The following are letters received by my ancestor, James M. Hulen, Company "G" 6th Regt. Missouri Volunteers - Confederate States Army. The original letters are now the property of, The Western Historical Manuscript Collection, University of Missouri - Ethelda Henry Collection.
As well might be expected, deciphering the old handwriting was quite a tiresome task. I've taken every effort to bring these letters to you free from my own obvious error - but not from that of the writer. "Nothing" within these historical lines reflects the opinion of the author of this page, and should not be taken as such.
Nov. the 10, 63
Dear friend or James M Hulen as the discouraged case may be as I feel this morning I will once more try to let you hear from home We have all written yet you still say that you can never hear from home (Ann?) has written and as we expect to send in the same envelop I know not what to write I recon she has already give you the news of this country and that is as much I can do I cannot say anything only that folks in general are well and want to see you boon boys very much. There has been several weddings in the last year and several deaths but not but one of your sweethearts have married and that was Francis She was not married when you heard she was - she had only been married three weeks ago Fi. you need not think that all of the girls are going to marry while you are gone There will be quite a number left Well Jim as you say we do not know how sweetheart sounds out where you are I recon I had better drop the subject - Dont you be uneasy about hurting my feelings I would like to hear more remarks of the same kind (Ed?) is still in the land of the living and as mean as ever you wondered if your Mother had ever got that picture that you sent her she got it and has since had one taken from that and (he?) has sent her the one she had but she says that she had neither see the original yet she says she is better Satisfied thare she would be if you was at home because she knows or thinks at least that you could not stay. Well Jim as we are separated probably for life I hope to meet you in heaven as you said you wished to be remembered in the prayers of your fathers family be assured you will and not only by them but by one friend you have which never fails to make mention of you and how often has her heart been made to beat quick in listening at others pray who would implore the Lord to bless those that are in a distent land who are near and dear unite us all pray God to bless you and keep you from harm sin and wrong I must close so no more I remain your
PS tell (Ian?) (-----?) to make up and tell us what he is doing.
Petersburg March 10th 1863
My Dear Friend
You doubtless think that I have forgotten you entirely. I have received your letter which was on the road so long. I would have answered it sooner, but I have been so busy that I could not. Our family has gone back to Mo. and I have been so busy getting them off that I have neglected to write you sooner. I hope you will excuse me this time. I have no news to give you, everything is quiet on the Potimac (Potomac?), the only excitement we have is talking about the (policy?) of the President. The Abolitinist are awfull mad here, allmost fighting mad. The democrats are more than pleased. My opinion is that if Johnson carries out the plan which he has addopted it will be the salvation of the country.
I have received a letter from Paris which gave me some news of the boys. James Hays is in New Orleans in (----?) Dock. (Norris or Morris) was expected home any day. I suppose he is there by this time. It is reported that he is to be married to a lady in Ala soon. Frank is in Hanibal on a visit. John, Charles, Brack are at home, and well.
I was surprised to learn that you were still single. I allways gave you credit for truthfullness, but lately I begin to think you are inclined to exagerate. If you do not watch out I will beat you yet. I intend marrying myself one of these days. You must not forget to work for me with that lady you gave me to, give my love to her, and tell her that I am in love with her. Please excuse this short letter. I am so tired I cannot write. I will do next time. Give my regards to Ambrose, and write soon,
Your true friend
Yours of the 21st received to - hand yesterday & as I have a little leisure time I will reply. You need not expect a lengthy (------?) - from me as I am very poor hand to write. Times are very dull on Scooba now. I have been to another party since you were here. I know you would have enjoyed yourself as it was at Mr. (Leifcom?) hs. You ought to have been there to have seen (Ellen?). I have not seen her lately. (----?) to see her tomorrow if nothing happens. Mr. E. Bryant came (----?) to see us today. He left again for (Lriniferville?) this evening to see Mr. (George?) (occasionly?). I believe his wound is getting well.
