13 February 1862: “Mr Johnson had a number of fine rose cuttings from his garden and left them on route…”

Item description: In this note, displaced Southerner L.A. Johnson writes to her friend Octavia Wyche. Mrs. Johnson appears to have fled from her home to a safer location, at which her husband had been trying to meet her, but had been prevented by a Union blockade. At the time Mrs. Johnson wrote, it seems that her husband had finally been able to cross through the blockade (despite losing the family garden’s rose cuttings along the way), but Mrs. Johnson was already planning to relocate to yet another safe haven. Mrs. Johnson discusses her recently obtained “rare roots” and requests cuttings from Octavia Wyche’s garden, presumably to plant at her new place of refuge.

[Transcription available below image.]

Item citation: From the Wyche and Otey Family Papers #1608, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Dear Octavia

Mr. Johnson has come at last after being blockaded by the Federals and making several attempts to reach us, & I expect to be off tomorrow, fearing to remain longer. I have been so disappointed in not getting to see you. I have some rare (things) roots Old Judge Green of Lebanon sent me but have not had time to look into them.

Mr Johnson had a number of fine rose cuttings from his garden and left them on route, I [want?] something from your beautiful selection, and I send Uncle Charlton to ask you for any thing of a small kind that you think I would like, especially rose cuttings. I would go myself but cannot possibly this evening. I bid yourself and darling family a fond adeiu, if I should get of tomorrow, if not, I shall have a little leisure to see you again. My regards to Willie Kirkland and Lieut Otey.

in haste  Yours affectionately
L.A. Johnson

Feby 13th/62

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