1864: F. H. Murdock to Cousin John

This letter was written by a woman named F. H. Murdock but I have not been able to place her in census records or even in locale though my hunch is that she was either from New Orleans, or further up the river in Louisiana. I conjecture from the content that she was being sent North to attend school. By 1864, she and her sister Sallie could travel north by way of the Mississippi river or by ocean steamer.


[New Orleans, Louisiana]
February 25, 1864

Dear Cousin John,

Here I am, my last night at home, which I will leave on the morrow for that heinous settlement, Yankeedom. I think I hear you ask with your accustomed energy, “Well, why do you go if you hate it so bad?” Oh! Cousin John dearest, I must. I have learned to now my will must bend to Ma’s. There is no escape, we must go and bear all that will be said & thought of us by the dear confederates whom we love so much and who will probably consider us turncoats & traitors but will you please testify to it that we are not. I do beseech of you, do not think so of us yourself.

And now isn’t it a shame we have no homespun dresses to take. I have a beautiful palmetto hat to show them “what Southern girls—for Southern rights will do,” however, & though we are greatly disappointed not to have a dress, the lot will be a worthy sample.

We are now in this neighborhood favored with our friends the Marines whom we are becoming quite used to—that is, we are not afraid of them and Providence grant we may [not] get so used as to like them as some of our friends we feign to fear do—(James remaining unmentioned). Oh! what will not people do, for their pockets? They are today hauling government cotton from Mrs. C’s today. That in Valentine’s field our scouts have burned, I believe—at least most of it. We have also a block up. Dan Broughton figures largely in it, I believe. It’s to be hoped he has no old scores to settle with anyone at [ ]; finely decked out in his uniform loaded with arms is said to be quite a figure. Isn’t it disgusting? They say they have come to garrison Port Hudson at which I should not be surprised.

We are all waiting with great anxiety for news from Morton. We have every hope of being successful there & I must say I should go deep into the blues if our arms failed there. Of course at the North we will not get true reports of things from [here] but when they tel us they are victorious, I will know it is just the other way.

Sallie & I do no know how long we will be gone but I hope not over a year, when New Orleans will be retaken & we can come home to graduate there.

I see on looking over this letter it is written & expressed badly; but I know you will excuse it in a Murdock when you hear it was written at 12 o’clock at night. I was so tired I ached from head to foot. Dear boy, I must bid you goodbye. Now behave yourself and please don’t get any sprees while you are in the army. I know you are too good a soldier for that. You must be sure & write to me. Write good long letters & send them to Hard Have & she will forward them in some of theirs. Adieu to you and yours, fond cousin. — F. H. Murdock

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