This collection is composed almost entirely of correspondence from the antebellum period, the Civil War, and late nineteenth century.
Correspondence from the antebellum period consists of personal letters that tell of weddings, complaints of loneliness, and illness. One letter describes the mental illness of a relative (1849). Camp meeting and revivals are constant topics (1850s), and specifically mentioned are the dedication of a church in Goose Creek, N.C.; men dancing to fiddle music in Alabama; and Baptists dancing in Craven County, NC (1858). Other letters (1859) discuss a fishing party in Alabama organized to meet Creole girls, the sale of two young slave boys, the Lenoir Institute and studies there, and the lumber trade in Alabama.(1859).
Civil War-related correspondence contains first-hand battle accounts. Among the accounts discussed are the Battle of Seven Pines and the approximate number of troops in the battle; McClellan's advance toward Richmond with a large force (1862); the situation at Fort Fisher and Union ships blockading the Confederate fort; the safe arrival of the steamer
Cornubia at Wilmington; the capture of the
Princess Royal at Charleston (1863); and reports from Fort Holmes concerning the continual bombardment of Charleston (1864). Other letters (1863) inquire of war news from New Bern, N.C.; tell of Union raids from Tarboro to Washington, N.C.; mention the fall of Vicksburg and Jackson, Miss.; relate fears that Fort Fisher will soon fall; and describe a battle over a Confederate supply ship.
The letters in the late nineteenth century are concerned with marriages, births, and other personal items.
Also included in the collection are poems (original and copied); essays; a hand-drawn map of Beaufort County, N.C.; a fictional pamphlet,
Farmer Holt's Daughter, by Charles Garvice; and several miscellaneous items.