1864: Carrie to a “Dear Friend”

How Carrie might have looked in 1864

This letter was written by a young woman named “Carrie”—probably Caroline—who addressed her letter to a “dear friend.” The letter was included in a small archive of letters including the two that were written by George H. Woolen (Woollen) of Co. B, 27th North Carolina Infantry. He was no doubt the “brother” of the recipient of this letter who was a Prisoner of War at Point Lookout, Maryland at the time. The “dear friend” is never identified in the body of the letter but must surely have been either Nancy (“Nannie”) Woollen (1846-1866) or her sister, Susan F. Woollen (1850-1868)—probably the former. Nancy’s younger brother, “Eddie” Woollen is the only family member mentioned by name.

The letter was datelined from “The Grove” on 16 May 1864. The Grove was probably the name of Carrie’s homestead which I presume was in North Carolina and possibly even in Guilford county where the Woollen family lived in Greensboro.

See also—1862-63: George H. Woolen to his Parents


The Grove
May 16th 1864

Dear friend,

Your highly prized and much welcome letter came safe to hand on last mail day. I eagerly embrace the first opportunity to answer it. You must not expect a very long or a very interesting letter from me tonight as I have been very sick for the past four or five days with a nervous headache. I would not write tonight but I do not like to have to do wait for another week before answering your letters. I am very glad to hear that your Ma’s health is improving and am in hopes she will soon be enjoying the blessing of perfect health.

I have not any news to communicate unless I were to give you some of the war news. You doubtless learned more concerning our late engagements than consequently am better posted. But I think from all accounts we may look for a speedy close of the war and a return of peace. I think our prospects now are very bright and cheering. What a joyful day it will be to each and everyone—joyful, though sad to many a poor heart when they think of the loved and dear ones that will never return, but sleep their last sleep far from home and friends without a stone to mark their last resting place—many whose bone lie bleached on the hillside exposed to the scorching rays of a summer sun or the chilling blasts of winter. My heart grows sad when I think of [how] we have suffered and what we will have to suffer before the end. I have lost several dear relatives and friends during this unholy war and I truly sympathize with every bereaved heart.

I commenced writing this last night but sister made me stop as she said she was afraid it would make me sick. But I feel better this morning that I have for several days.

You spoke of hearing from your brother recently. It has been some time since I heard from him. I have not received a letter from him since I wrote to you last. I should like to have seen the exchanged prisoner to have asked about all my friends at Point Lookout. I have several confined there. I hope that the time is not far distance when they can return home in safety, there to remain in peace and quietude.

You must excuse all bad writing for my pen is not the best I ever saw. Neither is my ink very good. My love to you, your Pa, Sister, & Brother Eddie [Woollen], reserving a fair share for yourself. My pen has at last refused to do its office and I am under the necessity of having recourse to my pencil to conclude. Hoping to hear from you again, I remain your true friend, — Callie

P. S. I want you to drop the formal Miss to my name. It sounds too cold or distant. As ever, — Callie

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