Document associated with: Rattlesnake, SS
Record 1 of 1
System Number: 11479
Date: 23-24 December 1864
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler
Recipient: Margaret ('Maggie')
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 34A
Document Type: ALS
7 Lindsey Row, Chelsea, London
near Battersea Bridge
Friday Dec 23rd 1864
I have just risen from praying our Lord to enable me to use my eyes, yet so painfully weak. it seems so necessary to write you of my having shipped this month two valuable boxes directed to you care of Genl Saml Cooper, if God in his mercy grant that these reach you. My explanation to Genl C that in the absence of Genl Winder I could think of no one but himself to secure their safety. I now write a friend in Bermuda to send this letter to you and that he may write me if he hear of the "Rattlesnake" by which the 1st box was shipped on the 13th inst - also of the 2nd has gone under care of Capt Horner whom he knows, his new ship sailed last Monday. I have not yet learned its name. I beg Mr T to write to Mr Hunter at Wilmington to interest him in forwarding the boxes to you my dear M. What trouble I must put you to but I know you will feel rewarded, if you may hear of a safe way to send to my Cousins at Camden SC at the Mansion House. You will receive their thanks & blessing probably thro Mrs Winder or friends of yours at the Carlton House you may hear of someone going. there is in each box parcels to be sent them. I had so short notice it was not possible for me to do more. I had the purchase of full suit of black cloth for your nephew, ready, also a pr of Cavalry boots for my own Willie, 4 white shirts, 4 cot[to]n flannel, 3 prs summer drawers, 3 prs Merino, 6 prs socks, 1 doz pocket hnds, ready, I beg you to keep for him most of these, he is so liable to losing his clothing in the field. his 4 towels you [p. 2] will hem & mark, I sent both kinds of ink to him, the marking for you and the pocket ink stand for his haversack. his brother J sends him a full suit of citizen clothes for when he may embark for England & a pair of shoes. Jemie also sent him a pr of Cavalry gauntlets & a pr leather gloves. I had the boxes lined with zinc because of value in the Confed, enough to defray any expense of RR from Wilm[ington] to you I hope & to preserve the contents. You will find some little parcels for Mrs Sam Dorsy & her baby. Should they have left the Confd, you must accept & use the materials they will not mind. The cloth trimmings, with 2 prs of garters & 2 doz cambric handkerchiefs exactly amounts to 30 gold dollars but your dear Sister having written me to advance for other things in case of an opp. I shall write her of my having bought a dress for dear Mrs Daniel & Nannie also one or two for Maggie. I judged it would not offend your dear Mother my putting in some cloth trousers for her little gd sons to be altered, only abused by my son by his painting on rocky seats, and that she would wear some flannels of mine because ready made. I had only a days notice for each box, how hard I worked both last Friday & the Friday before at the packing, yet how thankfully, that after my years waiting at last the way was opened to send[.] I put in fancy wools for your dear Mothers netting, some coffee & a little sugar for her & 2 lb of the finest of green tea for Mrs D[.] I tried to get some new music for Clara, but had to take my daughters offer of a book she uses & had all ready [p. 3] for Mable but no time to dress it.
my poor eyes failed for more yesterday & today is so dark I fear these lines will be difficult. In the review of the year I praise God for signal favors, that of hearing that all I have sent you & Willie have been received, even to my letter. I recd a June date from my Cousin Mrs Lam Clinch thus encouraging me[,] send her this as I cannot write more. I hear from Cousin Ralph of all well & my only attempt has been to reply briefly. She had dates from Richmond, Claras of Augt to me, and Willies of Augt to his Sister. I hear from my friends Mr & Mrs Hill in Devonshire that letters of old dates from Richmond reached them this week; they are well. Thank Dr & Mrs Read for theirs & Mrs Gennet for hers to me, I was absent 3 months for health in Germany all Summer but am yet feeble. At present Influenza rages[.] I have it. The English papers this week are full of contradictory statements relative to our country & battles, My trust is in the Almighty May he keep you all and grant that my effort to cheer those for whom my prayers ascend may be prospered. It will surely be miraculous if the boxes reach you dear Maggie and it will be the Lord's own providing if you may send the parcels to the Mansion House at Camden. Write first that you may be sure my Cousins Miss Johnstone & Mrs Corbet are yet there. Also to Mrs Clinch at Richfield S.C. as to whether you shall send the parcel for her there or to Camden. God bless you all & grant I may have a New Year letter[.]
[p. 4] Willies Sister has lately written him via Havana Jimie wrote him in the box & sent letters from Jacks to me so full of love to Willie. Donald Palmer was captured in Missouri & pressed into the Confederate Army so perhaps Willie may solace him[.] I so filled every cranny of the boxes I could not get in a pr of new shoes I had bought for your dear Mother but a pr of warm cloth garters went for her & I thought you could use a very thick piece of flannel I covered the 1st box with for soles to comfort her feet. And now not a word of thanks if you may write me, but tell me of all & remember me affectionately to all.
4. Genl Winder
Probably John Henry Winder (1800-1865), a Confederate General [more]. At the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, he would have met AMW's husband George Washington Whistler (1800-1849), engineer, who was one class ahead of Winder.
Steamer Rattlesnake or CSS Nashville, built by Thomas Collyer, New York in 1853 (1221 tons.). She was built for general service between New York and Charleston, South Carolina. On 12 April 1861, she entered the latter port at the end of her last peacetime passage. As she did so, she was fired upon by USS Harriet Lane, which had come to the relief of Fort Sumter. Seized, and commissioned as a commerce raider in October, CS Nashville sank the clipper Harvey Birch before putting into Southampton for repairs on 21 November 1861, the first Confederate ship in European waters.
6. Capt Horner
Captain Horner, sea captain.
7. Mr T
8. Mr Hunter
Hunter, of Wilmington, NC.
Anna Johnstone and Mary Corbett (see below).
10. Mrs Winder
Mrs John Henry Winder.
11. Carlton House
i.e. Confederacy. William McN. Whistler was an assistant Surgeon in the 1st South Carolina Regiment of Rifles, 'Orr's Rifles.' The regiment was organized on 20 July 1861 at Sandy Springs; sent to Virginia in April 1862.
15. Mrs Sam Dorsy
Eliza, probably a relation of M. M. King.
Probably Clara Genet, daughter of Mrs Genet, of Richmond, VA.
24. Mr & Mrs Hill
Mr and Mrs Hill of Devonshire.
29. Donald Palmer
Probably Donald McNeill Palmer (b. 1845), JW's cousin [more]. AMW probably refers to the Union General Sterling Price's 'Missouri Expedition,' on 19 October 1864. The forces engaged were the 1st Division, Army of the Border [US], and Army of Missouri [CS]. The numerical superiority of the Confederates brought them victory. There is no record of a Donald Palmer ever enlisted in the Union army; see Index of Complied Military Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers, and The General Index to Pension Files 1861-1934, National Archives, Washington, DC.