The Civil War Letters of Francis and Martha Poteet
The following collection of letters, the originals of which are now in the protective care of the North Carolina State Archives, were written during the years that were perhaps the darkest ones through which the United States of America ever passed. The collection consists of correspondence between Francis Marion Poteet and his wife, Martha A. E. (Henley) Poteet. Francis and Martha were residents of McDowell County, North Carolina during the years of the war.

The descendants of this couple have a unique privilege, through these letters, to be able to vicariously enter into the minds, hearts and daily struggles of these Poteet ancestors of those long-ago years. One would have to be truly callous of heart not to be touched by the daily struggles faced by Martha to provide and care for the family while her husband was away, or to feel the expressions of helplessness in the words of Francis, knowing what his wife and children were experiencing. His own condition was bad, with little food, inadequate clothing and equipment, and often no pay. Yet, all of that was second place to his concern for his family's plight. It is so evident in his written words.

Those who are not directly related, but who have a sense of history, will find these letters revealing of everyday life in Western North Carolina during the period in which they were written. Francis' experiences as a member of the 49th North Carolina Infantry Regiment are probably typical of many, many others who served in the Confederate forces.

In Memory of
Carolyn Clark Owen

July 1940 - July 2003

Carolyn Clark Owen, a great-great granddaugher of Francis and Martha, spent many years in transcribing the letters into a typed form. Carolyn did a voluminous amount of genealogical research on many different family lines, but her work on these letters is undoubably the work for which she will be most remembered. Not only we, but future generations as well, owe her a great debt of graditude. She has made it possible for us, through these letters, to really "know" Francis Marion and Martha A.E.Henley Poteet.

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Betty Green