Letter – Anonymous, 1866?


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Letter fragment written by an unidentified Southern citizen, possibly written in early 1866, from near New Orleans, LA. The writer mentions friends who died in the war, though he has never been in the army himself as he has no military aspirations. Though previously a captain in a militia, he chose instead to stay home with his wife while others volunteered. He writes that the Union troops took hold of the Parish before the conscripts were ordered out. He writes that the war ruined him, as he is now in debt due to a loss of his crop from a flood the previous year. He sees no good in focusing on the past, and instead chooses to look to the future. He begins to write favorably of his wife when the letter ends.

-Page 1-

[Missing top segment]

school friends in the war that I [???] to hear from you. Ell & Clint Lewis were both killed in the army. I received a very sad letter from Ell’s widow a few days ago, telling of their death. El died in Georgia & Clint in Virginia.

I have never been in the army. I had no taste for camp life and no aspirations for military fame. and I had a young wife consequently I stayed at home while the volunteering was going on, and before the conscripts were ordered out in this Parish, the Yankees took possession of us and have held us ever since. I had one month’s experience in the tented field as Captain of Militia and I assure you I am completely satisfied especially with the Militia.

The war has completely ruined me, I still own a fine tract of land, but unfortunately I own more that it is worth. You will probably be astonished that I haven’t made money as I have been inside of the Yankee

-Page 2-

[Missing top segment]

and the water came three feet deep on my highest land so I lost that crop, and 66- found me without money.

I was in New Orleans yesterday & made an arrangement with a man to work my place this year, he furnishes the money, I furnish land and mules& we divide the crop

I have great fears of another overflow this year, but I risk nothing by this arrangement and if we are not over flowed I will make something.

I do not repine over what I have lost. I can see no good in grieving, “Let the dead past bury its dead” I look into the future and feel confident that I can support my family I feel that I have a great deal to be thankful for, and so long as God spares me my wife and children I can be happy in their affections My wife is not an extraordinary woman but she is a kind affectionate & loving wife we have been married four years and I believe I can truly say that we love each other

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