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Letter to Future Confederate North Carolina Colonel

 
Letter to Future Confederate North Carolina Colonel (Image1)
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8 1/2 x 5 1/4, in ink, written by William G. Broadfoot, a Confederate Treasury Official, to his son Charles who would be a Confederate colonel later in the war.

Fay.[etteville], [North Carolina], Feb. 2/61

Dear Charles,

I enclose twenty dollars as requested in letter to yr. mother recd. today. I am glad to hear that your boarding house is fixed with one that I have formed a high opinion of from a rapid hearing of your acc.[ount] of her. I trust that it may be proved all that I fancy & hope for & that it will be permanent. I am glad that you have deferred moving for the present & think the charge exorbitant. Stick to your studies & let politics only enlist your attention when nothing more valuable may or ought to have attention- let it not above all color your feelings on intercourse with any one decision with moderation. God preserve my boy.

Yr. F.[ather]

Boldly written. Tiny edge chip at the bottom of the paper which does not affect any of the content. Sensible advice is trying to be given by the elder Broadfoot to his son by telling him to stick to his studies and not let politics consume his attention. In 2 1/2 short months after this letter was written the country would be embroiled in a bitter civil war lasting over 4 years and costing over 625,000 American lives. In February 1861 emotions were running very hot in both the North and the South and W.G. Broadfoot, like many parents at that time, were worried about the fate of their sons. By the summer of 1861 young Charles Broadfoot would be serving in the Confederate army like so many other young North Carolinians.

This letter was written by William Giles Broadfoot, (1806-72), the father of Confederate soldiers Charles W. Broadfoot and George B. Broadfoot, (1844-85) (5th North Carolina Cavalry), prior to the start of the War Between the States, while Charles was still a student at the University of North Carolina. The elder Broadfoot was a Confederate official in the C.S.A. Depository at Fayetteville, North Carolina.

The recipient of this note, Charles Wetmore Broadfoot, (1842-1919), was an 18 year old student at the University of North Carolina when he enlisted as a private on July 15, 1861, and was mustered into Company H, 1st North Carolina Infantry. He was mustered out of this regiment on November 12, 1861. He then served in Company D, 43rd North Carolina Infantry, also known as the "Cumberland Plough Boys," and was discharged for promotion on September 7, 1862, being commissioned 1st Lieutenant and Aide-de-Camp, on the staff of General Theophilus H. Holmes, who was his uncle.** On July 1, 1864, he was commissioned into the Field & Staff of the 1st North Carolina Reserve Infantry, with rank of lieutenant colonel and colonel. His date and method of discharge are unknown. After the war, in 1870, Charles was elected to the state legislature. He served as Dean of the Cumberland County Bar, and was elected as a trustee of the University of North Carolina in 1911.

*This note came out of a small grouping of Broadfoot family letters and documents that I acquired a couple of years ago. It was oftentimes the habit of Mr. Broadfoot to include a note to Charles in the same letter that his mother wrote to him.

** Frances "Fannie" Rebecca Wetmore Broadfoot (1825-92), was the wife of William G. Broadfoot, and the mother of Charles W. Broadfoot. Fannie's older sister, Laura Jane Wetmore, was married to Confederate General Theophilus H. Holmes.



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