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.
September 25, 18642
PetersBurg Va Virgina Horspitel Sept 25th 1864 Dear Wife and Children I seat my self down to Rite you afew lines to let you now that I am well only my side and my hips and knees I doo hope and pray to god that these few lines will come to hand and find you all well I have not drawd no money yet and I dont now when I will if you cant git along with spending that silver let it go tha will be money after we are dead and gon I have got about too thirds of that tobacco that you sent me yet and I wanted to bring sum of hit home with me when I come home but I dont Recking that I will tell the Children that I want them to bee good children and serve the lord and never turn back to the world as long as tha live for it done me <????> good when I heard that tha had joined the Church than any thing
[page 2] of since I have left home only I was glad to hear when you was delivered it seems like that it done me more good when I heard that Elizabeth and Thomas had Joined the church I want you to tell <thomas?> to Rite to me if he is alive yet I for got to Rite to him tell him that I pray for him to be spared to live till I can git to see him I wish that he could git to come to my Company if he has to come back any more I hope and pray to god that he wont have to come back Dear Wife I have not got no letter sence the one that was dated the 19 Aug. it seems long to me I hope and pray that the lord will have mursey on you all and spare your lives to live till I git to come home again and see you all once more god is our helper and all that can help it looks hard that I cant git to come home F.M. Poteet to M.A.E. Poteet and bless and save you all is my prayer
- 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. ↩