So Say the Futch Brothers…

As most of my coworkers know, I run an unofficial Twitter account (@WebArchivist) where I sometimes give interesting quotes that I find in the transcripts for our Civil War letters as I review their metadata. Today I asked the people who read my feed (or “followers” in Twitter parlance) if they liked that, found it annoying, or just didn’t care about it one way or another. Because although I enjoy sharing interesting things when I stumble across them (that makes what can sometimes be a lonely, tedious process feel more shared and communal), I didn’t want to annoy anyone by filling up their Twitter feeds with tons of Civil War era quotes.

John Morris, one of the bloggers at Goodnight, Raleigh! (or @GoodnightRal on Twitter), suggested I put the longer quotes into a blog post in order to make them easier to understand – Twitter’s format of allowing 140 characters in a tweet is great for making quick, convenient updates, but makes relaying long quotes somewhat problematic. So I’m going to take John’s advice and, since I’m a little over half-way through adding the Futch Letters to the North Carolina Digital Collections, I think now is the perfect time to give you a preview of what to expect from the Futch Brothers and their extended family.

Charles F. [Charley] Futch to William Futch and John Futch, July 22, 1861

“…William I would like to see you and all the rest of the folks but I dont know when I will See you all a gain for I am a goin to richmon of virginia next wednesday I dont know as I ever will See you a gain tell John that he promast to write to me but I have never have recived no letter from him you yet John I heard that you was married and I want you to write to me if it is So…”

Charles F. [Charley] Futch and William W. Cowan to John Futch, Oct. 16, 1861

“…John I want you to write to me more plainer then you have bin a writing for the letters that capt williams brought to me I carried them though the 3d regement and they was not a one that could read them so I can not answer them letters and I carried them to the 40th regement and they was not a man that could read the date of the month John I want you to send me that Likeness that is in my trunk By R. L. Player fold it up in a Sheat of paper and Back it to me and do be Shore and Send it tell Sister Elizabeth that She need not to Send me no bed clothing for I will make out with out them…”

John Futch to Martha Futch, Feb. 28, 1863

“…Dear Wife I take the pleasure of riting you a few Lines to inform you of my health and the time I am not well I have not Bin on duty since I have Bin here I am no Beter than I was at home But thang god I am a Live I hope you are well and all the family is well we hav a Bad time here it is Raining or Snowing every day or too Charley is well…”

“…I am not fit for servace all the Boyes in Camp sais I ant to Be discharged I don excpect to Be I excpect to go Before th medic al Board When th captain get Back and I hope to Be able to man taind a discharge…”

“…the Boyes have Bin enjo enjoying them Selves By Snow Baling one another But I could not pertake with them We have a man Brout threw our Camps every day With the drum and goones and his head shaved for Coward dise this is to Be done for 30 dayes I dont want this to Be my case the old 3rd whiped 4 V.a. fear cracking with Snow Bales they Put one of th V.a. eyes out entirely…”

Martha Futch, Martin Ramsey and Catherine Ramsey to John Futch, March 15, 1863

“…dear husban you rote to me to not come to see you but i shall come if I leve I shall be sirtin to come dear husban i hear that you are moved furder and I am sorrow to hir it but I hope that you may not have to go eny further dear husban I want to no if you got the things that I sent you by the captin…”

“…dear husban i want you to git some one else to rite fore you fore i cant rede it now I dont cear fore the helth of gorge brigen nor I dont want no more of his ritin dear husban we have yankes close hear the have bin fitin at kinston and I hear that yankeys have tuk forty of our men and I hear that 59 regiment run them to onslow and tuck 6 of them…”

John Futch to Martha Futch, March 19, 1863

“…We have just <re?>turned from picket had to stay there one day and knigt but we all got back Safte and sound this morning. We are fareing about the same as we was when I last rote. Got a plenty of flour but little meat. I would like to be with you you to get some of your good eatings but I cant tell when I will ever be able to eat at your table again but I hope you will remember me when you go to eat my dear Wife I want to see you very bad but I never want you to come to the camp to see me…”

Martha Futch to John Futch, March 29, 1863

“…dear husban I learn that you have not goin before the bord and I want you to go to before the bord fore if you wanted to come home as bad as I do want you to come you would go be fore it every day and I want you to do it and tri to git home if you can and dear husban if you wanted to see me as bad as i do want to see you you would be wiling fore me to come and see you fore I would give the world to see you…”

