenoir 2nd Apl 1865

Dear Walter

        We are just through with a scene of alarm & very great danger. Stoneman has just swept through the country with 10,000 cavalry towards Wilkesboro, Salem, Salisbury Greensboro Hillsboro & Raleigh-- & we fear there will be no adequate preparation made to meet him. About dark on Tuesday evening last the heart of the column reached the Factory & in a few minutes the people around were under guard & the command in camp! They were equipped in the very best manner, & under the severest discipline & were not allowed to plunder to any great extent or commit any acts of violence. They left about 3 O'clock next day Wednesday (29th) except 2 companies that were left to burn the Factory--which they did with great coolness and method. They also set fire to the storehouse & grainery &c. Most of the store-house the cotton house Tanery [sic] & oil [unclear] escaped. The little office joining the store was burned--the last of them left by sundown. They reached Wilkesboro next evening about dark taking it by surprise also--we hear that Just. Findley's house was burned--but hope it is a mistake--many of them said that a large body of infantry was behind--we suppose has gone towards Virginia. So complete was their guard that they were all taken by surprise down the river & lost all of their horses and mules except Genl Patterson's one little pony which they couldn't catch & Rufus one which happens to be out of the way. I have not seen Rufus being afraid to leave home--A soldier who was there upon their arrival & made his escape gave us the facts about 2 O'clock that night--And went on to the station. We did all we could in the way of hiding necessaries & running off negroes & stock but none of them came home. While at the Factory they made cousin Rufus' room their head quarters & treated him courteously--behaved very [seedily] at Cousin Ed's the Fort & other places--but committed no violence. They told cousin Rufus that the secessionists down the river would fare badly. We suppose that their next stop would be Elkin or [Janesboro]. The force which passed the Factory--six thousand was commanded by Guilam. Stoneman joined him at Holoman's Ford with 4 thousand. It is said a third column passed through Jefferson & camped over the river from Wilkesboro. I hope that is not so. About two days before a considerable number of negro men left for Tennessee-- & have not been heard from since including 4 from the Fort. 1 Genl. Patterson's 12 E. Jones & 5 from here. Elias John Turner Jones and Wash--from the fort-Larkin Erin Jerry & Joe--I have not heard to[o many] went with the cavalry. Some of the officers cursed the negroes & wished them all in Hell. We had been for some time before under constant apprehension about tory or robber raids & I have been serving on guard at town every third night & have been as much as two weeks with out taking off my clothes. We are always in danger except when a portion of Avery's command is here which is not very often--Home guard no account. A few days before these troubles commenced I rec. your War_Song & other [piece] we were all very much pleased with them especially the song of which I had the girls to make a good many copies & distribute it pretty generally-- & I was about to send it to 3 of the papers--but will wait now until the Storm is passed.

Yours affecty

JC Norwood

The girls will write more in detail


[Miscellaneous]

        [College life]

Chapel Hill Oct 1861

My Dear Grandma;

        I have acted so shabbily about the to The Fort & writing home, that I hardly know how to begin a letter to you; but I suppose making excuses will not redeem past negligence, so it is not worth to begin by trying to excuse myself: future fulfillment of duty can in some degree blot out past omissions, & I intend that it shall in my case. I have not heard from home till this morning since about four weeks ago I think, & you can imagine I was quite glad to see a letter lying in my box this morning when I went to the P.O. expecting to see the cobwebs flourishing as usual in my box. I was informed by the letter that all were well & had been well all the time, which was quite satisfactory tho' I didn't hear from home in so long time. We had a great concert here for the benefit of the soldiers, & made about $125.00 at it too. The ladies of the village of course got up this whole affair, & to them is due all the credit of it. There were six gentlemen concerned in it. One played on the violin, and one on the guitar, & two on flutes (of whom I was which): the other two sang. The ladies numbered sixteen. Every body was delighted with concert & said they would like to spend another fifty cents the same way. I think a hundred & twenty five dollars will go a right smart way in relieving suffering of the soldiers, & if every little village will do as well, it will do a great deal of good.

