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LT: August 21, 1864 Francis Marion Poteet

Francis Marion Poteet of the 49th North Carolina wrote a series of nine letters during the Siege of Petersburg, all available online as part of the North Carolina State Archive’s Digital Civil War Collection1.  The descriptions of each letter indicate they are in public domain status and may be reproduced elsewhere.  I also asked for written permission to use the transcriptions of the letters.  Poteet’s letters convey the difficult decisions facing the men in Lee’s army in 1864-65 as the end of the war drew near.  Stay and fight, or desert and return home to family?  It was a tough question that all of Lee’s men faced in the trenches surrounding Petersburg and Richmond.

August 21, 18642

PetersBurg Va August 21 1864 Dear Wife and children I seat my self this morning to Rite you afew lines to let you now that I am only in Comon health at this time but I doo hope that these few lines may Reach your kind hands and find you all in good health you Rote to me to not Runaway if it is the will of my loving Wife I wont Runaway god nows that it tis hard times hear I want you to send me somthing to eat by sumbody if Pery Walker dont fetch it you Rote that you would all mose be on your head till Higgins Come back Dont bee uneasy for if it tis the will of you that I Should stay till the war ends I will stay if

[page 2] I live but you dont now how bad that I want to see you all I dreamed about you this morning I thought that I was at home and as well Satsfide as I ever was in my life but when I waked up I was laying on my blanket if it tis god will I will get home some time are other but I dont know when if you haint Sent nothing when this letter comes to hand if any body will fetch me any thing I want you to send me sum 5 are 6 Rosenyears I haint tasted one this year and if tha if you have got them I would like for you to send me sum cewcumbers I haint drew no money yet and I dont now when I will I have borrowed 10 are 15 Dollars to get

[page 3] me sumthing to eat but the time is now when we cant borrow if I was at home I think that I could get sumthing that could eat tha are fighting now and I dont now how our men is fares I can hear ther guns as plain as if I was in amile of them you Rote that Mr Dickson and Mrs Dickson sent me ther love and Respects I had lefe the horspitel the day bee fore Mrs Dickson come down to see grason She sent me one union and 4 June apels I eat them but I dont now hoo sent them to me I thank them to doo so again if tha please I got 2 thirds of aplug of tobaco with this letter <suis?> Walker will fetch me sumthing to eat I wish you would send alitel with him [added at top of page] Mary I want you to Rite plainer if you can next time you Rote that you had Rote once be fore this time if you did I dident git it

[page 4] PetersBurg Va August 21 1864 Dear daughter I thank you for Riting to me you Rote your letter 5 of Aug. I want you to prepare to meat your god in pease if you haint and I want you to pray for your father and pray that he may have his life spared and live to get home once more to see you all Dear wife if you can send me sum sweete potatoes Remember me in your potisions and ask god to have mursey on me and help me to pray aright to my god I dident Rite to you last week for I could not git to pen and ink I am in the Bigade horse- pitel now but I aint very bad of my brest and side hurts me sum I am thankful that I aint in this fight I must close by saying that I Remain your loving husband until Death god bless F.M. Poteet to M.A.E. Poteet you is my prayer


  1. Poteet-Dickson Letters, 1861-1902, Local Call Number P.C. 1825, MARS ID 5209. Digital Civil War Collection, North Carolina State Archives, North Carolina. Courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, Raleigh, North Carolina.
  2. Courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, Raleigh, North Carolina. The transcription of this letter may not be reproduced without the express written consent of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History.  All rights reserved.
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