Alice heard from Mr. Landers the other day. He is in (----?) now, said he had not heard from you in some time. He said he would be up the-parts- of March or first of April. Positively I did not send you a Valentine. I do not think you ought to accuse me of things wrongfully when I am not guilty: I got about fifty Valentines. Some of them are very frilly. I saw Miss Sallie yesterday evening she looks as sweet as a peach. Don't you want to see her, I know you do. She says she would like very much to see you indeed. I think you had better (set?) your (capn.?). The school will be out (----?) Friday & Then I am going down the road to see somebody. I wish the war would end I am getting tired of it. Alice said you did not write her a letter. You must excuse this short & uninteresting letter, as I don't feel much like writing. Write soon
Yours: Very Respectfully
Petersberg, July the 19th, 1865
I received your letter in due time, was gratified to learn that you was getting along so well, and enjoying yourself so well. I believe all the Confederate soldiers are enjoying themselves. It seems let them go where they will they meet with friends. I find a great many more friends here than I expected, in fact every body treats me with marked respect. I am begining to like this place much better than I did, I find a good many of the cleverest kind of people here, even those who are Abolitionist some of them are highminded honerable men. I believe to take this country as a general thing there are as many good Southern men in it as there are in Missouri. It seems strange to me that they have even been held down as they have. To hear them talk one would think that it would be impossible - but that has been the great fault of the men of Mo. and this state too. They talked all but did not act. I went to church last Sunday night with a lady from your Co., a Miss. Synes(?). Her father lives near Collumbia, do you know her. I asked her if she knew you she said she knew you when she saw you but was not personaly acquainted with you. She is quite good looking and very inteligent. I have a notion to set to her.
John and Charles Hanger (Hangen?) have got home. They well the last time I heard from them were having a gay time. Frank Pitts is at home. I supose you heard that he lost his arm from Frank. I do feel sorry for him, he is a noble fellow. Don't you begin to want to see all the boys! I do, I think it is about time we were going back to our Commands.
I have not done any work yet. You know I told you that I intended to take a good long rest and I am doing it. I begin to feel like a new man and think I shall go to work next week. How does eating three times a day, and wearing a "biled" shirt agree with you. Don't you fallen on it! I do, it is very pleasant to sit down to the table and eat instead of on the ground. I often think of the times we have had during the last four years. I do not see how we ever made it as well as we did. The most of the Missourians that come over here on account of the troubls at home are moving back now. I am very sorry to see them leaving we were having such nice times - but we will follow them soon as we intend moving back to Paris next spring. I am coming over to see all my friends in Mo. this fall. I expect to have a nice time. You must pick me out a nice young lady for a sweetheart and have concluded to marry nobody but a Mo. lady. They are decidedly the best looking ladies I have seen anywhere. The next time you write to me do not send so much blank paper fill it up with something.
Please give my warmest regards to Ambrose tell him to (pitch?) in to the ladies and get him a wife while he can. Tell him not to put it off like you and I, but to act while he is young, and understand me to say that you are old, no. no. not at all.
Write soon and believe me to be your sincer. friend
Petersburg, July the 26th 1865
Yours of the 23rd was received yesterday morning. I was glad to hear from you to hear that you was having such splendid times with the ladies. The idea of a Confederate soldier setting by the side of one of Mo. fairest daughters, why you ought to be ashamed of yourself, I know you felt bad after the lady left. Young men always do after such conduct as that. Especially if the lady happens not to talk to sure them, but as you have some experience in such matters it will not make much difference. I am inclined to believe that you are a little like myself born proof. Now if it had been Ambrose instead of you I would have given him up for lost but an old foot that has been shelled as much as you have should be impregnable by this time - but don't get in any more such engagements or you might get captured. I am much obldg to you for getting me a sweetheart for I cannot find one myself, from the description you give of her I think she will suit me but I know when she sees me she will back out, if she don't be assured I wont.
I am still enjoying myself very well although most of my Missouri girls are going back home now and I cannot persuade any of them to stay with me - there is nothing left for me to do but follow them. Which I think I will do some time this fall. I am going to work next week. I get good wages more than I can in Mo.
