The following letters were written by members of the Tew family of Sampson county, North Carolina, during the American Civil War. Both home front letters were addressed to Joel John Tew (1836-1914) who enlisted as a sergeant in Co. K, 51st North Carolina Infantry when he was 25 years old. He was promoted to a 2nd Lieutenant on 17 September 1862 and was wounded in the left arm on 31 May 1864 in the fighting at Cold Harbor. He returned to his regiment in January 1865. [It should be noted that Joel’s first and middle name appear interchangeably in various records and he is often referred to as “J. J.” I have used Joel as his first name as that it is the way it appears on his headstone.]
The first letter was written by Sylvania (Godwin) Tew (1811-1875), the wife of John “Lewis” Tew, Jr. (1807-1882), and the mother of J. J.—the recipient of the letter. The second letter was written by Frances Matilda Elizabeth Tew (1838-1916), the younger sister of J. J.
Lewis and Sylvania Tew sent two other sons to the Confederate service. The eldest son, William Robertson Tew (1833-1862) enlisted as a private in Co. E, 20th North Carolina Infantry in June 1861 and was killed in the fighting at Malvern Hill on 1 July 1862. The other son, Sampson Millard Tew (1841-1864) was a private in Co. H, 20th North Carolina Infantry (Iverson’s Brigade) during the Civil War. Sampson survived the Seven Days Battle and Chancellorsville but was taken prisoner at the Battle of Gettysburg on 1 July 1863 and died of diarrhea and small pox while in captivity at Hammond Hospital at Point Lookout, Maryland on 15 January 1864. From these letters we learn that the Tew family was not yet aware of Sampson’s death two months after he expired.
The letters contain great local history of Sampson county during the war, the hunting down of deserters and of extreme efforts to avoid military service.
I once more write you a few lines which will inform you that we are all well, hoping these few lines may reach and find you well and enjoying all the comforts that camp life can afford. We have a sad time here now. We have not heard from Samson yet. There came a letter to the office last mail to Henry Jackson informing him of the death of his son Josiah 1 which we were very much grieved to hear—his mother and sisters in particular. The letter was written by a Mr. Randal. He said he belonged to the Texas Cavalry and fell near Morristown, Tennessee on the 30th of December while gallantly fighting in his country’s defense and survived until the following day, and that his dying request was for Susan and Raiford to have his effects. He said his horse and gun and other equipment had been sold for near $1,000 and that he had a deposit of gold in Houston, Texas. 2
Your sister received a letter from Hezekiah Jackson last mail which informed her that he was in Richmond sick. He was in the Winder Hospital, first division ward D. He says he has been in the State of Virginia 18 months and has never seen one of his old friends yet and I should be glad if you could get two days leave of absence and go and see him. 3
The Cumberland Militia keeps very busy now looking up deserters. They have catched D[avid] J. Godwin 4, Blackmon and Branch. They dug them out of a cave under old Blackmon’s Stable and they are all lodged in Fayetteville jail at this time. They said David come out and told them he was glad to see them and was glad they had found him as he wanted to go to his company. A little while before that, they were out looking [for] deserters and about the time they were going to start home, they saw Harris and Jones. Harris had his gun to his face. One of the militia halted them when Harris shot Daniel Colvin in the face and he fell dead upon the spot. 5 They say they shall hunt continuously now until they find them.
J. W. Godwin came here last Monday after your double barreled gun. We let him have her but he requested we would write to you about it and if you were not willing he should have her, he would bring her back. He said if she was injured, he would be responsible.
They have also catched Willis Lee. They shot him in the hand and back but the doctor says he is not hurt much but he pretends he is about to die.
I can inform you that I have been after your coat and pants. I brought them home last Saturday. The time is too short to get them done by the first of February but you need not let that keep you from coming home as you will not come to stay less than fifteen days. We can make them before you will have to go back.
You spoke of coming home to get married and I think this is a bad time to think about it, let alone talking about, but I do not think you are in earnest or at least I hope you are not. 6 But if you are, you can marry in your long tail blue. You wanted to know if it had any trimming on it. It has got a little bars about as wide as the trimming you sent home to go on the sleeves of your other and none at all on the sleeves. I will now bring my long letter to a close. Come if you can. If not, write soon.
Your affectionate mother, — Sylvania Tew
To J. J. Tew
1 Josiah Jackson served as a private in Co. A, 8th Texas Cavalry (Terry’s Regiment or 8th Texas Rangers). Josiah enlisted in Bosque county, Texas, in September 1861 and was mortally wounded in the Battle of Mossy Creek Station which occurred on 29 December 1873.The letter informing the Jackson family of Josiah’s death was probably written by Sergt. Jack Randall who is the only member of the company by that name.
2 William Henry Jackson (1802-1877) and his wife Anna Godwin (1805-1882) of Mingo, Sampson county, North Carolina, were the parents of Susan Jackson (1845-1916) and Raiford Jackson (1847-1911)—the beneficiaries mentioned in the letter.
3 Hezekiah Jackson served in Co. I, 11th Georgia Infantry and was admitted to Winder Hospital in December 1863. He had been taken a prisoner at Antietam early in the war but exchanged. His descriptive list identifies him as having been born in Sampson county, North Carolina, but was residing in Georgia at the time of his enlistment in July 1862.
4 David J. Godwin served as a private in Co. F, 24th North Carolina Infantry. He enlisted in 1861 but reported as deserted on 31 July 1862 from the encampment near Petersburg, Va. Muster rolls indicate he deserted again on 5 August 1864.
5 Daniel James (“D. J.”) Colvin (1818-1864) was 45 years old when he was killed on 20 January 1864, leaving a wife and two young children. They lived in Linden, Cumberland county, North Carolina.According to this letter, his murderer was Harris of the Cumberland Militia.
6 J. J. did not marry until 19 December 1865. He married Mary Jane Draughton (1843-1915) who bore him at least nine children between 1867 and 1888.
[Sampson county, North Carolina] March the 16th 1864
I again take my pen in hand for the purpose of writing you a few lines which will inform you that we are all well, hoping these few lines may early reach and find you in good health and fine spirits. Papa is gone after Wiley. He is very sick if he is not dead. Dawson’s Gabriel sent his master a letter dated the 28th of February stating that Wiley [Dawson] 1 was very sick and had been since the middle of February and his feet and legs was swelled & he had not had on his shoes in a week. We got the news on Sunday at the funeral and he started and he started the same night. I do not know where he is. The letter said they were talking of discharging him and if they did and his master went after him, to stop in Wilmington and look in the hospital for him.
I received a letter from J. R. Godwin last Sunday and he said there had come a letter to the company from Point Lookout dated the 14th of February which said Sampson was still in the hospital and also W. H. Dawson [Co. D, 57th N. C.] but did not say how sick they were nor whether they were mending.
I am very sorry to tell you that he wrote that W. B. Johnson was dead. B was a good soldier and his company all liked him and I was very sorry to hear of his death. Please tell George of it if his people does not write this week. W. W. Hood is also dead. He belonged to the same company but I do not know where he lived nor whose son he was. I am afraid they will keep them there until they kill them all but I suppose they have paroled 800 of them and that they are going to parole the balance as soon as they can. But I am afraid they will stop before Samson is sent over—if he is living.
There has nothing new taken place since you left—only they caught the Wades last Saturday. The militia all went to muster except a detail left for the purpose. They watched the house until Susan went to carry their breakfast and then followed her to them. L. H. Godwin and Levit and S. W. Taylor was the detail. Deal was not with them and so he is out yet.
Last Thursday was the day for the substitute men to be conscripted and they all have to go that had substitutes and the old militia officers has to stay at home. They did not take none of the exempts in this settlement except John W. Smith and there is lots of men about here as well able to go as he is and I wish that everyone had to go for one is no better than another.
Ben Wellons, Esqr. is out with another petition for the doctor. He passed here this morning but did not call. I guess he thought it was not worthwhile. He says the doctor does not wish to get out of service—that he is well satisfied with his station, but the men in the company wanted him to come home and attend to their families.
Ed sent you a letter which come after you left. He did not talk very complimentary about your staying until the funeral. I would tell him if I had 20 days like he had, I should not be behind time. Excuse bad writing for it is very cold. It snowed a little last night. Affectionately, — F. M. E. [Frances Matilda Elizabeth] Tew
To J. J. Tew
1 Possibly Wiley Dawson who served as a private in Co. E, 66th North Carolina Infantry.
The following letters were written by Solomon Hege (1813-1875) or his wife, Catharine Guenther (1813-1874) of Midway, Davidson County, North Carolina, during the Civil War. They were written to their son, Constantine Alexander Hege (1843-1914) who was in the Confederate service. Constantine was raised as a Moravian and was naturally opposed to the war, but he was never the less obliged to enlist in the summer of 1862 in Co. H, 48th North Carolina Infantry. He served for 14 months during which time he was captured at the Battle of Bristoe Station on 14 October 1863 and was confined in the Old Capitol Prison in Washington. While there he was visited by some North Carolina Moravians working in the capitol, and under their guidance, Hege decided to take the oath of allegiance to the United States. After his release, he went to Bethlehem, Pa., where he found employment in the iron works.
