12 February 1862: “I deem it best to send my negro man and boys out of the reach of the invading foe.”

Item description: Letter dated 12 February 1862, from William S. Pettigrew at Scuppernong, N.C., to Richard or William Smith, Esquires, in Scotland Neck, N.C. Pettigrew wrote that he was removing his slaves inland in the company of a neighbor, Malachi J. White, to protect them from invading foes. He asked the Smiths if they would assist him by hiring out the slaves or finding some other disposition for them. Pettigrew noted on the letter that it was never sent.



Item citation: From folder 251 of the Pettigrew Family Papers #592, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Written by Dr. Hardison at 3 o’clock in the morning, in compliance with my request at Magnolia. I afterwards concluded not to send it.   William S. Pettigrew

Scuppernong NC. Feb 12th 1862

Richard, or Wm Smith, Esq.

Dear Sir,

In consequence of the troubled condition of our section of country, Roanoke Island having been taken and the enemies fleet & forces occupying our waters, I deem it best to send my negro man and boys out of the reach of the invading foe.

My presence here is absolutely necessary, and I have placed my people under the charge of my neighbor Mr. Malachi J. White, who will do all in his power for their safety & comfort, but will of course be at a loss to know what disposition to make of them when he reaches your neighbourhood.

I would regard it as a particular act of kindness if either of you gentlemen will act for me in this matter as you may think proper, hire the negroes out, or make whatever disposition of them you may think proper.

It may be that our mail communication will cease especially from Plymouth to this place my sister Miss Annie B. L. Pettigrew is either at Mr. Kenelm H Lewis, Rocky Mount, or at Raleigh if you at any time would wish any further advice please address a letter to my sister, who is probably at the former place who is fully authorised to act for me. If our communication is not cut off I will write you again by mail in a few days. Any assistance you may be able to ren.[der?] me in this our hour of trial will be much gratefully remembered.

It may be necessary to send these people higher up the country if you think so please send them on & have them disposed of there, in fine any disposition you may think proper to make of them will meet my entire approbation.

Very truly yours,
William S. Pettigrew

You will find a letter inclosed from my brother Charles which contains a draft in Norfolk please get it cashed or do what you both can my sister in law Mrs. Charles L. Pettigrew went up & I do not know whether to Hillsboro or at Rocky Mount I cannot tell my sister Annie whose address you have can inform you please open the inclosed letter.

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