This letter was written by 19 year-old Ann Zellars (1841-Aft1910), the daughter of Jacob Long Zellars (1811-1878) and Nancy Florence (1814-1870) of Goshen District, Lincoln County, Georgia, home of the Lamar Confederates. The Lamar Confederates became Company G, 15th Georgia Infantry.
The “Stephen” mentioned in paragraph may have been Stephen Zellars Hearnsberger. who was elected Captain of Co. G, 15th Georgia in December 1861. He rose to the rank of Lt. Col. during the war.
Ann had several sisters and it isn’t clear which of whom she calls “Puss.”
Without an envelope, and since she appears not to have been a close relative, it is impossible to know who the “Sallie” is that Ann wrote this letter to.
September 30th 1861
Not feeling disposed to sit and do nothing, I have finally come to the conclusion to rite to you but whether I fail or not will be seen hereafter. I have nothing in the world to write — only hard times and worse coming. But if they get any worse, God pity me, I pray.
I hear from our friends in Virginia every week. They have been very sickly since they left but their health is improving now. Two of the Lamar Confederates have died. I was well acquainted with one of them. He was a nice young man about 20 years old. He was one of my sweethearts. He said when he left he never expected to come back. He died of the typhoid fever. His name was M. J. Jones.¹ The other was John Tebow.² There is several of the company in the hospital now but none of them considered dangerous. Cousin Peter ³ has had the measles and was quite sick the last time I heard from him but not dangerous.
[My] Brother [Isaac] got a letter from Cousin Stephen last week. He is well and in high spirits. He has been well ever since he left with the exception of the gravel. I don’t know what that is — do you? By the way, that is a mighty nice cousin of yours. Did you know he was my cousin too? Somebody has been telling you tales on me. I did get a letter but it wasn’t from him so you see you was mistaken for once. I got a letter from the big Shanty last week and have been answering it today. I tell you what it was — a mighty job to write that boy but it had to be done. He is the ugliest boy in the Bartow Volunteers and has the biggest foot and _____ as much sense as you could put in a thimble and that is the best I can say for him. But I don’t like to slight the soldiers and so I wrote to him. I told Puss to back it wrong but she wouldn’t do it.
This is the dullest day I ever spent. I do wish somebody would come. I have a little of the dusty ____ these times but it is mighty hard to come at my bottle is most gone. I have about a box full now and when that’s gone, I guess I will have to do without. We have all been very busy for some time past knitting comfort for the soldiers. I have knit seven and sent them to my particular friends — one to my sweetheart.
We have commenced work in earnest out here. I have been spinning I think with a little. I will make a famous spinner. We have all dressed out in homespun. I have one of the prettiest striped dresses that you ever saw. Just imagine me next Sunday sitting in the church dressed in it for I am going to wear it the next time I go.
Puss hasn’t answered her letter yet but says she will since she has heard the writer is at the point of death. I hope he won’t die. He is a nice young man and belongs to the Irvin Guard † from Wilkes [County]. I have had more Chin_______ this week than you ever saw and they have served me very badly. I went visiting last week and stayed most of the week. Saw more than you ever heard of. I like to forgot to tell you we are all well and as gaily as crickets. I think you might afford to come home with Bob when she comes if you would try. I don’t expect you can read this. My pencil makes such a fine mark. I started to write with a pen but Puss must try to make it better by sticking it in the table and the consequence was she ruined and then laughed at it. She is now fast asleep & hopes you are enjoying the same blessing. Write to me soon.
Your friend, — Ann Z
¹ Private Moses J. Jones died of Typhoid Fever in a Richmond, Virginia hospital on 7 or 9 September, 1861. We learn from this letter that Moses was one of Ann’s sweethearts.
² Private John Tebow died of Typhoid Fever in a Richmond, Virginia hospital on 8 September 1861.
³ Private Peter Zellars died in a Richmond, Virginia hospital in June 1862. He was Ann’s cousin.
† The Irvin Guard of Wilkes County, Georgia drew their name from Isaiah Tucker Irvin (1783-1856), their captain. During the Civil War, the Irvin Guard became Company A of the 9th Georgia Infantry.