Thursday, December 8, 2016

Peter Carr Johnston to Louisa Bowen Johnston, March 5, 1827

Closeup of 1827 Finley map of Mississippi. Click for larger image
[Peter Carr Johnston at Natchez, Mississippi, to Louisa Smith Bowen Johnston at Abingdon, Virginia, March 5, 1827, Box 1, John Warfield Johnston Papers, 1778-1890, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. This is my rough transcription. Extra paragraph breaks added for easier reading.]

My dearest Sister,

On my return from an absence of six days from this place, I just now received your letter of the 16th Feb:  I am indeed grieved that you have all been so severely visited with affliction; and I cannot avoid feeling serious alarm at Charles's situation. My last intelligence from home had left me satisfied that his disease was quite vanished; and what you tell me is unexpected and distressing. I hope, however, that as the indications of the presence of gout are stronger than formerly, it will soon appear decidedly & in earnest, and make every thing safe.

I sympathise most warmly with you all in the visitations which have been heaped upon you, and lament that I can not yet be among you to do what I could in alleviating them and to see with m know myself how each one of those so dear to me is getting on.

Sister Lizzie has really had a severe illness -- but as the worst is over, I know that in your care she will soon be well. You and my sweet cousin have certainly borne the requisitions upon your arrival very well; and you must have sunk down under them if you had not been quite indefatigable in kindness. 

I cannot say yet with certainty when I shall take the road homeward -- I think not later than the 15th; and if I am fortunate, twenty days will find me among you. On my arrival here, I learnt that Mr. Davis, without whom I could do nothing, was gone into the interior; and I appropriated a week of vacant time to a trip to New Orleans, out of mere curiosity -- an idle one, perhaps you think it -- have it so if you please; but it afforded me much gratification. A letter does not afford room for me to detail to you all that amused & entertained me; and it will be much more agreeable to talk over such things then to spin out an arm's length letter about them, especially as it will certainly not be long after this reaches before I will present my phiz to you, and again make one of our dear family circle. 

Since my return to Natchez, I have been engaged principally in going thro' the country hunting up property to lay my hands on. In the meantime Mr. Davis is preparing to make an exhibit of the business here; and then, when I have made one or two more hunting excursions, I shall turn my face towards the spot to which my heart is so strongly attached.

I am sincerely sorry for the poor Doctor. You are mistaken in supposing him to be a man of 'cold nature.' He is quite the opposite -- his temper and feelings are quick and strong; and I can well believe that such a blow inflicts 'deep anguish' upon him.

I have not seen my father's friend, P. Randolph, nor do I expect to meet with him. He lives forty miles from Natchez. I was yesterday within three or four miles of his house, and would have gone to it if I could have done so at night -- but it was in the forenoon, & I could not spare the day.

I met with Bolling Robertson in N. Orleans -- he received me with much kindness & cordiality -- and desires to be remembered to my father in the warmest manner. Tell the General's family, that I saw Col: Isaac Preston frequently -- he is in fine health, & sends them the usual quantity of good wishes and kind remembrances.

I am pleased that Charles has consented to go into the country -- he s right; it is an arrangement that will conduce, I am sure, to his comfort, and to my father's gratification.

Give my most affectionate love to my brothers & sisters, and to your dear cousin of mine, not forgetting the little folks, whom I beg you to kiss for me -- And believe me, my dear sister, with the warmest affection

Yours

P. C. Johnston 

[Peter Carr Johnston (1793-1877)
Louisa Smith Bowen Johnston (1800-1873) 
Charles = Charles Clement Johnston (1795-1832)
Lizzie = Eliza Madison Preston Johnston (1803-1828), daughter of John Preston (1764-1827) and Mary Winston Radford Preston (1781-1810)
Mr. Davis = most probably Joseph Emory Davis (1784-1870), who had three "natural" daughters by that time and would marry 16-year old  Eliza Van Benthuysen (1811-1864) on October 4, 1827; he and Peter both had brothers attending the United States Military Academy at West Point at the time: Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) and Joseph Eggleston Johnston (1807-1891), Class of 1828 and Class of 1829, respectively. Joseph Emory Davis moved from Natchez to develop the "Hurricane" Plantation in Warren County, Mississippi, by the end of 1827. 
P. Randolph = Judge Peter Randolph (1779-1832), Woodville, Mississippi
Bolling Robertson = Judge Thomas Bolling Robertson (1779-1828), former Attorney General and Governor of Louisiana.
The General = Francis Smith Preston (1765-1836), married to Sally Buchanan Campbell (1778-1846)
Col: Isaac Preston = Isaac Trimble Preston (1793-1852), a "natural" son of Francis Preston. Lived in New Orleans and was Attorney General of Louisiana at the time of Peter's visit.
My father = Peter Johnston, Jr. (1763-1831)]

For their help and assistance, many thanks to the staff of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. For more information about the John Warfield Johnston Papers, here's a link to the guide.     

[Many thanks to William Myers, Mary Davy and Sally Young for their ongoing research collaboration.]


