Letter written by civilian W. H. Mann of Athol, Massachusetts, to Joseph W. Luce of Charlotte Center, NY. Mann writes that farming is usually be a successful venture, but business is at a stand-still due to the war. Unemployment rates are high, and wages are low. He mentions that support for the Union is high. He has heard a rumor that the Confederates were advancing to Washington D.C., and mentions thousands of troops coming up the Potomac and from Manassas Junction. In a later section dated September 3rd, Mann writes about two Confederate forts that were captured in North Carolina. He thinks that the U.S. Government will ultimately prevail, as “the South was the first aggressor.”
Sept 1st 1861
I once before got pen and paper in order to answer your letter but for some reason got called away and have let it go untill now
You enquire about writing wheather it would be a successful business here now or rather the ensuing winter At any other time I think there would be a fair prospect but business at this time is very near at a a stand still The war has knocked every thing wrong end fore-most at present This vicinity is more of a manufacturing than farming country and consequently is more affected Thousands of people are out of employment and wages are less than 1/2 as high as they were 2 or 3 years ago There is very little except strong union feeling in this neighborhood over sixty able bodied men have gone from Athol to the aid of their country money is shelled out like water Here as in most places north
all parties go in for the union News came last night that the rebels are going were advancing on Washington and that a great battle was at hand it may be so & may not 180000 were coming up the Potomac & 120000 coming by land from Manassas Junction
Sept 3d evening
you probable get the war news as soon as we so I will turn to other subjects the latest I have heard was the capture of 2 new secession forts in N Carolina by a fleet of ours
I hope this rebelion will be put down in a manner that it will stay down a spell It is going to be a hard struggle but with good management I think the right side will conquer (i.e.) the U.S. Government Evry man of reason will can see that the South were the first egressors Any government that is a government ought to try to sustain its self but enough about the war.
We have not heard from Uncle H for a long time and should really like to
Hay came in very good this season all crops look well wheat not so good as last year We have had some warm weather but the season has been cool generaly I have built a house & barn such as they are within a little over a year
I have got a yok of stags 3 cows 2 calves 2 old hogs & 4 pigs and over 30 fowls I hardly know wheather I am doing well or not the times are so hard but I am in hopes they will soften before long
Beef is selling here for $5 per cut to average it Pork 3 cts corn southern & western 60 per bush (lowest ever known) meal has been $1.15 per cwt in Athol
Tell all to write and I will try and be more prompt in future I write so little I do not feel much like writing
Give my best respects to all and tell them a line would be very acceptable and I hope more promptly replyed to
Letter associated with the papers of Sgt. Joh W. Wiggins, Company F, 39th NC Infantry, who was mortally wounded at Chickamauga, GA. Letter is written by an unknown author and addressed to “Eva,” from Blairsville, GA. The writer expresses his feelings for Eva, mentioning that while he received two letters and a “love baskit” from a Miss Jennie in Asheville, NC, that his feelings are for her. He defends himself against rumors “told by some vile Tongue” and implores her to answer “that question” in her return letter.
Sept 16th 1871
I have been passing the time pleasantly for the last two days at the camp meeting, but to day I am at home writing to you which is the greatest pleasure I can have, and I hope it will be answered, with the same interest, one word from you will be a great pleasure to me. When I came home I found two letters from Miss Jennie, she sent with one of the pritiest little love baskits you ever saw she said she made it with her own hands for me. she says I must hury and come home to Asheville for she wants to come to Georga She is trying to get her father to go to the west says I must go to. but I will not go til I loose all hopes of the only one I love and that is Miss Eva. Uncle says Miss Jennie [missing] is the pretiest lady she saw in Asheville [missing] She is worthy of any gentlemans [missing] I ca not love her as long [missing]
you and your sweet company. believe me I am not jokeing.
