North Carolina Black Soldier
to
His Wife, and the Wife's Affidavit

Wilmington N.C.  Nov. 28th, 1865

Dear and most affectionate wife   I have again taken my seat this afternoon to write you a few lines to inform you that I am in splendid health at this time and I hope that this letter will find you the same,  Sister Julia has got married and has now got a fine little child since you seen her   Mr. Newkirk is the name of the gentleman that has won her affectionate heart.  I wrote to you a few weeks since, but I have not received any answer from it as yet.  I am in the thirty seventh Regiment of United States Colored infantry in Camp, one and a half miles from the city of Wilmington N.C.  I hope that you will take the matter in to deep and earnest consideration to write and let me know how you are and how you are getting along at home   my respects to all of the family at home,  I am doing pretty well at the present time.  I have expected to get out of the service before this hour, but ah not yet,  I hope you will write to me soon as you get this letter as I am extremly anxious to hear from you and the family   also my respect to all that feel themselves at the least interested in my welfare in the service of the United states Colored Troops in the state.  Direct to Soloman Sanders Co A 37th U.S.C.I. Wilmington, N. Carolina   Your affectionate husband

Soloman Sanders

Wite soon

[In the margin Write to me Soon,


State of North Carolina  County of Franklin  22d day of May 1866

Marina Saunders, Freedwoman, being duly sworn says that she lives near Wake Forest College, some eight miles from here, that she is married & has five children the oldest, eleven years of age, that her Husband is a Soldier in the 39" U S Col'd Troops, & is now stationed at Wilmington N.C   That she has never received any money from him since he has been in the Army   That she is a hard working woman, but owing to the size of her family she is obliged to take all her earnings in provisions & that she has found it next to impossible to obtain food enough for herself & children.  She earnestly requests to be aided with some provisions, in order that she may get some cash, with which to buy clothes for her children

          Marina [her x mark] Sanders

Solomon Sanders to Mrs. Merina Sanders, 28 Nov. 1865, and affidavit of Marina Sanders, 22 May 1866, Letters Received, ser. 2794, Oxford NC Asst. Supt., Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives. According to endorsements, the Freedmen's Bureau superintendent at Raleigh, North Carolina, forwarded Marina Sanders's affidavit on June 4, 1866, "with the suggestion that transportation be furnished to this woman, to enable her to take her family to Wilmington where the husband can support them," but on June 8 the Freedmen's Bureau assistant commissioner for the state returned the affidavit marked "Disapproved." The statement in Marina Sanders's affidavit that her husband belonged to the 39th USCI is apparently in error.

Published in Ira Berlin, Joseph P. Reidy, and Leslie S. Rowland, eds., The Black Military Experience, series 2 of Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation (Cambridge University Press, 1982), pp. 670-71. Hypertext version courtesy of the Freedmen and Southern Society Project, University of Maryland.

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