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.
“Richmond, Va. May 4th 1864
“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
“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
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
<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.