Agnes Paton Foy Memoir

Manuscript Collection #362
Foy, Agnes Paton, 1845-1921
Physical description
0.073 Cubic Feet, Civil War Memoir, 14 pages, typescript copy.
Preferred Citation
Agnes Paton Foy Memoir (#362), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Memoir(1861-1865) including correspondence, Civil War Memoir, typescript copy.

Biographical/historical information

Agnes Charlotte Paton, the daughter of Anne Farrow and David Paton, was born on December 1, 1845, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Mr. Paton had come to North Carolina from Scotland in 1833 to accept the position of architect for the new Capitol building in Raleigh. While in North Carolina, he met Miss Farrow and they married. The couple returned to Scotland after the completion of the Capitol building. The family returned to North Carolina when Agnes was about seven years old and settled near Washington, N.C. Miss Paton married Claudius E. Foy of Jones County, on July 6, 1871. He was the son of Enoch Foy and Elizabeth P. Oliver. Mrs. Agnes P. Foy died in New Bern on January 1, 1921.

Scope and arrangement

This memoir is an account of life around Washington, N.C., during the period of the Civil War. It is unclear who authored this memoir. It appears that the first section of the text relates the experiences of an unnamed acquaintance of Mrs. Foy, and the remainder of the memoir discusses Mrs. Foy's experiences and observations.

The memoir deals primarily with the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes of Mrs. Foy during the ordeal of the Civil War. She expresses the feelings of loss and helplessness at the deaths of many of her friends in battle. Mrs. Foy also discusses the effect of the Civil War on the social life of her area. She relates the story of a dinner party given before the fall of New Bern, N.C., and compares the abundance of food at that time with the deprivations the family suffered afterwards. She also discusses the restrictions placed on her by the fighting.

Of particular significance in this collection are Mrs. Foy's accounts of the fall of New Bern to Federal troops in 1862, and its subsequent occupation, raids by GeneralFoster's troops around the Washington, N.C., area, and the Confederate Army's preparation for the defense of Richmond in 1865.

The memoir also describes confrontations with Union and Confederate troops. Mrs. Foy gives very vivid descriptions of several Union raids on her family's home, in which her attitudes towards the Federal troops are very clear. She also refers to an encounter with Confederate forces and comments on the poor condition of the Southern troops.

Mrs. Foy also states that the family's slaves remained with the family after the war and that during the war she gave them cloth "trophies of war " (given to her by Confederate soldiers) to make into clothes.

Administrative information
Custodial History

May 4, 1978, 14 pages; Civil War Memoir, typescript copy. Original in possession of Mrs. Graham Barden, New Bern, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Graham Barden

Processing information

Processed by E. Dunn, January 1981

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Key terms
Personal Names
Foy, Agnes Paton, 1845-1921
New Bern, Battle of, New Bern, N.C., 1862--Personal narratives
Slavery--North Carolina--History--19th century
Confederate States of America--Social conditions
New Bern (N.C.)--History, Military--19th century
North Carolina--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
North Carolina--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Destruction and pillage
North Carolina--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Economic aspects
North Carolina--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Food supply
Washington (N.C.)--History, Military--19th century