Military Monday: It Was the Worst of Times IX

Courtesy NC Dept of Culturual Resources

Courtesy NC Dept of Culturual Resources

Francis’s next letter arrives mid-March 1864 and finds him still in jail.  The increasing desparation of the times is evident in both his and Martha’s subsequent letter.  Francis has not written because he has not had paper to do so.  He also had to sell his razor and coat to purchase food and was praying for something to eat when Martha’s next box arrived.  He reminds the children to be good for their mother and work hard.

“Weldon, N.C. March 17th 1864

“My Dear Wife I Seat my Self  down this morning 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 blessings this is the first time  that I hav had the chance to Rite  to you in any satsfaction I hate to  Rite you the truth bit I must I  had to Sell my Raisor and my coat  to git Sumthing to eat and then  have to doo with out Sumthing to  half of my time when I got that  box that you Sent me I was  laying down and praying to my  god that I had Sumthing that  I could eat and tha was A box  Come and tha Said it was  the 49 Redgment and tha formi t up and called James Poteet

“he brokit it open and show the  gard that tha was no weapon in  it and then he fetched it in and  I got up and went and looked  on the lid and I told him that  it was my box I told him that  it was no harme  I doo hope and pray that this  Cruel war would come to a close  so that I could come home and  Stay with you till death but I  dont now when I will See you  all Again but if I live I

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

think  that I will see you Again god  nows but I dont I want you to  Send sumthing to eat if you can  and send me sum unions if  you pleas for I think tha saved  <my?> life before if you hadant  <of?> sent them I could not eat  <any?> thing but when I eat <????>

“I Rote you A letter yesterday but  I got to send this by hand to  morganton by James Poteet Wife  I cant send you such A letter by  male I haint Received no letter  you dated later than the 5 I  looked

hard for one this week  but I dident git it I want you  to Rite every Week and I will  Rite when I can I cant Rite every  week if I could I would Rite  oftiner I cant git paper nor  invellopes with out money  god has blessed me to git paper  to Rite A letter if I live to git  out of the gard house I thing  that I can Rite when I please  but I cant hear I hope that  god will Bless you and my  littel Children till I git home  I want you to Rite whether

“Johnthan Walker is at home  are not he has acted very  cleaver with you tell him that  I hope that god will bless  him for leting you have the land   A line are too to the Children  I want you to bee good to your  Mother and work as hard as  you can I want you to ciss the  littel children for me for I cant  ciss them now May god bless  and Save you all is my preyr for  Christ Sake.  I Reckin that you think that  I have for got you I dont want  you to think Such A thing About  Me for I think of you at any time  in the day

“F.M. Poteet to M.A.E. Poteet  I hope and pray that the Lord <will?>  Bless and Save you and my <littel?>  children is my prayer for Crist Sake”

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

Martha’s response arrives a few weeks later.  She and the children have been sick again, but she has managed to plant and has plans for more.  She writes of her current financial situation, having 3 “old state money” dollars and 2 Confederate dollars but mentions how expensive or unavailable things are and  the thieving going on the community.  She also writes of the soldiers being moved from Camp Vance to Asheville, leaving them unguarded from Yankees who could come anytime.  In a moment of sarcasm perhaps, Martha asks why would they want to for all they would find is “a parcel of half perished women and children.”

“Mcdowell Co N C April the 7 1864

“My Dear husband I seat My self this Morning  to write you a few lines to let you know  that we are only tolerable well we have  very bad colds I am so hoars that I cant hardly  talk and sis has had the Croup this week  but I do hope these few lines May reach your kind  hands and find you well I haint had no letter  in two Weeks I would be glad to hear from you  I have got 2 bushels of sweet potatoes and planted  them I planted 7 & 33 hills and I have to pay 100 [$1.00?] dollar per bushel I haint planted Corn yet  I want to plant next Week if it dont rain  last week somebody stold two of Allens  horses and left two old poor no count ones  in there place and last Monday Night some  body stold 20 peices of bacon from him  the rest Joints last Monday all  the Men was ordered from Camp Vance to  Ashville they say that the yankeys can  come here at any time

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

they please but  they dont want to come for there aint  any thing to come for but a parcel of half  perished women and children half of my  time I dont have nothing for breakfast but  Cornbread and bran coffee it is hard living  but I hope it wont be so all ways I cant  buy one mouth full of nothing to eat  and thread sells for 3 penny weights of gold  for a bunch and I cant get non I hav fifty  cents in confederate salt is one  dollar a pound they have quit keeping  goverment salt at the X roads I give  three dollars old state Money and two  confederate dollars for 8 lbs of salt  how I am to get along God knows I dont

“they are looking for Marion Higgins home  and I will try and get him to take you  somthing to eat I

am sorry I could not send  you somthing before now but you know  that I would if I could I have had a many  a tear about it I aint able to bring it  My self and I cant get no person to take  you somthing to eate and if I was able to come  I dont think it is aplace fit for women  except it be in case of sickness then I  would come if I had to beg my way to you  I want to see you very much but I cant  come to you but I hope that your head  man will let you come to me before long  you must do the best you can put your  trust in God fear not what man can do they  can but kill the body but fear God that  can kill both sole and body pray for me  dear husband that I <my life?> may be spard to  to take care of my little children for I  am in a helpless condition no one to look  too for help but God alone but he  is able to save all them that put  there trust in him I trust in him and  I try to pray for you my self and our little  children and for peace so that you all  can come to your friends but if I see you  no moor in this world I hope to meet  you in heaven where we will be  separated no moor but if it is Gods  will I would be glad to see you in this  life May God bless you and save from  harm and danger is my prayer farwell

“M. A. E. Poteet to her loving husband  F. M. Poteet farwell my dear Francis  please gard give this to

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

my husband”


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