11 January 1863: “Dr. Mallet had vaccinated the children before the letter came but if it does not take I will have it repeated with your scab.”

Item description: Letter, 11 January 1863, from Bettie Maney Kimberly, Chapel Hill, N.C., to her sister Annie Maney, Nashville, Tenn.

Item citation: From the John Kimberly Papers #398Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Chapel Hill Jan. 11th 1863

My dear Sis,

I received your letter of Jan. 3rd yesterday, and many thanks for the vaccine. Dr. Mallet had vaccinated the children before the letter came but if it does not take I will have it repeated with your scab. Yes I received your letter telling of your great loss and if sympathy would do any good mine would soon bring your wardrobe Phenix like from its ashes. But alas and alack the days of miracles are past, but as you say sympathy is sweet if not profitable and I do assure you that you have mine in abundance. I sent you on last Monday by express a bundle of things that I thought would be of service to you. I hope you will find some use for them, they are all unmade and I did hate to send them so but as I before wrote I scalded my hand about six weeks a go and until now I have not been able to use it with any comfort at all and my own little ones are almost suffering for their winter clothes which are still unfinished, had it not been for that I would have made up the night gown and chemise. I think of the quantity of sewing you have to do many times during the day and wonder how much you have finished.

I am so glad you have found comfortable boarding with a pleasant family and as you have no house keeping to do you will have so much more time to sew and read. I was very glad to hear from the boys and thank Heaven they all escaped unhurt at Murfreesboro. Gods providence has seemed to watch over them, for nearly two years now they have been in the service and as yet all of their lives have been spared both from battle and sickness when so many have fallen around them and it is with a most thankful heart and still with fear and trembling that I thank God for his mercy and pray for its continuation through this bloody struggle. If you go to Nashville Sis you must take Mrs. Kennedy with with you and then dismiss her when you get back to Atlanta of course let her understand that you will do so before you go. I am sure she will be willing to do it on those terms. I would feel no anxiety about you if you had her for an escort for I think she would be better than a man provided she does not get her back broken. I am much obliged for you sending for my bonnet box and clothes in Henry’s trunk, some of those things will be of great use to me next summer if you go to Nashville and it is possible to get mine and Henry’s portraits out with out much trouble to your self I would be greatly obliged to you. I am so particular about mine because Mr. Kimberly is so uneasy about it that I am more than anxious to release his mind and more over he tells me about every day that he never expects to see it again and that it is all my fault if I had let him have his own way he would have had it here long before Nashville was surrendered. You must give all love and kind messages to Ma and Pa from me and Mr. Kimberly too and tell them how anxious I am to have them come out and stay with me. I will write them soon and Mr. Kimberly intends doing so too. Give my best love to Mr. Schon and very many kisses to dear little Johnnie and tell him Johnnie Kimberly has beaten him with his teeth. My Johnnie’s first tooth came through on the 8th of January he was then four months and thirteen days old. I have written you a miserably dirty looking letter Sis but you must excuse it as I have not time to write another. Do write me often for I do not get half the letters you write. My little ones are all well and Rebecca talks a great deal about Mama Annie Papa John & brother Johnnie and often asks when will they come again. Good-bye with all love.

your affectionate sister,
B. M. Kimberly

You ask about Mr. Marshall. Lizzie is very attentive to him yet and the other day I thought I would help her out and sent for him to take tea with us and too the best of my ability I played the agreeable to him, but I am afraid he will never offer to make me his Mama, from that evening I have despaired of the honor not so with Lizzie however she seems to think while there is life there is hope and has redoubled her attentions.

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