1861: John M. Carr to James Moffett Brooks

This letter was written by Virginia native John M. Carr (1825-Aft1870)—a Louisiana commission merchant and purchasing agent. In his letter to his uncle, he mentions the “ill-fated Princess” which blew up on the Mississippi river in February 1859. He was listed among the passengers and described as having been scalded, but a surviver.

Carr wrote the letter to his uncle, James Moffett Brooks (1804-1863) of Augusta county, Virginia.


Addressed to James M. Brooks, Esqr., Waynesboro, Augusta county, Va.

New Carthage, Louisiana
February 12, 1861

James M. Brooks, Esqr.
Esteemed Uncle,

Your favor of January came to hand on yesterday. I had written you a letter on the 10th and forwarded it on the 11th in regard to the business of Sarah’s and the mail on the same day brought me a letter from you on that subject. I have only to repeat that portion in relation to the purchase of exchange, pay the exchange, as I can soon make it back with interest.

I am happy to learn that you were all well and had plenty of hog & krout—a happy reflection. To know we are well and doing well and at peace with our neighbors is really consoling.

I just received intelligence of the burning of the steamer Charmer ¹—one of our packets built upon the ruins of the ill-fated Princess that was blown up two years ago. She was burnt on Sunday 10th not far below where the Princess was blown up. Mr. [Joseph H.] Coons, ² Sarah, Anna, & Mary went down the trip before on their wedding tour. Lucky for them that it was not this her last trip. Her cost was over $1000,000 and I am fearful but little insurance. What a loss to the parties and community. But few lives were lost, I am told.

We are all well today. Sarah and Mary was up to see Mrs. Anna Coons on yesterday. They live about 4 miles from us. Sarah had to have a hand in arranging Anna’s comfort &c. She has nearly worked herself into a shadow for those two girls, and I tell her she must not do it. Let them manage their own matters. A plump gobbler will be on the table today. Would like to have you and Aunt and all the family to enjoy it.

Our new president Jeff Davis went up yesterday. The cannon was booming and altogether things looked warlike. All join in love to you with best wishes for yourself & family.

I am truly, — Jno. M. Carr

¹ “The Steamer Charmer from Vicksburg to New Orleans with 3800 bales of coton, burnt to the water’s edge on Monday, ten miles below Donaldsville, La. Five lives are supposed to be lost.”

² Joseph H. Coons (1827-1870) was the son of John P. Coons (1790-1865) and Susan Bridenheart (1798-1865) of Orange county, Virginia.


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