24 August 1863

Lower Salem [Washington County, Ohio]
August 24th [1863]

Capt. L Abraham,

With pleasure I received yours of the 5th and 6th today. ‘Twas a long time on the road, but “better late than never.” I have just got home from a trip on the hill to Grandfather’s. Had to go up there & get apples once before school commences & I tell you we had a grand time. Alice [Alden] went along. I wish you knew my cousin Alice. I like her so much. You know I have some queer likes & dislikes — at least I believe you think so, but I’m sure you would like her too?  But not just now for she has a melancholy fit on, and you are not fond of sober faces. But there is some excuse for her. Her lover has gone in the army and of course she feels lonesome; but she ought not to fret, she would feel worse if he had not gone, or at least I should be very sorry to have one that would stay at home now. That’s so. She’s naturally lively & will soon get to looking on the bright side, for the subject has a bright side, & I have been seeing a little of it lately. Several soldiers have come home to visit their friends and I’m sure the meeting is worth several hours of toil & danger, & there’ll be many more happy meetings some of these days.

We’ve been having some gay parties to welcome home the soldiers. One of them we attended on horseback. We had two great big rawboned workhorses & as Grandma has but one saddle, I had to take one with but one horn and that was broken off, but that didn’t make any difference to me. So I played I was Alice’s beau, and she had to scold me for shaking my elbows & for allowing her to help herself off. (I was waiting for the young preacher to help me. We met him at the gate.)

Oh! I got a letter from Dick today. I tell you! It is one of them dated the 16th. Folks were pretty well. Your mother had been very sick but was recovering. Becca’s  health is not good as usual, crops slim, &c. There’s many things in the letter that would make you laugh but he is worrying about the “Nig’s” & the home dissentions. Can’t you ease his mind a little. I think I’ll give him a dose of my philosophy as soon as I get time.

From your descriptions of his greeting I don’t think Maj. Spearman ¹ stands very much on his dignity as a superior officer in his intercourse with you. Give my respects to him. By the way did you give him the letter to read after telling him it was from Neal? I got a letter also from Bro’ John. He is wandering around considerably. It was dated from Galesburg Illinois. He’s got into some kind of an agency I guess. It don’t please me very well. Perhaps he will do well enough.

I am very happy to learn that you have recovered your health. I hope you have had your last sickness in the army. Have you any notion of taking advantage of the leaves of absence & making a visit to your home? Or do you stick to your old resolution?

I am with respect as ever, your friend — Neal

¹ Maj. Cornelius F. Spearman served with Co. D, 4th Iowa Cavalry. His obituary reads: 
Major Cornelius Spearman who lived to the ripe age of 91 years and 25 days, had a very interesting life’s history. He was among those who sought wealth in California’s gold fields in early days, was a soldier in the Civil War and was identified with pioneer days.
His birth occurred in Morgan County, Ill., Feb. 3, 1831 and was the son of James D. and Cynthia Frogg Spearman, the former a native of North Carolina and the latter of Kentucky. The parents when removing to Iowa settled at Middletown, Iowa in 1840. They came to Center township near Pleasant Hill, Henry County where he resided until his father’s death in 1846 and his mother died in 1870.
Cornelius Spearman acquired his elementary education in the country school, afterwards attending Howe’s Academy. In 1852 he and two brothers and a brother-in-law went to California with ox teams they were on the way 3 months. They reached Nevada City and were engaged in mining for two and one half years. Selling this mine they started home by steamship but the boat struck a rock on Point Conception on the coast of Lower California. They were rescued by a mail boat and landed at Santiago. Mr. Spearman embarked from San Francisco on another boat and traveled by boat and land by way of Nicaragua and New York, came to Burlington by rail then by stage to Mt. Pleasant.
In the fall of 1861 he enlisted as a member of Company D, 4th Iowa Cavalry, which he raised and was elected Captain in 1863 was promoted to Major, serving three years as defender of the Union Cause.
On Nov. 15, 1860 he was united in marriage to Miss Julia A. Coiner, daughter of Christian and Elizabeth Coiner.
Major Spearman was called upon to mourn the death of his wife, June 17th, 1878, leaving seven children, all of whom have preceded him to the better land, but Allie wife of Geo. H. Smith, Frank on a farm near home. Major Spearman was a member of McFarland post No. 20 Grand Army and maintained cordial relations with all army comrades. He leaves two children, six grandchildren and seven great grandchildren and one sister, Mrs. James Holland to mourn his loss. He was laid to rest beside his wife and children at Pleasant Hill, March 1, 1922. [Undated obituary, probably from ‘Mt. Pleasant News’, March 1922]

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