Military Monday: It Was the Worst of Times V


Courtesy of NC Dept of Cultural Resources

We don’t know if other men went with him or not, but Francis Poteet must have finally figured out how to cross the bridge or gotten up enough courage to go for it because according to Dan Olds’ records, Francis deserted on 1 December 1863.  It’s possible he received a letter from Martha indicating how ill their youngest child was and decided he didn’t have time to wait for a furlough.  According to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources site which has digitized and transcribed Francis and Martha’s letters, their child eventually died and Poteet voluntarily returned to his regiment.  From the sounds of Martha’s first letter, this could have been because the Raleigh guard was out looking for deserters.  His next several letters come from jail.

The tables seem to have turned in these letters.  Martha seems desparate, having lost their child and possibly their home, and considering the dire circumstances they are in.  Seeing Francis seems to have made it more difficult to be parted again.  Francis, on the other hand, having deserted, mentions the guards must read everything they write to each other, so he keeps his letters short, which has the effect of making them more bearable.

“N C Mcdowell County 1864 thursday January the 7


Courtesy of NC Dept of Cultural Resources

“My Dear husband I now seat my  self to write you a few lines to let  you know we are not well the children  is sick with bad colds and I haint  seen a well day since you left I have  had a very bad head ache ever sens  last Sunday but I do hope and pray  this will find you in good health  the Raleigh gard never come back  no moor I wish you could hav staid  with me Mr Walker and Johnathan  kiled my hogs the day after you  left I cant get the William house  he is a going to move to it and I dont  know what to do Bill Cowen come  hear a teusday and told me to get  out as soon as I could and what I am  to do I dont know one of the sheep is  at Baty Grasons I hav got one at home  and I got the cows home last teusday  Thomas found them at Johnathan  Taylors you thought it was cold  when you was hear but it was nothing  the 1 & 2 days of this Month was the  coldest I ever felt and it much  warmer yet I dont believe we hav  had but two clear days sins you left  Pery Walker sed you had Washs gloves  blanket and to send them to him  I want you to tell him if he was as  willing for other people to hav there  oune as he was for Wash to hav his  I would got my ring in the place of  some one els he talked like you had  stold the Blanket and gloves


Courtesy of NC Dept of Cultural Resources

“I want you to talk to the captain  and know if they cant put me out  if they cant I wont leav you can tell  him how it is if I hav to moove I will  sell the Mar and Cows and live while  the corn and meat last for I dont see how  I am to get along with no one to help  me I hav to pay tax on the cows  I want to know what they don with you for  runing away the men about hear says  you will hav to come home in  Companys before peace will be mad  and they say they wish you all would  come and says if the war dont stop the  people will perish they are enroling them  from 18 to 55 and what are we to do  if you all dont come home O my dear husband  you dont know how lonsom I am sins  you left I dread to see Night come  O I do hope and pray that the Lord  will spar our lives to see each other in peace  Once moor O Lord be with my dear husband  and bless him for I cant be with him  O Francis it dos seem like it will  kill me to be parted from you  with no one to protect me and  your little helpless children  I pray the Lord to save your sole  and body fom harm if I never see  you no moor I want you to write  soon I am so cold I must quit  May the Lord bless and save  you is my prayer for Christ sake

“Martha A. E. Poteet to my  loving husband  Francis M. Poteet farwell  my love till we meet again”

Francis replies:

“January 12 1864  Weldon NC


Courtesy of NC Dept of Cultural Resources

“My Dear Wife and Children  I take the pleasure to drop  you a few lines to let you now  that I am well at this time  hoping these lines may Reach  your kind hands and find you  injoying the same blessing I want  you to Rite to me as soon as  this comes to hand you Rite tha  have to Read the letters that  I git from you and Read my  letters I want you to Rite to me  whether tha have taken ashville are  not I could not git to come  Back I want you to Rite to me  whether you have got your hogs

“killed are not I am in the  gard house and I dont now  when I will git out I hope  that god will Bless you and  my littel Children and give  you plenty to eat as long as  you live Dyrect to NC Weldon  gard House in care of the  prov Marchel ofis I could [Provost Marshal’s Office] not Rite till now and  I doo hope that you may git  this letter and hear from me  and hear that I am well if it  can Reach you and find you all  well I would be glad I must  come to A close by saying that  I remain your loving Husband  until death F. M. Poteet  to M. A. E. Poteet god bless you”

Join me again next week as we continue following Francis and Martha through the Civil War.


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