Miss Eva the last words you said to me was be honest with you Oh that I would prove to you I am the same and unchageable I would suffer torture rather than flatter or deceive you. I have never told you any thing but truth and I never will. you will se[e] all the reports on me is demonstrably falce [false] and told by some vile tung [tounge] to injure me, and I have too much confidence in you to think you will believe them a gain
Miss Eva I have an intrust in your well fare, and I hope I can show it some day by makeing you happy. you are two nice a lady to be the survant man you should enjoy the pleasure of this world as you are worthy [of] it pleasurse, you said you probly would answer that question be fore my school was out please answer by the return mail and I will be pleased to hear the good news I will come after you [missing] bring you to Georga [missing] come and stay in Georga [missing] and I will take you home [missing] for ever enjoy your sweet company [missing]
Letter written by Captain Nathaniel M. E. Slaughter of Company F, 39th NC Infantry, to Amanda Wiggins (sister of his deceased Sgt. John W. Wiggins), from Cherokee, NC. In this letter, Slaughter declares his love for Amanda, and urges her not to laugh, for he is serious. He writes that although they see each other often, he has chosen to communicate his feelings in a letter because he is a “timid man” and could not properly express his sentiments verbally. He writes that that though he is inferior to her in every way, he hopes that she might love him in return and accept his proposal of marriage. (Spoiler alert: she accepts!)
Cherok N.C. Sept 12th 1865
I hope you will pardon me for this method of communication. I have no doubt you will think it strange why I should take this means of communicating when I see you so often.
Well! I can assign for one reason that – I am a very timid man, and have but a poor “nack” of telling verbally what I wish to be known, hence this communication. Since out last private conversation I have thought much upon the subject then spoken of. My mind has been much occupied with rememberances of the past, and what will likely be my destiny in reference to the subject which I submitted to your consideration. I feel much interested in the matter, and hope you have given the matter a calm and candid consideration and have decided in my favor. If I knew such was the case I would be happy. Manda to make a short story of a long one I have learned to love you. Dont be startled, dont laugh! I am in earnest, and I am in my right mind. If I only knew that the favor was reciprocal and mutual I should be much rejoiced. My dear friend, I have no inducement to offer but an honest heart, and the affections that spring therefrom. You are well acquainted with my character, my pecuniary affairs (as you well know) are quite limited, my moral character is anything but an enviable one and my mental acquirements are but weak. My object in writing you, is to bring, forcibly, to your mind the matter of a reciprocated affection, and what course you will will pursue in refference to the case, of union for life with one so far your inferior. My dear friend, I admit this is a grave question and
one which carries with a great deal of meaning when viewed in a proper manner. If it was a criminal offense to ask a young lady for her heart and hand, you might have me condemned before the court of conscience, but in this matter, I think I have violated no law, neither human nor divine.
Right here let me remind you, that much of my future destiny for weal or woe depends upon the action you take in the premises. If it shall accord with your feeling and notions of economy to accept my proposition as heretofore submitted, I shall be happy in that respect, on the other hand you shall decide against me, I cannot say I will be miserable, yet I shall feel much disappointed, at having lost so valuable a prize.
My Dear friend. Let me remind you that no overtures of mine, nor sympathies for me should influence you in my favor. your actions should be from pure motives. Economy should be well studied. your own interest should be thought of seriously and not mine, It is the duty of every young lady to study their own interest in matters of this Caste, and not be influenced by sophistry used by their friends to her detriment. Self preservation, and self interest is the first law of nature, and we should cling to it very tenaciously even if it does wound our friends if duty demands our actions for our own honest interest. And right here let me remark, my dear friend, that if upon a candid consideration upon the subject, and a fair examination into the circumstances connected with the case, you disdain my suit and cast me off, I shall not have the least hard thought against you, and I am glad that I am that liberal in my heart I shall never as[k] you why you did it
but still entertain for you that high admiration which I have long had for you. Think you not that I am so unfeeling as to have envy against one who would not comply with my wishes. [???] I shall be much disappointed. I have spun out this letter far beyond what I anticipated when I began to write, but just bear with me a little further, and shall hear the signal of the whole matter. I love you and I cant help it. I much desire that the favor could be returned and that circumstances may so turn out that there may be no hindrances to our union for life. What say ye. Be calm, dont get out of humor I am all “right” and hope you are the same. I know you will think me a strange specimen of human nature, well I have curious notions some times.
