19 October 1863

Salem, [Washington County] Ohio
October 19th 1863

Dear friend Lot,

To day you are leaving Iowa again. I only got yours from Cairo today & ’tis too late to send one to Mt. Pleasant. I imagine how you feel today — worse than you did when I saw you last as the cars bore you off that cold morning the 26th of February 1862. It has been a long time & ’twill be much longer before I see you again. When I think of what may be, it seems as if ‘twould be like a dream if I should ever see you at old Liberty again. And yet you have been there, have walked round the old place and sat by the old hearth, & talked with all the dear ones. And best of all, you found your good mother — able to meet you at the gate and welcome home her own brave boy who has been all her care for two long tedious years; her boy — for whom she wept and prayed — has been home to see her again but only for so short a time. ‘Tis too bad that your short leave of absence should have to be spent on the miserable old slow steamboat. I am anxious to hear how you enjoyed yourself. You will write it all no doubt soon.

I don’t see why you haven’t got plenty of letters from me lately for I’m sure I have written enough. I’ve just been looking over my journal & I’ve counted at least three that must be on the road somewhere now. You’ll not miss much if this does not reach you sure for I can’t think of three words that will hitch together tonight.

There is a forty-second cousin of ours — a fashionable dress maker from Marietta — out here on a visit and the house has been in a row all the evening. Something less than half the town have been to get a sleeve pattern, a dress fitted, or to consult about the color of some trimming or something of the sort, but thank patience they’re all gone at last and I’ve coaxed Lib to go to bed. Aunt Betsy and [Cousin] Alice have to write to Uncle B. Gilbert [Alden] yet tonight & you shall have the full benefit of my time and fun for a short time at least.

I am teaching the last week of my fall term. ‘Tis very doubtful if I get further employment in that line here this winter, for the most influential of the three directors has a refractory son whom he is very anxious to see educated, but said hopeful has expressed a decided opposition to going to school to a woman. So I suppose they’ll try to hire somebody that will suit him. ‘Twon’t be much disappointment to me though for I  don’t think it is a very desirable job to wade back and forth to a cold, dirty schoolhouse and wear one’s lungs & brains & patience out trying to drill a-b-c’s and the multiplication table through the thick skulls of the little Salemites even if one could make a few dollars at it. However, I’ll have to do something. I don’t know what it will be yet I am sure. I got to thinking about it the other night and found myself beginning to feel discouraged & real blue just as I used to long ago. But then I remembered that I have always so far been taken are of — & well cared for too — and why should I not trust for good in the future still. “Sufficient unto the day in the evil thereof,” ‘Tisn’t worthwhile to borrow trouble when we have to draw entirely on the imagination to find it. With this conclusion I picked up my knitting & “my southern friends” & soon found myself crying over troubles that somebody else had imagined, but it cured my melancholly spell for that time at least, and I haven’t had a renewal of the attack since.

I knew how badly you would feel on your slow trip up the river & dreaded to have you start without at least another letter to tell you that your mother was better. But as to worrying on account of not getting a note from Neal, that is the height of foolishness. But if it will be any satisfaction, I can tell you that I think of you and write to you as often as — well, at least as often as you deserve.

There now, I suppose you got to cast your vote in Mount Pleasant for Gov. [William M.] Stone, ¹ didn’t you. Politics have cooled down very fast since the 13th. Since the Union broadside, the poor Copperheads don’t even hiss. I wonder how much consolation Jeff Davis gets from the result of the election?

Well, my sheet is about full & I’ll have to be quitting. It is quite late anyhow. So with a hearty “Good bye,” I remain your friend, — Neal

Gov. Wm. M. Stone

Gov. Wm. M. Stone

¹ William Milo Stone (1827-1893) was Iowa’s 6th Governor. When the Civil War broke out, Stone enlisted as a private in the Union Army. He was quickly promoted to captain, and then major, of Company B, Third Iowa Infantry. He fought and was wounded at the Battle of Liberty, but returned to fight at the Battle of Shiloh, where he was taken prisoner. Stone was paroled by Jefferson Davis and sent to Washington, D.C. to negotiate an exchange of prisoners; after initially failing to reach an agreement, he returned to Confederate captivity, was again paroled, and was released after an exchange agreement was reached. In 1862, Stone was promoted to colonel of the 22nd Iowa Infantry. He led that unit in the Vicksburg Campaign, and was again wounded at the Battle of Vicksburg.
Stone was named the Republican nominee for Governor in June 1863, and resigned from the Union Army in August. He was elected by a large margin in the general election, defeating Union general James Madison Tuttle. He was reelected in 1865. Stone was a friend of Abraham Lincoln and was present when Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre; Stone helped carry the wounded Lincoln across the street.
After leaving the governor’s office in 1868, Stone served one term in the Iowa House of Representatives (1877–78), and was appointed Assistant Commissioner and then Commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office. He died of pneumonia in 1893 in Oklahoma, and is buried at Graceland Cemetery in Knoxville, Iowa.

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