A few of the letters were written by Mary Louisa Hege (1848-1920). She married Samuel Alexander Burke (1848-1925) in 1871.
See also—1862-63: Constantine Alexander Hege to his Family below:
Midway [Davidson, North Carolina] September 6th 1862
My dear son,
I avail myself of the present opportunity to write to you to let you know how we all are. We are all quite well and hope that when these few lines reach you it may find you enjoying the same blessing. Elisha Raper’s youngest child [William A. Raper] died with a brain fever and is to be buried at eleven o’clock today at Olivet and Mary is going and take Mary Chitty with her who is here on a visit.
We heard that Solomon Wilson 1 had run away from the army and his mother is troubled about it for she has not heard from him in some time. When you write again, you must tell us whether he is with you or not, and let us know if you ever see or hear anything of Daniel Wilson. 2 Mr. Joseph Delap was married to Daniel Wagoner’s daughter 3 on the 4th of this month and your father saw them at the Widow Vehrel’s sale.
Alec [David Alexander] Spaugh 4 run away from camp but he didn’t get home for the guard caught him and gave him 24 lashes and sent him back so it didn’t do him much good to runaway and I think they had better be contented and stay where they are. And I do hope that you may always be contented and put your trust in the Lord and He will protect you from all danger and harm.
We have a great many watermelons this year and whenever we eat one, we think of you and wish you had some of them and of the nice peaches and apples that are wasting here. Mary has returned from the burying and on the road home thy overtook Uncle Christian Spaugh and rode with him in the buggy. He heard that Theophilus 5 was sick in the hospital and he thinks he will go to see him next Wednesday with Mr. Jordan Ruminger.
We would be glad to send you a box of provisions if we were certain you would get it safely. Next time you write, let us know what you want and what you are in need of and if it is in our power to send it, you shall have it. I must stop writing for I have not anything more that would interest you.
[Your brother] Julius is in the meadow raking hay and we are all busy drying fruit for there is lots of it here and a wasting here too. How I wish you had some of it. Selene Faw said I should tell you howdy and sad she wished you well and hoped you would soon return.
Much love from all of us and write soon to your affectionate, — Mother
1 Solomon Wilson (b. 1842) was conscripted with Constantine Hege on 8 August 1862 in Co. H, 48th North Carolina. His military record indicates that he was taken prisoner at Sharpsburg, Maryland and paroled on 10 October 1862. He did not return to the regiment, however, until 6 August 1863 and then deserted to the enemy on 6 March 1865, after which he took the oath of allegiance.
2 Daniel Wilson (Solomon’s older brother) served as a private in Co. H, 15th North Carolina Infantry. He was conscripted in mid-July 1862, became sick almost immediately, but joined his regiment in time to participate in the Battle of South Mountain where he was taken prisoner on 14 September, sent to Fort Delaware, later paroled and then hospitalized at Richmond until his death of scurvy on 11 November 1862.
3Joseph Franklin Delap (1837-1917) was married to Ann Elizabeth Wagoner on 3 September 1862 according to Davidson county Marriage Records. Joseph was commissioned (by election) a 2nd Lieutenant in Co. H, 48th North Carolina Infantry on 5 May 1862. He resigned his commission on 15 August 1862 claiming that he had been experiencing a “violent sickness” and returned home to marry Ann.
4 David Alexander (“Alec”) Spaugh (1837-1900) was the son of Christian Spaugh (1803-1885) and his first wife, Sarah Tesch (1772-1844). After Christian’s first wife died, he married Catherine Hege (1811-1862) who died on 25 November 1862. In June 1863, David joined Co. B of the 10th Virginia Cavalry. He may have initially served in Co. I, 33rd North Carolina Infantry.
5 Theophilus Thomas Spaugh (1843-1913) was the son of Christian Spaugh (1803-1885) and his second wife, Catherine Hege (1811-1862). Theophilus was conscripted in July 1862 into Co. F, 15th North Carolina Infantry and was hospitalized in Richmond on 25 August 1862 and was absent without leave quite a bit of his time.
Davidson County, North Carolina September 11, 1862
My dear son C. A. Hege,
Yours of the 30th of September [August] came to hand this evening. I am glad to hear you are well for many anxious care and thought crosses my mind concerning you & for all the rest of you, but with all my care, I lean upon the Lord who alone can support us through all the trials & troubles of life. I hope you have that confidence in God’s word & promises that you can under all circumstances with childlike confidence put your trust in the Lord, let what may befall. All things shall work together for good to them that love the Lord Jesus. Therefore, serve God and be cheerful though rough & stormy be the road. Still look to Jesus.
I am sorry to hear our letters do not all reach our conscript friends as they complain often that they get no letters from home. It appears from all letters I hear read [that] your provisions are shamefully scanty. Why is it so? I have often wished to send some peaches, &c., but there is no chance unless by Express. Then freight is so high. Yet if I knew that you would get them before rotting, I would send some to you.
Uncle Christian Miller & [Rev.] Jordan Rominger have put off going to Richmond because others could not get conveyance from Richmond on to their relations. As for my part, I could not hold up as I am not able to labor much. However, we are tugging along with our work on a small scale. Not a hand can be hired for mowing grass. Sam and Alec are making hay but half won’t be cut until I can get hands. Each man has more work than he can do to save hay for himself and Congress has passed a law demanding all men under 35 as conscripts—none exempt (suppose you know it) and not allowed to have substitutes—except carpenters are allowed substitutes so railcars can be built it is supposed—so the papers say.
If many more have to go into the army, man and beast will suffer for food. But I do hope & pray that the war will soon close. Oh! that all would plead with God to interpose & bring this war to a close in the best way possible to all involved in it. I heard yesterday with pleasure that there is a proposal being made in the North that may prove favorable to bring the war to a close. It is said it is proposed to have an assembly of delegates from every state of both North and South in order to deliberate and discuss plans and proposals for a better way of settling the war than fighting. Oh that the Lord would give them all a willing heart to close the war in the right way. How many sorrowing hearts at home & abroad would be lifted up with joy & praise to God.
Great God whose powerful hand can bind The raging waves, the furious wind, Oh bid the human tempest cease And hush the warring realm to peace.
I have but little general news to write, however I will give a few items. Our wheat made 194 bushels. The weather is dry. We have plowed only 10 acres for wheat. We have harrowed oats in the 8 acre field towards Walks amidstern. I want to sow oats in both oat fields at Scott’s. Wheat is elling at 3 dollars and 25 cents per bushel. Confederate money scarcely can be passed anymore. I would like to know how many ran away of our acquaintances. None have yet been seen about home. What have you done with your medicine? Do you carry it along or what? How do you rest at night? Can you avoid exposure? Be careful in exposure in damp and chilling situations. I am tired and must bring my letter to a close. We are in common health hoping you enjoy the same. If you get unwell, make your apology. Now may the Lord’s goodness and mercies keep you under his kind guardian care. Give my best respects to all acquaintances. Tell them to cast their cares upon the Lord.
Yours, &c. — Solomon Hage
[Davidson county, North Carolina] September 28, 1862
My dear Son,
I now have the opportunity of writing to you stating that we are all about in common health and hoping that you enjoy the same good blessing. We received no letter from you since that which was wrote August 30th. We wrote two since that but we don’t know whether you ever got them. Now I will tell you about home.
We are done drying fruit but we have a plenty apples and peaches yet. In making hay, we can’t get along for we have the whole upper meadow to cut yet but I don’t think it will get made for we have to make our molasses. Too much plowing has to be done for it was so dry, it could not be done in right time and no hands to so it and your father is hindered very much a riding about to see the sick.
Now, I [will] tell you something about Uncle Christian Spaugh’s boys. [Solomon] Augustus 1 died the 9th of September and Emanuel 2 came home on the 22 of this month very sick with the typhoid fever. He lays very low at this time. He come afoot nearly all the way. Craver’s boys 3 came home and several more.
Please excuse my bad spelling and writing for you know I am not in practice but I hope and pray that the good Lord may protect you from all danger if you humble yourself in prayer in Christ. Your affectionate mother, — C. Hege
I now take my pen in hand to inform you that I am tolerable well at present and hope that when these few lines reach you, may find you well. I was at Friedburg [N. C.] today and Sam Foltz, 4 Frank Foltz, Mike Swim was killed. Solomon Tesch and Frank Foltz 5 was wounded and Solomon Tesch 6 is on his way home.
