7 February 1865: ” I am in a big hurry to get away from this place as I fear we are all destined to go up if we stay here long.”

Item Description: Letter from William Henry Tripp to his wife Araminta Guilford Tripp.  He describes evacuation Savannah and Bald Head.  He also details the dire situation at Fort Anderson which is under attack from Union naval ships.  He has submitted his resignation from the Confederate Army and is waiting for it to be processed.  He also mentions his health, farm planting, his wedding anniversary, and his upcoming birthday.


Item Citation: Folder 8, in the William Henry Tripp and Araminta Guilford Papers, #4551, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Ft Anderson

Feb 7th 1865

My Dear Wife

Yours of the 13th to the 28th of January was recived two days ago and I fain would have answerd it before this but the weather was so cold yesterday and I had so much drilling to do I could not write especially as my chance is verry bad at the best of times Today it is raining in torrents and Seb & Macon has gone to bed Harrison is at town so there is no one withing this little 8 by 10 house but Gilliam and myself and both of us are engaged in write to those we love but I shall have to hurry for as soon as the rain holds up then will be a crowd as this is the post office and Gilliam is the post master for our Brigade. I am really sorry that what I wrote at Savannah gave you pain tho I wrote what we all thought to be the truth at the time But by hard work and hard fighting we kept a narrow way open by which we escaped in the night. We had to fight for it all the day before tho and had we have 6 hours later that would have been closd against us. As it was we had a hard time of it for we had to march 17 hours without halting only a few minutes at a time to rest a little. Sherman was so close after us that he captured 800 of our men in the City. One of mine was caught there But the evacuation of Savannah was nothing to the evacuation of Bald Head for in the former case it was conducted by sober who knew what they were doing and in the latter case it was done by drunken men and by those who were novices in the business of evacuation. In the former case we brought off all that we could get transportation for and in the latter we brought off nothing when we might have brought off all. even 3 of my men and several from other companies were left on the island One man was burned up in the quarters when they were set on fire Over a million of Quartermasters and Company stores were left and destroyd The men were not allowed even to bring off their clothes and cooking utensils and now we are without either. If negroes were selling for a good price I would make fortune selling my company as far as colour goes They are the blackest smuttiest set of white men you ever saw both in clothes and complexion. Half of my men are without shoes almost entirely and your humble servant will have to go on the retired list if he cant get a pair of shoes soon. I sent forward my resignation on the 23 of Jan and am in hopes of haring from it soon now but for fear it might not recive prompt attention I have written to the Hon Thos Fuller to attend to it for me and send its acceptance to me as soon as possible if not sooner I am in a big hurry to get away from this place as I fear we are all destined to go up if we stay here long. There are some 40 or 50 ships including two iron clads just below us and I have no doubt they will attack us soon Last friday they shelled us for two hours only one of them at a time and one shell wounded 6 of my men One of them has since died and another is dangerously hurt on the head. There are several more of my men stunned and I came verry near getting hit myself I was in 30 feet of it and was covered over in dirt. I was the only Capt who had any men hurt My men that were hurt was Alfred Robinson torn up since dead Robt Greene skull fractured Bracy E Jackson severly wounded in the side face and arm Segt J A Thomas in the arm slightly J L Potter in both knees slightly Wm Whitaker in leg right bad. They have not shelled us since but will do so again soon Had my men done as they were directed now would have got hurt. They will look out hereafter. Today we hear was set apart for them to attack us but the weather is so bad they will have to pospone it until better times. We expect to get attacked both by land and water at the same time. But thank the Lord there is a chance to escape if we get whipt and you may be sure I shall try hard to do so if I am not hurt The odds is against us be we can give odds of 2 to 1 and whip them if the men will only do with it. I am quite well except having the dysentery. I was taken with it about mid night and have lost a good deal of blood from my bowels since then I have never had so much blood to come from my bowels in my life before but I hope it will soon stop. John Bonner is quite well and getting along quite well. I am glad to hear of your keeping well and of the childrens good health. Bad colds are incident to the season of the year and can hardly be called sickness, I do sincerely hope and trust you may keep in good health so as to be able to get through with your trial when your full time has come with ease comparatively. I am sorry to her that you think you will not have corn enough. I am well aware that Roden has no judgement in feeding and things that hods in the woods must have all they can swallow or they are not fed. Homer & Roden must have done a sorry business at South Creek. If I should get home I will see if we cant make enough to eat. Big Roden did not plant near as much as he aught to at home but I cannot blame him he is so faithful and true and no doubt thought he was doing for the best I hope your wheat got up and is doing well as I think this weill be a good wheat year as the winter has been so cold. I hope Roden will sow the oats on the first good spell of weather as they to be sure of a good crop must be sowed early. Have the Irish potatoes planted this month a good many of them as they are an excellent crop to raise. If I get home I will plant some in March so as to have two crops of them. You ask me if I recollect the 27th of Jan 1853 Yes darling I never can forget that day as on it I recived the greatest blessing ever vouchsafed to man A good pretty loving little wife the best little or big wife in the world. I shall certainly take leave of my senses before I can ever forget that day how verry happy I felt And darling I look upon it as the best day of my life. I felt perfectly happy and still recur to it as the last days wash I ever did for myself Tomorrow darling is the 45th anniversary of my birth. I am really getting old and should live out the allotted days of man am past the meridian of life. My weak sight and stiffening joints admonish me that I am hastening to the grave. Yet I am a vile sinner yet The Lord knows the dearest wish of my heart is to be a christian yet I am no better now than I was 20 years ago I fear it will be so to the end.

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