Sunday, November 1st 1863
Capt. L. Abraham
My dear soldier friend,
I must write a little for you this morning in return for the little picture & the few words which I got last Wednesday. Thank you for the picture. I had been thinking for some time that I would like to see the Captain in shoulder straps & you have gratified my curiosity. I shan’t say — as you were pleased to say about the one I sent you last fall — “that it is good looking.” But I think it is some like you & of course looks good as you always look. From that and the few words you wrote, I judge your health is not good, & that & the parting from home again has had a bad effect upon your spirits. I am sorry to have you write so despondingly & now it is my turn if I were capable of giving you a lesson like you gave me last winter — to look and hope for the best, keep a good heart, and all will be right in the end.
Oh Lot, I dreamed of the end last night. I thought the war was done and the soldiers were at home — all but you Lot, and you were here with me to tell me of the long dreary years since we parted, of all you had felt and thought & suffered, and how it would all be forgotten in the enjoyment of the present and future. But I awoke to find it a dream. It makes me feel cheerful & hopeful this morning & we also have cheering news from Chattanooga & the East. Perhaps this is the beginning of the End.
You disappointed me in not telling some of the particulars of your visit home. I had hoped you would tell me all about it, how you enjoyed it, where you went, who you saw, &c, &c, &c. I thought you might have filled at least one sheet of foolscap. I know your trip down the river must have been tedious but it is in a firm belief that you lived through it, that I am scribbling this. You certainly are having a provoking time about your Lieut. Won’t he make a decent officer that you are so troubled about it? What does the company think of it?
We are looking for some of our soldiers home to stay. Cousin Wilber True ¹ who has been lying in the Gallipolis Hospital for a year & whose right arm is a cripple for life, is at last discharged. [His father –] Uncle Moses [True] has gone to town after him [and] will be back this eve’. I don’t anticipate very much satisfaction in forming his acquaintance, as I understand he is a hard case. We shall see. Uncle B. Gilbert [Alden] who was here when I came & went back in August has been sick ever since & has resigned. I suppose he will be at home in a few days.
I believe I haven’t written to you since my little school was out. It closed in good order last Saturday. I don’t know whether I shall teach any more this winter or not. I am talking some of retiring to private life, closing my career as a public functionary & trying to fill a little place in woman’s truer sphere, as a housekeeper. ‘Twill be pleasanter but not so profitable,. What do you think about it.
One of my cousins — a good and pretty girl of fifteen — died last week. ‘Tis a terrible blow to her family & especially to her father who is in the army. I have no news from Iowa for some time. I wonder if my friends there have forgotten me.
I hope this will find you well as I am for nothing makes me feel so bad as to hear that you are sick. You owe a duty to your country & I want you to do it, but Oh! do not work at the expense of your health & life.
May God keep you in health & safety is the fervent prayer of, — Neal¹ Neal’s cousin Wilber L. True (1844-1894) served in Co. H, 92nd Ohio. We learn from this letter that Wilber has been in a hospital at Gallipolis, Ohio for a year recuperating from a wound that has crippled one of his arms. Company records indicate he was mustered out on 25 October 1863 at Gallipolis on receipt of a surgeon’s certificate of disability. The records don’t reveal how or where Wilber received his wound; the only engagement in which the 92nd Ohio participated in late 1862 was at Pocataligo Creek, Virginia. An 1890 Veteran’s Schedule lists Wilber but the field in which the soldier’s disability is customarily completed is curiously blank. On 22 September 1867, Wilber True and Sarah White were united in marriage by Rev. Charles Ruchman in Washington County, Ohio. In the 1880 Census, however, Wilber was enumerated in the household of his father Moses in Lower Salem, Ohio, where his occupation is given as “farmhand.” When Wilber died in 1894, his widow, Mary C. (Warwick) True (1858-1914), filed for a Widow’s Pension.