Letter of Soldiers' Wives and Mothers to Governor Vance

1863 - Soldiers Wives of Salisbury Image.pdf


Letter of Soldiers' Wives and Mothers to Governor Vance


Salisbury Women to Zebulon B. Vance, March 21, 1863, in North cCarolina Digital Collections, accessed July 15, 2014, http://digital.ncdcr.gov/cdm/ref/collection/p15012coll8/id/11531.




Salisbury, North Carolina


Salisbury NC Mar. 21st 63

To His Excellency the Gov of the State of NC

Dear Sir-

Having from absolute necessity been forced into measures not at all pleasant to obtain something to eat by the cruel and unfeeling Speculators who have been gathering up at enormous prices, not only bread stuffs but every thing, even down to eggs Chickens & vegetables to carry out of our own State for the purpose of speculating upon them. We feel it now our duty, Honored and esteemed Gov to inform you truthfully of our proceedings and humbly pray to inform us whether or not we are justifyable [sic] in what we have done and if not for Heavens sake tell us how these evils are to be remedied.

We Sir are all Soldiers Wives or Mothers our Husbands & Sons are now separated from us by this cruel War not only to defend our humble homes but the homes & property of the rich man - and at the same time that we are grieved at the separation yet we murmur not - God bless them our hearts to go with them and our prayers follow them for Heavens protection through all the trials and difficulties that may surround them, but sir we have to live and we must live, while they are gone from us and that too without much or in many cases any assistance from them for how for will eleven dollars go in a family now when meat is from 75 to $1 00 pr pd flour $50 pr bll. wood from 4 to 5 $ pr load. meal 4 an[d] 5 dollars pr bushel. eggs 50 or 60 cts pr doz chicken $7 00 pr doz. Molasses $7 00 pr gal rye 20 cts pr qt. & and, addition to that we are willing and do work early and late to keep off starvation which is now staring us in the face, but the Government only allows us 50 cts a pr for lined pants and 75 cts for coats and there are few of us who can make over a dollar a day, and we have upon an average from three to five helpless children to support, and still we complain not at Government prices if we can only get bread and meat at a reasonable price but Sir many of us work day after day, without a morsal [sic] of meat to strengthen us for our labors and often times we are without bread. Now sir how we ask you in the name of God are we to live.

Laboring under all these difficulties Sir we as we have told you in the commencement of this letter were from stern necessity compelled to go in serch [sic] of food to sustain life, and some forty or more respectable but poor women, started out backed by many citizens to get food we took our little money with us and offered to pay Government prices for what we took but the Speculators refused us any thing or even admittance into their premises we then forced our way in and compelled them to give us something & we succeeded in obtaining twenty three blls of flour two sacks of salt and a half a bll of molasses and twenty dollars in money. which was equally divided among us in the presence of our highly esteemed friends and Lawyer Blackmen, besides many other gentlemen of good and high standing in society. Now sir this is all we done and necessity compelled us to do it and the reason we have addressed you sir is that we understand that we have been reported to you as plunderers of the town disturbing the peace and quiet of the community, but Sir we have honestly told you the whole proceeding and we now pray your protection or a remedy for these evils we as much as any one deplore the necessity of such proceeding and do humbly pray you in behalf of our helpless children to so fix the prices of bread and meat that we can by our labor gain an honest portion of that which sustains life. To whom else can we go but to you our highly esteemed and cherished Gov to redress these evils. You were the choice of our Husbands and sons, and we too look up to you sir with perfect confidence as being able and willing to do something for us. we ask not charity we only as[k] for fair and reasonable prices for provisions and leather for sir many of us have been shoeless this whole winter except the cloth shoes we can make for ourselves which are no protection even against the cold, in conclusion sir we humbly beg you after carfully [sic] and prayerfuly [sic] considering our letter, to let us hear from you. you can address Mary C Moore Salisbury NC and that Heavens richest blessings and a long life may be your portion with your happy family is the surest and heartfelt prayers of many Soldiers Wives.


  • What did these women request of the government?
  • What was the source of their complaints?
  • How did they justify their actions?