|23rd SC Infantry
|Pre-- WBTS transcription of a handwitten letter....
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|Author:||Jerry McLamb [ Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:10 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Pre-- WBTS transcription of a handwitten letter....|
I enjoy and collect old letters and manuscripts from the Civil War period...I wanted to share one of my favorite ones that I have had for about 20 yrs from a South Carolina CSA Lt. Col....dated April 8th,1856...this letter was written by Lt Col. Axalla J. Hoole(proslavery school teacher from Darlington who fought in Bloody Kansas 1856-57 before returning to SC and becoming a Lt. Col. with the 8th SC infantry) to his Darlington SC friend John Alexander Brunson from the 6th SC regiment South Carolina Infantry..................
letter written by :
Lieutenant Colonel Axalla John Hoole (1822 -1863)
Home State: South Carolina
Command Billet: Commanding Regiment
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: 8th South Carolina Infantry
Lawrence City, Kansas Territory. April 8th,1856
We arrived at this place last Friday after two weeks of tiresome traveling. and glad were we to rest for a few days, but I have not been idle, since that time I have been rising every exertion to get into business but have been unsuccessful so far, which I attribute to my being a southerner. for a northerner can come here and get employment immediately . This perhaps you are aware is a Yankee town, and the very stink hole of the abolitionist. and of course a southerner will receive no favours. I got acquainted with a young man from Lacompton (ks. the political birthplace of the war) last Saturday who says that he has very little doubt but that I can get something to do in that place, it is the capital of the territory and it is improving very rapidly, it is thoroughly proslavery. This young man is a proslavery man. He says that they are giving $2, per day there for work. and he also told me that there was a teacher wanted in that section, where they give $30, and board, per month and that he has very little doubt but that I would do well there. I intended to have gone out there today but, failed to get a horse, but I have the promise of one tomorrow. I am in hopes that I will be successful for I have spent a good deal of money and I am anxious to begin to recruit my purse. I have spent about $150, since I left home, although I have used the utmost economy. I am now paying $10, a week for our board. So at that rate my money will not hold out long.
I have seen a good many strange sights. But I can not mention them in my letters, such as tunnels on the rairoads, rocky cliffs on the riverbanks, etc. I don’t fancy this country at all, I don’t think that I shall ever get used to the prairies, It is true there is a pretty smart sprinkle of timber on the streams, but it will take a great deal of labour to haul it and build houses and fences. Besides, if one should not be able to get a piece of land with timber on it he will have to buy all his wood to build with, burn etc...I don’t intend to preempt any land soon, and perhaps not at all. It requires too much money to commence farming. it will take 2 or 3 yoke of oxen at from $50 to $75, per yoke, for less than 2 yokes cannot break the prairie land. The fact is,one to commence farming here ought to have $1000, and that you know I have not. Independent of which, I am under the impression that this will be a free state. I fully believe that at least two to one are freesoilers, and they are pouring in from the north rapidly. If the south does not send 2000 by fall, Kansas is gone. The Yankees are coming in with their Sharps rifles. I assisted one to take two trunks out of the room which I occupy and it being very heavy, I remarked to him if that they were tools, as he was a mechanic, he replied, Sharps rifles, the fact is the are making preparations to fight it out. I argued with about a dozen of them last night until nine o’clock.
I tried to be as cool as possible, but in spite of me, when one remarked that he knew some Negroes in Indiana whom he considered his superiors. I couldn’t keep from telling him that they very likely were his superiors, but they were not mine nor no other southerner who was a proslavery man, He did not seem to relish it, but he could not say anything, for I suppose he expected something of the kind, as he must have seen that I was not in the least afraid of them. Although they were about a dozen to one, and three or four besides himself were as large or larger than I am. The fact is, I have never hesitated to express my sentiments freely. And some of them have gone so far as to compliment me on my candor. They see that there is no backout in me. I tell them openly that I shall do my best to make this a slave state.
We have miserable accommodations here although it is as good as I expected, but I did not expect to pay so much for it. This place is about a year old and it has about 1000 inhabitants, there is a fine hotel nearly completed built of lime rock, there are about a dozen other rock buildings in the place. Three steam mills but they are not in operation at this time, besides between 50 to 100 wooden buildings all inferior buildings. About every 10th man you meet is a doctor or lawyer and almost every man you see has the appearance of having his only suit of clothes on, and they are thread bare. Poor fellows!! If the immigrant aid society does not send them money or clothes soon, I don’t know what will become of them. One poor Dr. took a stroll down the street with me the other day and coming to a little shop proposed that we take a smoke. I declined and he pulled out an old greasy looking pocketbook and opening it before me disclosing to my view the large sum of a .25 and a 6 ¼ ct piece. I felt almost like giving him a quarter to buy tobacco. He is a Kentuckian by birth, but sent here to starve by the Yankee aid society. About half of them here appear to have a disposition to work, but the other half appear to live on the expectation of what they are to get from the aid society. Poor fellows, I am sorry for them.
Well Jack, I thought when I commenced that I would not write more than 2 pages but I have already written three and am not done yet. The soil top of this country I had been told was five to six feet deep, but it is a mistake. Where there has been pits dug about this place it is not more than from 1 and a half to two feet deep. As for game, there is less here than in South Carolina. I have not seen anything worth shooting since I have been here except a few ducks on the river. So I don’t expect I will have any use for your rifle unless it is to shoot a kind of two legged animal called by the name of abolitionists. There are three or four embankments thrown up in different parts of the town. They were to protect the place from the proslavery men a while back. Time is measured here by the name of the war. I expect if the freesoilers carries the territory they will give all that serve in said war a piece of land as revolutionary soldiers.
Well Jack, you must write to me and let me know all that is going on in old Darlington. I am very anxious to hear from home . We are both in good health, Betsie appears to be in better spirits than I am. I am glad of it for I should dislike very much to see her dull.
Give our love to cousin Billy, cousin Mary, Mr. Cooper, and lady. Kiss Lou and Lizzy for us and tell everybody who enquires about us that we are still kicking. and send them our best respects. If you write to this place, Lawrence city, Kansas territory, and if I leave here which I expect to do, I will leave directions for my letters to be forwarded to me. Tell Mr. Cooper and cousin Billy to write to me...
yours very truly,
John Alexander Brunson
Company E, Sixth S.C. Regiment, Infantry, S.C. Army
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