19 June 1863: “I wish you could see Johnnie in his dress, it hangs & fits beautifully.”

Item description: Letter, dated 19 June 1863, from Annie Maney Schon in Atlanta, Georgia, to her sister Bettie Maney Kimberly.  The letter discusses the sewing of clothes, as well as whether the sisters’ parents would take the oath of allegiance to the Union in order to leave Nashville, Tennessee.

[Transcription available below images]

Item citation: From folder 41 of the John Kimberly Papers in the Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Atlanta June 19th ’63

My dear Bettie,

   Monday is my day for writing to you and this is Thursday and the very first opportunity I have had this week.  The reason is that Sallie & Fannie were anxious to go today with Father to Columbia to spend several days & had a great deal of sewing to do before they could be ready.  I saw they could not go without my assisting them, so we all began to sew – early Monday morning and I never worked half as hard before, in fact I did not stop once unless compelled by such important duties as by Johnnie’s calls and the demands of the table & sleep. You always laughed at me for being so intolerably show about my sewing, but I can tell you I have improved, as they all here consider me a rapid seamstress, and they compliment me by giving me all the most particular jobs.  Father & the girls started this morning and they will, I have no doubt, have a delightful trip. They will probably go to Charleston and Augusta before returning.  And now I must thank you for that beautiful dress apron & linen for Johnnie.  I am delighted with the pattern of the dress and it fits him to perfection and the dear little fellow is so proud of it.  He sends a thousand thanks and kisses to dear Mama Bettie for all her trouble.  That little apron is the sweetest cutest little thing and the linen is beautiful & just the article I have wanted so much for aprons for him.  He has never had a linen apron and you know my weakness for them.  And as for that little dress you ought not to have sent that back.  Indeed dear Bettie I thank you for all these, and think they are beautiful, but I cannot feel right for with your three children, and in such times of scarcity, I know you need them. I wish you could see Johnnie in his dress, it hangs & fits beautifully.  I suppose by this time Maney is almost out of dresses, I do not mean that his supply has given out, but that he is boasting of pants and sailor jackets.  In my last I wrote you that Ma was coming out and Pa intended to remain until the oath was required of him, then he will leave.  O I can’t express my feelings of relief to know they have not and will not take the oath.  When I heard that they had done so I wrote to Pa & Ma telling them how miserable I was about it and urging then for Heaven’s sake to revoke it and sacrifice everything before their honor and truth.  I am not sorry I wrote the letter for I want them to know my feelings and they will understand why I wrote the letter for in it I told them that I had heard they had both taken the oath.  I am impatient for Ma to come, but I hate the idea of Pa’s remaining there alone and hope George may induce him to come.  George wrote me in answer to my letter asking for a pass, that he was very anxious for Pa & Ma to come South and take the chance of living more comfortably here, and said he intended to write the first opportunity urging them to come, rather than take the oath.  A gentleman started to Nashville a few days since to see his family but Gen Bragg refused to let him pass as he now grants a pass to very few.  As George is a favorite of his, he consented for me to pass, but now Ma is coming out and Mr. East has assured Pa he shall not be disturbed, I of course would not risk going.  I can now feel satisfied, knowing Pa will not yield, but if I were to know he had taken the oath, I would risk any thing to go to Nashville to try to make him revoke it & come South.  I know what a responsibility it would be and that Pa & Ma might blame me as long as they lived, but I could bear all that easier than the humiliation of their taking that wicked oath.  As I wrote Pa & Ma, if they did take it, I could never again live in Nashville, and could not hold up my head & meet the people who know it.  I feel very determined on this subject.  I think taking that oath is something that will disgrace the latest generation, I would sacrifice everything, even life before I would do it.  Your letter Bettie was so interesting.  I am glad to hear from Baldy and Uncle James’ family and I know it will gratify Ma.  You ask about making an organdy dress! Tell Lizzie that we have just finished organdies for Sallie & Fannie and we made them beautifully, I think the prettiest way a very thin dress can be made.  It is a very full yoke drawn full on the shoulder with two cords and drawn with the two cords to form the yoke.  It is all cut in one piece that it is cut the back in one piece & each front in one piece & the cords run in. It is cut by a plain blouse pattern, but a great deal larger to allow for the fullness.  The sleeve to it is very pretty, a very full sleeve just large enough to slip the hand through,  and instead of a band at the hand there are cords with a ruffle & lace on the ruffle.  The back is cut full also. From the date of this letter, Bettie, you will notice this is the anniversary of my marriage.  Two years today, I can’t bring myself to realize it.  This morning when I got up, I found on my bureau an elegantly bound book, and two marble statuettes, Mr. Schon’s present, also a prayer book, bound in dark green velvet with a gilt clasp, a present that I appreciate & prize as it came from a young gentleman friend from this place, one who has been with Mr. Schon in his Quartermaster’s office.  In the prayer book was a note, saying he hoped I would accept it as a token of his high regard for me and his appreciation of Mr. Schon’s many kindnesses to himself.  I gave Mr. Schon Johnson’s works.  I wrote you all these little things for I know they will interest you.  Before closing I must ask you to excuse such a badly written letter, I have gotten into the habit of writing so fast that I have ruined my handwriting, but in future I will try to improve.  With this I send you a Yankee magazine which you may like to look over. Mrs. Player sent it to Lottie Erwin, & Lottie sent it to us.  A thousand kisses to the darling children and best love to Mr. Kimberly and the girls.  O Bettie how I long to see you & the precious children again & how I wish I had a home of my own so I could have you all with me.  Father, Mother and the girls are as kind as possible, but I could not feel in any body’s house like I would in my own.  With best love

Your devoted sister Annie M. Schon

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