Manda my dear friend If I have committed an error in this matter and toped your patience to an extreme, do for pitties sake forgive me.
After I hand you this letter I will give you time to study its contents and then I shall be to see you on the subject of which it treats from what I learn I am rather afraid to come to your house much upon a courting expedition.
Now Manda, If this does not meet your aprobation for goodness sakes dont be mad with me just impute it to an error of the head and not of the for I would not intrude upon your generosity for nothing conceivable.
I will ask you again to forgive this long Epistle be sure and read it all through if you can I write in a hurry and have taken no pain in my chirography. There is no sacrifice [???] I would not make for your sake, and be assured, that in
all your calamities you have my heart felt sympathies Manda I have one favor now to ask of you And that is this. This letter is intended for no eye but your own, and ask of you that it neither be shown or spoken of to any person living. you may if you please when you examine its contents commend it to the flames or lay it away where no eye will see it but your own this request I hope you will grant me. I will close by saying I have the honor to subscribe myself your devoted friend S.
Nathaniel Mateson Eddington Slaughter, was born c. July 1830 in TN. He was educated at Maryville College and became a teacher before moving to Robbinsville, N.C. He enrolled in Company F of the 39th NC Infantry as a private, ca. Feb. 1862, but was soon commissioned and rose to the rank of captain. He survived the war, and returned to Cherokee, NC, where in 1865 he married Amanda Wiggins (the sister of his deceased Sgt. John W. Wiggins). The couple had five children, three daughters and two sons, prior to his death at age 77, June 26, 1908. Amanda survived her husband by eleven years, dying April 18, 1919.
Letter written by Sergeant Ira B. Goodrich of Company D, 21st MA Infantry, to his cousin Oscar, from Camp Clark near New Bern, NC. Goodrich writes about the battle of New Bern, and reports that he and his brother Charles survived. His other brother George was left on Roanoke Island with Captain Theodore S. Foster. Goodrich describes how the fleet left Roanoke Island for Hatteras, before starting down the Neuse River. Preparations were made to land near at the mouth of “Slocumb’s Creek” in small boats. He describes the order of advance and how fighting began when skirmishers discovered Confederate troops in strong breastworks. The firing from the Union troops was so intense that the Confederates raised their guns above the ramparts and fired at random. After 4 hours of fighting Goodrich claims that his regiment’s ammunition was running low. The Confederate’s works were finally taken by the 51st New York and another Massachusetts Regiment. Since the battle, he has been guarding a barracks.
Camp Clark (formerly Camp Hill) near Newbern N.C. Mar. 24th/62
I received Saturday your letter dated Mar. 10th, and very welcome it was to me. I had been expecting for a long time to hear from either you or Ormond, and not receiving any letter from sister, I had set out several times to write, but kept putting it off hoping that the next mail would bring me a letter from you. At length I have the great pleasure of hearing from you, and take this early opportunity of replying to your very interesting letter. As the fact of my writing to you in August 1861. would conclusively indicate, I am alive and well, having for the second time passed unscathed through the perils and dangers of a hard fought battle. such I thank God is the case, also with my brother Charley [Pvt. Charles Goodrich, Co. D]. George [another brother serving with Co. D] having been left upon Roanoke Island to take care of Capt. Foster, was not in the engagement.
I have no doubt a short, detailed account of the movements of the expedition since leaving Roanoke would be interesting to you. For though I am aware that you will be informed, and in a much better manner than I can inform you, through the papers. Still I think that a communication direct from one who was a participant in the movements will not be devoid of interest to you and to your family.
