Plantation owner's financial demise as slaves leave

Date Written

March 6, 1864

Malcom McNeill was 68 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Thomas Henry McNeill, was 42 when it was received.

Malcom McNeill died 10 years, 11 months, 15 days after writing this.
It was written 155 years, 2 months, 15 days ago.
It was a Sunday.

At Doctr. Thomas’s
March 6, 1864

My dear son,

I have hoped until now to be able to go south with the Doctor—But such appears to be my situation at home that to leave at this time, what little I have—would all go or be destroyed—you will learn from the Doctr my peculiar situation. It is true I am very anxious to see you and family and your sister and family. If please God, I could only be restored to all your companies, I feel I could be happy once more. I care not for the losses that has befallen me, which has been great, but thank god we will all be able to live, with which we should be contented. I have no idea that if I had have been at Lake Charles, or at your house, that I could have changed anything that has taken place.

I would not have you to be uneasy. I think you have managed as well as any of us could, and perhaps a great deal better. So let no uneasiness visit on your mind for a moment. The poor Negroes, they ruin themselves by leaving comfortable homes and perishing in camp from cold, hunger, and disease. Poor creatures, they are greatly to be pitied. It is true I had warm sympathy and family feelings for many of them and would like to see them do well. They injure themselves a great deal more than they do me. I can do very well without them. I fear they cannot do so well without me. Make your boss business men and they will be able to go through this world.

The Doctr. goes down on some business of his, should you need on my account some funds, or on your own accounts, so far as he can, he will furnish and take an order on me. I know not your situation nor condition. I hope it is good, but if otherwise, I name the above release—so soon as I can consistently leave home, I feel resolved to go down and see you all, but I cannot now say.

I have no local news. We have passed through a very disagreeable winter, some of the coldest weather that we have ever experienced with all of which we have had a rather healthy winter.

I am greatly pleased to hear from Gen. Grant and family and that they are well. Remember me affectionately to him and every member of his family. I should be glad to see them all and hope we will all meet again in time—also to Col. Burke when you see him, my best respects.

Your Mother is in fine health and in good spirits as to losses; feels rather relieved than otherwise. Of course, I cannot write much under the circumstances so I must refer you to the Doctr for any local news that I have omitted.

My warmest love to all your family. Your Father,
Malcom McNeill

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