175. James B. Heyward to Maria Heyward -- February 17, 1862

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    Hamburg Feb. 17. 1862 My dear M. I received yours of the 15th today and hasten to reply to relieve your uneasiness about me. I have been gradually better since I wrote you but am not yet quite well. I still have a cough which is occasionally troublesome and that with the inclement weather confines me to the house garden and barnyard and if I was strictly prudent would keep me in the house. I am now and for several days past have been free from fever and have returned to my usual diet only taking a teaspoon full of Ayer Cherry Pectoral which I found in the closet
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    three times a day. I hope in a few days if we could only have some good weather to be quite well again. In this state of health I am quite unfit to attend to any outdoor [illegible] and if a crisis in Savannah affairs which is threatening should occur would be entirely unable to attend to anything like a removal of Fife negroes. They must take their fate as Wm's upcountry business so entirely monopolizes his attention that I suppose he never intends to come down again. He supposes that as I have nothing of consequence to occupy me that I can undertake to do all for that property that he is now doing for his own. I would have a fine prospect before me if
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    I was to judge of the trouble and time the undertaking would involve me in, by the consequences of the act to him. He likes to stand at a distance and criticize. He finds fault with me for not accepting the proposition of a location which you allude to in your last. If I had accepted it and moved, when the enemy takes Savannah we would be entirely cut off from communication with the people unless we travelled two or three hundred miles- yet the negroes would not be at what I consider a safe distance from the enemy. Matters are becoming more and more critical in that region. Communication is now cut off with Fort Pulaski and the enemy exhibits a decided determination to attack the city
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    and I fear he will finally succeed in taking it. We can't judge how long he will be about it. This depends upon the time it will take to reduce the Fort which prevents him from bringing his large vessels up the river. I don't know, even if I am well, what to do about the Fife concern, for my attention is too occupied with my Combahee business that I cannot give a hasty good will to that, especially too when the other person concerned is so lukewarm about it. My own business here has been neglected owing to my sickness. The quartermaster is largely in debt to me and I am trying to get well enough to go to see him. I cant leave before attending to this and if I do I may lose it all.
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    I see that Wm is advertising his house in Charleston for rent. I heard him say some time ago that he had some idea of the kind and asked him immediately to let have the refusal in case he should so determine But he advertised without saying a word to me which leads me to infer that he would prefer that some other person should occupy it. But even if he should offer it to me it would be difficult for me to make up my mind as matters in relation to the war are in as critical a situation now as when we left our own house. If a decision could be postponed until the month of May we might determine
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    upon the practicability of our occupying it and I would be glad to take it and would not mind the expense. You have mentioned several times your desire to come down but when I think of it I find that the reasons for going to Columbia as good as ever and in the last few days stronger. We are now in the height of the war and the clouds threaten from all sides. You must wait a while longer before we make up our minds about next summers home. How would you like Summerville? You would have cool nights and health there. Could go to town and return in the day as easily as from Sullivans Island. I could come to Combahee and return as easily as from Charleston - with
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    less risk of taking fever. I think sometimes it would be a good summer residence for us until we rebuilt in Broad St. We could get supplies from the country, send to the city market and save many of the city expenses. Keith is here at present sent I suppose to be ready to join me should I go to Fife - He is a nice good fellow. Frank has been here to ask if he should enlist for twelve months. I told him he must not and they can't force him. He is not of the legal age and yet has done six months service. Other young men of his age are attending to their education and he should do the same. He went today to [illegible] our determination. He
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    is there to go to town and endeavor to engage Mr. [illegible] to prepare him for college. If he does not succeed in this I will send him to Columbia and try to engage Mr Stuart to do the same. All of which will be very expensive and I fear will come to nothing. The State will lose a good soldier and gain a lazy scholar. Frank will have no further use for John. Would you like to have the handy rascal about you instead of the [illegible] drunkard? I sent you today a large bucket of butter and 13 doz. Eggs. Your aff Husband Jas. B. Heyward P.S. I hope this will reach you before you start to come to me for although I would be delighted to see you, you would leave those behind who you love more and are entirely dependent upon you. Poor little souls!
175. James B. Heyward to Maria Heyward -- February 17, 1862
Heyward and Ferguson families
Letter from James B. Heyward at Hamburgh Plantation to his wife Maria Heyward in Columbia. James writes Maria about troubles in Savannah and fears the city will fall soon depending "upon the time it will take to reduce the Fort." He continues to mull over the fate of Fife Plantation and its slaves but speaks optimistically about plans for next summer. 8p.
Heyward and Ferguson Family Papers, 1806-1923
Contributing Institution:
College of Charleston Libraries
Media Type:
Personal or Corporate Subject:
Heyward family
Topical Subject:
Plantation life--South Carolina
Geographic Subject:
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865, Fife Plantation (S.C.), Charleston (S.C.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Shelving Locator:
Mss 0092
S.C. County:
Charleston County (S.C.)
Material Type:
Digitization Specifications:
700 ppi, 24-bit depth, color, Epson Expression 10000XL scanner, Archival Master is a tiff.
Copyright Status Statement:
Digital image copyright 2009, The College of Charleston Libraries. All rights reserved. For more information contact The College of Charleston Library, Charleston, SC 29424.