Martha Futch to John Futch, April 14, 1863

“…dear husban I shall start to wilmington a tusday to git me a pear of shose I am a blege to have them I hate to spend the money but it semes like that I must have them and as soon as I git back I shall come to see you if you hant moved from that place an if you air in teenty miles of the rode I never in dured so much truble in my lif be fore it semes lik it will kill me if I dont see you one more time dear husban I want to no how you air faren and if you have warm close and slep warm and if you want eney morer socks if you do I will fech you some when I come dear husban you hird of your brother Wilam deth be fore I did he had bin dead a weke before I hird of it tha never let me no a word of it tha feched him to yours fathers and saut up with him one night tha beared him at wilar greave yard tha never him a tall to see him at your fathers I under stant that he had the tiberdfored fever and the munps and had to his legs both war sore and eat to the bone so I sopose he dide turebl deth I should like fore you to come home to his funerl if you could pasen canedy will prech it it will be at your fathers house or at my fathers house…”

John Futch to Martha Futch, April 16, 1863

“…Martha I have under Stood that they was a letter wrote to James Anderson to Borrow your money Martha you had Better keep your money your Self for if you was to lend it out you Mought never get it Back…”

“…Dear Wife I want to see you the worst in the world I hope that our Regiment will go to North Carolina before long for I am very tired of old Virginia…”

“…Martha you must excuse this short letter and Bad writing for it is one O, Clock and me and William Cowan is a geting very drowsy and he had to write this letter in the dark we Both would Eat something if we had it to Eat so we will go to our tent and Retire so nothing more at this time only I still remain your true an affectionate husband til death please write soon…”

John Futch to Martha Futch and “Mother and Father, ” May 9, 1863

“…I have been through the battle and God has brought me out Safte and I feel more than thankfull to think that while others have been cut down I was one who came out safte but I feel very much worried after taking such heavy marches and being so much fatigued. We had a hard battle on Sature day but nothing to compare with that of Sundy. That was the day we lost so maney of our friends and so maney were wounded. I thought that every man would be kiled and there would not be enough to tell the tale of the rest…”

“…We have run the Yankees over the river a gain they left any quantity of plunder I could have gotten any thing I wanted but could not cary any thing I took several good drinks of the real old coffee I never Saw the like of the dead men in my life…”

John Futch to Martha Futch and Martin Ramsey, May 14, 1863

“…This will inform you that I Did not finde the Rgt at camp when I got back from the Depot The Regt had gon to Hameltons Crosing where I got with them the next eavening and Stade thair all night, and went the nxt Day for the Battel field at Chancellors ville where we arived on Saturday the 2nd at 3 oclock PM and went at once Into the fight which continued until Sunday night but luckily I Did not get hirt. our company lost 6 killd and & 14 wounded. our captain was killed ond Sunday morning while charging a Strong fortification of the enemys I am now quite well except fateagud from our hard march and lying ot with out Suficient Seleep. Times ar very hard with us now. our Rations ar Short & come Seldom one lb of flour lb of meat ar our entire suport for a day. I and Charley boath lost our knapsacks the first eavnings fight and all we had in them but Still I can make out yet pritty well as the weather is warm. and we will be constantly on the march…”

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6 Responses to So Say the Futch Brothers…

  1. Renate says:

    I never saw your request for feedback, but I think this is a great idea!


  2. John Poole says:

    Now here’s an idea: Daily twitter updates from soldiers and officers during important civil war battles! Virtual civil war re-enactors, so to speak. And no, I am not volunteering to do one, since I have neither the time nor the expertise. But I just think it would be an interesting thing to do. So if anyone out there feels inclined to run this, by all means, please feel free to use my idea.

  3. Ashley says:

    Thanks Renate! Hopefully I’ll have another post of quotes for you all today.

    John – Believe it or not, there is someone doing exactly that:

    If you want to follow The Washington Post as they live tweet the Civil War you can do so by following @CivilWarwp

  4. Pingback: “Since my letter of the 12th war has begun…” | North Carolina Civil War 150

  5. Pingback: Futch Letters, 1861-1863 | North Carolina Civil War 150

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