6 December 1863: “…I suppose she will paint up for the occasion, in order to palm herself off upon the people for what she is not…”

Item Description: Letter, dated 6 December 1863, from John S. Henderson to his brother Leonard at Kinston, N.C..  He describes comparing conflicting news reports to determine where Leonard was currently stationed, and the fundraising activities of the “ladies of Salisbury.”  He expresses strong opinions on a woman’s use of makeup.

[transcription available below images]

18631206_01 18631206_02

Item Citation: From folder 34 in the John S. Henderson Papers, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Salisbury N.C. Dec. 6th 1863

Dear Brother,

When you took leave of me at Salisbury nearly six weeks ago, I promised that I would write to you once every week if possible.  I intended to fulfill my engagement to the letter, but owing to untoward circumstances my intentions have been thwarted.  I have written to you once since your depar-ture, and I hope you received my letter. Be that as it may, however, I have never received a line from you, a circumstance, I cannot account for, except on the grounds that you have never written.  And so you have been ordered to Kinston once more? do you like the change? I should judge not. Good winter quarters at Charleston, none at Kinston.  Comfortably situated at Charleston, in a miserable plight at Kinston.  We heard you were ordered to Weldon to retrieve Ransom’s Brigade, which has been sent to the aid of Lee, and heard again however that the eighth was in Goldsboro, and that it was doubtful whether it would be ordered to Weldon or Kinston.  As soon as I heard that, I knew that your desin-ation was to your old quarters, for a soldier’s generally sent to – where he really don’t know.

So it was with the eighth; either to Bragg or to Weldon, but contrary to the expectations of all it was sent to Kinston.  Perhaps you like the change; I only am guessing where I say, that the place is not the most agreable in the the world nor at the same time the most desirable. Perhaps I am mistaken, I rather think I am right.  The ladies of Salisbury will give some “tableaux” in Salisbury on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for “Relief of the Poor.”  They expect it to be a great success; “The widow” takes part with her harp.  There will be other music besides, which it is said can not be surpassed anywhere.  The Misses Boyle officiate; there will be a police force to preserve order.  The beauty of the town will be there it is reported, but where she (beauty) is to come from I don’t know nor can I even surmise; I suppose she will paint up for the occasion, in order to palm herself off upon the people for what she is not; she must be a cheat nevertheless.  Ham [Young?] is here on _ has no greed I should have said; is a regular spark among the ladies, still continues [young etc.] to bite at the widow.

John S. Henderson

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