17 June 1863: ” I wish I could have felt more lively and bouyant while at home, but it is attributable to the depression which pervades the whole country.”

Item Description: Letter, 17 June 1863, from Second Lieutenant Leonidas L. Polk to his wife. Leonidas La Fayette Polk (1837-1892) of Anson County, N.C., was a planter; editor; merchant; Confederate officer in the 26th and 43rd North Carolina infantry regiments; Democrat and Populist; first North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture, 1877-1880; founder of the Progressive Farmer; and vice president and president of the National Farmers’ Alliance, 1887-1892.

Item Citation: From folder 2b of the L.L. Polk Papers #3708Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription: 

Petersburg Va
June 17th 1863

My Own Dear Wife,

I have arrived here safely after a long, dirty, hot, & fatiguing ride. Since I left home until 3 o’clock this morning, I have been riding constantly resting only about 2 hours. As I anticipated, I will have to lie over a day to procure the Colonel’s clothing. I have just been down to call upon Mrs. Page and family finding some of them sick. They are all very glad to see me. I am now in Charlie Reid’s office who is busily engaged in the tedious undertaking of selling some clothing to a tight fisted Lt who wants to “jew” him on government prices. Charlie is indeed a nice boy and I should be highly pleased if I were connected with him in the Dept. Capt. Reid of whom you heard me speak is also one of my favorites in Virginia. It is very seldom that we of the dispised old North State meet with that kindness and generous hospitality which had so conspicuously characterized my short connection with its gentleman and ladies.

In the news items of this morning, nothing of interest occurred except a dispatch from Gen. Lee stating that Gen. Early after an engagement with the enemy, succeeded in capturing Winchester, which place he now holds. He gives nothing of the particulars. I see by the papers that Gen. Robertson’s Brigade was not in the fight at Culpeper though this is gained from Virginia papers & as his Brigade is comprised of North Carolinians, of course they could not say anything about it. No news from Vicksburg though a spirit of confidence seems to prevail. If it falls, in my humble opinion, it will be the death blow to our independence.

I am feeling as well as I could hope after my tedious ride and am recovered to some extent from my blue spell. I wish I could have felt more lively and bouyant while at home, but it is attributable to the depression which pervades the whole country. I shall start tomorrow at 5 am. If you write before I do again, which I hope you will, direct your letter to Richmond. I hear that our Regt has been transferred to Gen. Ramseur’s Brigade, but do not know that is true. Hoping to hear from you soon and frequently. I remain your devoted husband,


PS Kiss our Babies for me.

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