Submitted by Demetrius Haddock; Transcribed by Cheri Todd Molter
The letter pictured was written by Mrs. Josephine Bryan Worth, who, according to her obituary (Josephine_Bryan_Worth_s_Obituary_1917), was the daughter of Josiah and Sarah Hodges Bryan of Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The following is a transcription of the document:
Getting ready for War. Fayetteville N. C. April 1861.
President Lincoln’s proclamation in 1861, was to our town, like a match thrown into a keg of gunpowder. War was declared at once not only by the men but also by the women and children. Those who had been for the Union, seeing that the President had declared war against the seceding States now sided with them as they were acting within the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, and assisted in raising the flag of the Confederate States over the town.
This flag was made by a number of young ladies at the residence of late Mr. H. L. Myrover on Haymount. The first business of the Cumberland Co. people was to take possession of the U. S. Arsenal of construction located here and the two volunteer companies and the militia were drilling early and late and getting their arms and ammunition in proper shape. The boys and even the girls knew how (from interested observation) to “Present Arms! Lay bayonets! Charge![“] and all the intricacies of “single file” “double file” etc. For several days before the event the schools here were dismissed, and the scholars were taken to the Odd Fellows Hall in the old Fayetteville Hotel building to make cartridges. These cartridges were made of a bullet three buckshot and powder tied up in paper wrappers cut ready for use. The children were arranged in three groups, the first of which the writer was one, wrapping the bullet in the paper tying it with a string, passing it to the next who put in the buckshot. They in turn passing it to a group of larger ones who put in a measure of powder and twisted the paper securely at the end. We worked until midnight saturday [sic] and the arsenal was taken monday [sic].
After that event everybody went to work to get the soldiers ready to go to war. Several of the ladies took their sewing machines to the hotel to assist in making the soldiers clothes, every body [sic] came and worked that could, and the building became a hive of industry. Many haversacks were made of enamelled [sic] cloth, even tents were stitched up. The Independent Co. (The F.I.L.I.) wore tall chapeaux with red and white plumes and The La Fayette blue and white, it was decided that all should wear soft black hats with black plumes, as all the ladies gave the feathers from their hats, so general was it that girls were ashamed to be seen with a black plume.
Josephine B Worth