Document 20A: William Pelham to Marianna Pelham Mott, 14 February 1865, Garrison Family Papers, Sophia Smith Collections, Smith College. Handwritten drafts of Marianna’s responses are on the back of William’s letters.
After Marianna’s friendly response to his first letter (see Document 19), William sought her help in obtaining a parole from prison. Despite William’s vow of “conversion,” presumably to the Northern cause, Marianna replied with a certain amount of bitterness, writing that she no longer had any friends in Southern prisons, “those so unfortunate having died there” (one of her close friends had died at Andersonville). However, in her final letter, Marianna reported that her husband Thomas had written the Secretary of War recommending William’s parole (see Document 20D). This letter seems to have had an effect, for William’s military records show that he was paroled at Johnsons Island on February 24 and forwarded to Virginia for exchange.
Johnsons Island Ohio
Jan. 28th 1865
Mrs. M. Mott
My Dear Cousin--
Yours of the 21st inst. was received yesterday and surpassed in kindness even what I had expected from you. I assure you I appreciate this kindness towards one, who has erred (in your opinion) to the extent that I have,--but I have not space to enter into any explanation and will proceed at once to the subject hinted at in my first letter.--I have been a long time sick. My disease is chronic; (I can’t say as much for my opinions). I can not hope to regain my health here, and am very desirous of removal, either by parol or otherwise, & if you can obtain a parol for me, I will place myself under your orders & will ever regard &c, &c.--Please let know me at your earliest conveniance if any thing can be done & I will report to you for orders & conversion; the latter can be most easily reached through the appetite.
Your Cousin Will Pelham
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