December 24, 1862
Messrs. McGee & Williams
I drop you a line about the negroes I now have in Raleigh, which you will oblige me by arranging as follows: Armstead can go on as heretofore per monthly payments. It seems that he ought to return $15 per month instead of $12 as money is less valuable and more easily made. The price of negro hire however should determine what is right for him to pay. I think it best for you to let Friday keep Millie and the three girls now with her if he will pay their hire monthly until I make a more permanent arrangement. For more than one reason I do not wish to hire them out by the year. Friday wanted me to make an arrangement with him shen I was down but I declined to make any.
In case it should become necessary for me to remove them out of the way of the Yankees, I don't wish any hinderance and should you judge such a measure judicious at any future time please let me know know but say nothing to Friday or any of the others about it as I have not much confidence in his fidelity.
I thought Calvin Rogers hired the oldest girl the past year, but it turns out that Friday really hired her and her mother and two little ones. The notes for this year's hire I left with you. When paid you can remit by check the price of the woman and her three children per month you can fix according to the hire of other negroes. If Friday won't take them and pay monthly, please let me know and I will make other arrangements.
Let the negroes know that I put them under your control. See if they are well clad. I got all my furniture with but little damage. Glass and crockery not broken at all.
I am glad to hear that the Yankees who threaten Goldsboro have take the back track.
With the compliments of the season I remain as ever,
J. J. James
PS If Mr Williams is as I suppose from home, Mr. McGee will be so good as to attend to the above. Enclosed is a note for Mr. Jas. King which please hand him or his father first opportunity. If Mr. J. King applies please hand him five dollars for me and charge to my account and oblige. JJJ
While the identify of this J. J. James in not known, see: John Joshua James.