        My time passes away quite pleasantly, but I must confess not as profitably as I might make it. AS far as my text books are concerned I have nothing to feel ashamed of I think but then I might do a great deal of extra study & have been doing some. I have thought it best to form no very intimate acquaintances, & in fact I find among the 84 students that are here, very few that I consider of the right grit to be intimate with. Greg & myself get along splendidly: no disagreement; no gaming; & I hope no jealousy. He is undoubtedly a very smart boy, & had learned many a lesson since he used to go with me to school to his father.

        I was glad to hear that uncle William had gone up to our country; he seemed very anxious to go. I went to uncle Bingham's to see him & all my Georgetown cousins & had a very nice time; like al my cousins very much.

        I am sorry there isn't any thing more to write a letter about. Please give my love to all, & ask aunt Sade or aunt Sallie to write to me.

Your affectionate Grandson

T Lenoir Norwood


        [Camp life]

Camp Lee, S. C., Mch. 2d 1862

Dear Mother,

        As I write so many letters home to let you all hear from me and brother Tom, I will commence by telling you something about myself and him. I continue in very fine health, with my digestion improved, and hardly ever deranged now, even by my hearty meals which are always somewhat in excess. But I enjoy Uriah's coarse corn bread & wheat bread & fried midling & rice & potatoes, so much so that it is hard to stop when I have eat enough. We have been out of coffee for some time, but are doing very well without it, & have all become so fond of Yeopon tea that we will continue to use it, although we have now got a new supply of coffee, at 75 cts per lb. I find the Yeopon so palatable & apparently wholesome that I would be glad to know that you had sent for a supply to Wilmington or Newberne. I have advised Mr Norwood by all means to order a bushel. I do not know that I am fattening any, but I am increasing in weight by the development of the muscles of my arms and legs, which are growing perceptibly larger & harder. All this fine progress which I am making as to my health, by becoming a soldier & adopting the life of the camps may of course be upset at any time by an attack of fever, if I escape safely from the other dangers of war. I am not, however, entirely negligent of my health. With the exception of eating too much, I am, I think, reasonably prudent in regulating my diet. I have my hair now trimmed quite short, without having caught cold by its loss, and I wash myself every morning to my waist carefully with cold water, including the whole of my head in the ablution; and then rub myself dry with a towel. And I wash my whole person at least once a week. I change my shirt, drawers, and socks but once a week, as soldiers can't afford to be fastidious about their wardrobe. I don't wear the cotton shirts that I brought, the [unclear] ones being quite sufficient to keep me warm in this mild climate, and I have very seldom worn my great heavy overcoat, but my other clothing has not become oppressively warm, as I can leave off the coat or waistcoat or both in the warmest weather. My heavy jeans will soon, however, I suppose, be quite unsuitable for the climate here. I will try, though, if we still remain here to supply myself if necessary with something lighter. I am more cheerful and light hearted here than I could possibly be at home during the continuance of the war, and on the whole may be said to enjoy myself amazingly, all things considered. The worst of it is I am getting gray much too fast. I have written to Lenoir that I would be willing to accept a lieutenancy in a company in Caldwell, if the use of my name would be of service in getting it up. I did this because I thought there should be another company from Caldwell, and because I thought it probable that Tom would not continue in the service, after his time is out. This regiment will probably be disbanded in May, when the time of the companies will be out; and though it may be far otherwise, the prospect seems small for its being called into very active service. It seemed to me considering all these things, that I might be more useful in a new company from Caldwell than by remaining here to be left so soon in an isolated position again, by the disbanding of the regiment. I have promised to say something of Tom, as well as myself, but as I have said so much about myself I will only say that he is as well as usual; and must leave time to render an account to Lizzie of his ablutions and changes of raiment.

        I have been perhaps too much exercised about my dear brother Rufus, whom I regard as a sort of prisoner chained at home, by the softest of fetters it is true; but I have come to the conclusion that now that the storm has burst upon he will be more cheerful, for it is no worse than has been anticipating, and I hope he will find it ever not so bad. His last letter to me was a little of the bluest. Our late reverses seem to have almost persuaded him that Providence is against us. He should feel more of the spirit which inspired David when he wrote the fifty sixth Psalm in one of the darkest hours of his political adversity. Though the mysteries of Providence are so often beyond our ken, we have abundant proof in the Bible, and in the course of events that God prospers the righteous cause; nor is it necessary, before his favor is bestowed that men or their plans and purposes should be wholly without sin; for were it otherwise all the nations would be destroyed. Surely viewed with this necessary allowance, there can be no doubt in the minds even of those Southern men who condemn some of the earlier steps of some who have a prominent part in the action of the South, that ours is now the righteous side of this controversy while that of our adversaries is unholy. We should not therefore cease to rely on Providence because we cannot understand all its dealings with us.


