Work at Grahamville and Camden, South Carolina

Letter from Miss S. S. Seabrook, 1901

“In reply to your questions, I was president of our clothing society, and vice-president of our hospital committee.

“We had three regiments on our hands to care for – two from North Carolina, Colonel Clingman’s, and the Eighteenth North Carolina Regiment, Colonel Radcliffe – also one from Georgia, Colonel Gibson. The North Carolina regiments, especially Clingman’s, had a great deal of sickness – measles and typhoid fever. I visited the hospitals daily, assisted in nursing, and furnished such nourishment as was needed and could not be had in camp.

“We furnished all clothing needed – and it was sadly needed indeed! We knitted socks, and we had showered on us the blessings of the well, as well as of the convalescent.

“I cut up my best wool mattress for Colonel Radcliffe’s hospital.

“The ladies of our community ably assisted Mrs. Johnson and myself in our work. Mrs. Johnson was the head of our hospital committee. She was the wife of the lieutenant-colonel of Cling-man’s regiment.

“(Signed) S. S. Seabrook.”

Woman’s Work at Camden
Letter from Miss Emma C. Reynolds, 1901

I have in my possession papers relating to “The Ladies’ Aid Association,” of Camden. They belonged to my aunt, Miss Sally Chesnut.

The association was organized in 1861. Miss Harriet Chesnut Grant was the first president. I cannot find the list of the other officers of that time.

In January, 1862, the following officers were elected:
Miss Sally Chesnut, President.
Mrs. Walker, Vice-President.
Miss Louisa Salmond, Treasurer.
Miss Emma C. Reynolds, Secretary.

The secretary resigned on June 25, 1862, and Miss Harriet Lang was appointed in her place.

The letters from different officers show that quantities of clothes, supplies and comforts of all kinds were sent to the soldiers in the army and in the hospital.

There is a list of the members of the association.

On March 12, 1862, the association decided to establish the “Soldiers’ Rest.” “The ladies and a committee of gentlemen are to have a general supervision. They are to furnish the room, provide nurses when they are needed, and meet whatever expenses may be incurred.”

I remember well that Mrs. Katherine Lee took special supervision of “the Soldiers’ Rest.”

My aunt, Miss Sally Chesnut, I am sure, continued to be president of the association until the end of the war. Her heart was in it, and her interest never flagged.

“Miss Bouney was appointed treasurer of the ‘Soldiers’ Rest’.”

With the book of the association are many letters from soldiers.
(Signed) Emma C. Reynolds.

Letter from Mrs. John Johnson, 1901

What I am writing is from memory.

Miss Harriet Grant was president of the Aid Association of Camden a part of the time, and was very active and energetic. Another officer was Miss Louisa Salmond, who, with steadfast devotion, had rare good judgment.

We had quite a number of members, some of the refugees among them – Miss Elliott and the Misses Stuart, of Beaufort, S. C. I know much work was done.

We sent off boxes to the companies from Kershaw County, or District, as it was then called, supplying them with shirts, drawers, socks, etc. I also know we made pants, coats, caps, overcoats, haver-sacks. I think most of the material for these outer garments came from the quartermaster’s department.

I recall some overcoats we made for the cavalry – brown, with yellow cording.

Boxes were sent to the hospitals of such stores as the housewives could give – usually comforts, blankets, pillows and cases, rags, blackberry wine, dried fruits, and anything useful.

When one of the last boxes was to be sent to Richmond, four ladies from the society were sent from house to house to gather up what could be gleaned, even to a string of red peppers.

Two of the ladies took the town – Miss Brevard and I were given Kirkwood and Hobkirk, suburbs of Camden, and we took two days, each day returning with the large family carriage filled with valuable things much needed in the hospitals. Besides these boxes, fresh vegetables were sent through the society to the hospitals in Charleston – at one time during the summer as often as once a week.

During the early part of the war, Camden being only the terminus of the railroad, we did not find the need of a Soldiers’ Rest, but later on, sick and returning soldiers had to be provided for, and such a place was arranged, being under the control of the ladies living near enough to look after it.

We were often applied to, more especially by soldiers from my brother’s (Captain Cantey) company, and they were never turned away without food and shelter from my mother’s house.

(Signed) C. Floride Johnson.

List of members of the Kershaw Ladies’ Aid Association, formed in July, 1861, and lasting until the close of the war

Membership List

Copy of letter from Stephen Elliott, in possession of Miss Reynolds.
Fort Sumter, January 4, 1864.

Richard E. Screven, Esq.

Dear Sir: Allow me, in behalf of the garrison of this fort, to return thanks for the most bountiful present of luxuries sent to us, through yon, by the ladies of Camden.

Even the fair donors themselves can scarcely understand the full extent of the pleasure it gives us to receive such tokens of female interest and sympathy. You can assure them that while we are invigorated by the good cheer thus spread before us we are made doubly strong in spirit to defend those who thus remember us.

I am very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Stephen Elliott Jr.

Miss Reynolds has many other letters referring to the work of this association.


South Carolina Women in the Confederacy. Edited and Published By Mrs. Thomas Taylor, Chairman, Mrs. Smythe, Mrs. August Kohn, Miss Poppenheim, Miss Martha B. Washington, State Committee Daughters of the Confederacy. Columbia, South Carolina, The State Company, 1903.

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