Monday, June 10, 2013

Voices of the Civil War: Camp Followers (Emancipated Slave, North)

(This is part of a series of historical fiction letters relating what life was like during the Civil War. For an explanation of this series, please click here.)

I have a quick note on this particular letter before you read it. I deliberately formatted this letter to reflect the character and life behind that of an emancipated slave. The spelling mistakes (with clarifying brackets in some places meant for your understanding), single-paragraph usage, and all, are purposeful. I hope you enjoy it!

From an Emancipated Slave (North):

My der famly,

It sems lik sich a long tim[e] since I've seen yu. My hart aches te see yer lovly faces agin. I's ritin yu dis leter. Der is a small girl who teches us new free men to read an write our leters. She use te be a slave for a gran lady who died rite befor the yoonyin soliers cam an got us free. I bin hopin dey let me fite for em but dey says dey aint got tim[e] to tech us contraban how te fite sinse dem rebs breathin down deys neck an dems runnin an movin all de tim[e]. But I's follow dem anywher sinse deys give me what a man should have from de day o his birth. I's a free man an I aim te git yall free to. Ders a kin yoonyin man her[e] dat show me a map an I askd him wher yall was. He says we not to far from yall but dat reb army is standin in de way an I ask him why I's not abl te fite fer de on[e]s I lov an he says he thunk it woud help but de comander don wan us getin guns. All I [k]nows is dis, dat I's cumin te git yall soon.

Wit lov, yur husban and fathr,
Toby Smith

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