The fleet left Roanoke Island at about 8 o’clock A.M. of the 11th instant and came to Hatteras, where we lay at anchor for the night. At 8 the next morning we again got under weigh [way] and started for Neuse River. The day was delightful and we had a splendid trip down the sound. As we entered the mouth of the Neuse River the view upon either shore was grand. The thick heavy pine
forests upon the shore and far away upon the higher land, the plantations presented a sublime view. As we passed up the river, we began to notice large volumes of smoke arising; doubtless from signal fires. Nothing occurred of importance as we advanced. The gunboats to the number of 14 in advance, and the transports with the sailing vessels in tow following. At about 6-1/2 P.M. we advanced about 16 miles from Newbern. Early the following morning preparations were made for landing the troops. The place selected for the landing was at the mouth of “Slocumb’s Creek.” The water being too shallow to admit of the near approach of steamers to the shore, the men were landed in small boats. When the landing commenced there was a great anxiety among the standard bearers of the various regiments to get their flags ashore first. And it was amusing to witness the racing which took place among the small boats containing the standards. There were three or four together who seemed to stand about an equal chance. And as they neared the shore, each color bearer sprang from his boat into the water to his waist and scrambled to the land as fast as possible. The race was won by a strapping fellow belonging to the 51st N.Y., who planted the first regimental color upon the soil.
The regiments formed in line as fast as they were landed, and after the 21st [Massachusetts] landed, it at once took up the line of march in advance. Marching about a mile and a half along the river shore, we halted in a cornfield and waited for another regiment. Very soon we were joined by the 24th [Massachusetts] and again we started, soon entering a path in the woods. We came to a small camp of log houses, which it seems the Rebels had used as a barracks for a company of cavalry. It now began
to rain quite hard, and we had from this time a rough time of it. I had forgotten to say the gunboats were all this time shelling the woods as we advanced along the road (which all along lay near the river). The signal corps, who were with the advance guard, sent up rockets from time to time which informed the gunboats of our whereabouts so that they wouldn’t shell us. We marched on very quiet for two miles further, and came to a long line of breastworks, extending from the railroad to the river, more than two miles. It was deserted. We were very much surprised to see a work of this kind so extensive, and seemingly of such great advantages for defense, deserted. I could not make up my mind what to think of it. “Certainly,” thought I, “If the Rebels have got 2,000 men in a stronger position than this, our 8,000 had better go back. For if they fight they must beat us.” Well, we passed on, and as we marched through these works and the color bearer waved the stars and stripes over the breastworks we gave three hearty cheers for the Union. A mile farther brought us to the railroad, where we were ordered to halt and await reinforcements. And here we ate our dinner of hard bread and salt beef which we carried in our haversacks. Reinforcements arriving in half an hour, we again started, now taking the railroad track. Until now, Co. G, our right flank company, had been acting as advance guard and skirmishers. But now Co. D was ordered to relieve them of the duty. The order of an advance was as follows: A sergeant with two men in advance, the acting captain in command of the first platoon deployed as skirmishers on each side of the track. The 2nd lieutenant with the 2d platoon
500 yards in rear of the first as reserve. And the battalion the same distance in rear of the reserve of the advance guard. The orders were to advance with care as fast as possible, and if fired upon, to fall back, as no engagement was desired until the next morning. The division proceeded cautiously for two miles further, and as it was near night, and from reports of darkies, we were near the Rebels. left the track and halted and prepared to pass the wet night as comfortably as we might. We were better off in one respect than on the first night of our stay on Roanoke – we had our blankets with us this time, which was not the case when we landed at Roanoke. It rained all night and we were quite uncomfortable. No fires must be made, of course. Well, morning came at last, and soon after sunrise our skirmishers discovered the Rebels and the fight soon became general. The Rebels had a