This letter was written by Joseph Byrd Texido, possibly the son of Manuel (“Mannie”) Thomas Texido (1811-1890) and Mary Byrd (1815-1909) of Flushing, New York. His grandfather was most certainly Manuel Texido (1771-1854) of Ferrol, Galicia, Spain, who is buried in Flushing Cemetery in Queens, New York.
Joseph enlisted in September 1863 in Co. C, 47th New York Infantry. He mustered out of the service on 30 August 1865 at Raleigh, North Carolina. He wrote the letter to his mother from Raleigh which he described as “quite a pretty place” filled with residents displaying “a strong Union feeling.” Commenting on Lincoln’s assassination, he wrote that it was “a damnable act” that would most assuredly “retard peace.”
Raleigh, N. C.
April 25th 1865
My Dear Mother,
As I have a little time to spare, I will embrace it in writing you this letter, as I have got tired of waiting for one from home, and I want to know the reason you do not write. I am very anxious to hear from you all and know that you are all well. I told you in my last that we was going to move but did not know exactly where we was going to. But we went directly to the capitol of the state where we have been now over a week.
I do not like Raleigh much although it is quite a pretty place—very shady and some handsome State Buildings. Churches are Baptist, Presbyterian, & [Christ Church] Episcopal—which latter is presided over by Dr. [Richard Sharpe] Mason—and a few meeting houses. There is a strong Union feeling amongst the inhabitants who want peace very much, and now the men from both armies mingle together as if they had always been on the best of terms. There is a great many of them on their way to their homes that pass through the place daily. O how I wish I was on my way to my home. I should feel much rejoiced. Now the war is over—i.e., fighting—I should think they might send most, if not all of the troops home.
I wrote a letter to Dan which will go in the same mail with this. The weather is very hot but the nights are cool and from what I can learn by negroes, will be till May when they say it will be so hot that you can hardly stay in the tents nights. As I expect soon to be home, I will keep all of my adventures to myself as I know you would better like to hear them from my own lips.
What a sad thing the death of the President. What a damnable act. Just on the eve of peace and such a good man to South, one of the best friends of the soldiers, and to those who he ought to hung instead of pardoning. It cast a sad gloom over the City of Raleigh and the soldiers were so exasperated that they were going to burn the place but the people seem to deplore the loss as much as our people, and the papers here speak of Mr. Lincoln very highly, and say he was the “best friend the whole South ever had.” It will retard peace, but it must come sooner or later.
Has Mr. Byrd & Margaret yet returned and are you going to stay in the same place this spring?
Business is looking up in Raleigh & Wilmington. The latter place the stores are all open and doing big trade and the people of this place are commencing trade with a relish. The cars are all running now and it makes things look like living again. Now Mar, do write if you feel able and tell the rest to do the same. My love to yourself and the rest of my folks, and all enquiring friends. I think of you all every day and wish I was with you. I send Liz some rags to put with her other curiosities. God bless you all. Write often and long letters. Goodbye Mar, for a short time, as I hope to see you all soon.
Your son, — J. B. Texido
P. S. Direct Co. C, 47 [New York] Regt., 2d Brig., 2d Divis., 10th A.C. (instead of 24th), Raleigh, N. C.
I suppose there was great joy over Lee surrender in Flushing.