We have made some of our molasses but we have a heap more to make. We want to make some this week. The peaches and apples are almost all gone. Me and Julius was always in hopes that you would get home before they was all gone. Julius gives his best respects and love to you and wishes that you could come home. So no more at present. Please write soon. If there is any killed and wounded that you know of, write to us.
Yours truly, sister M. L. Hege
1 Solomon “Augustus” Spaugh was the eldest of six children of Christian Spach (became Spaugh) (1803-1885) and Catharine Hege Spaugh (1811-1862), who married on 31 Oct 1833 at Davidson County, North Carolina. Augustus was a private in Co. B (Thomasville Rifles), 14th North Carolina Infantry.
2 Emanuel Jacob Spaugh was the third of six children of Christian Spach (became Spaugh) (1803-1885) and Catharine Hege Spaugh (1811-1862), who married on 31 Oct 1833 at Davidson County, North Carolina. Emanuel was conscripted into in Co. F, 15th North Carolina Infantry. He became sick soon after entering the service and was reported absent without leave since 29 August 1862. He eventually returned to the regiment but was taken prisoner in the Battle of Bristoe Station on 14 October 1863 and not exchanged until 3 May 1864.
3 Alexander Rowan Craver (1812-1901) had two sons (Nelson and Frank) conscripted into Co. D, 15th North Carolina Infantry. They both deserted on 21 August 1862.
4 Samuel A. Foltz (1841-1862) was the son of John Theophilus Foltz and Ann Melvina Hartel (1821-1882) of Davidson county, North Carolina.He might have been in the 33rd North Carolina?
5 Francis (“Frank”) M. Foltz was a brother of Samuel Foltz. He was conscripted into Co. D, 15th North Carolina Infantry in July 1862 and wounded two months later in the Battle of South Mountain on 14 September 1862. He was missing and assumed dead until later when it was learned he had been taken prisoner to Fort Delaware and exchanged on 10 November 1862.
6 Solomon Tesch was listed on the muster rolls of Co. H, 15th North Carolina as “Tesh.” He was wounded in the fighting at South Mountain on 14 September 1862 and furloughed for 60 days. He returned to his regiment and was present for duty until his death on 18 December 1864 in a Richmond hospital.
[Midway, Davidson county, North Carolina] October 12, 1862
I now take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at present and hope that when these few lines reach your hands, [they] may find you enjoying the same state of health. We have made some of our molasses but we haven’t made it all yet. Nelson Craver and Frank Craver, [and] Thomas Esie has run away from camp and they are at home now. And the officers are a hunting for them but they haven’t caught them yet. Thomas Cecil & Wesley Cecil 1 have run away from camp and they are at home now. Solomon Tesch—he came home September 30th with a furlough. He was wounded in the side but not bad. John Hanes died last Monday with the typhoid fever. Pappy doctored on him and they sent for Dr. Dosset last Sunday. He couldn’t do him any good for he died on Monday afternoon.
Antoinette Berriers’ oldest child died October 4th and was buried on Sunday at Shiloh [United Methodist Church Cemetery]. It died with the sore throat. 2
Catharine Weisner wrote one letter to you and she hasn’t received any answer yet. She don’t know whether you ever got it or not. A[nna] M[aria] Pickle 3 said that I should tell you howdy for her and that she would like to hear from you but she is in hopes that you will all come home before long.
We get along but slow with the work. We have not made the upper meadow of grass yet and are sowing wheat. They have sold one field. We can’t get nobody to work but we got Daniel Miller a couple days and Aleck and Sam. Aleck said that I should tell you howdy for him and he hopes that you will come back before long and hten you can tell us more about the things there.
Fanny Brinkley–she is here now and she said that I should tell you howdy for her and she wishes you well and hopes that you will soon return home again for she hasn’t forgotten you yet and she wants to know whether you know anything about Elijah Scott and Sandy Scott. And if you do, she wants you to write.
Do you know where Solomon Wilson is or not? And do you hear anything from Daniel Wilson or not? We haven’t heard anything from him in a long time. So I must bring my few lines to a close. Please write soon.
Your affectionate sister until death, — M. L. H.
1 Thomas and Wesley Cecil were conscripted into Co. K, 48th North Carolina Infantry. They both deserted on 14 August 1862 and did not return until 15 June 1863. They deserted to the enemy in September 1864.
2 Antoinette (“Atney”) Elizabeth Spaugh (1836-1882) was married to Henderson Charles Wesley Berrier (1833-1862) in 1857. Their eldest child was Wilson Franklin Berrier (1858-1862). Antoinette was the daughter of Daniel and Catherine (Fishel) Spaugh.
3 Anna Maria Pickle (b. 1845) was the daughter of Christian David Pickle (Beckel) and Louisa Lashmit of Davidson county, North Carolina. She was married to Theophilus Thomas Spaugh (1843-1913) in 1868.
[Midway, Davidson county, North Carolina] Tuesday, October 14, 1862
My dear son C. A. Hege,
I took my pen in hand to inform you that we are all well at present and hoping that these few lines will find you likewise for we hear of so many sick ones that I am always afraid that you will get sick too for Wesley Mock is sick so long already and Henry Weaver. They are both at Richmond as far as we know and Jessie Knouse came home crippled with the rheumatism. He looks very bad and Emanuel Spaugh—he is at home sick with the typhoid fever, but he is on the mend.
Maria Spaugh and her mother have the typhoid fever. They are very low and a god many more. And the diphtheria is very bad for the Berrier’s family had it a most all and so many children died in Salem with it. Little Ellen Mining died with that compaint. The Mariad people’s festival was today, the 12th, and I was at meeting and I heard Brother Daniel Spaugh say that they haven’t heard nothing of Louis Spaugh since they crossed the Potomac. If you can hear anything of him. Please write to me and I will tell them. I am sorry to hear that you don’t get our letters for I have sent three already and I would send a heap more if you would get them for I lay many a hour sleepless and think about your condition. If we only could hear that there would be any hopes for peace before long for I am afraid it will kill you all to lay out all winter and fare like dogs.
Christian Spaugh sent a substitute for Theophilus if they will receive him—Old Mr. Shusky—but we are doubtful whether they will take him and they sent for Augustus’s body to be brought home and to be buried at Friedburg.
About the price of things, wheat sells at 4 and 5 dollars per bushel, hay at 1 dollar per hundred, molasses at 2 dollars per gallon, sugar at 75 cents per pound, and spun cotton at 5 dollars a ….and everything in proportion.
You want to know about the protracted meetings. There was a 2-days meeting at Olivet in September and at Hopewell, but Friedburg, I don’t know. They talk about having one but I don’t know when. Mr. Frye says that they had a great revival at Philadelphia at their protracted meeting. I hope and pray that you may have revivals among you out there too. Oh! if it only could peace be made and you all could return home again. Oh then we could have meetings for joy and gladness and thank the good Lord over and over. Oh, it pains my heart to hear of so much bloodshed.
I want you to write as soon as you get this letter to me what you need of clothing, stockings, or anything else. Mr. Wesner says as soon as you all get to Richmond, he is a going to come out there to see you all. then I hope I can send some things.
Please excuse my bad spelling and writing for you know I hab’t in practice at all but as to you, I thought I write a few lines. But I must bring my letter to a close.
Remain your dear Mother until death, — Catharine Hege
Just as I finished my letter come news to me that little William Berrier died yesterday (13th) and was buried at Shiloh [Cemetery[ today. He was sick nine days. They send for Pap a Sunday evening but in the morning he died.
[Midway, Davidson county, North Carolina] October 25, 1862
I now take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at present and hope that when these few lines reach your hands, may find you enjoying the same state of health. I received a letter from you today which gave me much pleasure to hear from you. The commission officers caught Andrew Berrier 1 at his Father’s house day before yesterday evening. They [have] taken him to Lexington and Mr. Berrier gave his bond of two thousand dollars that Andrew should go back to his company next Friday again. Adam Spaugh’s child died day before yesterday and was buried yesterday and Mary Spaugh, his wife, is very low with the diphtheria. They do not think that she will ever get well again. 2
Rebecca Fishel died last Wednesday and was buried on Thursday at Friedburg. William Raper’s youngest child has the diphtheria yet and David Berrier’s family has the diphtheria yet and David Barrier has the fever. Eli Weaver came home. He was wounded in the leg and they think that the bullet is in his leg yet. 3 Little Henry Disher and little George Tesch came home last Saturday.
I haven’t dug you ground peas and grassnuts yet but I will next week and I will send you some if I can.
