Primary Source: "My dear I ha'n't forgot you"

Below is a transcription of a letter written by Elizabeth Watson to her husband, James, a Confederate solider in the Civil War. She discusses things such as the rising cost of food, town happenings, and how much she misses her husband. 

Oct 29 1861
North carolina Jackson Co

Dear friend and husband

it is with grate pleasure that i rite to you to let you now that mea and my children is well hoping these few lins will find you in good health I have Just red the leter that you sent mea and was glad to her that you was alive But you did not say whether you was well or not But I hope you was I have red 4 leters from you and has rot you 2 and my dear I hant forgot you for i think of you every hour in the day and would all most give up my life if you could bea back at home to stay with mea and your children for Alexand talks about you a many atime times in our county is hard for the poor class of people for every thing is giting so deer that tha cant By hardly a naught to gan an salt is from nine to ten dollars a sack Before the onset of the Civil War, most salt in the United States was produced in the North, and a 200 pound sack of salt could be purchased for around 50 cents. But once the war began, the blockades made it difficult for salt to be imported, and only a handful of salt works existed in the South. Salt wasn't just for taste -- salt is a necessary part of human and livestock diets and was used to cure and preserve foods, especially meats.  her and every other thing is proportion thier is good crops made in our county I think corn can bea bought at 50 cts all through the winter and now this people is debard [?] of halling off thir meet I dont now how wee will git our nessaryes for money is scerce here I have got all of our property yet I have not sold eny of it yet and I think that I will keep it for i cant sell it for its worth only Bacon or Beef catle and I hant got eny of that so turn over

your fathers folks is all well and giting along very well allison is a working for mea and epects to work 10 or 12 [?] days he has left home and expects to marry before he gos back he is a talking of coming to you but I think it is all a Joke [illegible] is making a good crop of corn and is milking 2 cows thar are increesing and doing well franklin was up a bout a week a go and tha was all well and franklin has a fine son miss Mckiney is deed has Bin dead some 4 weeks thir has bin several deths in our county and her dying words was pray for mea S I Calhoun came clare of killing crane thir is 3 company of volenteers made up in macon county one starts to day thir capt is Alfred Bell and allen amons will start before long wea have quite wram [sic] wither her for this time of year and the most rain i ere saw of afall wee have had some frost But it hanet done now inJury thir is good crops made in hamburg but it is to warm and wet to gether yet I hope ther will Bea a chang of Wether for a litle cooler Wither would Bea the Best and perhaps would bea helther for you my deer I wish I could see you Wee could have a heep of good fun look on nex page

hold on till I git a nother lamp for my lite is Bad har I have got more talowTallow is beef fat that has been rendered -- simmered down and then solidified to purify it. It was used in making candles and soap. and now i will rite on I would like to have your liknessElizabeth did not have a photograph or sketch of her husband. In the 1860s, photography was a fairly new invention, and photographs were expensive. But the people ses that I have got it with mea for thae saz that Elizabeth hamton is a young gim James Franklins helth is a Bout like it was When you left John T [illegible] folks is all well an ant fany sed to send you howdy for her F..A. Hoopers Funeral was preecht last sabath By Corn From Henderson so I must come to a close By saying that I hope I will see you When your time is out so fare well

To James Watson
Elizabth Watson
T.A. [?] Watson
J.F. [?] Watson
E. Hamton Watson

There is howdy for mea and all of your children

her is your shoo strings if you a git them

Primary Source Citation: 

Elizabeth Watson to James Watson, October 29, 1861. James Watson Papers, Hunter Library Special Collections, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC.


Credit text

Elizabeth Watson to James Watson, October 29, 1861.