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Augusta County: L. Luckett to Alexander H. H. Stuart, August 1, 1859

Luckett describes in detail Tennessee and Alabama, noting the political excitment in them.

August 1st. 1859


My dear Sir,

We left Richmond on Monday morning the 25th, and reached the Springs the same day. Unfortunately, we found the weather as much too cold here, as on the other extreme at old [unclear: Poial]. Blanket coats and fires would have have been very comfortable of mornings. There were about 350 visitors here, and a greater proportion of them Ladies in appearance, than at the Bay.

This is a very beautiful place, well laid off and very comfortable houses--a good table and attentive servants for a watering place. The water I can't say much for, in a medicinal [unclear: pooly] view, it is pretty much as you find in Staunton & in all the region of lime Stone--with a pinch of brimstone in it. The Sulphur is hardly discernable to the taste and I do [illeg.] think very in efficient, as a curative means--and I suppose with the exception of the old White, Bedford, the Berkeley, the [unclear: Sruit] & Bath, there are none of any efficacy, apart from the mountain air. After a few days as pleasantly spent as could be

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expected for those anxious to get home, we took our departure on Friday morning morning before day break, the sincerest ordeal the girls had yet [unclear: passed] thr'o, and reached this place Sunday night at 10 O'C. We slept the first night in Knoxville, the second in Huntsville.

The country we saw thr'o Wythe (Wyth they all call it) & Washington tho rough, is a better farming region than I had supposed--I saw no houses with trees around them, too cold for that I suppose--but the short horses and fine mules took my fancy.

On leaving Knoxville, I got Parson Brownlow's Paper which kept me laughing for an hour, I wish I cd. have mailed one to you, to see how fast & furious they are conducting their elections here--the way the Parson wields his battle axe, would do credit to Richard the Lion Hearted--Bowie Knives, [illeg.], [illeg.] & cowhides--[illeg.], coward in every column & paragraph. I don't understand how his cloth protects his hide. For such an apparently out of the way & rough country, there was one thing as touched me very much, that almost every woman that came on the cars along

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this road, had more or less the air, dress, & breeding of a Lady, and to take every one that joined us from the Springs to the Suburbs of Memphis, and they would be far superior to the same number at Old Point or the Mount S. Springs--The men that got on were all the rough & hearty yeomanry of the rough country, not an exception visible to my eye, only as we approached the Alabama line, where the Election was drawing nigh, they became more Semiadlish , particularly about the depots, and now I saw how fortunate that we did not put off our trip till Election day, as I would have had no wish to be in the cars with the Girls on that day. Judging from the conversations, I would suppose the Whigs were in the ascendancy. The country from the Mountain East of Huntsville, to the west, beyond Tuscumbia, must once have been a Paradise--say forty years ago, when the soil was fresh & would bring a bale of Cotton to the acre, this and Tuscaloosa were the regions, the forms of which, captured my fancy when a boy & gave me the first impulse southward--and this was the region that broke so many Virginians & Kentuckians, about the first flush times--the second

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was in Missippi & Louisiana. This is a valley surrounded by high mountains, to the East, South & North, and the Lookout Mountains to the West, and with its original fertility, would equal the valley of the Blue Ridge or [unclear: Tennessee] or the [unclear: McLark]. Beautiful fields, gently undulating, well watered by two small rivers running thro it, & many small branches, one froms a spring, that would run a couple of miles--but, pretty well worn out now--[unclear: scd] gullies all thr'o it, and cotton so small, that it would break any niggers back to pick it, from six inches to one foot high & corn in proportion.

From the Montgomery to Mobile, they have a dry [unclear: stream] in which the corn is dead in places, by the drought. East Tennessee has had rains--west & part of Alabama the crop of corn is burnt up--some fields, there is hardly a shoot on the stalks, tho of good size, had no rain for weeks--and much of it too far gone to be benefited now. All parties here are confident, that Douglas will be the Charleston Nominee--only th'o, to save the Party & the Spoils. That they will try some trick I have no doubt.

I don't think the girls have eaten one dollars worth of meat or anything else at Hotels, since they left Staunton, but for fruits, cakes, candies & other trash, all day & part of the night, I don't think any two other animals living, could be found to equal them. I found a letter from home--all well, only one rain since I left, no [deleted: ] or [unclear: boll worms], nor shedding of forms, and crop fine--[unclear: we] [unclear: leave] this [unclear: morning] on the Capitol.

Remember us affly & kindly to all yr. family and believe us most sincerely & truly yrs.

L Luckett

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