I am a going to preaching tomorrow. Mr. Leineback is to preach at Friedburg. We are a gathering the corn in the orchard to sow it in wheat. There are a heap of gourds in it. There are some large ones and some small ones.
We received a letter from Daniel Wilson last Saturday. He stated that he was taken as a prisoner on the Sunday fight and they was paroled and sent to Richmond. And his mother got one from Solomon and he said that he was a prisoner too but he expected to go to his company before long.
I must bring my letter to a close so no more at preset. Here I will send you some papers. We are not allowed to send more than one sheet or I would send more. So no more at present. Giving you my best love and respect, please write soon. Your sister, — M. L. Hege and brother J. A. Hege
October 26, 1862
My dear son,
I now take my pen in hand to write a few lines to you that we are all well at present and hoping that these few lines will find you likewise in health. Now I will tell of my [ ]. George Hege was at our our Tuesday the 21st and bought a lot of our chickens and ducks and guineas for we had to sell them nearly all because they sowed wheat all round the barn. I and Selena took them down to them the 24th and came back on the 25th and Selena was very sick with the headache and just as we came home Solomon Tesch brought your letter from the office. We was very glad to hear from you which was dated the 17th. If we only could make it that you would get our letters quicker for we write a good many for they are always old before you get them.
Now I will tell you something about the sick that came home with a furlough. Wesley Mock came home very sick last Thursday and Alexander Hege came home wounded very bad for he was shot across his eyes and nose 4 and it is said that Henry Weaver 5 is very sick in the hospital but we think he will come home next week.
We heard Christian Disher is very sick at the hospital at Richmond and a good many more, but it is said that some good news came in the papers for some prospect of peace before long. I hope and pray that it may be so. I hope that the good Lord will decide it before long for He knows which side is right and that side will gain it for the big men will never settle this war if they don’t call on the almighty and all of us for Him to settle it and humble ourselves in prayer. Lord grant it that it may be so before long for there is so many precious lives lost.
We heard yesterday of 3 men had run away from the company three times and they caught them every time and now they are a going to shoot them next Friday. It is horrid to think about it. Don’t try to run away. Try to hold out faithful and pray to the good Lord that He shall be with you through all the troubles and difficulties and bring you safe home again and He will do so if it isHis will that we shall meet at home again. And if we don’t meet on earth, we hope and pray that we may meet in Heaven above where there is no parting no more. And I hope you remember your dear Mother in your prayers.
I want to send you pair of pants and a pair of stockings and a haversack and book sack and your gloves. I want you to answer this letter as quick as you get this letter for I want you to write whether you want your overcoat out there. I will send you a blanket. Write whether you need a shirt and drawers.
I must bring my letter to a close but remain your dear Mother until death. — C. Hege
A few words of [your brother] Julius. He is well at present and he pities you very much. Often he says, if only Constantine had some of it when he has got something good. He caught one rabbit in the [ ] last week. He plowed a couple rounds and he is helping out in the field right smart. Today we had a very cold rainy day. I hope it was not so bad with you for it was too bad to be out all day without shelter. I was a thinking about you many a time the day through. Your Father sent 20 dollars in a letter last Monday, the 20th. Cast yourself upon the Lord in prayer and avoid evil company is my wish. Please excuse my bad spelling and writing for you know I am not in practice. So no more but remain your dear Mother until death.
1 Andrew Berrier (1836-1894) was the son of Charles Berrier (1810-1873) and Susanna Shoaf (1814-1886) of Lexington, Davidson county, North Carolina. Andrew was married in March 1859 to Sarah Ann Waitman and their first-born child was named Laura Ann, born in the spring of 1860. Andrew was conscripted into Co. B, 49th North Carolina Infantry in July 1862. He deserted from a hospital and did not return to the regiment until late February 1863. He was taken prisoner in the Battle of Sand Ridge (N. C.) on 20 April 1863 and deserted parole camp at Petersburg, Va., in late May 1863. He was arrested and thrown in the guard house at Weldon, N. C. in December 1863 and finally discharged from the service.
2 The child’s name was Beatus “Baby Boy” Spaugh (18 Sept 1862-23 Oct 1862), the son of James “Adam” Spaugh (1838-1863) and Mary Elizabeth Berrier (1841-1908). As you can see from the birth-death dates, Mary did not die of the diphtheria but lived until 1908. Her husband Adam, however, died of typhoid fever on 10 May 1863 in Richmond while in the Confederate service.After Adam’s death, Mary remarried to William Franklin Vogler (1843-1901).
3 Elias (or “Eli”) Weaver (1833-1916) was the son of John Weaver and Ann Hoffman. He was conscripted into Co. H, 48th North Carolina Infantry in early August 1862 and was wounded five weeks later in the Battle at Sharpsburg, Maryland on 17 September 1862. He did not return to the regiment until April 1863.He was wounded again in December 1864.
4 Alexander J. Hege was conscripted into Co. K, 15th North Carolina Infantry in July 1862 and was wounded in the Battle at Sharpsburg, Maryland, on 17 September 1862. He was sent home to North Carolina on furlough with the annotation “both eyes out” in the muster rolls. He was illiterate and signed company rolls with an “x.” He never returned to the service.His obituary notice in the Winston-Salem Journal of 2 October 1920 claimed that the wound he received at Sharpsburg “made him totally blind” and that he bore this affliction “bravely and patiently fr fifty-eight years.”
5 Henry F. Weaver served in Co. B of the 5th North Carolina Infantry.
[Midway,] Davidson county, North Carolina Sunday afternoon, November 2, 1862
My Dear Son C. A. Hege,
On yesterday I expected to hear from you but received no letter at the office and now have a few minute’s leisure so I will drop a few lines to you. We received yours dated October 17th—one sheet for Mary and one for Julius. They sent you a letter by Charles Fishel a few days ago.
As you said you had orders to march next morning, I have wished to hear from you so I could arrange to send your blanket and other things for your comfort against exposure. on last Sunday night we had a cold, rainy, stormy night. We could rest but little because of the thought how is Constantine sheltered in this dreary night. With heart uplifted in prayer to God, we remembered you. On Tuesday morning I saw ice half an inch thick in a trough. This sudden cold effected me with much lameness and pain through my body as it formerly has, however I am tugging along part of the time after hte plow sowing wheat. It is uphill business to get along with our work, No hand to hire (and my little Aleck says Mike gets 9 dollars per month and I must have that if you must have me still to work for you0. You may imagine the work and the trouble is bearing heavy upon us all at home as well as in the army.
Oh, the moaning, sighs and mourning and weeping and sad lamentation that meets my sight almost wherever I go. But I trust and hope still in a prayer hearing & answering God who has permitted this calamity to come, ad only who in His own good time will restrain the wrath of men in answer to the fervent effectual long continued prayers of His people in behalf of the distress & perplexity of our once far-famed country. Then let us earnestly cry and never faint in prayer. He sees, He hears, and from on high will make our cares His care.
While war and woe prevail, and desolation wide in God the sovereign Lord of all, the righteous will confide.
To thee oh Lord, to thee alone. We look for help while drowned in tears. Send down salvation from the throne. Subdue our hearts and remove our fears. Many are the promises of God to those who put their trust in God. I admonish you therefore to cast your care upon the Lord. Turn your back to evil. Hold fast that which is good. be kind to all. Avoid getting into battles if possible. Pray God to direct you.
Perhaps you can get into some other employ so you may not have to bear arms. It is so painful to me to think you must be compelled to try to kill a fellow mortal. May God in mercy keep you from doing evil and direct you in the way you should go.
Theophilus Spaugh, I am told, is still about the hospital near Culpeper. His Father has sent a substitute but they would not receive him. I am told he had paid about two hundred dollars to Old Shurkey who was to be the substitute. The balance was to be left at the Bank in Salem for him.
I sent enclosed 20 dollars in a letter to you on the 20th of October. I hope you will get it to spend for what is most needed till I can send things necessary for you. I would by all means have you comfortable in body and cheerful in God, let what may be His purpose and will. I believe all things shall work together for good to them that love the Lord.
Henry Meser is still in the hospital lame in one knee with rheumatism but helping to wait on table for the sick there at Leesburg. Henry Mock is at Petersburg. His fare is cornbread and beef. Aleck Mock and Andrew Berrier are going to their company again. The rest of them have not been seen in public yet. The officers frequently are searching for runaways but get few of them. Poor fellows. God have mercy on all of us & them. By your Father, — Solomon Hege
[Midway, Davidson county, North Carolina] December 7, 1862
My dear brother C. A. Hege,
We was anxiously from one Saturday till the other looking for a letter from you but we didn’t receive any. Father sent one with Mr. Weisner three weeks ago and he sent one with Mr. C. Peramon November the 26th in hopes that he would get to see you so that you could tell him all about whether you received your money and box of clothing and provisions which was sent by Mr. Weisner.