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

John Peter Mettauer to John Warfield Johnston, March 4, 1814

[John Peter Mettauer at Prince Edward, Virginia, to John Warfield Johnston at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 4, 1814,  Box 1, John Warfield Johnston Papers, 1778-1890, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. This is my rough transcription. Ellipses denote tears in paper or indecipherable words.]

Prince Edward
March 4th 1814

Dear Johnston,


I have enclosed you the letter that I spoke [of] in my last to you; be good enough to deliver it if possible if not lodge it in the post office with direction on the back if not applied for in 20 days to be sent back to P. E. [Prince Edward] on . . . if you . . . the family if they are in town if . . . heard of probably it would be . . . the letter. I fear the old man is dead indeed I have heard so, if so it is probable the children have left Philad'a make necessary enquiries my dear friend & if possible continue the letter to Charlotte.


I suppose you are M. D. by this time if so I heartily congratulate you on the occasion. [N]othing new since my last except Tom Allen's wedding he was married last Wednesday to a sister of Henry N. Watkins.


I remain your friend

J.P. Mettauer

[Dr. John Peter Mettauer (1787-1875), A. B. Hampden-Sydney 1806 and University of Pennsylvania Medical School 1809. Dr. George Ben Johnston (1853-1916) later gave an address about him. Buried with his high hat on.

Dr. John Warfield Johnston (December 14, 1790-December 10, 1818)
Tom Allen = Dr. Thomas Allen (1789-1850) married Ann Venable Watkins (1792-1830) on February 23, 1814; their son Henry Watkins Allen (1820-1866) became a Confederate brigadier general and wartime Governor of Louisiana before dying in Mexico.
Henry N. Watkins (1787-1850)]

For their help and assistance, many thanks to the staff of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. For more information about the John Warfield Johnston Papers, here's a link to the guide.     

[Many thanks to William Myers, Mary Davy and Sally Young for their ongoing research collaboration.]

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Joseph E. Johnston to Lydia McLane Johnston, June 25, 1863

[Joseph Eggleston Johnston at Jackson, Mississippi, to Lydia Milligan Sims McLane Johnston at [Columbia, South Carolina?], June 25, 1863,  Box 2, John Warfield Johnston Papers, 1778-1890, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. This is my rough transcription. Extra paragraph breaks added for easier reading.]

Jackson, June 25th 1863

My Love,

I have just arrived from Canton, & found note of the 17th the day before that brought me by Mr Lemmon[?].  I grieve to find that you suffer. I have been hoping all this spring that your escape from suffering during the winter would let you be healthy all the summer at least. But I do not doubt that it is the consequence of anxiety for me. But why, beloved, need you be more anxious that you were when we were in Virginia? [T]here was scarcely ever a time when I could have met the enemy in the field with any hope of success. It was only by taking advantage of his blunders that we had a few partial successes.

Grant may make mistakes too. Tho' I have next to no hope of it. In his situation, with his object, he has nothing to do but to stand still in a position in which he can't be attacked.

[B]ut you are fearing that my reputation may suffer. Don't be uneasy on that suffer subject. If I do my best with insufficient means it will soon be understood that those means are insufficient & the judgement which will be passed by the Southern press should Vicksburg fall, be reversed.

[R]emember how this Southern country, condemned me for leaving Harper's Ferry & how it afterwards extolled me for it. I know that the country [believes] that I have a powerful army & could beat Grant. But it [will] learn the truth soon after its . . . [dis]appointment come, as I fear [it] must. But my military position is no worse, personally, than it was during the first fall & winter of the war. To be sure, in Va. there were other troops than mine, [which] gave me hope of making [a] great army of several small [armies] as was afterwards done. There [is] no such hope here. 

But my beloved, one who discharged his duty manfully & unselfishly will always [be] respected, altho' he may not be [thou]ght a great man & spare[?] you . . . to be the object of popular clamour is no wish of mine. The respect of the respectable I do desire; its admiration would be pleasant, too. [B]ut that of the crowd which is measured by success alone, I care for as little as the withered leaves of last autumn. I am serving the country unselfishly & wish it to believe so but care little for any higher estimation.

I hope, darling, that you will be as indifferent, or rather you will be as confident as I in the ultimate justice of the people to those who fought for them. There is no ground for you unhappiness, take my word for it. I have not the slightest for myself but have, of course, for results here which may prolong the war. That is the only apprehension I have in the matter.

[D]o you do so too, sweet Lily, & let your sweet self be well & healthy for my happiness. Show your precious love by believing me in this & acting upon the belief.

Adios mi alma [goodbye my soul]

[Joseph Eggleston Johnston (1807-1891)
Lily = Lydia Milligan Sims McLane Johnston (1822-1887)]

For their help and assistance, many thanks to the staff of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. For more information about the John Warfield Johnston Papers, here's a link to the guide.     

[Many thanks to William Myers, Mary Davy and Sally Young for their ongoing research collaboration.]