I am glad to hear that you can have an eye put in I would have it done as soon as possible it will help your looks very much and be more pleasant than wearing spectacles. Capt. Bryson was in (----?) a few days ago he stayed with James Hays he was well. I do not think I can possibly come to Mo. before fall or in the winter. I would like to come sooner but cannot. In your next letter please let me know how my business is in your county also how you get along under the new Constitution. I have been fearfull that you would have trouble.
Please give my regards to Ambrose. Tell him to be sure and send me an invitation to his wedding. Does he have tussles now. Excuse bad writing and breverty.
Letter written to James Hulen from R. Carver in Petersburg, Illinois
Petersburg August 9th, 1865
Yours of August 3rd was received in due time. I was glad that you had had a successful operation performed on your eye. I am in hopes it will be beneficial to you. You must have suffered a great deal during the operation, as it was a severe one. It will certainly improve your looks very much. You state in your letter that I must come before winter, as you think some one in your neighborhood will marry a friend of yours before that time. I have no doubt but what there will be a good many of your friends marry before winter, and I should not be at all surprised if some of my Boone 'C' friends do not marry before that time. Some of them are making good time at any rate, especially some of my soldier friends. I have a certain one-eyed soldier friend whome I am very much interested in, and when I hear of his approaching numptials I am coming over to see him. I have promised him to be on hand and I shall keep my word, I am looking every day for the papers to come notifying me that the day is near at hand.
You say you think that the lady you have elected for me will suit me. I am glad to hear it. If you are sure she will suit me you can just go ahead and make all necessary arrangements. I think your taste and mine are similar on the lady question, so if the lady suites you I am confidant she will me, but dont marry us before I see her, for fear she would not be satisfied with the bargain. Just have all preliminary arrangements made and it will not take me five minutes to close the trade when I see her.
You think you could stand an engagement now with a superior force do you! Well you know the situation of your forces better than I do. I must judge you by myself. I know I could not stand anything like a general engagement - why only last night I got into a little skirmish and got captured, but succeeded in making my escape. I intend to have that fight over again. The advantages was all on the enemys side, but next time I intend to come out with colors flying. And if you do not watch the cannons you will get caught napping. See that you do not leave anything undone that would insure your (---?), but keep your forces well up, and keep a sharp lookout for your flanks. The enemy is heavy on flank movements this you will learn to your sorrow if you do not watch out. I do not think it will be possible for me to come to see you before Christmas. I am going to work at my trade. I get good wages and all my work will be inside work, and I do not think I can possibly get off before that time. I must go to work and make something now, as I have not made anything during the last four years. If I do not do better during the next four, I will never be able to marry. You know I cannot love an old back, so with the hope of being able to get a nice little wife by being a little industrious, I think I had better go to work. And having such a stimulant as that before me I will be able to work with ease to myself, and with profit to my employer.
How different would our situation have been, had we been successfull and succeeded in establishing our Confederacy. I am just beginning to realize what we have lost, and I think the whole Southern people are beginning to feel that they have lost a (---?) the worth of which they never valued as they should, had they their Annies together again as they had last spring. I think they would act quite differently to what they did at that time. But it is too late now, the time has past and they have lost their all. It seems from the accounts we get here of the condition of affairs in the South, that all kinds of (business?) is (prostrated?) and starvation staring thousands of poor families in the face. The negroes will not work, but steal everything they get their hands on. That they are imprudent and in many parts of the country they are dangerous. And I have no doubt but that the next Congress will give them the right of sufferage, will it not be awfull in the South. Will not some of those proud Southerns blush for shame when they go to the polls to vote, to see some of their former slaves step up by their sides and vote. How do you think those who (----?) and worked so hard to keep out of the Army will then feel. I cannot sympathize with the able bodied men, of who by their own acts have brought all this suffering and degeneration upon the noble and brave of the country. But the good have to suffer with the bad. But Oh! the woman and children, how I do sympathise with them. Noble, good, and true never was there land could boast of such woman as those of the South, would that I could (----?) their sufferings and place them in that high position, which they so well deserve. The woman of the South would be an honor to any nation. But instead of their occupying their proper sphere, see them brought down on a level with the negroe, compeled to treat the negroe as an equel. Oh! This heart (ending?). There is a day of retrabution coming. The Almighty created the White man and the negroe. He did not create them equel. But the infernal Abolitionist have concluded to change his (----?), and make the negroe equel with the white man, I cannot stand.