breastwork similar to the one we passed the day previous, but much stronger. Our regiment was ordered to the left, by the railroad track, and the fighting here was terrible. The balls flew thick and fast. Our company, by getting behind trees which the Rebels had felled to impede our advance, had a splendid chance at the gallant southerners. The Rebels were in their rifle pits and as soon as any of them showed his head over the embankment our Harper’s Ferry rifles were sure to bring him down. After fighting for a while, they found our fire so hot that they dared not raise their heads over the ramparts. But would elevate their pieces in their hands and without raising their heads, fire over – at random. At other points on the line the fighting was very severe. The Rebels had so tremendous an advantage in position that it seemed almost impossible for us to
beat them. For more than four hours we fought them, but our ammunition was fast giving out. The 60 rounds we had brought with us almost exhausted. The 21st was divided into two parts; the right wing under Lt. Col. [William S.] Clark, and the left under Maj. [Joseph P.] Rice. Thus separated, the regiment had been fighting all day. Seeing the state of affairs, the general ordered the 21st to charge, which Col. Clark, with the right wing of four companies did. The Rebels, when they saw the charge about to be made, poured in their fire but did not check the 21st. They rushed on the breastwork and the Rebels fled. Soon discovering the small force they fled from, however, they rallied. And three regiments came charging down upon our right wing, which being unsupported, could not meet the charge, and retreated, the Rebels with wild cheers again taking possession of their breastworks. The whole 21st was rallied, and supported by the N.Y. 51st and one of the other Mass. Regiments, again rallied drove the Rebels and took the works with all the Rebels’s cannon. The fight was over. Our regiment at once took possession of the Rebel camp near the battery, while the other regiments pushed on towards Newbern. It was a great victory, indeed.
We have taken all the Rebel fortifications in and about Newbern, with all their cannon and field pieces. How many I don’t know, and in short, I think, about split the entire secesh institution in N.C.
Having now given you pretty much all the information I can concerning the fight, I will speak a word of myself, and close. Since the battle I have been with two men guarding a small barracks formerly used by a Rebel artillery company, which artillery and
part of the company were captured at the battle, & scouting. Lt. Barker found it and left me with two privates to guard it. In the barracks were three men belonging to the said artillery company, and we took them prisoners, and we have them to guard too. This camp is 8 miles from the camp of the regiment, and 4 miles from our outside pickets, and [since there is] only three of us, we are liable to be disturbed in our dreams by thoughts of our danger. Though aside from this, we are having good times here. Plenty of fat pigs, sheep, cattle, and poultry are running about. So I assure you we live well. We have flour and the prisoners make bread for us. Plenty of coffee, and in short we are getting along richly. Only it is very lonely. We have no visitors but negroes, but enough of them to satisfy the heart of even a Grisly.
Being so far from camp, I know very little of what is going on, and can tell you nothing of any of the movements now in progress by the expedition.
A letter directed to Geo. From Kiene reached me as I was directed by him to do. I read it. Future letters to him should be directed to Roanoke Island, General Hospital, care of Capt. T. S. Foster. In her letter, Sarah says she would like to hear from me. It would give me much pleasure to write her, and soon I will do so. Please give my sincere love to your parents, brothers, and sisters, and tell Ormond I believe he “owes me a letter.”
With kindest regards, I remain:
P.S. I shall forward Sarah’s letter to Geo. at the earliest possible moment. He will probably go home with the capt. when he is able to go.
Ira Blake Goodrich enrolled in Company D of the 21st MAInfantry as a corporal in August 1861. His brothers Charlie, and George, both served with the regiment. Ira was promoted to orderly sergeant in early 1862, and was captured at Chantilly, VA September 1, 1862. He was later paroled and returned to duty with the 21st MA, being promoted to 2nd lieutenant to date from Sept. 6, 1862. He subsequently became a 1st lieutenant January 15, 1863, and fought in most of the battles of the regiment, including the Siege of Knoxville, TN, and the Wilderness, VA. He was mustered out of the army August 30, 1864.