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The Digital Collections Center is partnering with the Furman University Special Collections and Archives on the creation of a new digital collection titled “Civil War Correspondence.” The contents of the collection will include over 100 letters from Furman alumni who served in the Civil War. Among the letters is one written from Charles Manning Furman (son of the University’s first president) to his sweetheart and future wife Frances Emma Garden. The letter was written while Charles was visiting Cherrydale, the Furman family estate in Greenville.
Cherrydale has changed a lot in 151 years. The physical building was moved to the campus of Furman University in 1999 and now serves as the Alumni House, while the land it once occupied encompasses a shopping center, restaurants, and a movie theater. One thing that remains the same, though, is the rainy weather!
Here is the full transcript of the letter:
Cherry Dale May 30th ’63
Two letters from you reached me last night, having been forwarded from Camp – Since I last wrote I have been weather-bound. Thursday, Friday & today, we have had nothing but rain, rain. The first two days after my arrival Tuesday & Wednesday I staid [sic] at home from choice, but I am beginning to wish that the adverse elements would allow me some little freedom of motion. As there are a number of persons whom I wish to see. Since I took up my pen the rain has recommenced & as I write is pouring down in torrents. Though it is quite an inconvenience to me, the country stands very much in need of it – as every thing was suffering from the absence of moisture before this wet season set in – You will really think I have very little to write about unless I stop talking of the weather – and such is the case. I have been in the house almost ever since my arrival, my chief occupation being playing with the children – my little brothers one five, the other three years old – and that is a mode of spending the time not very prolific of ideas & I think that with your permission I will set out for Ga in about a fortnight, which will give me a week to spend with you. I may come a few days sooner. If there is any special day which a stage leaves Fort Valley for Henderson or Perry, do let me know so that I may reach you in as little time as possible. I do not wish to lose a day on the road. As it is, I fear that I will have spent eight days on the road out of the thirty. Quite a heavy per-centage. Particularly when my time has to be divided between my home, which I have not seen for 2 ½ years and dont [sic] expect to see for 1 ½ ys. to come – and you with whom I have only spent 6 weeks, within the last 21 years.
The sun is promising to shine out, so I may be able to go out after all. Excuse this letter which I feel to be unworthy the eye of the intended reader, and believe me. With love to Mamma. Fondly, my Beauty
The “Civil War Correspondence” digital collection is expected to be online in the next few months.