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Records of Freeman, Almy & Co. (New York, N.Y.), 1864

Three letters, 3 September, 22 November, and 29 December 1864, addressed to Freeman, Almy & Co., New York, document the mercantile trade between Yankee entrepreneurs and their representatives in areas of the Carolinas occupied by the Union army.

Writing on 3 September from New Bern, N.C., Ja[me]s P. Allen advised Freeman & Almy that "hard times in this Department" had made it "impossible to collect anything until the troops in this Department are paid." "Most of the goods sent here," the letter continues, "are sold to Sutlers and soldiers and they have to depend upon the Paymaster before they can pay their bills. The regiments that are now here have not been paid since January so that Green backs are as scarce as Gold. The Paymaster keeps saying he is expecting money every day and for that reason I have been waiting hoping to be able to send you balance due you....I am very sorry that you have been obliged to wait so long for your returns, but it was something that could not be foreseen-before this year, they always paid regularly every two months-and when I talked with you before I left for this place supposed they would continue to. We have outstanding here more than double enough to pay all we owe which will be paid as soon as there is any money." Making matters even worse, the most recent general order, Allen explained, stipulated that "no Merchant can import more than three thousand dollars worth of Merchandise per month, and even then they have to make oath they will not sell it for more than 30% profit over and above the New York Invoice which with the Government Tax and heavy freights will not leave any margin at all."

Two letters from David F. Thorpe, St. Helena I[slan]d, 22 November and 29 December, discuss his interest in purchasing and having shipped to South Carolina "a two wheeled vehicle....something without a top, light & with quite high wheels, with a plain durable harness that has a saddle suitable for a two wheeled carriage."

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