15 June 1863

Salem, Ohio
June 15th, 1863

Lot, your letter of the 2nd is here. Of course I’m glad to get it. Glad and sorry too. Glad that you have the inclination and find the time to write me and say that the letter brings me word of your continued hardships and danger. And what is worse, of your affliction. Perhaps I imagine it worse than it is. Tell me, Lot, if your eyes are bad — if they are sore like they were last summer. And you didn’t say about your health. I fear you are exposed too much, or rather you expose yourself by trying to do too much. Of course as a soldier you must do your duty, but you must not expect to do the work of three. I know you must be deeply attached to the brave boys that are with you in danger and wish to be with them in all their active duties. But if you will do so regardless of your health or life. Oh Lot, think of the place you fill in the hearts of the dear ones at home and for their sakes be careful. I write this Lot because I believe I know your nature. If you see anything which ought to be done, you will put forth your whole strength to accomplish it and do more than you ought. Excuse me, Lot. I ought to beg pardon for writing what I have. You know your own business of course. But your letter today made me feel uneasy, and more so than any you have written for a long time. I hardly know why. Perhaps it is your intimation of the “Hard Time” yet in store for the soldiers before Vicksburg.

True, we have word that Vicksburg and Port Hudson are both taken, but ’tis only report and may be a fake one. We heard it once before. I am glad to know that your company escape so well.

A letter from [my sister] Philina today. [She] tells of forty killed in the 26th Iowa and 140 in the 4th Cavalry. How is it? Please tell me what Corps and division you belong to and who is your Commanding General. The papers speak in such general terms, it is hard to trace a regiment. Is the 11th near you? By the way, I got a letter from Lee’ a short time since. Hear that he is discharged and expected home so I have not answered it.

Get news from home regularly. All appears to go well there except some of the folks get lonesome, Mag’ and Lydia especially. Had a letter from Al’ Forbes last week. He tells me to come home. Don’t see any use in trying to find a better place than Liberty. Talks of settling there for life, &c &c. I am still having a gay time here and ’tis getting better and better. Have been going round some with cousin Hiram and taking a peep at some of the highways and byways and corners of the Hill Country of Ohio. Went to Marietta last week to a grand Union rally where the famous Jack Brough — a good old democrat — gave a sound speech. Talked about right.

Last Saturday eve’ we went to the “Guernsey run” singing school. I tell you ’twas worth seeing. Hardscrabble, Tightbark, or Beery’s would in no way compare with it. I’ll try to give you a full description sometime.

Yesterday we went to Middleburgh to quarterly meeting over a delightful? country. As we rode along on the top of the ridge over the town, I really felt as if I were in the cupola of the Insane Asylum or some other very high place. ¹ Well, Warren has just brought the “Home Journal.” Uncle forgot it at noon when the letters came and as this is wash day I couldn’t go after it. There’s nothing in it, however. It still look kind ‘o good because it comes from home. ‘Tis very warm and dry — too much so for the good of crops. Am sorry your letter could not come from the city of Vicksburg this time. I shall expect one from there next week.

“Good bye” for this time. My pen don’t run good today.

I am as ever your — Neal

¹ Neal’s reference to a view from the cupola of the Insane Asylum” is no doubt responding to Lot’s mentioning in his recent letter having done so at the asylum north of Jackson, Mississippi. In his 1863 diary, Lot mentions returning to Asylum cupola on 11 July to view the fortifications surrounding the besieged city of Jackson, Mississippi.

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