5 May 1864: “…with our Gun Boat in the mouth of the Neuse, Newbern will be bound to ‘go rebel.'”

Item description: Letter, dated 5 May 1864, from Leonidas Lafayette Polk to his wife, Sallie.  Polk discusses engagements around New Bern, North Carolina, including the evacuation Union forces from Washington, N.C. He also discusses mail delivery and supplies in camp.

[transcription available below images]

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

Item transcription:


Jones County  NC

May 5th 1864

My own dear Sallie,

I find a have a chance of sending a letter to Kinston, & I will write you a note, though my last was of such a recent date that I have nothing additional in the way of news. I left Kinston Monday & after very severe marching we reached Deep Gully & the scene of 14 March ’63 was reenacted only on a smaller scale. We run the Yankees clear off & this morning our Co. was left there on the picket & they came back only to run again. A deserter has just come in, who was bearing dispatches to all officers their side of town.  He represents them as being dreadfully frightened.  You have heard no doubt of the evacuation of Washington by the Yanks. They skedaddled leaving much valuable property in our hands. We put a pontoon bridge over the Trent at this place & our Brigade is left here to guard it while the other forces are driving away at Newbern which is about 12 miles from here. My own opinion is that we will first take Fort Macon, & then with our Gun Boat in the mouth of the Neuse, Newbern will be bound to “go rebel”. I will write you as often as possible. Have just gotten a letter from John Polk all right in the Wild Cats. Says I will get my share in that Co. Receive cheering letters from the different parts of the County.  Will send a card to the Argus if I live to get through down here, which I hope I will. J. Waddill says tell Fansy if you please that he is well and doing well, also A. Gillmon. Sam has not yet come though I am looking for him. Canonading very heavy at Newbern, glad [we’re?] out this time.  Got a letter from Nat Father, Marshal & a heap of others.  Just taken a good bath in the Trent & feel good, been washing my clothes today done [prime?]. (Self confidence?) Sallie if you will have the leaves of [Polk Stalks?] boiled & a little salt with it you will find it a healthy & very excellent food for your hogs, relished very much by them. Will write to Father in a few days if I can. Tell me when a letter will reach Risden he didn’t tell me.  I hope you got the letter I sent by Capt. Boggan & the rings.  I will send your in a short time. I sent by Steve Threadgill  son of Gid, a gold pin to you.  I did not need it here & I might lose it. [Lt.?] Threadgill says he gave my boots & the letters to William Patrick.  Tell Isaac or Father to see him & get them. It is said our Gun Boat is now at Newbern.  You may listen for glorious news from here in a few days.  We have captured thousands of barrels of corn. Kiss ou dear babies for Pa. God bless them. Write as often as convenient to your devoted

Leonidas Lafayette Polk

May God bless and protect you

More about this item:  The “scene of 14 March ’63” Polk references in this letter refers to the Battle of Fort Anderson, which took place in the area of Craven County, North Carolina, northeast of Jones County.


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