SUBMITTED by Norma Blake Jones; edited and vetted by Cheri Todd Molter
Archibald McNeill Sr. was born March 4, 1818 in the Bensalem area of Moore County, NC. He was married to Jane Brewer, and they had eight children (born between 1842 and 1865). McNeill enlisted in Moore County on July 11, 1862 as a substitute for Private Enoch S. Cagle. He served in Company H of the 26th Regiment, N.C. State Troops, otherwise known as the Moore County Independents. He was still on the rolls as of October 30, 1864, and he survived the war.
Afterward, he returned home to the farm. McNeill died August 22, 1880 in Bensalem, Moore County, North Carolina. He is buried in Browns Chapel Christian Church Cemetery at Robbins. He was my great-great-grandfather.
Here’s what was written in the letter Archibald McNeill wrote to his wife while at a hospital at Petersburg, Virginia, on August 20, 1862:
To Mrs. Jane McNeill
Dear wife, you no doubt have heard that I have been in the hospital for the last two or three weeks. I have been quite sick, suffered a great deal, but am improving now, and hope to be well soon, though I am quite weak yet. I am passing some of my time walking about in the house and yard, but I am very slow and sore, yet tired. I have suffered a great deal with risings under my right arm. I have had a half a dozen lanced, but I am not clear of them yet. You wish me at home to eat white cabbage. I assure you that nothing would afford me more pleasure, for I have been craving them for some time, but in my fares (sic) it would not do for me to eat them in my condition, and I fear it will be sometime before I can come home, but I hope to return to you safe and sound sometime.
I saw my Daniel a few days ago and was happy to see him and would be equally happy to see you. He was well when I saw him, and little Martha, if I could just have hold of her and give her one good kiss, I think it would almost cure me. Give my love and best respects to Elizabeth McNeill, tell her I often think of what she to me before I left home and feel very thankful to her. John Robert, I love you as well as I ever did. I want you to obey the instructions I have given you, be kind to your sisters and brothers and obey your mother. You did not state in your letter anything about little Alexander, where he could talk or not. It would afford me untold pleasure to see him. Wincy Jane, do not think that I have forgotten you, no, I love you as well as I can. My best love to the other three little ones, be good children.
To cousin Murdie McKinney
You will learn from this letter where I am and how I am. I hope when you get these lines, that (sic) you may be enjoying good health. I want to know if you are still at my house, and if so, I want you to attend to my business until my oats are all sowed, and more ground broke up. I also want you to have all the hay and feed you can cut of all descriptions. I want them to get somebody to do that piece of ditching just as soon as possible. I want it well done, the ground properly drained.
I have understood that you have bought my brothers mare. I am well pleased at that, for I think she will serve you and the family better than any other one you could get.