July 30, 1864
Dear Aunt Civility,
It has been too long since my last post and I felt the urgency to right and tell you of the happenings here in town.
As you know, Judge Holt and Miz Mary invited us to stay a spell with them. We were able to bunk with Cora and staff in the kitchen. It was warm and inviting, cool because of the hand cast brick right out of the Georgia clay. The judge has appropriated a new wood cookstove, the most modern available kitchen item, no more bending our backs over the open hearth. He said it come from over at Rome and since they are not making as many cannons now as they did in the early war I suppose they will go to making kitchen contrivances.
Goodwife Pamela did her womanly duty and near 'bouts wore that stove out! She was cooking cabbage with sweet apple slices throwed in for flavor and a bit of pork rinds she had rendered last Fall. Cora had some wonderful salt that they said come all the way from the Meditatin Ocean, wherever that is over in the Far East I believe. Anyhow it would crunch in your front teeth like that salt up north. We are starving for some salt, Henry dug up the smokehouse floor and Cora and Goodwife biled it down and strained it and dried it to get a little bit of flavor. It was mostly grit but the gray substitute was fine season for our food.
She cooked Johnny cakes on the top and Cherry Tarts in the oven part. Took nearly a cord of wood for the three days we stayed. Of course, there was mint tea, you know it grows wild right out side the door, and Cora had a bit of English tea that she had horded away. It was so special. I felt like a king! Goodwife made a Apple cake that just dripped off your lips when you tried to eat it. Boiled eggs, good ripe tomatoes, Pear Chutney from last Fall's tree and coffee rounded out the meals. I don't know what kind ofcoffee it was, good though. I think I heerd somebody say it was parched cornmeal since the Blockade want allow anything to come through. Judge has give Cora some new pewter plates and they come in handy to feed us all on.
A sweet new girl with bright, glowing eyes give us some chewy jellies that tasted like peach drops we used to get in Charleston! Her name was Dorene. I think she is Italian or injun or somethin. She stays here at the Holt's all the time, but she ate with us in the kitchen! As a matter of fact, the hole clan ate with us one meal! It was divine, a pure celebration. Today, them Northern Aggressors fired a cannonball from acrrost the river and it hit a column on the front porch, come through the winder and rolled to a stop on the grand foyer floor! Nobody was hurt but I hear Moris had to go change his britches! They talkin' 'bout calling the place The Cannonball House now. Well, annyways, I was telling you ‘bout the Yanks. After awhile two of them boys showed up at the door. The biggun was hurt bad so Goodwife bandaged him up, we was scared if we didn't help, they would kill us. You know they say that the Yankees kills folks and eats 'em, don't you? Why, I got a scar above my waste and in the middle of my belly where a Yankee shot me while I ’uz a baby boy! Least, that’s what Mawmaw tolt me. Well, they just barged on into the kitchen and saw that she was cookin' so they demanded some food. She was cooking the last of the vinegared beef into a stew with taters and two poor old carrots. One helt out a half of a canteen and the othern a tin mug that was filthy. No Sothron boy would eat out of a dish not fit fer the dawgs!
Well they was eatin' and all of a sudden like, four of our boys showed up at the door! Goodwife didn't know what to do cause she sure didn't want no war right here in the kitchen so she prayed to the Good Lord for guidance. You know what she said to me later? She said she heerd a voice that said "Feed my sheep." So, she gave them all the rest of the stew and the soppin's and sent em to the dining room. You should have seed there eyes when they seed them Yanks. Funny thing is, that prayer must have worked, because all them fellers just sit down with each other and acted like they was brothers or sumthin. All except one, I swear I think he was a girl. His hips was too wide, smelt too clean! Said he was George, though! I think they all about tired of the war.
They all et and talked awhile, shared pipe terbacky and one wrote a letter to his girl back home with my turkey quill. Then they left as peaceable as they come. I reckon they killed each other when they got to the road.After awhile a big old wagon unloaded and it was a bunch of old people from the Home in town. They stumbled and creaked in and ate ever last drop of that Apple cake. Twadn't a crumb left for me! But they were much obliged. One woman had been to California for the Gold Rush but she hightailed it back to Georgia just in time to see the Cherry Blossoms this Spring.
Well, Aunt Cil, it is getting hot today. Hot Georgia sun is bout to burn me up and I smell hog lard bubbling, it might be me. Think I'll warsh in the new tin tub and dry off with some Rosemary from the herb garden. I got me some new drawers and one dollar and twenty-two cents. We are going to Sunday meetin' tomorrow out at Richland Church, they say people's getting saved left and right. Lord knows, they's a lot of younguns needs to get saved right now.
With love and devotion, I remain your obedient servant,