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 30, 18642
Peters Burg VA N.C. Horspitel August 30th 1864 Dear Wife and children I seat my Self this Morning to Rite you afew lines to let you now that I am not very well at this time but I doo hope and pray that these few lines will Reach your kind hands and find you all injoying the best of health you Rote that you Dident <lout?> to Rite any More till you got a ancer I have Rote every night but one and then I hadant no paper to Rite you Rote like you thought that I was mad god nows that I never thought of being
[page 2] Mad I think if nothing haping that I will get A Furlow against the midel of September I haint went before the board yet but the next time it sets I think that I will go Before it I Dont now whether I will git it are not but I expect to try it I Received your kind letter and was glad to hear from you all and hear that you all was well but it filled my heart with Joy when I Read that Mary & Thomas had profesed Religion I was sick and could not Injoy my self as I would
[page 3] if I had of bin well I am not dangrous if I dont take A back set I expect to try and take Care of my self if I can I want you to still pray for me and tell all of my Friends to pray for Me I try to pray for every body and peace it seems like that tha wont be any More peace in this life but I still hope and pray for it I think maby that peace will come sometime are nother if we still pray for hit the thing that Pery Walker brung I haint never seen them and I dont expect to see them William Smart
[page 4] Come over and told me that he had them but I could not eat them I was taking medeson I told him to sell them the best that he could and bring me the money he sed that the apels was wasted Roten that tha wasant no acount he sed that he would try to save the dried fruit for me till I got well I told him to sell the potatoes for what he could <??????????> that tha would not [a stain obscures the beginning of the line] bee fit to eat again I got well he dident say any thing about any unions I dont now whether you sent [remainder of letter missing]
- 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. ↩
- 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. ↩