22 January 1863: “I really do not see how old bachelors can get on unless they live in haunted houses. An occasional ghost must be great company to them.”

Item description: Letter, 22 January 1863, from Charles Woodward Hutson to his mother.

More about Charles Woodward Hutson:
Charles Woodward Hutson (1840-1936) grew up on plantations in Beaufort District, S.C., attended South Carolina College, served throughout the Civil War in Virginia, was a teacher and professor in several southern states including fifteen years in Texas, and settled finally in New Orleans as an artist and writer.

[Transcription available below images.]

Item citation: From folder 7 of the Charles Woodward Hutson Papers, #362Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

22d. Jan. 1863.

Dear Mother,

By the Savannah mail came this morning a letter to you from Aunt Anna, which I enclose. The paper brought good news, signs of revolution in the North West, which I always predicted, and the sinking of a Yankee ironclad. I am anxiously waiting to hear of your safe arrival in Barnwell, how you found all the folks there and particularly of Uncle Isaac’s and Dickie’s health. That diphtheria is certainly a terrible disease. The day here is very fine, and I am enjoying my recluse life very well, only I miss you all very much. The Doctor dined with me today, and has just gone. Write to me soon, and let me have an idea of all that goes on in those parts. Kiss Em, and F. for me, and give best love to all.

Ever Your Loving Son,
C. Woodward Hutson

Camp of B.V.A.
Near Pocotaligo

Betty sent me down a bottle of milk this evening, which looks very pretty. As I have no strong waters, I cannot perpetrate milk punch but I will come as near it as possible with egg and sugar. Let me know, when Mac and Marion will be down. It seems an age, since you were all here. If the war were over, and I had a young fortune, I would troop it all over the country, visiting white-folks. I believe that after all I am an immensely social animal. The noises of solitude are more annoying than its silence; the whizzing of flies’ wings, the wheezing of my pipe, the crackling of the fire and the monotonous solo of my breath are very distracting. I sometimes wish that the fairies in the smoke would take to singing, which would relieve me a little. I really do not see how old bachelors can get on unless they live in haunted houses. An occasional ghost must be great company to them. How Dunstan and Luther every found it in their hearts to eject the Devil, when they had no other company and he dropped in especially to entertain them, I cannot understand. It must have required great resolution; and it was fortunate that poker and inkstand were handy. Thanks to Sir Walter Raleigh and my old clay pipe, I have received no visits of that sort.

23d. Jan. morning – last night I drank something very like cold custard. The day is beautiful. We are going to [Huspar?] for a boat. So Good morning.

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