17 December 1864: “one feels about in despair sometimes, but we must keep up a brave heart…”

Item description: Letter, dated 17 December 1864, from Ann B.S. Pettigrew McKay to her brother William S. Pettigrew.
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Item citation: From folder 254 of the Pettigrew Family Papers #592, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Richmond Dec. 17th, 1864

My dear Brother,

I received a letter to day from Octavia in Wilmington. I was particularly glad at the mention of you. I have written to you a number of times, & do hope my letters have reached you. I think you must have written to me too, but no letter from you has come to me since that in which you so kindly sent me the $150.00 dollars. I hope my leter of acknowledgement & thanks went safely; for I was truly obliged to you. I think you do not suffer during this cold season in camp. It is a troubled time, one feels about in despair sometimes, but we must keep up a brave heart I think of the time when all our conflicts done we shall stand complete at last. In the mean time, we can struggle to do our heavenly father’s will. You have had the sincere pleasure of seeing our good friend Mr. Watson. That is a treat, there are few like Mr. Watson, and this reminds me, did you hear anything about the cathedral in Wilmington? Suppose I was to go there some day I work under Mr. Watson, what would you think of it? It is a comfort to me to think of some object in the future. This life is too heavy without it & the best hope is to work for Eternity. Time passes very swiftly with me & still it seems so long. I am going to miss so many letters. I did not get Mr. McKay’s & none from [C?] for a long time until the last. I wished so much to hear from you of your visit to Summerville & to receive from you an account of our dear Grandmother’s death. It is truly a heavy world! Please tell me if the row in the cemetery looked the same. Many times daily do I think of our dear Brother & Sister. I try to be comforted by the hope that they will rise to Glory & shall be among the Blessed – God be praised for this only solace, coupled with the heavenly duty of submitting my will to his Holy will.

Did you see Adele? I see Charley [Parker] often. I hope the dear boy will do well. He told me the other day that it would be great pleasure for him to visit me, that in coming to Richmond that was always be one of the pleasantest anticipations. I was truly gratified. I wish I could be [?] the young generation. Did you get the letter of introduction I gave Mrs. James for you? If you are still near Wilmington I am sure he will find you. He is a fine, honest, gallant fellow. And has served his country to the utmost of his ability. He is disabled now by the loss of his fore right arm.

This paper is a present from my good friend, Dr. [B?]. Mary R. sends her kind regards to you. We move next week into our new rooms – this establishment is to be broken up. Every body glad; we are all tired of the []. Mrs. Patterson did not know of my writing when he sees my letter he will say, “Did you give him my love?” My papers is exhausted & I am tired so I must bid you good night. My dear Brother, I am very much improved in health & appearance all say, thank incessant occupation & our Blessed Heavenly Father sending my greater peace from [?] & submission to his will may He bless you my dear brother William. Always your affectionate sis, [Ann B.S. McKay]


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