                         Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace.
                         Behind a frowning Providence He hides a smiling face
                         His purpose will ripen fast, unfolding every hour
                         The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.

        This is more for Rufus & the rest than for you, my dear Mother, whose long experience as an humble Christian and daily familiarity with the Bible, would make it presumption in me to try to point you to these sources of consolation.

        We have good news to night of the safe arrival of the Nashville at Beaufort, N.C. with her valuable cargo. And we have rumors from the West which I am afraid to believe; but which if confirmed will spread out some of our long faces, till the length will be crossways. They will probably reach you as soon as my letter; and if true proclaim a signal defeat of the invading army in Tennessee and the full retreat of Buell's army towards Kentucky. Tom is writing to Lizzie. My love to you all.

Your affectionate son

Walter


        [Poetry]

Crab Orchard, Mch 1st, 1865

Dear Joe,

        After inhaling for a brief period the poetical atmosphere of Lenoir, and while riding through the intervening rain and slosh to Haywood, I thought in verse, to wit,

Yankee Blessing


                         God Bless you Hunter! Bow that neck,
                         And bend those stubborn kneed to me!
                         Place life and fortune at my beck
                         Or offer else an idle plea.


                         God Bless you Hunter! When I hurled
                         My Yankee Host, in full array,
                         Against your battle flag unfurled
                         'Tis true the Southrons gained the day.


                         Those gray-clad soldiers steady fought
                         And whipped us in that bloody fray,
                         From which in hand-cuffs we had thought
                         To bring their leaders chained away.


                         Yet urge me not with words of peace,
                         Or truce. 'Tis vain. You would be free.
                         The din of battle shall not cease
                         Till you resign your liberty.


                         God bless you Hunter! We essay
                         By every means, in every place,
                         On land and water, night and day,
                         To kill or subjugate your race.


                         We lavish with a desperate hand
                         A debt that makes our nation groan;
                         We buy up troops in every land;
                         We arm your slaves, and spur them on.


                         Behold the havoc we have spread
                         Through all your fair and broad domain
                         Behold the myriads of your dead
                         In the unequal contest slain.


                         We pillage, ravage, lay waste, burn
                         Your cities, houses, mills, barns, fields;
                         Your food and raiment. Yet you spurn (scorn)
                         Submission and peace it yields.


                         Your richest blood like water flows;
                         And you shall ne'er its tide arrest
                         Till on the crimson current glows
                         The hearts' blood of your bravest, best.


                         For they must die; and at our feet
                         Like cringing hounds the living kneel;
                         And bide the fate their conquerers mate
                         To the fair South in which they dwell.


                         The Bible does our course oppose?
                         Away with Bibles! Forth, abroad
                         We spread, and rivet on our foes
                         An anti-slavery book and God.


                         Although each new and desperate move
                         With stubborn valor you have met,
                         Say not our own vast efforts prove
                         Strength in a cause that foils them yet.


                         God bless you Hunter! You remind
                         Me of a little joke! Ha! Ha!
                         I'll tell it while my knife I grind.
                         God bless you Hunter! Ha! Ha! Ha!


                         God bless you Hunter! Now I thrust
                         Here under your fifth rib, this steel
                         Quick home, in your warm heart to rust.
                         So, Hunter, you my blessing feel.

        After traversing the intervening space I reached Haywood, finding Tom and Lizzie in their usual unhealth. Kirk's raid came no nearer than Waynesville. As my wayward muse only deigns to visit me once in ten or fifteen years, and then only indicts a half sheet or less of fools [cap], I can but regret that she was not in the humor to dictate some verses adapted to singing to the tune of some patriotic melody. But I must be content with what she brings, and remember that small favors are to be thankfully received.

        Best love to sister Laura and the family.

Your affectionate brother

WW Lenoir