Dear Brother: A Cabarrus Soldier Writes Home

9 Apr 2015

Library of Congress: “News from home”. (Soldier at Culpeper, Va., Sept. 30, 1863). Pencil drawing by Edwin Forbes, 1863.

Today marks the sesquicentennial of the The Battle of Appomattox Court House, fought on the morning of April 9, 1865, and the subsequent surrender of Confederate Army general Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia to the Union Army under Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. The signing of the surrender documents occurred in the parlor of the house owned by Wilmer McLean on the afternoon of April 9. On April 12, a formal ceremony marked the disbandment of the Army of Northern Virginia and the parole of its officers and men, effectively ending the war in Virginia. This event triggered a series of surrenders across the south, signaling the end of the war.

The author of the letter reprinted below was Richard Martin Patterson (1830-1909), a farmer and carpenter from northwestern Cabarrus County. He was married to Mary Ann Propst on 16 Feb 1854. They had five children. Richard and Mary are buried in Center Grove Lutheran Cemetery in Kannapolis. Patterson served in the 52nd Regiment, North Carolina, which fought at Gettysburg in 1863 and surrendered at Appomattox Court House in 1865. Patterson’s letter has been reproduced with his own spelling and lack of punctuation.

January the 4 the
Camp Near liberty Mill

Dear Brother I seat my self to drop you afew lines to let you no that I am in tolerable helth my foot is very sore I hav not had my shoe on my foot in a month it looks like it will have to be taken off I hope thoes few lines ma find you an famley all well I wold like to be at your house to day it is snowing as hard her now as I ever saw if I was there we wold go a hunting and a hunting wold giv me som thing good to eat I cant get nothing her I want you to send me somthing to eat the first chants you can I cant say any thing about the war for I dont her any thing her the soldiers has mor hops of peas now thern ever was her be fore I hope the time is near at hand when the pore soldirs can get home an be a free peple again you hav no idia how glad I sold be to see my dear litle Betie but I hope I ma be spard till the 30 of Augest 1864 an then we will come home an see you all I expect to be a sconscrip in some other Ridgment I wist you new my mind an my notion about som thing I wold tell you if I cold see you I want you to let me no what you think about this war I want you to tell G A Propst that I think of him often and think of the good times I hav had at his house it makes me feal sory to think about theas good times we youst to hav and see what we hav come too tell him to rite an giv me all the news tell George an Jacky howdy for me Giv my respects to all my friends if you think I hav any but it is very doutful for I cant her from any person onley my Wife I want you to let me no how Charles is geting along Martin A Propts is well I see him evry day or too I Must Close it is very cold and we hav to keap our house dore shet to keep the snow out and it is so dark that I cant see to rite you must excues my bad riting an spelling for I am so easy bothered an somutch fuss that I cant do any beter I want you to rite soon an fail not I remain your treue

R M Patterson
un till deathe an
I wish to be rememberd
by you all 

Courtesy of the Cabarrus County Public Library, Lore Local History Room