Father was taken very severe last Sunday morning the 30th with chills and typhoid fever. He is very weak but I hope it will soon make a change that he will get better. The rest of us are all well at present and hoping that when these few lines reach your hands may find you enjoying good health. It is a very serious time for so many of our neighbors are sick. Uncle Christian [Spaugh] is not much better yet and Mr. Berrier is very low withthe typhoid fever. Pheba Tesch and one of her girls is a lingering very low with the same fever for several weeks already.
Now I would like o know whether you have to lie out all winter without tents like brutes. There are so many a coming home and I think you would better all gone home. We heard that Ransom Sink and William Bike and several more come home last week and Hill’s boys and a good many more. But now they say Colonel Clinerd received orders to call the men out from 18 to 40. The Lord only knows what will become of us all if this war keeps on much longer.
Julius said that I should write that he caught a possum in his rabbit gum and 12 rabbits. He is offered 50 cents per dozen for the skins. He has 4 gums a setting. He says a many a time if only Constantine would be here to help me set the gums, I could catch more. Julius always says that he hopes that you will come home before Christmas.
And if Sunday morning comes, I feel sorry that you can’t go with me to Friedburg to meeting like we used to. Oh, I hope and pray that the good Lord will soon stop this war and let you all come home again. Please excuse my bad writing. Please write soon. your sister, — Mary L. Hege
Davidson county, North Carolina Monday, December 15, 1862
My dear son C. A. Hege,
I was pleased on Saturday last to receive a letter from you dated November the 29th in which you state that you received 20 dollars in one letter and also 25 dollars in another from Lieutenant Smith. I am glad you received it so you can have the good of it But I am sorry from what you write & from what C. M. Periman told me you told him that your box of clothes and eatables had not yet been received by you. I do hope you have it by now. If Mr. Periman would only carried your box but I sent it without delay by the first opportunity but Mr. David Weisner could not get to you—you being on a march to Hanover Junction, I think, and he was told by some of the leading men to leave your box at Gordonsville & you could easily get permission to come to Gordonsville and get your box of goods, &c., and convey it to your camp. You ought to begged permission forthwith to go to Gordonsville & search at every depot till you got the box by all means. You will know the box if you see it. It is planly directed to you as your letters are that I have been sending. It is the same box with raw hide hadles at each end which I had brought from Macon, Georgia, with medicine which you helped to carry from C. Berrier’s one evening last winter. Br. Weisner also wrote to you in a letter containing the 25 dollars where he left the box so you could go to Gordonsville & get it.
Surely if you appeal to your officers, they will assist you in getting your box of clothing &c. Surely they will not suffer it to be lost. It is of course their duty to assist you to procure the box with its contents for your use. It contains 1 blanket, 1 hat, 1 pair of the best made shoes, 1 pair pants, 1 pair drawers, 1 cotton shirt, 1 woolen shirt, 1 vest, pair socks, 1 pair gloves, 4 pocket handkerchiefs, 1 book and haversack, some medicine, some paper, some envelopes, and postage stamps and ink and every corner of the box was crammed tight with eatables such as dried peaches, apples, potatoes, sweet bread, pies, butter tin bucket, coffee pot with coffee, chestnuts, grassnuts, ground peas, peach cobbler, &c. onions, garlic, *c. and now if you have not yet got your box, I urge upon you to attend to it with the most pathetic appeals to your officers to assist you in getting it without delay. It is of too great value to be lost.
I was pleased to hear that the 15th Regiment is placed in your brigade so you have the pleasure of being with many of the neighboring friends to console each other & cheer up amidst hardships. Tell the dear acquaintances you named in your letter I wish and pray that the good Lord may keep you all under His kind protection.
As to Daniel Wilson, I have not heard from him since October the 14th. He wrote to me from Camp Lee near Richmond where he was kept guarded like many others that were paroled prisoners.
As to your box of wonders, caps, &c. set by William Swaim, it came to hand and was carefully examined by Julius over and ver again. Henry Messer is come home having a full discharge, it is said. Next Saturday they will enroll conscripts up to 40 [years old- to take into the army, it is said. It is doubtful whether they will be driven from their homes into the camps. It is said many have left the camps and gone home & keep concealed. The officers seldom catch any though frequently hunting and searching for them. I must close as I am very weak. I have been severely sick several weeks with fever. Your Mother nursed me with tender care till se was taken down sick with the same disease but thank God, she is some on the mend again. We are both able to be up part of the time. I still have sticking pains in my right side of my chest when I draw breath. Trouble and grief has caused much oppression on my breast in common.
Your affectionate Father, — Solomon Hage
Davison county, North Carolina Sunday evebing, January 4, 1863
My dear son C. A. Hege,
On yesterday your Mother, being at Salem, received two letters which were eagerly read. We were pleased to hear that you had again nearly recovered your health. One letter was of date December 18th. The other 25th but I had still entertained some hopes of you yet getting your box of clothing. Hoever, on the night before New Year (as I have already informed you), we packed up in haste all we could to send next morning to you by Bro. Jordan Rominger. Also your Mother was sewing all day on New Year to make one pair of pants for you to send to you with Bro. Solomon Tesch next morning. We were grieved exceedingly on hearing in your letter received on the evening before New Year (after sorrowing four weeks for a letter from you) to hear that you had not received your valuable box of goods. But pause and reflect, it was the kind Providence of God no doubt which out of the loss or delay of the box caused good results thereby on your behalf although you may have suffered much for the want of the contents of the box, yet still let us trust in the promises of God’s word to those who love, serve, and trust in Him, let what may befall. Behind a frowning Providence, He hides a smiling face. Temptations, trials, troubles and suffering is the common lot of all in this world but let us the more steadfastly by humble prayer i faith and hope cleave to God.
We with you regret very much that you are deprived of enjoying the Christmas Holidays and religious services in our Friedberg Church with your associates & friends and in singing as formerly Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, good will to men. But Oh, how changed the scene that now surrounds you in te midst of a multitude, yet no doubt you have some good Christians in your camp who enjoy that peace of God in their hearts by faith in Christ the Lord. Oh how often is my heart’s desire and prayer raised to our merciful Father in Heaven that you, my dear son, may enjoy that peace and love of God in your heart by Faith in Christ Jesus though many unpleasant scenes may be exhibited before your eyes. But God’s promises is cheering. The Angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him and delivereth the (Psalms 37:7)
…I would ask what is your common fare & how prepared. How do you manage to keep warm in cold nights> Have you huts with chimneys like some othrs or have you brutish provisions and lodgings of night. Many a sleepless hour have I passed of nights in sorrowful reflection fearing you was suffering cold. I hear so much of the hardships and suffering of poor soldiers. I am surprised that they do not all leave and go home as many have done although they have to keep concealed. The officers catch one once in awhile & the other conscripts that were to leave on New Year’s Day, only a few went. Many say they will die at home before they will go in the army.
Oh what a deplorable condition our country is in. What woes and suffering are entailed upon the community. Oh my God, come to our help and cause the war to cease. Forbid it Lord, that my son should ever have to go in a battle any more. It seems wrong.
I must close my letter by saying we are well as common except myself. I am still suffering with pain in my breast and unable to stand cold or work. Your letters are always eagerly enquired for. Write often. Oh may the goodness & mercy of god keep you from all harm. By your Father, — Solomon Hege
January 4, 1863
My dear brother,
I received your very welcome letter yesterday evening when Mother came from Salem where she had gone to bring Mary Chilly down to teach school for Mary and myself and then I will learn to write my own letters. But I hope you will come home soon that we all may enjoy your pleasant company once more.
I spent a right happy Christmas. We all went to church except Father where I recited two verses that we sang last year and after meeting we went to Uncle Christian Spaugh’s and was vaccinated [for small pox]. But it did not have any affect ad today Father went with Mary, Selena, and me over to Mr. David Mock’s and we all tried it again. I will try not to rub the scab off again. I did not go to church at New Year but stayed at home with Sam and begged him to fix my partridge traps, but he wouldn’t and so I haven’t caught any yet.
I am sorry to hear that you are barefooted but glad that you escaped the awful battle [at Fredericksburg] and I do hope and trust that you can come home before there is another fight & if there is, may God protect you from all harm is the wish of your affectionate brother, — Julius Hege
Davidson county, North Carolina Saturday the 23 January 1863
My dear son C. A. Hege,
Your letter of January 17th came to hand last evening. I am always glad to hear from you. I am glad to hear that you are in North Carolina again but it would be the greatest pleasure to me if you could return home again. I am glad to hear you are well. It often surprises me that you are not sick from the exposure you have to bear [though] tis true you are in the vigor of youth. As you are now at Goldsborough, you entertain strong hopes of your neighbors & your Father coming to see you. Indeed, if my health would admit of my turning out, I would come to see you and bring you what you wish, but my health is not yet sufficient to turnout only a few miles from home and the least exposure to cold will again and again affect my breast with severe pain and mercurial lameness as you often heard me say, “Mercury will ruin the best constitution.” Therefore, beware of mercurial medicines. Yet I hope I shall be able to send you what you want shortly as I’ve no doubt some of the neighbors will come out to you if I cannot come to see you.
