“Going home to die no more…”

by | Jan 30, 2016 | Confederate, Stanly

My great-great-great-grandfather Joseph “Joe” Huneycutt (also spelled Honeycutt) was born about 1823 in Stanly County’s Almond Township. He was a family man, farmer and cobbler who, owing to his ability to make shoes for the Confederate army, avoided service for most of the war. In late 1864, however, by one account as a result of his Unionist sentiments, he was pressed into the 7th North Carolina Regiment and sent to Petersburg. A short time later, Joe, his friend D.M. Furr and another man decided to return home. Joe relates the outcome in a letter to his wife dated March 3, 1865: “I have to state to you the sad news that tomorrow at 12 o’clock that I have to die. I have to be shot to death for starting home to see my wife and children and was arrested and courtmartialed and am to be shot at 12 o’clock. Me and D.M. Furr have to die, but thanks be to God I am not afraid to die.” He asks his wife Nancy not to grieve and to raise his children “in the way that they should go.” He tells his son Julius to “be a good boy and try to serve God and make a good man,” and has a similar sentiment for his son Ephraim (my great, great grandfather). He bids farewell to his daughter Rebecca, urging her to “be a good girl and go to preaching.” To son Joe (Joel), he says, “Be a smart boy and mind your mother.” He gives his shop tools to Julius and Ephraim to remember him by, and for Rebecca, “a little looking glass. I want her to remember me.” He gives Joel a little book that “has some pretty lines.” He asks Nancy “to send them children to school,” and tells her, “I can’t write like this if I wasn’t in trouble. I don’t mind death like I do to leave my family, for I have to suffer so much here that I don’t fear death. I don’t want you to grieve for me for I feel like I am going home to die no more.” Joseph Huneycutt was shot for desertion at noon on March 4, 1865. (Sources: “Joseph Huneycutt’s Last Letter Home,” The Church Record, Vol. 1 No. 3, Albemarle, N.C., July 1916; and “Joseph ‘Joe’ Honeycutt,” Davis and Shaw Families of North Carolina, http://www.tinyurl.com/joehun)

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