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Pvt. Abel Theodore Cansler from his wife Nancy McNeely Cansler

Home Yankee Land     July 10, 1863

My Dear Absent Husband,

It is with a sad heart that I attempt to write to you any more perhaps, for the last time in a long while.  I received your letter by Mr. Baker two days ago, but did not write immediately for about that time we heard that Vicksburg had surrendered.  O how I hate to believe it & I do not believe it yet altogether as we have not heard anything only rumor.  but we are almost compelled to give it up as all the wagon trains have gone east from here.  I suppose we are gone (even) if I don't like it.  I received a note from sis Nancy (Nancy Bobo Cansler, wife of Adolphus Cansler) yesterday,  she dont know what they (will) do, said A.P. (Adolphus Patton Cansler, older brother of Abel Theodore Cansler) would be here today.  I dont know what his advice will be, but I think best to stay here & do the best I can.  The Yanks (will) take the negroes men & mules perhaps they will leave Jack.  Rodes has been working at Long Creek Bridge all week, came home last night.  I was at Sidneys (Sidney Mills was her brother-in-law) last night.  he is very sick has been for a week has fever.  Triso Hubbard came from the shop Tuesday, he came through Jackson said they did not know the truth of the report about Vicksburg.  O how I would like to have a letter from you.  I hope you have written.  you were so cheerful in your lasts I was so glad to hear you were well.  All I ask is to hear where you are & know that you are well.  Mrs.Lang came up from Grenada yesterday said the bad news was not generally believed there.  Wad is still there.  Mr. Todd and Dr. Miller started to S.C. with all their negroes last Tuesday.  took their mules & wagon.  Mr. Hartsfield sent his young negroes.  Mr. Todd took all but Bilet & Wiley.  good many people are leaving, I wish I could have your advice if Mississippi is entirely given up.  we might save our men by sending them off.  perhaps A.P. will tell me what to do, but i don't rely on his judgement as much as yours.  He will have to leave sure (A.P. Cansler was a Confederate Colonel captured and paroled at Island #10 in April, 1862) & I don't think he will go to the army. 

We are all well, Mr. Shaw is thrashing wheat, got Walls. He will thrash 200 bushels to put in our ginn house this end and tomarrow.  some don't think it worth while to thrash it for them yanks, but I think they may not take it all as they own us & I want the good of it till they do take it.  If it was not for our little children (They had a 9 year-old girl, a 7 year-old boy, and a 4 year-old boy), I would not care for but I would hate to hear them beg for bread & me none to give, but our HEAVENLY FATHER has promised (Nancy was a staunch Presbyterian) to be a father to the fatherless & I trust in him.  I have never heard of any one starving yet, but reports say the Vicksburg garrison realed as they walk & their bones rattled, they were so near starved.  I wish I could hear the truth why they did surrender, report also, says that Mcgruder & Taylor taken New Orleans, Sidney has given me a good pistol.  Green, Middleton & John Knox have a company organized & I suppose will leave soon.  I will not finish this letter now, perhaps A.P. will be here today and he will take it to the depot.  I don't feel like writing this morning.

Saturday eve, the 11 July

My dear I will write some more this eve but I do not know where to send it or where other cars are stopped & the telegraph wires cut.  The troops are at Panda yet & report says you are at Jackson.  Mr. Snow speaks of going to Alabama with some of his hands & will take Rodes with them.  I will send this with him & he can mail it somewhere, he may start in the morning.  some think you may have big battle at Jackson.  I pray that you may be successful and that your life may be spared & O that I might hear from you.  Cal Johnson started with all his property & family yesterday to Ala.  A.P. has not been to see me yet.  The tax accessor was here today & he said A.P. would not run this time.  Green Middleton's Co. will go into camps at Panola, Tuesday.  they have 50 men or boys.  If you ever get a chance, write your pa and sisters & let them know all.  I can't write or I would.  Matt is gone to Mrs. Watkins tonight with Em Bost.  she is uneasy about Flin, he was in Vicksburg.  We all know something bad happened but no one knows certainly that Vicksburg has fallen.  It his been very hot & thundering heavily for two days but not much rain.  It don't look possible that such a horrible war could be going on in our midst & everything look so promising.  There never has been such crops of every thing this year.  it looks like we might feed an army, in Panola ourselves.  I don't think they will destroy our crops if all the soldiers leave Mississippi as they would have no interest in doing so, at least I hope the best.   I always believe that everything happens for the best & if we are not humbled now, our Father knows how to bring us down & perhaps he will punish us in the flesh to save our souls & he will give us the strength to bear all.  I will close if you should get this it will be a satisfaction!  I know if ever an opportunity offers, you will write to me & I hope if we never meet again on earth that we will meet where there will be no more parting nor wars.  that is my conselation from your affectionate wife.

Sunday eve, 12th

MY DEAR HUSBAND

I heard this morning that Mrs Wall had rec'd a letter from Mr. Wall that you were on the Pearl River.  I hope there is a letter for me somewhere.  Mr. McCall starts to Ala in the morning.  Rufus Shaw is going with him & takes Mrs. Lang & all of C's negroes but old Sarah, Ike and family.  Rodes won't go without his wife.  I tried to persuade him to go, but he says if I will go, he will go with me, or will go to you if I can send him, but says that strangers don't care for other people's negroes & he won't go off without either Master or Mistress to starve, when he knows we have plenty here.  I don't blame the negroes much.  Sidney is very bad (Ollie is here today).  I will send this with Mrs. Lang.  perhaps she can send it to you as there is no chance from here.  They will start from here this evening as i will close farewell my own preciouse husband.  May God Bless & save you & us all in heaven is the prayer of your wife Nannie

Monday morning

They did not start yesterday but are ready to start now.  Rodes has concluded to go with them.  I will send Nell.  Har Shaw is sending them to Dr. Payne.  he writes they can make a support hauling coal for the furnaces.  we send bacon enough to do them 6 to 8 months & money to Dr. Payne to see that they have enough.  I thought it best to send him & Nell.  Perhaps we may save that much.  I have no one to advise me but Mr. Shaw & he thinks it best.  Mr. McCall has declined going. if you get this write to Mrs. Lang in Ala & she may have some way to send it to me.  I heard this morning that Loringo Division had captured a large wagon train & 400 prisoners.  good bye my love, your nannie

Courtesy of Cliff Roberts

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