I shall look for a long letter from you the next time. You must not send me any more such short letters as your last, but get a large sheet of paper and write it full.
Please give my kindest regards to Ambrose, write soon
Petersburg, Nov. 05, 1865
Your welcome letter came to hand yesterday and was read with pleasure. I have no news to give you at this time. The weather has been very cold here for the past week, we have had no snow yet. I have wished myself down in (desire?) more than once during the last week, it seems that I will (---?). I received a letter from (Hanger.?) yesterday, he spoke of you, I suppose from what he said he has recd your letter, Charles is not well yet but doing as well as could be expected. I have not heard from any of the rest of the boys sinse my last. Franklin P.O. is at Paris. Brack is all right.
You want to know if I am not getting tired of your nonsence. I do not think you have wrote any to me, you misunderstood my meaning. Do you not know that action speak louder than words. I do not get tired of talking of the ladies so easily as you suppose, but I dont want you to talk always and never act. Just write as much as you please about the butifull creatures. I assure you it will not offend me. That (----?) you hold is a good one, I will be on hand when you go to collect it, and you must let me collect the interest while you get the principle. Thats fair is it not!
Well James, I wish I had a courtship on my hands to write to you about, but I have not. I am going to try and get up nerve this winter with on of these Ill. girls. I have one picked out, and if she dont say no (---?) I will suceed. All goes well so far, I have lots of fun with them tho I have selected says she is as good as (neb?) as I am.
I had not heard of the death of John Mc D. I was sorry to hear of it. You want know if I work at night. I do not but I am at work about 10 miles from home and do not get home only of Saturday. You will have to excuse this short letter as I have been chilling and today is my chill day. I have taken some 65 gr's of Quinine and my head is in such an uproar that I cannot write. I will promise you a long letter next time, about four-sheets see that you write me a long one hoping that you will excuse brevity and bad writing - I am your true friend
November 30, 1865
The sundayschool bell is ringing but it is raining too hard for me to go. You know I am so delicate that the least exposure gives me cold, not being used to living exposed to the weather. I have been out so little during the last 4 years, do you know where you was today one year ago, I was at Franklin, (Tn.?) the battle was fought on the 30th of Nov. it was just such weather as tis now. What a change today one year ago I had to take the weather as it came. Today I am seated in the house writing to you. Little did I think this day one year ago, that we would be defeated our armies scattered and the people of the south subjected to such treatment as they have been. Today one year ago the Southern peoples hearts beat hard with hope of an early peace and glorious liberty. Today their hopes are crushed and they sit cringing at their enemies feet not knowing what the morrow may bring forth. With not one ray of hope to cheer them. They must live on and do the bidding of their conquerors. Today one year ago there was four million slaves in the southern states. Today there are none, but they have been turned loose upon their former masters to steal to murder and commit all kinds of evil deeds. How pleasant it seems to be for the infernal yank. To look upon the misery which his works have brought upon the southern people. How they gloat over it, and see them rub their hands with (----?) and exclaim, that they have saved the best government the world ever (---?). A work which the Allmighty chose them to accomplish. They do not count the cost of saving their gov. it has cost them dearly, and who can tell what one year will bring forth. Yes, one year has brought great changes and may bring greater.
Well I will not intrude longer upon your valuable time so I will close, give my kindest regards to Ambrose, write soon
I think I will come over about the first of Feb. or March
Petersburg Jan. 21st, 1866
My Dear Friend
Your very welcomed letter was received in due time, and I have chosen the sabbath to answer it. If have nothing of interest to write you at this time, so you will have to (insue?) nonsence, as I will have to fill this sheet up with it, in order to write you a letter of any length.
The weather has been exceedingly cold for the last week. (Dame Nature ?) took one of her most curious (pranks?) last Thursday. It was warm and pleasant during the forenoon but in the afternoon we were treated to a storm of hail an sleet, which lasted during the night. The next morning (Friday) it was so cold we could not get out-side the house at all. I have been in the house even sinse and intend staying in untill it moderates.
