4 October 1862: “I much regretted to learn that Mr. Foushee was so much dissatisfied with the bargain he had made with me for my negroes & mules.”

Item description: Letter, 4 October 1862, from William S. Pettigrew, Haywood, Chatham County, N.C., to William Campbell, Watson’s Bridge, N.C.

During this period in the war, William S. Pettigrew was consolidating many of his slaves from his plantations in Union-occupied eastern North Carolina to a new plantation called Haywood in Chatham County, N.C.  (Please see the post of 1 October 1862, as well as several other posts coming up later this month, for more about Pettigrew’s consolidation efforts). However, Pettigrew soon determined that Haywood was not large enough to house all of the slaves he had been consolidating there and decided instead to hire his slaves out to neighboring planters.

This letter concerns a dispute between Pettigrew and another planter, George Foushee, to whom Pettigrew had hired out several of his slaves and mules. Writing to an intermediary in the matter, William C. Campbell, Pettigrew comments on the situation. To read a full account of this dispute, please see Wayne Durrill’s article, “The Struggle for Black Freedom before Emancipation.”

Item transcription:

Haywood, Oct. 4, 1862

My dear Sir,

In consequence of an absence of a month from Haywood, your favour of the 14th & 24th Aug. was not received until my return last week, which must excuse my delay in this reply.

I much regretted to learn that Mr. Foushee was so much dissatisfied with the bargain he had made with me for my negroes & mules. Jenny is, I have no doubt, a very worthless person, but Dick is an unusually valuable man, and their children are, I presume, as children of the same age & size usually are. As to the mules, I do not know what ones they are & consequently cannot speak of them with certainty. I had regarded my mules when I saw them all last, as valuable. What [injuries?] may have been done them afterwards, I, of course, am unable to say. Nothing is further from my wish than to take any advantage of Mr. Foushee or of any other person and whatever you may think just between us, both to himself & myself, I am perfectly willing to abide by. It had been my expectation to have made you a visit about this time, but I will necessarily be absent from Haywood for a while, and must delay my visit.

My sister has been in Raleigh since the last of Aug. & will probably remain there until my return. When I see her she will join me in acknowledgments for your kind invitation to us to visit yourself & family. Her health has not been as good for the last few months as it was when you saw her in April. She would be very much pleased to see your family. I presume Mrs. Campbell has returned from the up-country. I hope she & Miss Peggy & Mrs. [Posely?] are well. Please present to them my best respects. The pleasant hours I spent at your house last spring will long be remembered, as well as your kindness to me.

Since my return, I have been informed by one of my people who saw Frank, that he had said that you had a fine horse which you wished to sell, & that he, Frank, had requested you to retain him until you saw me, as it was probable I would wish to purchase him. It is true I stand in need of a good horse, but it is not convenient for me to purchase one at the present time; and were I to do so, I would have to give my note to be taken up when I had the means to do so – whenever that might be. I presume you would wish cash paid for him. One of my horses is 18 years of age – too old for the road – & I would be glad to dispose of him. He is a good plow horse, but refuses to go in the cart or in the single buggy. I was truly glad to learn that my negroes were generally doing well. Should anything occur, I would thank you to inform me. On my return, it will afford me pleasure to hear from you.

The war yet continues, and our arms have in many battles been covered with glory. May a good Providence continue to smile on our efforts for independence!

Very Respectfully & truly yours,
William S. Pettigrew

Wm. C. Campbell Esq.
Watson’s Bridge, N.C.

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