Salem [Washington County] Ohio
June 24th 1863
My dearest Soldier friend,
I went to the P. O. this forenoon on purpose to get a letter from you. Should have been sadly disappointed if it hadn’t come, for I am uneasy at any delay now when there is so much danger. But it was there, yours of June 12th, with others from cousin True, [my sister] Lydia, & family. All good ones — especially Lydia’s because that was from the old stomping ground. She had been to Liberty, to Swans’, to Boyles’ and had lots to tell of all of them. Folks are all well and appear to be having a good time.
Got a letter Monday from Dick, Becca and children that pleased me first rate — the first I’ve had from them. I think Dick is in a miserable poilitical condition and ’tis all his own fault. Also one from “Uncle Colin.” Do you percieve my Iowa friends have not quite forgotten me.
I am having a good time yet. Took a long jaunt north through the hills on horseback with Uncle Gilbert [Alden] last Saturday & back Monday. Saw a good many hard looking places but the trip payed fine. I am writing this as soon as I have read yours to avoid delay in your writing as you don’t write till you get one, to remind you that I am still in existence & this must either go tomorrow or not till next Tuesday and there is a horse at the fence which Uncles Moses [True] ¹ has brought to take me home with him to stay the rest of the week. Don’t you think I’ve got clever relations, when they want me to come to see them, they always come after me.
I had almost decided that the young folks of Salem were not a very sociable set until this week. I have had several calls from the young ladies and our young brother Allen. The junior preacher on this circuit — and a handsome unmarried man — called one evening and was very sociable. Talked politics religion and then expostulated against my thinking about going home this Fall [and] hoped I would make plenty of good friends here. Offered the use of his horse if I would like to ride & a few mornings after brought me a nice Magazine to read. He’s clever, ain’t he?
I suppose we will have a fine time here the 4th [of July]. They will organize & drill the militia, have some speeches, and I should not be surprised much if I feel a little bit homesick that day thinking of the past four or five national anniversaries and of the dear friends I have met on such occasions,. But I’ll tell you all about it when the time comes.
I’m sorry to hear of your eyes troubling you so much. Take good care of them & yourself and I’ll be contented and happy too if you’ll write once in a while and sometimes twice. News is very slow coming and not much when we get it. Old Gov. Todd is stirring up the people to a sense of their duty in keeping the reb’s off their borders. Copperheads are squirming and writhing and hissing. Have nominated [Clement] Vallandigham for Governor. The Union Party unite on Jack Brough — a staunch old War Democrat. I guess I told you of hearing him speak. Well now, I must quit for Uncle Moses is awaiting. So “Good bye” for this time. I am as ever yours, — Neal¹ Neal’s “Uncle Moses” was Moses True (1810-1885). Moses was married in 1836 to Mehitable Alden (1816-1897) — a sister of Neal’s father Zephania. Moses and Mehitable had several children: Melvin Clark True (1839-1920), Wilbur Loraine True (1841-1894), Hiram True (1844-1905), Abby Louisa True (1850-1881), Lucy Bryant True (1858-1878), and Julia Lucretia True (1862-1944). Moses True lived in Lower Salem near the Muskingum River where he engaged in the lumber business. Moses had three sons (Neal’s cousins) who served in Ohio Regiments during the Civil War:
Melvin C. True enlisted as a sergeant in Co. G, 36th Ohio Infantry in August 1861. He was mustered out of the service on 14 September 1864.Wilber [or Wilbur] L. True enlisted as a private in Co. H, 92nd Ohio Infantry on 8 September 1862. He mustered out on 25 October 1863 at Camp Gallipolis, Ohio. Hiram True enlisted as a private in Co. A, 129 Ohio Infantry on 7 July 1863. He mustered out of the service on 8 March 1864.