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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Letter from Bienville Parish: 1862

This letter was written by Georgia Ann Frances Bryan Pittman of Bienville Parish, Louisiana to her half-brother and his wife, Span and Lou Ragan of Lee County, Georgia.  Span was the son of Elizabeth Regan Bryan and her first husband, Joseph Regan.  

Fannie was the youngest child of Reddick Bryan (Pap) and Elizabeth Regan. Fannie mentioned several other family members in this letter. Lizzie Bryan (Elizabeth Mercer Bryan) was the widow of Fannie’s half – brother Simeon Baker Bryan, son of Reddick Bryan and his first wife.  Bro. Jimmy (James Bryan), was Simeon’s oldest brother. Jim Watts was James C. Watts, husband of Fannie’s sister, Catherine Amanda “Manda” Watts and Terrell Bryan was Fannie's brother and my great-grandfather. 

It is assumed that “my baby” was a young daughter of James "Jim" Pittman and Fannie who married in 1857. In an earlier letter, she was referred to as “her,” but it is thought that the baby died young as there is no record of the child after this letter.  

Thank you to Bill Ragan for sending me this letter. 

Wednesday Feb. 5 # AD 1862
Bienville Par. La. 

My dear Brother and Sister

     It has been a very long time since I have written to you or received a letter from you and have come to the conclusion that will write to you again as would be pleased to hear from you by letter again.  I have but little news to write you of interest and that will very likely be of the All absorbing topic War as that is all that is talked of now.  We have hard times with us now and I fear worse a coming.  Though from what I've heard we are not quite so bad of as the citizens of Georgia yet for my part it is worse for me now than is pleasant  you no doubt have heard ere this that Mr. Pittman was in the Army.  Yes, it is even the case.  It seems sometimes that it is all I can bear and on reflection I think  it wrong for me to murmur. Just to think what he has left home and comfort and binding ties  for.  He has been in service four months the twentieth of Jan. He has been home once.  I have been to see him once which makes twice I have seen him.  He is now stationed at New Orleans but don't know how long they will remain there as there has been a good deal of talk of their being ordered to Mobile.  It is thought by a good many that Mobile will be attacked soon. 

     There are five Regiments at New Orleans. Brother Terrell is there also. He and Jim are in the same company. It is the Castor Guards under Capt. Mabry 16 Regiment.  There are a good many of my acquaintances in it.  They were all proud to see me when I went down.  I only remained with Jim seven days.  If it is so I can will visit him again sometime.  If I could only know that he would go through his term safe it would not go so hard with me.  He was sick a few days before I went to see him but I found him up and left him well.  I left the city the twenty seventh of last month.  I have been quite uneasy about him ever since as there has been such a great deal of rain and it is such a muddy place where they are.  They are on the Pontchartrain Rail Road. Two mile from the Citty.  I enjoyed my trip fine but got home with the worst cold I ever had in my life. I was quite uneasy last night about it as it has settled in my throat and yesterday evening it commenced getting soar so I had to draw a blister on it. I have the worst time of it with my throat you most ever saw any body.  It gets so bad some times it seems almost like it will kill me.

     Pap got a letter from Lizzie Bryan a few days ago  she writes of the hard times said she was to see you last fall. She is very anxious to come back to La.  Says her people won't do anything for her.  Mother is going to write to her this evening.  Brother I will not be able to write you an interesting letter as you will see so don't expect anything interesting. 

     The connection are all tolerably well.  Bro. Jimmy has the chills.  My baby had one this morning and is quite sick with it. I had like to of forgotten to say to you Jim Watts was also in the army.  He is in Virginia at Manassa.  His time will be out in June.  Mothers health is not very good but better than has been in some time.

     We have been somewhat looking for you to move out hear as we could not hear from you  and you've been writing some thing like coming.  All would be very glad to see you and have you live among us.  I think if you have much of your provisions to buy it would be much better for you to come as they are cheaper here than there.  I don't hear of anything selling here but Pork.  It has been selling at ten cents.  I have heard of some selling for nine. There has been more sold for over ten cents. Corn and other things have been made in great abundance so there is no sale for it unless it is sold to the government.  I think the Poor Soldiers ought to be well supplied with corn meal for they don't get any thing but Flour and beef to eat, it is enough to kill the last one of them.  It would to if they were not so patriotic

      Well brother I will come to a close as have nothing more of interest to write. Kiss Lou and the babies for me. Write very soon and let us hear from you.  Your devoted sister
                Fannie Pittman.

Georgia Ann Frances Bryan Pitman, Bienville Parish, Louisiana  to Span and Julius Leurany "Lou" Speight Ragan , Lee County, Georgia,  letter, 5 February 1862; original or photostat in the possession of Span Ragan descendant William Ragan, who supplied a digital copy to the author.


© 2013

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