I have to say, of all the letters I’ve read between Francis and Martha, this one strikes me as the saddest. I don’t know what it is. It must be the tone of his letter. Perhaps because his son has died. Perhaps because he’s in prison. Perhaps because he’s had a headache for 18 days. Francis says he is relying on God to get them both through these terrible times, but it just sounds as if he has given up, as though he is resigned to whatever will come and perhaps a bit withdrawn as well. Maybe this is just a defense mechanism to get himself and his wife through these difficult times.
“Weldon NC February 8th 1864
“My Dear Wife and [little children?] I [part of page missing at fold] have had the head ache about 18 days and nights I have got better I Received your kind letter and was glad to hear from you I Received the box you sent but all the pies and custerds was spoilt I never tasted them I was sory of that for I would Rather had them than any thing that you sent me but I was glad to git the other I hope that you can git aplase that you can make your suport on I dont think that the lord will not let you parish hope that you can git sumthing to live on while others has it tis hard times every where but cant help the hard times I was glad of the tobaco that you sent me but tho I cant Rite mutch I [torn] hear tha is so mutch [torn] think of any thing but I am in hops that you can Read it you dident Rite any thing about the baby I hope that she is well I am glad that you sent me sum paper to Rite you a letter I hope that the agrd [guard] will let this letter come to you and my littel Children I hope and pray to god that tha will let this letter come I hope these lines may
“I have Received 4 letters from you I hant Rote you two [hope?] ping you all well it tis with God that we [torn] live and breath when he [torn] things will be done I have to pray to my god every day that tha will be peace in this land once more I want you to Rite to me about Henry and Sydney my brothers whether tha are well are not are whether tha got wounded are not I seen Henry when I was at the head of the Road he looked very bad and he looked like he was very near don for this world I hant heard from them sence I have bin hear you Rote that Will Cowen would not let you have the land I
dont now what to think of him only that he is one of the worst spelator in this world may god bless and save you and my littel Children god is abel [torn] thing but we have to [torn] is Redy when every thing gits Right them he will deliver us and not before I must close by saying that I Remain your loving husband until death
“F. M. Poteet to his loving Wife M. A. E. Poteet gard please send this to my Wife if you pleas”
For Martha’s part, her letter is quite sad too. She fluctuates between worry over not hearing from Francis and telling him she is praying for him and a bit of anger that it has been so long between letters, it sounds like. If not anger, at least frustration that she is still there alone having to make the daily decisions she always counted on Francis to make.
“N C Mcdowell Co 1864 Feb thursday the 18
“My Dear husband I seat my self to write you afew lines to let you know that we are only tolerable well I am a little better than I hav bin My baby dont see a well day but I do hope and pray that these few lines may reach your kind hands and find you in good health for I am uneasy about you I haint heard from you in most four Weeks and it [line obscured by fold] a year hav you forgot me or cant you write I would like to know what is the reason you dont write the last I heard fom you you was sick I would be very glad to hear from you I feel very lonly and troubled to think I cant hear fom you I want you to tell me what to do about giving apart of the crop to Henrietta she says she is going to take the sow and pigs I want to know if they aint yours and write to me what to do about it she said that you was not to hav her for the one that you killed last winter I think she is acting very mean to do as she is
doing to try to sell the sow and tell a lie and say they are hers she sed she would hav them or kill them in the woods write what for me to do about them I want your word to show Joseph Landis was Married last Saturday Night to Jeanna Coopper a daughter of Bill Coopper what kin is he to Susy Coopper
“we hav had the prettyest weather for the last five or six weeks it was like corn planting time but it is very Cold now I think it will snow we had snow last Monday but it Melted off they are furlowing fom the 22 regiment E. Neal Barny Brackett and son Hufstuttle Overton West Grason Dickson has all bin home lately and John Cowen and Johnathan Taylor is at home half of there times if you could get to come as they do it would be a great help to Me the yankeys got Soloman Barns they say that this state will go in to the union and South Carolina is going as soon this state dos the quarter Marsters is to be round next week to get all the dry Cattle I dont see what on Earth we will do there aint corn to do till Harvest and Wheat dont look like it will be any acount for My part I dont know what I am to do I do wish and pray peace would be Made so that you could come home to help Me Make support for our little children I want you to get a furlow by the 12th of May and Come Home to take care of me I want you to do the best you can and serve the Lord and pray for me and I will for you My heart and eyes is so full I cant hardly write write soon and often I want to know if you got the box of things I sent by Marion Higgins May the Lord bless and save you is the prayer of your disolate Wife farwell dear
“Martha A. E. Poteet to her loving husband Francis M. Poteet remember me god bless you My dear husband”