I wish you would try to get a furlough to come to see us as you are acquainted with traveling about and being near to home now. Tell your officers your Father cannot come to bring you things to wear, having been sick and still in feeble health, & you wish to go home to get them and you have been out about six months. They formerly allowed [soldiers] to go home before being out so long. I am at this time hardly able to write because of a fresh attack on my breast and being scarce able to be about out of doors as warm as it is.
I had been to Lexington some days ago expecting to get the box Jordan Rominger found at Gordonsville but it was not yet come to Lexington so I was only exposed to a fresh attack of disease. I could not have went myself but for paying the freight as I was doubtful I could not bear it, my hear being feeble, so I was disappointed about the box again. The agent at the depot told me it was very doubtful of the box ever being brought to Lexington. Only the man ordering it sits a straddle of it and carries it along with him as he goes along. Otherwise it will be neglected as every depot is crowded and half of the boxes are not transported so I fear it will be lost or partly rotten by the potatoes & fruit in it rotting before I ever get it. But I must see Mr. Rominger about it as I paid him ten dollars for his trouble in bringing your pack to you & finding & bringing your box to you or home as I had directed him. I am going to the office today and will try to find out if any of the neighbors are going out shortly to your regiment.
I am told Mr. Trougut Chitty is going before long to bring his son a box of provisions, &c. I understood a few moments ago the 48th Regiment is gone to Wilmington. If so, it appears you are almost constantly going so it is difficult to know where to find your regiment. However, I will try to buy another hat and send you what is wanted as soon as I can. I wish to do all I can for you temporally & spiritually. If my coming out to your regiment to see you would be of great blessing to you, I would soon be with you if I knew I would not be taken sick but I know I would be taken down sick which would only make matters worse & cause sorrow to you. We are all on foot but I am not well. I want to go to Mr. Beards to buy a hat for you. I fear it will make me worse. I must close by saying you know my advice to you—to serve God and be cheerful, shun all evil, follow that which is good, and may the Lord’s kind Providence keep you always under His care and protection.
By your affectionate Father, — Solomon Hage
[Davidson county, North Carolina] February 3, 1863
My dear son,
I take my pen in hand to answer your letter to inform you that we are all in common health except Selena Faw. She has been vaccinated [for small pox] a week ago this morning. She took a chill and is very sick. Your Father took Miss Mary Chitty home yesterday. She wants to stay one week at home because her brother came home from the army on a visit. He was at our house yesterday a few minutes but I did not see him for I was not at home in the afternoon. I went to see Phebe Tesch and her family. Two of her children has the typhoid fever but I think they are not very dangerous. But Henry Chitty said he will come next Sunday to our house and bring Mary again and talk with us. He says he is to hunt those runaways and talk with them to go back again to the army. The talk is now that all them that has furloughs shall be out there till the 10th or 15 in this month but I don’t think that many of them will go for Uncle Christian [Spaugh] was at our house last Saturday [and] he said he don’t know if his boys will go or not for they can’t stand it.
Old Mr. Miller went out to Lynchburg three weeks ago to bring Jacob Sink, 1 son of Dan Sink, home on furlough but day before yesterday he brought him home a corpse and so we can hear a’most every day of deaths in the army of the poor soldiers.
Oh what distressing news came to us when we read your letter dated the 24th of January our our poor Daniel Wilson’s death. 2 We all felt sorry for his death and lament that he had to suffer so much and be punished to death. But I hope and trust that his precious soul is at rest if his body was punished to death. It will be all clear at the day of judgement. His sister Ellen came to our house that afternoon and heard your letter read. It almost broke her poor heart to think how he had to suffer and to be punished. Now I want you to try and find out when he died and whether he was sick or staved to death if you can see that steward that brought the news to you about him. Oh, it pains my very heart to think that you all have to stay till you die. Why not make peace and let them all come home and die at home. Oh, I do hope the good Lord will say before long, stop this war. It is enough. Live in peace.
We have a deep snow. It fell last night. About a week ago it snowed a while day but it melted off as fast as it came down.
I will tell you a little about home concerns. we sold 20 bushels of turnips at 1 dollar per bushel, a couple hundred weight of pork at 30 dollars per hundred [weight], 5 loads of hay at one dollar per hundred. 1 load of hay was divided to Sam, Aleck, Julius and Mary. It amounted to 21 dollars. Mr. Raper said last week that the wheat sold at 7 dollars per bushel. Corn at 4 dollars, and two sheep sold at 22 dollars. It was Lawyer Paine’s sale. Now they want to thrash the clover seed but it is always too damp and there is much cry for seed everywhere. Philip Hege—he is lost. His mother says she don’t know nothing of him at all. And Levi Fishel—he is gone the same way, They say they don’t know nothing of him—where he is. Julius sold his rabbit skins for 50 dozen. Henry Shoafs two boys came home and now are taken very sick. They think that they may die. About your provision box, we’ll send it the first opportunity we have. I would be glad if you had everything you mentioned and a heap more if I could make it so. Please write as often as you can. But remain your dear Mother until death, — Catherine Hege
1 Jacob Sink (1842-1863) was the son of Daniel Sink (1814-1883) and Mary Belinda Leonard (1819-1895) of Davidson county, North Carolina. Jacob was a private in Co. C, 33rd North Carolina Infantry. He died on 28 January 1863 at the age of 20.
2Daniel Wilson served as a private in Co. H, 15th North Carolina Infantry. He was conscripted in mid-July 1862, became sick almost immediately, but joined his regiment in time to participate in the Battle of South Mountain where he was taken prisoner on 14 September, sent to Fort Delaware, later paroled and then hospitalized at Richmond until his death of scurvy on 11 November 1862.
Davidson county, North Carolina Sunday, March 1st 1863
My dear son C. A. Hege,
I today received a letter from you dated February 23rd near Pocataligo Station, South Carolina. It gave us much pleasure to hear that you was well and kind Providence still protected you from har,. We also had received a letter on Wednesday last (bearing date Thursday the 19th February, Wilmington, N. C.) in which you seemed to write with a sorrowful heart because you had to be ordered to leave North Carolina to go to Charleston where fighting was expected & would likely be a disappointment to us and you in our coming to see you at Wilmington and bring you the box of provisions and clothing. And sure enough we were disappointing. When we got to Goldsboro, we were told by General French to a certainty that Cook’s Brigade was gone to Charleston, S. C. and with a sad heart we turned our oars toward home again, praying God’s mercy and kind Providence to go with you and bless, cheer and comfort you wherever you have to go.
We are subject to troubles and disappointments in this world but blessed by God for the consolations in the promises of His holy word where I trust, as I have already informed you by a letter or two, of our trip to Goldsboro, the difficulty and exposure in getting along with our boxes, and my sending to you, on my way home the more valuable part of my box by a stranger who told me he was going to Charleston and proffered to take it to you. He told me his name was Lt. H. Purdew [Pardue?], 22nd Regiment S. C. troops (from Edgefield District, S. C.). I want you to write to me if Perdew did deliver it to you or not. Perhaps it may be never brought to you. I am anxious to know if he is true to his promise. If not, it is a warning for the future.
I on yesterday before went to Salem to see Henry N. Chitty expecting to send you some nick nack eatables by him but he was just on the point of starting to his regiment again so I missed my aim again. However, I bought paper, envelopes, and postage stamps and sent them to you by him (1 dollar paper, 1 dollar postage stamps, and 30 cents envelopes). I wrote to you what I sent to you by Lt. Perdew in the other last letter. If you ge the articles sent by Mr. Perdew, tell me what you received from him. Mt. Lt. Perdew promised faithfully to bring it to you. If he deceives me, I will never trust anything in another man’s hand again.
Mary and Julius were greatly amused with the little string of palm leaf you sent them. Julius and Aleck sometimes get the cymbal you gave to Julius to turnoff some music wishing you was here again to help fix it in tune. I myself often which I could arrange to get you out of the army but it appears our big heads are going to have everybody in the army and but few to raise food for man or beast.
