10 May 1864: “I will do the best I can but we have a hard time down here.”

Item Description: Letter, dated 10 May 1864, from James Burwell, apparently one of George’s slaves, from a camp near Richmond, Va. The letter, probably dictated by James has two parts: the first part is addressed to “Mr. Master” and requests food and other supplies; the second part is addressed to James’s wife Mary and sends his love and respect.

[Item transcription available below image]

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Item Citation: Folder 7, George W. Burwell Papers #04291, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Camp near Richmond May 10/64

Mr. Master,

I write that you may hear from me I arrived safe at this place found John here we are in the same compine and work under the same managers This leaves us well and doing as well as could be expected we get but little to eat I hope you will try to send me something to eat Mr Brennan will be at home next week about the 21st and return about the 9th if you can please see him and send it to me by him he is going home to get provisions for the wounds? and will take charge of them at Reynolds with the frate payed on it. Please let my wife hear from this that she may know where I am and how getting on my wife Mary I hope you are well you must write to me I hope you are well may you all do well till I see you. I will do the best I can but we have a hard time down here.

we get short rations but I hope Master will let me have something from home.

give my love to all my friends and receive the warmest love and respect of your devoted husband.         James Burwell

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