9 February 1862: “…they are steady and prudent not partaking of the vices so common in camp – George told me he had been often begged to play cards – he told them he did not know how and never intended to know…”

Item description: Letter, 9 February 1862, from Frances Goggin Parker to her son Robert W. Parker, a soldier in the 2nd Virginia Cavalry.

[Transcription available below images.]

Item citation: From volume 2 in the Robert W. Parker Papers, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

At home   February 9 (62

My Dear son
We were very glad to receive your letter written 20′ of last month and always rejoice to hear from you if we could hear nothing more than you were well good health is one of the greatest blessings we can enjoy in this sin stricken world – I fell that I cannot be as thankful as I wish for your good health while so many have sickened and died both in camp and at home you have been blessed with good health I trust you have been spared for some good purpose and you will be humbled at the thought of the blessings you have received and be always ready to thank the giver for every mercy bestowed on you as my sons are obliged to be engaged in this distressing warfare – it helps a great deal to keep my spirits up – to hear they get on well with their companions to hear they are steady and prudent not partaking of the vices so common in camp – George told me he had been often begged to play cards – he told them he did not know how and never intended to know – he had been asked if he had any temper that he could get on any way and not swear – he told them swearing done no good no matter what they had to encounter he got on better without it than they did with it – there is no wrong way about any thing that will do in place of the right way – the right way is the safe and pleasant way in every sense of the word – George had enjoyed better health until taken sick when he came home and was more fleshy than at any time of his life he was four inches thicker around the waist his cloths all too small I hardly knew how he could wear them – he stayed four weeks he had not gotten over his cold and cough entirely I was in hopes he would not start when he went to town last Monday but I hear they all except Joie Preston & John Mcgee got on the cars to Lynchburg and started Mcgee was examined by Dr Owen and sent back I heard Cousin Mary was very sick caused Joie to come back – She was at her Pas on Sunday before I have not heard the particulars of the case – I understand all the companys have left Montary except Walkers Booths and Meadows I would suppose a poor stake for defense – I expect you have heard of the late battle in Kentucky in which it is said the south were very victorious we do not get any paper now and I have seen no account of it – I hear Capt Pollard is going to start shortly to act as sutler for your regiment I always have thought he would get into the matter some way – it is to be hoped peace will be made before all the grain is consumed there will be so few left to make provisions to carry it on if a drought takes the balance – you asked us what we thought of your being drafted before you left the tented field – we don’t know what advice to give in such a case but think we would not enlist – we think if you could come home and manage right you could do more for your country than you can there and be much more comfort to your family – we make a hobling out geting on with all the places your Pa’s health has been so bad all the fall and winter he could attend to but little no one to help him and recently others of the family have been sick we expected Caroline to die last week and the week before – but she has appeared to mend some the last few days Candace has been very sick the last week she appears better – Sam has been in the barn helping a little about tramping cloverseed the past few days Alexander’s foot is mending I wrote to you he had cut it the last letter I started I long for the time when you could be at home in peace – I am sorry for the Servants down there it appears there is no better way that we can see than for them to stay there – Billy Snow’s hogs and cattle are there yet to take care of Mrs Newman’s Milch Cows there to winter her sons are in the army – poor old jobe and Elvy have a [terver?] if they half do their

vc  Bcbn nduty – jobe keeps the 2 best horses that belong to the firm there to hall his wood and plow if there was any weather to plow – there has not been a plow starter here yet – The mules look about as well as before they went away all to the hair being off we don’t use old Cit but little your Pa thinks she is with foal and she is so old he trys to take great care of her, we have two young lambs and sixteen pigs at home – we have not heard from Jobe’s sows since he was up three weeks past he had fixed beds for them and expected them to take bed constantly – bacon is starting at 22cts pr lb lard is worth about the same – wheat the last account was worth one dollar thirty seven and a half cts there have been more distillerys started which will make corn much higher than it would have been and I fear make worse for our army – 15 feb I have had no chance to mail my letter – Caroline is mending Candace professes to be about well the rest of the sick better no new case Sam has plowed three days this week we have had a few fine days –

but it is now snowing fast and bids for a deep snow – Rebecca was here last monday all tolerable well – Moorman grows fast – Franklin’s Peter is dead making the 3d in the family since christmas – Rbt Walker has been here this week: and made me a pare of shoes – Fannie Robertson spent tuesday here – Uncle John is very poorly – Major mending slowly – John Graves was here last week speaks of going to camp so soon as able he has had the mumps and fever lately I must close all join me in love to you – write often it is a great pleasure to hear from you I have not heard from your Brother since he left nearly 2 weeks – I hope to hear from you both to day if the weather is not too bad for anyone to turn out – farewell my son never be unmindful of your temporal and spiritual interests

Mother F

Your Pa is fixing to start to Billy [?]’s sale –

More about Robert Parker: Robert W. Parker was born in 1838 in Pittsylvania County, Va. His father, Ammon H. Parker, and mother, Frances Goggin Parker, eventually settled in Bedford County, Va., where Robert became a farmer. Robert served in the 2nd Virginia Cavalry of the Confederate States of America Army from the onset of the American Civil War, and attained the rank of 4th Sergeant. Robert was killed in action at Appomattox Courthouse, Va., on the morning of 9 April 1865, the same day that Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to the Union Army. Surviving him was his wife, Rebecca Louise Fitzhugh Walker Parker, and two sons.

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