Deserters are nearly all gone to the army again but some have scattered fences for Captain Roper and [ ]. Levi Fishel also was taken to Raleigh and is unable to walk, I am told. It is said they must all go from the shoe shops, iron works, and other government contracts into the army but who will raise breadstuffs? I di think many are already suffering for food at home and abroad. Corn is not to be had even at 5 dollars per bushel, oats at 3 dollars, wheat at 6 and 7 dollars per bushel for Confederate money. There is a famine coming if the war does not cease. There are some movements in the western states favorable for peace. May God aid ever effort for a speedy settlement of this unhuman war.
In conclusion, I will only say to you, my dear son, let us pursue our race and work and strive and pray, still growing more in grace and knowledge day by day. By your Father, — Solomon Hege
Davidson county, North Carolina March 11, 1863
I now take my pen in hand to inform you that we are all well at present and hope when these few lines reach your hands may find you enjoying the same state of health. I am sorry that you can’t be at home when your birthday is. Last year you was here and Daniel Wilson and Aunt Caty Spaugh was here too and now they are both dead. There has been a heap of deaths and births and marriages since then. Your grape stalks and service trees are growing.
The balance of the conscripts will have to go off the second of April but there won’t be many to go for the most of them are in some government business. Mr. John Burk and Louis Hardman and several more are making saltpetre at Mr. Hardman’s. They make it out of ashes.
The deserters are almost all gone to their companies again. The officers caught June Albarty last week on a pine tree. He was breaking some pine bushes to lay on. They also found Christian Fishel hiding place under the hog stable. Mr. Weisner says that as soon as you are stationed at a place, he will try again to come to see you.
I will tell you about our work. We planted our potatoes last and Sam and Aleck and Mike Craver went up to Uncle John Fishel’s Monday to sow oats and it rained yesterday and it was too wet to plough and they came home. We haven’t made garden yet. It is always too wet.
Now I will tell you about the prices. Corn $5 per bushel. Wheat 68 per bushel. Flour #30 per barrel. Bacon $1 per bb. Clover seed $40 per [ ]. Pappy has taken your watch to Esqr. Riley in Lexington to fix it. He hasn’t fixed it yet. Jesse Mock went after his boys. They are both sick in the hospital. He has been gone two weeks and han’t come with them yet. They hadn’t their furlough yet last Sunday. I must stop writing. Requesting you to write to your affectionate sister, — Mary
[Davidson county, North Carolina] 8 April 1863
My dear son,
I now take my pen in hand to drop a few lines to answer your letter which gave us great satisfaction to hear once more from you for we send to the office last Saturday and it was for nothing. This morning we received your kind letter which gave us great satisfaction.
Now I will tell you something about Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I and Pappy and Miss Mary went on Friday. We had a very interesting meeting and on Sunday Brother Bonson preached and the church was plum full but our thoughts was with you poor soldiers in what way you have to spend Easter. You was all remembered in our prayers in Friday’s meeting—especially in communion. On Saturday evening, Black Lucy, Sam’s sister, came to our house and was much rejoiced to see us and the old place but Mary—she went to Uncle Christian’s on Saturday evening and stayed until Sunday morning [so] she didn’t see her. She asked about you and how you are and how you are a getting along.
And now the talk is that the [ ] that they are going to take the negroes to throw up breastworks and when they are done throwing them up, send them home again until they need them again and then call them out again.
We will try and send a box of things with Mr. Troy and a good many of our neighbors will do the same. I send you a little pack with Mr. Chitty on Sunday which i hope you got it before now. I thought it would do you a little good if you get nothing but [ ] corn and beef and not too plenty of that.
I must bring my scribbling to a close for my head aches and I am very tired for they all went to bed but sam. He was a sitting on the chair asleep and so no more. you may know that you fel very nigh to me or I would not write a letter when I was so tired. But remain your dear Mother until death, — Catharine Hege
Davidson county, North Carolina June 20, 1863
My dear son C. A Hege,
I drop a few lines to inform you that we are all well except myself. I have been affected with rheumatic pains in my shoulders and in my neck which I suffer very much pain—almost unable to do my work. I hope when these few lines come to hand, they may find you in good health. It is a great blessing to hear that you can enjoy that. May the good Lord be with you all times through all your hardships and suffering which you have to make through during this war. Be obedient and kind in every respect and pray daily and hourly to our good Savior to protect you from dangers and suffering during this war and bring you safe home again to your dear parents.
I have been told by some that come from the army that if you would go to your General Cook and would beg kindly, you could get a furlough to come home for a week or two and tell him that you would like to see your folks and you would be sure to come back again until the furlough is out. I received my ring which you sent me with much love and respect to you for it in remembrance of you and thank you kindly.
Now I tell you something about our work and what for girls I have to work this week for me. Catharine Weisner washed one day, spun wool one day, and then she had to go to Rapers to bind wheat. He had her a couple weeks ago to bind for him. And Annie Fishel came on Tuesday morning and spun wool all the week. And Tracy Weisner came on Thursday noon to bind wheat. She is going to bind all harvest here for us. And next week Mary Weaver will come to bind also. But Sam and Pappy has to do all the cradling all by themselves for we can’t hire nobody for they say all the officers has to leave—all but the Captains now—in a couple of weeks.
We heard today that they caught Henry Weere 1 in John Buck’s meadow. They told him to stop and he commenced to run and they shot at him. They didn’t hurt him. Mr. Raper took him by the hand and led him about. Henderson Canen got killed a guarding a bridge down below here. He sat on the track and the cars run over him and killed him quite unexpected.
Miss Fanny said you shall tell David Fry that she is at our house and she wants him to write a long letter to her. Direct it to Midway. So no more at present. Remain your dear Mother until death. — C. Hege
1 Henry Weere was a private in Co. H, 15th North Carolina Infantry.
Davidson county, North Carolina July 15, 1863
My dear son C. A. Hege,
Today I received a letter by the hands of Solomon Tesche’s daughter sent by you by Mr. Livengood which of course was interesting to us all as we were expecting a letter from you on Saturday, more especially so as we heard there had been some fighting near Richmond and the 48th and 15th regiments had been in it but at the same time was told it was only driving back the Yankees [with] but one man was killed and a few wounded—bad enough, but thank God it was no worse. Em Spaugh wrote in his letter you run them nearly 40 miles. I hope they did not want to hurt you. If only they would always run from each other.
I was much grieved to hear that Gen. Lee went into Pennsylvania and soon hear they had a horrid battle in Pennsylvania and Lee took 40 thousand prisoners and many other lies which was soon contradicted. They had better not went into Pennsylvania. Next we’ll hear they are prisoners over there. If only the poor soldiers—both North and South—would lay down their arms and tell their officers they will no more fight as that is not the right way to settle the matter for it only makes bad worse.
The State Legislature has passed an act the other week to enroll all white men from the age of 18 to 50 years of age to call out as a Home Guard for State defense or a part of them if need be to serve only in the state of North Carolina only three months at a time. How it is going to operate is yet untried as there are but few left now to take care of the farms and procure bread for the people and with all the wearisome toiling, it appears as if for some wise purpose our gracious God intends to cause a part of the wheat and oats to rot in the fields before it is housed.
Men have been boasting there is a plenty of grain to feel the army two years but they have forgotten that there once was a great ruler boasting of his power and wealth (called) Nebuchadnezzar who was turned out to graze with the cattle till his nail had grown like birds claws. The season has been excessively wet for about four weeks so but little wheat or oats is yet under shelter. The corn is running away with grass. It would be more service for you all to come home and fight General crab so we could hope to raise corn and live like our Divine Savior designed we should live—in peace with all men—for it is certain the longer the war is prosecuted the worse it makes the matter as it is a public acknowledged fact (yet with reluctance) that a large portion of our Confederate States have been given up to be ruled by the Northern Government.
Vicksburg is taken & without it, the whole of country west of the Mississippi will be under the control of the North I am told. What then do we have of the Confederate States yet? Oh, what has secession brought us to? — waste, anguish and ruin. Oh that God in infinite mercy would speedily bring things right before all to ruin goes in our once far-famed country.
On yesterday we received your bundle of clothing & some tracts. Ephraim Fishel also brought some things yet at Lexington. I will go to see Mr. Elias Livengood & try to send what you wish if he goes back to camp again. You are getting many tracts to read it appears from what you send home. For the most part it is good reading—only the great principle seems to be wanting to a great extent—love to our fellow man in all places. Loves is always commendable but revenge is not. Oh how much better if all ministers of the gospel in the camp and elsewhere in writing tracts and preaching would have dwelt more on the true principle of the Savior—true charity. Ask your chaplain with all courtesy to preach from Matthew 5th Chapter, 43 to 47 verses. May God bless you and keep your heart and mind in Christ.
