Military Monday: It Was the Worst of Times X – Castle Thunder

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

Welcome back readers.  I took a break for the holidays and return just in time for Francis to be released from jail in Weldon, NC.  He is sent to Richmond, Virginia and it is likely this is the first time he has ever been outside his home state in his life.  When he got to Richmond, he may have prefered to be in Weldon, as he would now be housed in the notorious Castle Thunder, a former tobacco warehouse on Tobacco Row, then used as a Confederate prison.  

Castle Thunder {{PD-US}}

Castle Thunder {{PD-US}}

“Richmond, Va.  May 4th 1864

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

“My Dear Wife  This leaves me well  and I hope it will find you  and the children in good  health I left Weldon  yesterday and arivd hear this  morning I have writ three  letters Since I Recevd one from  you the last I Recevd from you  was dated April the 7  I do not know how long I  will be kept hear or what  will be don with me but  I may be Sent to Salisbury  I would like to See you all  but I donot know when I will  hav that prevelage but I hope

“it will not be long before  pease is made and that we will  all get home once more  I Seen Washing Mooney this  moning but I did not get to  Speake to him I also found your  Brother Thomas hear he is as  well as usual and will write  you afew lines in this letter  I want you to write to me as Soon  as you get this letter and write  me all of the news and how  the people are getting on  let me know how your Wheat  looks and what is the prospect  of the Wheat crop janerally and if  the fruit is killed By the  late cold – tell Comadore  Grist family that he is hear  and as well as usual I know  nothing moore to writ at

“this time I mearly write  to let you know whare  I am write as soon as you  Recieve this

“Yours Truly  F.M. Poteet  Dirict Your letter  F.M. Poteet  Care of Capt Richerson  Castle Thunder  Richmond Va.  Room no. 8

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

“My Dear Sister  I will write you  afew lines in Franks letter  I am as well as usual and I hope  you and the

children are well  I was very gald to See frank  He look as well as I ever Seen him  I hope we will stay together till  we are permitted to come home  and I do pray it will not be

“long before this Cruel war  is ended and that we will  all git home to our family  and friends  I know nothing new to writ  you times are very hard  hear  tell Sally that I am   and that I am expecting a  letter from her this week  and that I will writ to her  Your loving Brother  T. M. Hendley”

From Francis’s next letter it appears he did not stay at the prison more than five days before leaving for Camp Bermuda Hundred, Virginia.  He writes his next letter May 31 and states he has been out of prison twenty-two days, since May 9.  The 49th NC was engaged in the Battle of Chester Station (May 10), Proctor’s Creek (May 12-16) and Ware Bottom Church (May 20). Francis does not specifically mention the battles to Martha, perhaps to spare her feelings or to keep their letters unscathed by the realities of war, but he does begin again asking her to pray that he makes it home.  Martha, for her part, has written Francis in the meantime and sent him a

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

plait of her hair.

“God bless and Save  you and our littel children   Camp Burmuda Hundred Va   May 31th 1864

“Dear Wife and Children  I Seat my self Down to Drop  you afew lines to let  you now that I am well  at this time hoping that  these lines may Reach  your kind hands and  find you all  Doing Well I Received  your kind letter that  was dated the 20 and  was glad to hear from  you and hear tha you  was well I got the plat

“of hear that you Sent [plait of hair] me I left your Brother  in Richmond Monday  Eavning he hated to  See me start I had  to get to My Redgment  and he had to go to  his When I got to my  Redgment I got that  other letter that had  the plat of hear in  hit you Rote that you  had got your corn over  the first time I was  glad to hear that you  was getting Along as

“you are I have praid  for you and my littel  children all the time  and praid that you  might have A good  time I loud that when  I seen the back of your  letter that you had got  through but when I  Red it I found out  that you hadant we  are in line of battel  Now and <e?????> Whisant  was

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

<sh????ed> yesterday  and I met the men taking  him out to the amanabus [omnibus] to take him to the horse  pittel I want you to  pray for me and tell

“all of my Friends to  pray for me to Spear  my life to git home once  more to See you all again  in this life I doo hope  and pray to god to  Spear my life to git  home once more to See  you all and find you  all well G.W. Mooney  is with me he Said that  he would Rite I have  bin out of prison 22 days  I think that your brother  was the gladest to See me  When I got in prison  that I must close by  Saying Rite Soon

“F.M. Poteet  to his loving Wife M.A.E. Poteet”

This is leading up to the Siege and Battles of Petersburg.  I wonder, with you, how much more Francis will go through before the war ends.

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

Courtesy NC Dept of Cultural Resources

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