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Title: Letter from Preston H. Sessoms to Penelope E. White, Spetember 27, 1861: Electronic Edition.
Author: Sessoms, Preston Harrell, b. 1843
Editor: Erika Lindemann
Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Erika Lindemann
Images scanned by Mara E. Dabrishus
Text encoded by Amanda Page
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 19K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text
The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-05-19, Amanda Page finished TEI/XML encoding.
Part of a series:
This transcribed document is part of a digital collection, titled True and Candid Compositions: The Lives and Writings of Antebellum Students in North Carolina
written by Lindemann, Erika
Title of collection: University of North Carolina Miscellaneous Personal Papers, 1802-1976 (#3129), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from Preston H. Sessoms to Penelope E. White, September 27, 1861
Author: Sessoms, Preston Harrell, b. 1843
Description: 4 pages, 4 page images
Note: Call number 3129 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Education/UNC Enrollments and Finances
Education/UNC Student Life
Examples of Student Writing/Letters
Religion and Philosophy/Worship
Travel and Entertainment
War/Civil War
Editorial practices
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 5 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Transcript of the personal correspondence. Originals are in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved.
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Letters, words and passages marked as deleted or added in originals have been encoded accordingly.
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All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as ".
All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as '.
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Indentation in lines has not been preserved.

For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see Dr. Erika Lindemann's explanation under the section Editorial Practices.

Document Summary

Sessoms describes for his sister his trip from Coleraine, NC, past a soldier's camp in Weldon, NC, to Chapel Hill, NC, where only 50 students are enrolled, most having gone to war; he describes the campus, the town, and his daily routine.
Letter from Preston H. Sessoms to Penelope E. White , September 27, 18611
Sessoms, Preston Harrell, b. 1843

Page 1
Chapel Hill, September 27th 1861

Dear sister .

When I left there on tuesday before I left for school, you told me to write you and I said that I would. I have been here a good while before writing to you, but I will make my word a true one. I have not hardly had time before, being confined very closely to my studies, The Next monday night after I left you I took the steamboat at Coleraine 2 about 11 o'clock in the night. I traveled all night long on the steamboat a good ways a up the Choan river, and next morning about six o'clock I got off the boat at Franklin. We went up to Franklin to wait until the cars come along, but in the morning just before they got to Franklin, they ran off the railroad and was three or four hours in getting them on again, and we had to wait at Franklin until eleven o'clock in the day, then we took the cars and traveled until that evening when we arrived at Weldon 3, When we got at Weldon the other cars had left because we were behind time by the train running off the track, We got to Weldon that evening about 3 o'clock and we had to wait until next morning at 11 o'clock before we could take the cars for Raleigh. That evening I stayed about Weldon and looked at the diferent curiosities that were there, and went down to the soldier's camps and saw the regiment of soldiers drill, there was about one thousand in the

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regiment. It looked like war itself to see one thousand soldiers walk out in the field, formed in battle array seeing the southern flag waving over our new country against the northing armies, and the drums are were beating that warlike march which braved them on to battle, There were five or six hundred camps joining one-another over about four acres of land, I saw many cavalry companies, horses halled about in the cars. But now I will go on with my journey. The next morning at 11 oclock we took the cars for Raleigh and we travel over about 100 miles in the time from 11 o'clock until that evening at 4 oclock, That evening we arrived at Raleigh. As soon as we got at Raleigh the other train of cars had just come, we got off from the cars we came to Raleigh on, and took the other train as soon quick as possible for Chapel Hill, We came from Raleigh to Chapel Hill as fast as forty miles an hour, and that evining at seven or eight o'clock we got in Chapel Hill, Next morning I went up to see the Professors to be examined to enter college. I stood my examination and entered the 2nd class which is little high for one just entered, Abner Askew , J. O. Askews son enter the class below mine. That day I got my boarding house and room, I got my room and board at a widow woman's house, she is very good and nice, I like her very well, my room is up the stairs of her house. That day I got all things fixed and that night brother John left for home again. At every morning sunrise the college bell rings for you to get up and dress, the bell is a large one about 1 1/2 foot through hung in the top of

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one of the college buildings [South Building], it is rung by a long rope and when it rings you can hear it about a mile off. The first time it rings in the morning is for to get up and dress and about 1/4 of an hour afterwards it rings again for to go to prayers, there is prayers up the college every morning and night evening and preaching every sunday the professors preach in returns, and the students are bound to go to church every sunday and every sunday evening bound to say a bible lesson, each class, We go to prayers in the morning before breakfast and soon after prayers we have to recite a lesson all the whole college recites the same, time, but they recite in diferent rooms and there are four diferent classes, before breakfast recite one hour, the bell rings then we go from recitation right on to breakfast, after breakfast the bell rings for to go studding, study 3 hours then the bell rings at eleven o'clock to recite again, the whole college recite until twelve, being one hour at recitation, then at eleven one is dinner, the college bell rings for dinner, after dinner we study again 3 hours, then the bell rings to recite again at four o'clock, recite 1 hour, soon after recitation is prayers in the evening, after prayers is supper. There are 3 recitations during a day. There are seven large buildings,4 which are the college, they are builed out of rock and brick, each one five or six stories high, there are about 50 rooms in each building they are for the students, but I have got a room by myself out in the town at Mrs Yancey's. There are eight or nine professors, each one hears the

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recitation which he is professor of. The Professor of latin hears nothing except latin lessons, The Professor of Greek hears nothing except greek lessons, and so on, There are here now only ninety students, last year there was about four hundred, there is about 300 gone to war, When I was coming on the boat up to school, I saw some yankees who were taken priseners, they had handcuffs on them to keep them from getting away, I saw six of the yankees and one German. There are four diferent churches in Chapel Hill. A Baptist church, a Methodist, and Episcopalian and a Presbyterian church, there are meetings in every one on sunday and once or twice during the week, In every sunday morning, I cant hear nothing but bells ringing all over town for church. Chapel Hill is very hilly, hills about here as thick as they can be, 2 or 3 hundred yards high, and it is very rocky about here, There are nothing but rock fences in town, fences about 3 feet thick made of rock, they last forever. It is very5 healthy about here. I have been well since I have been here, and like the place very well. This session ends at the last of november, then there is vacation six weeks I shall come home about the first of december and stay until about 2 weeks after christmas. I suppose that I must close, Is Mr. White well, is Henderson well, have they been well ever since I have been away. Write me soon in return and tell me how things are going on there. Please write me,

I continue to be your true brother

P. H. Sessoms


1. University of North Carolina Miscellaneous Personal Papers, 1802-1976, SHC. The letter has been folded in eighths, and a second hand has written in the upper left corner of page one "[Mrs. Penelope E. White / Coleraine, Bertie County, N.C.]."

2. Coleraine or Colerain, a town in northeast Bertie County, NC, near the west bank of the Chowan River, is approximately 140 miles from Chapel Hill. The post office dropped the final e in the mid-ninteenth century.

3. Weldon, on the Roanoke River in north Halifax County, is approximately eighty-five miles from Chapel Hill. In 1834 Weldon became the southern terminus of the railroad from Petersburg, VA.

4. Sessoms may be omitting Person Hall, the old chapel. His "seven large buildings" seem to include Old East, Old West, South Building, Gerrard Hall, Smith Hall, New East, and New West. New East, the tallest building, had four floors.

5. Sessoms wrote r on top of y.