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Letter signed John Matthews, St. Louis, to his aunt [Mary Jane Wilson Levering?], May 13, 1864

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Identifier: D05643

Title: Letter signed John Matthews, St. Louis, to his aunt [Mary Jane Wilson Levering?], May 13, 1864


Discusses war news and prices of food.

Transcription: St. Louis 13th May 1864

My dear Aunt

I recd yours of 14th Ulto. in due time that of 1st May to day — Since the receipt of the former I have been so busy I had not time to reply. I sent your letters to Orville by way of posting him up of the whereabouts of the family & received the enclosed from him — Beside want of time to write you, I supposed you would hear of us through Leonora’s letter to Pauline, which she wrote two or three weeks ago — It contained some Photographs. I fear such a letter is apt to miscarry. —

The Politicians will have a fearful account of blood to render — every day since 4th to yesterday have been battles (& bloody ones) in progress in Virginia, & still they are going on. — Madness rules the Country — I consider our former institutions as no longer possible. Brink’s Army met a most disastrous defeat — Our verbal (or grapevine telegraph) accounts make it much worse than any during the war —

Business men are very anxious about the Currency & prices have risen enormously — Butter has been 50 & is yet 35 — 40¢ Eggs have been as high as a dollar a dozen, & though much lower now (15¢) are still high for the season & hard to get at all — hams 20¢, beef 20¢ p th[?] in market — vegetables at fabulous prices & scarce at them — The season of grass is very late, & a great many of the chickens & turkeys were frozen during the cold winter — These too facts will account for the high prices of eggs, chickens butter & beef. The country is getting bare of cattle — Business is very unprofitable & prices are so high & the currency so uncertain, that it is dangerous too

I do not know what is to become of us if the South be overrun. It appears to me the worst that can happen for either section but I confess I cannot see as far as those who govern, for I cannot see any benefit got from the contest to any part of the Country even New England that has felt it less than any other has reason to deplore the growth of immorality & vice —

There is great difficulty in shipping to New Orleans — When a boat leaves here she has no surety she will not be taken possession of & sent on some military expedition, & now that Banks has been defeated, the guerrilla render their passage unsafe. — Wilson & Isabel have a hard time of it — If the gunboats (ironclads) on the Red River fall into the hands of the Confederates, they will repossess all the River including N.O., most probably. Our advice from there say they cannot escape but by a rise of the River. —Bank’s & Porter went on a cotton speculation & have failed!

Having written so far, I am uninterrupted by news of the defeat of Lee — I stopped to read it & believe that all that is said may be true or become so, but I cannot credit it yet — at least to the extent state — I fear all their sacrificing will be of no account but hope otherwise. — Please return Orville’s letter after perusal

P.S. 14th We had so many sensational reports of battles in Va. that I determined to wait till this morning. — I think the result shows a slight gain on the Federal side, & apparently Richmond will be overwhelmed by numbers. — The injury to the south will be destructive of every thing held dear among mankind —

Your aff.

John Matthews Jr

Rights: NoC-US

Place: United States
St Louis

Dates: 1864-05-13

Type(s): Letter

Maker/Creator: Matthews, John

Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865


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