Letter Written by Workers (Probably Female) at the Confederate Fayetteville Armory in Fayetteville, N.C. August 10th, 1861 – “We are now altering old Hall’s Rifles to Carbines”
In April of 1861, the United States Arsenal in Harper’s Ferry (then Virginia) fell to Confederate troops. Equipment was taken south to Fayetteville, N.C. Early on, the South employed anyone willing to work. This included many women. According to articles on the Internet that we will include about the armory, “The average age of the female workers in August 1861 is twenty years old, and the youngest worker is Dicy Burkett, age 11.”

Our letter is 4 pages written in nice dark ink. It is actually 2 letters. The first was written by “Orry” and the second by a sibling. WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS A GREAT PICTURE OF THE URGENCY OF THE SOUTH GETTING READY TO FIGHT!

The letter is headed, “Fayetteville August the 10th 1861”.

Here is the content:

• “Dear Webster, I will write to you but I cannot say much, but the best I can say I wish you was here, and Bub, you don't know how I feel about you all. But I hope you all will come on here soon which I heard you was getting ready to come on here. I hope you will come.”


• “We heard your little brother is dead. We saw it in one of the papers. We were very sorry to hear it.”

• “Mother is talking about some of you all the time, and I too.”

• “Mr. Hammond, your radical preacher, is here. He was down to see us yesterday, and he is going to preach here tomorrow. He is going to stay here two weeks. He expected to find you all here.”

• “Father went to Richmond yesterday. All that worked for the Federal Government got their money.”


• “I wrote to Dan Boyle and John Sewbridge. I have not received no letter yet. Webster, go to them and tell them to write to me soon. I will have to stop. Give my love to all of the family and all the boys and girls on Camphill. Excuse bad writing. Give that letter to Miss Clasky.”

The second letter on the same sheet, is headed, “Fayetteville, N. C. August 10th 1861”.

Here is the content:

• “Dear Webster, As Orry was writing and left room for me, I will endeavor to scratch you a few lines to let you know we are all well and hope you are the same.”

• “We cannot hear from any of you. When people goes to Winchester you might write to us and let us know how you are getting along. Some of the people gets letters here, but we never get any, but I hope we soon will get one from some of you.”

• “I wish you were all here tomorrow anyhow as Mr. Hammond is going to preach tomorrow. He is boarding two or three doors above us.”

• “He and Tommy Price came down to see us yesterday, and WE WERE ALL TALKING ABOUT DEAR OLD HARPERS FERRY.”

• “Webster, there is no place like home. This is a very nice place, but it is not like home. I have not seen any place like it.”

• “We have had more watermelon since we have been here than I ever ate. We can get very large ones for 5 cts. a piece. We have 3 or 4 most every day.”

• “Pa has gone to Richmond. He started yesterday TO SEE ABOUT GETTING THE MACHINERY AND WHAT TOOLS THAT BELONG TO THE RIFLE WORKS. Jerome Burhart and Baldwin Johnson went too.”

• “Webster, if you can see McCenen's girls, give my love to them, and tell them please write to me. Tell them Mary Shipley lives out in the country. The Merrick's girls live with them. Tell her I was out there the other night and we had a splendid time. Tell her we were talking about her and wishing they were here. If we had Lily Brown and them here, we would have our crowd.”

• “And Webster, tell Nellie Snook that we read in the paper that Charlie Norris was killed at the Battle of Manassas. Tell her I had a good cry. He is one of the Lexington cadets.”

• “Ava sends her best love to your mother and Grandma, McYoden and everybody. Tell Sis Cavalier and Laura Spangler and girls to write a letter. Write soon. I cannot write any more for want of room.”

Very rarely do we see any letters regarding the armory in Fayetteville.

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