You state in your letter that a certain lady seemed to take pleasure in reading my last letter. That is a good omen, if she could find any pleasure in reading such a letter as that was. She will certainly take pleasure in talking to me, for I believe I can talk better than I can write. I am (----?) (she has no photographs) you must persuade her to have some taken, and get me one. I know I will fall in love with her as soon as I see her, could not help it were I to try. I will send you my Pho" as soon as I can have it taken. I am getting a little uneasy about you, from the way you write. I am inclined to opinion that you have fallen in love with her yourself. If you do I will cut you out.
I received a letter from (PSH Devinns?) last week. She was well. All the boys were at home and doing well. Capt. (Livingston?) died in Ala, Frank (Nadole or Madole?) marries a lady in Misp the 8th of next month, "(go? it boots?)". John and Charles Hanger (Hangen?) are doing well. Brack got on a big log again last Christmas, did not have Bill to take care of him this time. Frank got through without any difficulty. (Abe?) was heavy weighing about 1600 lbs. John got lost to himself and every one else. Moredock stayed at home and had as much fun as any of them.
Well James as this makes two letters to your one I have wrote I will close, remember me to Miss --- and Ambrose,
Write soon yours
March 8th 1866
Your letter of the 12th of Jan was recd not very long since I was much pleased to hear from you & we dear have often thought & spoken of you, & considered where you were & what you were doing. So you see I don't forget my soldier friends. I have just finished a letter to one this morning. Mr. (McKamery?), who is now at his home in Missouri. Am sorry to hear you have suffered so much with your eye but hope by this time it has ceased to pain you. You seem anxious to hear from your lady friends in Perry, & to know if they are married, well none of them have yet taken the matrimonial fever, what is and has been, raging here for sometime, but report says that Miss Mattie & (Percy?) Stephenson, are to marry soon, but I can't say how much truth there is in it. It's said the former is to marry Mr. (Lettle?), who often visits her, he is teaching school over the river, about twelve miles from here, I think & I learn is doing well, gives satisfaction to his employers. Miss (Percy?) it's said, will marry Mr. Smith of Marion, a return soldier & very clever young man, I think it is likely, there is more truth in that report than in the other. The rest of the girls are well & enjoying the company of the beaux. Tell Mr. (Orear?) not to faint when he hears the report about Miss Mattie, for I don't believe it is true & if he wants to try his luck, there is time enough yet if he will improve it. You say your girl is down South, well I am glad to hear you fancy our girls & hope you may choose a jewel from among them, that she may make you a sweet & loving wife, for as good a soldier & one who has sacrificed as much for his country deserves to be thus blessed. If I can aid you any I am ready to do so at any time. Miss (Mil---?) (as well as the other girls,) were pleased to hear from you & would no doubt like to beat you a game of Chess, she often comes out to see us, & is as full of fun as ever.
We are having quite a troublesome time here, with the negroes, began to farm, but they would not work, but were constantly stealing from us & after getting all they wanted, part of them took their eave but come back at night to do mischief. Our patience is almost exhausted. There seems to be no way to manage them & we have concluded to give up farming & let the grass grow in the fields, tis sad to see things in this situation. Many large farms have been entirely deserted by them, since they made their contracts for the year. When out of employment they live by stealing. I wish there could be some "city of refuge" now, for us to escape the troubles of these times, with negroes. But those who wish to leave the country for Mexico, are forbidden that privilage by the jankees. But in spite of all the trouble, people will take some pleasure. We have had a gay Winter, many parties & more ---- (an entire line is missing here - lost in the crease from time) ---
My mother's health is not good, neither is sister Frances (-----) (-----) good health, can and I suppose in a measure, by the trouble she has had with negroes & having to expose herself in bad weather, looking over them to get anything done. They both wish to be remembered to you & Julia & Mary send their love. I am very busy today & cannot write a longer letter, doubt whether you (----) mail is so irregular but if you do, you must (-----) again. My regards to Mr. (Orear?). Accept my best wishes for your properity & happiness.
Your True Friend
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