8 December 1864: “the darkest and most gloomy time we have experienced since the war”

Item Description: Letter dated 8 December 1864 to Mary Elizabeth (Lizzie) Garrett Lenoir of East Fork of Pigeon, Haywood County, N.C.


Item Citation: Folder 155, Lenoir Family Papers, #426, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Wood Lawn, N.C.

Dec. 8th 1864

My dear Lizzie,

What will you think of very long silence, – No doubt you have been abusing me at a terrible rate, but certainly you will pardon me when I have the best of reasons. I wrote you when I was at Catawba – Springs in October, but never received an answer, suppose you never received it. I received your letter which was written in November, a short line offer it was written, but I have had the sore eyes so badly that I have not been able to anything, but sit in a dark room, with my bonnet on. I took them at the Springs and have never gotten over them yet. They are still sore, but I can do anything. It is the first time I have ever had anything of the kind in my life. Well I suppose you will wonder what I was doing at the Springs. I went precisely for my health, my health was wretched in the Summer (but it is very good now). I think they did me a great deal of good. I have been improving ever since, I weigh 142 lbs. Oh! Liz I am so sorry to hear your health is so bad. What ever did give you dyspepsia – the most wretched of all diseases. You were so stout and healthy when you were at school. I feel really anxious about you. Why in the world didn’t you come down here in the first of the winter. We are having very disagreeable weather now. It has been sleeting, raining & snowing alternately. We had beautiful weather in November.

I was surprised to hear you had met Col. Lowe. I knew he had been assigned to Asheville, but had no idea of your seeing him. Liz I want you to tell me your reasons for not wanting me to marry such a man as Col. Lowe. The family were very much opposed it. Brother Madison & Bruce were very much hurt, but they objections were they did not think him good enough for her. You know (if you didn’t I do). The Houstons have an exalted opinion of themselves, but not anymore than they should have. Brother Madison brought me home from the Springs. We had a very pleasant ride together. He is very good company, not very lively, as you know. I suppose by experience that persons in bad health are generally despondent. But I have got to be such a sedate quiet creature that I like to be with anyone that is interesting and don’t have much foolishness. No doubt now you take it for granted that I am in love with Brother Madison, but that is not the case, for as I have told you again & again that I shall always esteem and respect him as a brother in law. We hear from brother Wade once or twice a week, he is still in the trenches before Petersburg, and has been for the last eight or nine months. He has endured and undergone a great many hardships. I have lost all hopes of the war ending soon. I think this is and has been during this campaign the darkest and most gloomy time we have experienced since the war. Are provisions, goods & everything is advanced with you & everything is awful high with us. They are asking $10,000 (ten thousand) for horses and everything else in proportion. Jane and I went to Charlotte last week. I got a handsome pair of congress gaiters at $120, pair of silk gloves at $25.00, a dress at $400.00. Liz do write soon, tell any news you may hear about Lenior. I have not heard from Mat Jones since her father died & I wrote her last & I didn’t intend writing until she does. Where is she living now? Suppose she has left her house in Lenoir. I had not heard of your Mother’s death I’ll write soon Liz and a good long cheerful letter perhaps I may write more cheerfully when I write again. I suppose Mr. Lenoir feels very lonely without you. I will direct this to Forks of Pigeon, suppose you will be at home by the time this reaches you. Yours with much love–


My love to Mr. L. What has become of Mat your sister that ran away & got married? We have not heard from Sister & brother in two years this last November Bettie

[At top of pages 2 and 3, written sideways]:

Liz, I have just finished reading over this letter & know you will think I perhaps say that I think as Caldwell has not written me in such a long time she might have ? me with a respectable written letter but But Caldwell must be excuse when her eyes are sore. She would take her excuse but is so often the case, even when she had good eyes to write so badly that you will must be surprised

[Side of first page]:

If you manage to read this that will be sufficient. I can scarcely read it myself. Liz please burn it. Liz I hope when I hear again from you your health will be improved. 


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