Civil War letters reveal lives on front lines, back home

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Staff Report

HILLSVILLE — Henry Lindsey, a Carroll County soldier in the 29th Virginia lnfantry, wrote to his wife: “I drawed soap today for the first time — about the size of a hen egg. We have to pay $1.50 per lb. for soap to wash our clothes.”

His wife Polly, writing from their home in the Dugspur area, replied to Henry: “Times are very hard in Carroll and everything is scarce and powerful high: pork $1.50 a lb., butter $3, wheat $15...”

Reading from actual letters and documents, the upcoming Civil War Letters from Carroll County program gives insight into the hardships endured by every day citizens of Carroll County — both those serving in the war and those back home.

The Carroll County 175th Birthday Committee will present the letters on Sept. 23.

“Our county is fortunate to have available collections of letters and documents written between 1861 and 1865,” said Shelby Inscore-Puckett of the committee. “ln the case of Henry Lindsey, not only do we have his letters to his wife, but also her letters to him — a rare find.”

Lindsey’s neighbors, Alexander Smith and the Rev. Lee Cummins Brown, each had four sons serving in the war. Letters from some of these young men also will be included in the evening program.

“The letters are sad; they tell of sickness, death, heartache and other losses suffered during these war years,” a news release about the event said.

Civil War Letters from Carroll County is “a one-time presentation that will highlight this vivid and dramatic period in the history of Carroll County,” the committee said.

It will be presented Sept. 23 at the Historic Courthouse in downtown Hillsville at 7 p.m. There will be dessert, coffee and a talk with the cast at the Hale-Wilkinson-Carter Home next to the courthouse, following the program.

Tickets are $10 per person, with a portion of each ticket sale going to the Hale-Wilkinson-Carter Home, and are available at the Carter Home on Main Street (276-728-5600); at the Carroll County Historical Society (276-728-4113); by email at sipuckett@|s.net (phone 276-398-2253) or by mail at: Courthouse Productions, 246 Brady Pike, Hillsville, VA 24343.

All checks should be made to Courthouse Productions.