1862 LETTER FROM R. G. WHITSETT
Samuel Jefferson Whitsett was the husband of Fannie Pullen
who was a granddaughter of Eliza Bartlett.
He was about ten years old when his father, Richard Guilford Whitsett,
left home for service in the Confederate Army.
Below is a transcript of a letter the father gave the son on that occasion.*
June 11th, 1862
My Dear Son:—
I shall soon leave you to do battle for my country in defense of all that I hold dear, my family, justice and liberty, where I will be exposed to all the vicissitudes and dangers of a way that has no equal in the annuals of history.
You being my eldest and only son, should it be my lot never to return there will be a heavy charge resting on you. The care of your mother and little sisters. Obey your mother and be governed by her in all things, for she will advise you aright. Honor her, for you are commanded to do so by the best of books - the Bible. Be loving and kind to your little sisters, for you will be their only dependence, their protection, guard and guide. Treat them all alike, ever with affection and kindness. In this, fail not, for their happiness in a great measure depends on you.
I will now lay down a few rules for your future government.
First:— Speak the truth on all occasions. Be honest and correct in all your dealings.
Second:— Be frugal and industrious and you will at least have a sufficiency.
Third:— Honor and respect religion, and always contribute liberally to the church and all objects of charity.
Fourth:— Apply yourself assiduously to your books and endeavor to improve your mind so that after
you arrive to the years of maturity, you will not be put to the blush by your ignorance.
Fifth:— Be careful in selecting your companions. Let them be men of strict integrity and virtue,
and in point of honor, above suspicion, for remember you will be judged by your associates.
Sixth:— Avoid bad habits such as chewing tobacco, drinking, swearing, using vulgar language.
None of these are the requisites of a gentleman.
My son, let me enjoin you again, take care of and ever be affectionate to your mother and little sisters, and finally lead a christian life. May heaven's richest blessings ever remain with you is the prayer of
Your affectionate father
R. G. Whitsett
*Ann McFadin Miller provided this transcript to Roger Bartlett in 1974. It later was published in Stirpes, vol. 39, no. 1, p. 11, at p. 15 (March 1999).