1862: John Middleton Sweezy to Lydia (Williams) Sweezy

“All this is most enough to break my heart,” wrote Lt. John Middleton Sweezy (1824-Aft1910) who served the Confederacy in Co. I, 56th North Carolina Infantry. He wrote these words to his wife, Lydia (Williams) Sweezy after receiving word that his brothers George and Jeremiah were dead as well as two of his children.

John was one of at least nine children born to John Sweezy (1793-1850) and Rosanna Borden (1797-1888) of Flint Hill District, Rutherford county, North Carolina.

[Note: This letter is from the private collection of Richard Weiner and is published by express consent.]


Camp Hegwood near Kindson [Kinston], North Carolina
December 10, 1862

Dear and beloved wife,

I now take my pen in hand once more to write to you to let you know that I am yet in the land of the living, thank God, but is not well. But I am a heap better than I have been. I have not done any duty since the 15th day of September…..will find you all well and doing well. It seems like I have had more hard trials than anybody else. I heard of the deaths of brother George and brother Jeremiah—both dead ¹ —and Perry Martin’s wife come and told me last week two of my children was dead—Jeremiah and Margaret. All this is most enough to break my heart. But we must bear all this for we don’t know how soon we will have to close our eyes in death. I have been very near it already myself but thank God I am on praying grounds yet.

Lydia, I want you to write to me as soon as you get this and let me know how you are doing these hard times. I will send you forty dollars by Perry Martin or his wife and I want you to write to me whether you get it or not. I thought I would get to come home but they won’t let me come at present. I am with the regiment again. I have been with the regiment ever since I was wounded. My wound is most well but I am weak in my back.

Ausbun is tolerable well but don’t do any duty. He has got something growing on him.

So I must close by saying I want to come home the worst I ever did. Do the best you can till I come. Have you heard from mother? What is she doing? Lydia, let us pray until we die and remember…. — John M. Sweezy

¹ George Sweezy of the 34th North Carolina was killed at Ox Hill on 25 October 1862. Jeremiah W. Sweezy died of disease at Goldsboro on 16 August 1862.


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