22 October 1861: “What an unhappy scamp is Peter – but pray dont be too hard on poor Laura – she was young & a fool”

Item description: Letter, 22 October 1861, from Jane Petigru North, Badwell Plantation, Abbeville, South Carolina, to her daughter, Jane Caroline “Carey” North Pettigrew, Bonarva Plantation, Tyrrell County, N.C. The letter briefly mentions Peter, quite possibly the slave who had fathered a child at Bonarva and subsequently was sent by Charles L. Pettigrew to serve his brother, Gen. James Johnston Pettigrew, on the battlefront in Virginia (see Charles’s letter of 2 October 1861 to James).

Item citation: From folder 247 of the Pettigrew Family Papers #592, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Yours of 8th was received on friday 18th a long old journey it was making and you had not got mine of 7th how should in fact – but you had from Cherry Mill – you say Charles had my letter – but you do not say whether he will keep Brague (?) at the offer wh[ich] I repeat again – is that he take the same care of the house & the stock – appropriate such __ as are fit for use for his meal – have all that he make garden patch & all – have the use of Nelly – take care of her and her colt and I paid him fifty bushels of corn – it is in other words to have what he can make for taking care of the place. I cannot do any thing so well as this for the place unless I could move there myself – and you can see that is impracticable – I think I can spare the 50 bushels – at any rate get it and if you come in the spring you can make an arrangement that will satisfy all.

I hope the spell of east wind and rain that we have had for three days has pelted the invaders off your coast/coast/court(?)- and that every thing will combine to show the adversary that it is a hopeless game. we had the account of the Fa___, & the affair of chickama ___ long before your letter. we get the dispatch pretty regularly & I fancy as early as you do. The courier will show you what passed in Judge Magrath’s court in wh yr uncle was concerned his wife writes me that it has excited much odium. Henry Lesesne(?) speaks otherwise of it. I hope you got the letter that I enclosed you from Cherry Mill from him. It was a keen disappointment to me that Minnie’s visit had to be given up – indeed I hardly hoped for it – seeing that war has really absorbed all the ___ – What an unhappy scamp is Peter – but pray dont be too hard on poor Laura – she was young & a fool – I feel great pity for her & for Caroline – tell the latter howdy & the former that I ask about her – who supplies her place in the nursery?  – how is my darling little daughter Jane – and is Charles Louis able to resume his books – and Anne & Tom & Baby – I take them all in a wide & warm embrace –

Louise is diligent in her garden & the thrifty nut grass keeps pace with her labours – The loom is at length started & Penda under Charlotte is trying slowly to learn – it was such a mistake to allow it ever to fall into disuse – it shall not again – I wish very much for some flax seed to sow in the spring – the old seed I had wd not come up – we have just put dow carpets, & fires begin to be pleasant in the evenings – but we shall suffer for the want of candles these long evenings. I would make them, but the tallon is wanting – how has yr daisy ___ – it is a great blessing to have plenty within ones own resources – Mr Allenton paid his travelling expenses to Columbia to meet the convention by the sale of butter in Georgetown yr aunt writes – I had a pleasant letter from Mary at Raleigh last mail I fear she will work herself half to death – I hope Jim may suit as coachman. he drove Charles ___ over awful road upon that ____ trip – and your ___ will have a better chance to reach ____ years in his hands – dont be impatient but remember John drives more often than not to destruction – Nelly has never recovered to what she was – __ Sue is better & sends blessing to Jim – they all have something pleasant to say to their people – Kate is as usual – she clings to asking after Dan he is not in the house __ your Mama ___

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