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Sillers-Holmes Family Correspondence

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Document Type: Autograph Letter Signed

Author: William W. Sillers
Date: February 16, 1862
Place: Camp Wyatt, North Carolina
To: Frances Sillers Holmes

Physical Description: Ink on blue lined paper; 4 pages (27 x 21 cm) on 1 folded sheet

Number: MSN/CW 5025-01

Transcribed by: Paul Patterson and George Rugg, 2004-06

(Please click on our Technical Details button at left
for more information on transcription conventions,
image scanning conventions, etc.)

Page 1      Images: 150 DPI100 DPI72 DPI

Camp Wyatt, New Hanover Co., N. C.
Febr' 16th, 1862. —

My dear Sister:

     The wind has been all day and is still blowing a perfect gale from the N. E. I thought yesterday I would write you a letter, in answer to your last; but Genl. Anderson [i.e., Brig. Gen. Joseph Reid Anderson, CSA] and Staff came down the night before, and all day we were expecting a general Inspection and Review; consequently I had somebody in my room from morning until bed-time at night—always some of the men, as the day was cold and uncomfortable, and they could only get at fire in the Officers' Quarters. Genl. Anderson and Staff went off in the morning up the beach on an exploring expedition of some kind, and so we had no Review: thinking it would come off this morning; but the morning broke with most foul weather, through which the Genl. started this morning to make his way to Wilmington on horseback. Ever since he left it has been raining and blowing most uproariously. My room has been thronged all the time until within a few minutes; and I now embrace these few minutes with the remainder of the fast declining day, to write you as good an answer, as I can, to your last most welcome letter abovementioned. I was extremely sorry and very much surprised to hear that you had been suffering such severe pain—surprised, because I was certain you were all well, as you had not written me to the contrary. I have always taken it for granted that you were all well, when I did not hear from you; but here after when you delay writing, I shan't know what to think. It gave me pain to find that your spirits were so depressed by the gloomy aspect of affairs; but I hope ere this will reach you, they have been revived by the news from Fort Donelson and vicinity. Our sucesses

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there cannot be put down exactly as a set off to our reverses at Roanoke Island. As we could not expect to be successful everywhere, so we cannot hope to repair a serious disaster by a single vigorous blow. It will take many hard successive victories of no mean account to pay for the defeats we have lately suffered. These mishaps—to call them by no harsher name—were not unlooked for. Any one who kept pace with the tremendous preparations on a vast scale which the Yankees, immediately after the first blinding defeats, set about making, in the way of enlarging their naval operations, could not but see that they expected to do their greatest work on the water or rather from the water. The battles of Bethel, Manassas, Oak Hill et cet., very plainly showed them they had miscalculated the strength of the Rebels, and that it would be necessary to attack them by land and water. And so they set on foot their great naval expeditions which, altho' they may not lead to the final results to which their leaders hoped and calculated, still have accomplished all that was expected for a beginning. Time only can decide whether the end or final result shall justify such immense outlays of blood and money. There are places which would be very valuable to them, that are not in their possession, and God being willing! I hope they never may be. Savannah is in a truly perilous condition, at least so far as my meagre knowledge, gained from "the Journal" [i.e., the Wilmington Journal], can give me an idea of the cuts which lead in from the sea between Fort Pulaski and the city. Foreign nations are treating us most scandalously in refusing to acknowledge, what she well knows, that the Blockade is not and has not been effectual, and to do what such an acknowledgement would necessarily lead to, namely, raise the Blockade. But enough of this, Sister, although I

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hardly know when to cease, when I once begin on the subject of the war.
You mentioned that Marshall Royal [i.e., Pvt. Marshall Royal, Co. A, 30th North Carolina Infantry, d. 21 Jan. 1862] wished Dr. [i.e., Dr. Allmond Holmes, the author's brother-in-law] to have his dues in the Capt's possession. The Capt. went to Wilmington last Thursday and has not since returned. I look for him tomorrow afternoon, and will mention the subject to him, and bring Dr. the money, when I come, if I can get it.
Mr. Jas Stevens wrote me what he told Dr.—that he could pay me one hundred dollars or near it at present. Please tell Dr. to receive it, if Stevens still has it, and give him credit on his note which is among my papers in your possession. Mr. King has never sent me word how much money will satisfy him now. Dr. can keep the $100. until I come home, which, you may be certain, I shall do, as soon as there is the least shadow of a chance. I can go to Wilmington almost any time; but no further. Uncle Moses can ask help to roll his logs, and tell him to ask Mr. Alek Royal for me to go over and superintend the affair, as I know that Dr. would not have time for that.
I was glad to hear all my first pork is up, but about the other—has there been enough salt to cure it well. If there has not, I will go up to Wilmington and send some up.
Write me, Sister, if there is anything in Wilmington you want, and if I can get off or when I do get off, I will bring it to you. I wanted to try and make enough cotton next year for home use, so that I shan't have to trouble Mr. O. Harsgrove. I was truly glad to hear such cheering reports from the dear little children. Bessie [i.e., Mary E. Holmes, b. 1861], I know, must be very sweet and intrusting. Ask Johnnie [i.e., John C. Holmes, b. 1857/8] if he still carries pins in his pocket? Kiss them all for me, and tell Annie Belle [i.e., Annbell Holmes, b. 1855/6] I know she tries to

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be a good girl and learn her lessons well. Ask her what she would rather have me bring her, when I come? Well, Sister, I must end this letter with my love to Dr., and all the family.

Your devoted Brother,
W. W. Sillers

Transcription last modified: 28 Feb 2007 at 05:04 PM EST

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