By your Father, — Solomon Hege
Davidson county, North Carolina Tuesday, July 28, 1863
My dear son,
In haste I drop a few lines to inform you hat we are all in common health [though worn down] very much from exposure of hard labor. But I hope it will find you in good health. That is always some encouragement to hear—that you keep in good health [even] if you have to fare worse than our dog, for we can so often hear that you have nothing but a little cornbread and bacon day after day. Can’t you get nourish taters or nothing of that kind? If you would draw some flour and buy some apples if you can, you could make some apple dumplings. We had some for dinner and Aleck said he eat one desert and Sam not far behind. Julius thought he could eat 8 but he couldn’t finish 6. We had 1 dozen left. We all said if only Constantine had them. But all we can do is to trust in the good Lord to protect you from this horrid and miserable affair and perhaps bring [you] safe home again. You know it is nothing impossible for Him for I do believe and trust in the good Lord. If we all would pray from the bottom of our hearts to our heavenly father and call on Him to have mercy on both sides—North and South, it would soon come to a close, but so [far] they all have forgotten that they ought to call on the Almighty to decide it. But still I will pray in secret and in private to the Almightly to have mercy on his poor people and say to those big men, let them go home in peace and safety for their life can be taken from you also as well as them.
Last Saturday Papa had to tend at the old muster ground to the enrollment from forty-five to fifty for home guard and next Saturday they have to attend at Wash Wilson’s to elect officers. But your Pap says he can’t go unless they take the car___ for him to ride for he can’t run the Yankees, and if they take them all, what will become of the balance. The Lord only knows.
Now I will tell you something about the neighborhood. Catharine Weisner is a going to Salem in the dining room in the school house next and Sam Tesch’s wife has the erysipelas at her leg. Rosey Pealer was buried last Wednesday at Freidburg and July Disher was buried at Olivet, wife of Henry Disher. They had the typhoid fever. Miss Pealer was 4 weeks sick and Mrs. Disher 9 days and he is no better yet and their baby is sick too, All the rest of the neighbors are in common health as far as I know.
Next Saturday Mr. John White’s (father of John Henry White) funeral will be preached at Friedburg by Bro. Helsebeck. It was his request to get him to preach it and our next communion will be on the 15th of August and there will be but few if they keep on taking off like it is said they would, and there will be a quarterly meeting at Olivet. It commences on Saturday, August the 1st.
Aleck and Mike is a working here this week. Next week Aleck will stay at home and [ ] will come so they gang about the whole summer. They cleaned off the stockyard to stack the straw. The talk about thrashing wheat next week but I don’t know whether they get ready.
We had no letter from you since 19 July. It was dated the 13th. We wrote two or three times to you since that. Tell David Fry we received his letter but Fanny was not at our house but she shall have it next Saturday. She is well as far as I know. I have got her to answer Mother’s letter as quick as she can.
Dear brother, I will finish Mother’s letter. Andrew Berrier was here last Sunday and told us all about what he seen when he was taken prisoner. He said that he was in the mud above his knees and the Yankees came so fast that they just taken him. I was at preaching last Sunday and there we heard from your regiment. The quarterly metingwill be at Friendship next Sunday and at Midway on the second Sunday of August. There I would like to go but I can’t go by myself. Oh, if you would be at home, I would go to a heap of places where I don’t go to now.
Please write soon. Your dear Mother, — Catharine Hege
Davidson county, North Carolina November 4, 1864
Dear brother Constantine A. Hege,
With pleasure we again receive a letter from you of date October 1st and were much pleased to hear that you are well and doing well. And your fellow school mates from Salem are also well and it is a great consolation to us to hear of the kindest care and attention on your part by the kind ministers you spoke of with such praise and honor. Surely you have good cause to adore and praise our Heavenly Father in causing it to be so well with you and your school mates since the war has caused such in surmountable difficulties in sending you means of assistance.
Father is about to hire a teacher to teach school for Julius and myself at home for the time being. Oh, may the good Lord give us peace—blessed peace–throughout a loud land so we may live a life of peace on earth in hope of everlasting peace in Heaven.
We are all well as usual though often surrounded with cares and sorrowful hearts. But again we cast our care upon the Lord and rejoice in His promises. May He be with you to bless you and sustain you. Still remaining your affectionate sister until death, — Mary L. Hege
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.
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
This letter was written by 56 year-old William J. Gray (1808-1888), the son of Andrew Gray (1770-1857) and Mary Simpson (1785-1863) of Little River township, Orange county, North Carolina. William was married to Judia B. Dunnegan (1827-1896). Together they had at least ten children, the oldest being son, William Simpson Gray (1846-1906) born in October 1846.
William wrote the letter to his younger brother, Alexander M. Gray (1819-1874) who was apparently in the Confederate service at the time.
[Little River township, Orange county, North Carolina] December 8th 1864
Mr. Alexander M. Gray,
Marion Sneed received letter of the 24th Nov. This leaves all well. Andrew & Sidney both has had diphtheria but both of them got well without a doctor. We shucked your corn last Saturday & finished cribbing today. There is 56 barrels of good sound corn and 10 barrels of nubbins. I delivered your tithes—oats & fodder—last Monday (8 3/4 bushels of oats & 368 Pounds of fodder).
Major finished sowing wheat & is going to repairing the pasture fence next. There has been no press master there to press horses as yet. I expect them every day. I will send your cloths & money the first chance. Marion went to see Jones at Sumner’s old place & he cannot tell when he will start to his company. I understand the Yankees has taken 200 of our men prisoners at Stoney Creek this side of Petersburg. I got a letter from William. He didn’t write where he was but I suppose he is near Williamston in this state. He is well and marching every 2 or 3 days. He told nothing about his fare. The most of the Senior Reserves is gone in this neighborhood. Harvey Rountree has got back & R. N. Hull. The county was divided into 3 companies. The first company went first, then the 2nd. Now they have taken the 3rd company last Monday, they say for 30 days.
The crops of corn turned out smaller than many expected. Very little to sell except Negro’s crops. They offer $100 per barrel. I thought six of your hogs would be enough to fatten this fall. They are going to press everything that can be taken. The press man told me if Charley Miller’s wife would not open her door and let him have his brandy, he would be compelled to get some men and break the door open. I told him I thought it a hard case to put Charles in the army, then break open his house & take what he left from his family. He admitted it was, but he had to obey orders. 1 They took one of H[arvey] Rountree’s best mules & allowed $800 in a government scrip which I consider as good as nothing. The country here is feeling the effects of this miserable war more than they ever did before. Some pretend to think it will last four years longer. I hope not one year longer.
I hear from Tom Rountree nearly every week he is yet in the ditches at Petersburg. I went to see Tom Gray. He promised to make your shoes & bring them. Last Saturday was a week [but] I have [not] seen nor heard from him since. If he won’t make them, I will get Fisk to make you a pair. When you write next, write whether or not you have heard from Robert J. Carden. 2 I saw his Father [John Carden] in Hillsborough. He is very uneasy about him. Has heard nothing from him since you wrote to the family. He heard by some source he was seen in the mountains after the fight of the 19th October [Battle of Cedar Creek] sitting by a tree with his ankle sprained. You had better write to the family as you did before & tell me also whether you know anything of him or not and if one of us should fail to get the letter the other might get it & let the old man hear from him. Thomas P[erson] Berry’s Solomon is dead. 3
It is getting late & I have to take a beef to town tomorrow. I butcher it at home, keep the hide, & deliver the meat at 80 cents per lb. & get one-quarter of the pay in salt at 50 cents a pound. The beef is pressed. County salt is 80 cents. H. N. Brown sells at $1.00 per lb. I will come to a close. I remain yours, &c. — Wm. J. Gray
Alexr. M. Gray
1 This was probably Charles Rountree Miller (1826-1897), the son of William Miller (1798-1830) and Rebecca Rountree (1804-1837) of Little River township, Orange county, N. C. In December 1864 when this letter was written, Charley’s wife, Francis Jane (Nichols) Miller, had five children at home ranging in age from 1 to 9 years old.
2 Robert John Carden (1835-1910) was the son of John Carden (1804-1896) and Mary Ann Stevens (1798-1874) of Orange county, N. C. He served as a private in Co. K, 12th North Carolina Infantry.In the Battle of Cedar Creek, the 12th North Carolina fought in Brig. Gen. Robert D. Johnston’s Brigade of Brig. General John Pegram’s Division, under the overall command of of LTG Jubal Early.Robert’s father has reason to be concerned as late in the day of the battle, after initial success, the Union army regrouped and, led by the Union cavalry, attacked Early’s army that had not pressed their advantage and most of the Confederate troops panicked and ran, the Union army taking many prisoners.
3 Thomas Person Berry (1808-1884) was a neighbor of the Gray’s in Little River township, Orange county, North Carolina. Thomas and his wife, Sarah Lunsford (1811-1870) had four children but none were named Solomon. But Thomas was also a slaveholder and my suspicion is that “Solomon” was one of his slaves.