13 August 1865

Mt. Pleasant [Iowa]
Sunday, August 13th 1865

Dear Lot,

I’ll try to write a letter for your perusal this morning before church. I wrote last Sunday from Beery’s but sent it to Nashville & you will probably never get it. “Twill be no loss though if ’tis true that you still have to remain in the service for ’twas only written to tell you how happy I was over the prospect of so soon seeing you. Today everything bears a different aspect for the star of hope had gone down in darkness & left our sky blacker than ever before. This disappointment has fairly numbed my faculties but I shan’t worry you with my sorrow. You have more than enough of your own to bear. Oh if I could only comfort you I’d care nothing for myself. I know how that orders back will fairly crush the life out of hopeful hearts & strong men will writhe in agony of disappointment. You will hear deep curses or murmurings from your brave men & you’ll have to shut your teeth close over your own trouble & be calm before them. You are brave & strong enough to do it but I fear an outbreak among the men. They are exasperated beyond endurance & I could hardly find it in my heart to blame them but I do hope & pray they will do nothing rashly. I’ve no doubt ’tis absolutely necessary that there should be troops stationed through the South for a while yet & that considerable cavalry is needed. But alas! that it should be our boys who must stay? I feel sure that ‘twont be much longer — a few months perhaps at farthest — but every day seems long while Lot is away.

I returned yesterday from a two week’s visit to the South East. Found a warm welcome & a pleasant time as always waits me there. Your friends at home are all pretty well and expecting to enjoy life “when the 4th Cavalry get home.”

Farmers have been bothered a good deal about harvesting on account of rain but [your brother] John has his grain stacked & the barn full of hay. [He] was cutting down the southwest meadow yesterday [and] will have to rich that. ‘Tis a heavy crop. They are to have the threshing machine tomorrow. Kitty & John are anxious to get to housekeeping & will make preparations for that as soon as harvest is over. How about yourself?

Jim at Pixley’s & expects to stay for a while at least. Their hired girl got sick & went away & I always feel as likely to stay as long as I please when there is plenty of work for me to do. So if you should happen to pass through Mt. Pleasant any time soon, just call & see me please.

I suppose this ought to be a reply to your letter of July 30th just received but it is hardly such a letter as might have been expected for the good news that contained, but ’tis the best I can do. Web Pixley starts tomorrow to bring his fair Southern bride home. She’s at Columbus, Georgia. He will perhaps see you some place on the route.

There’s plenty to tell but I’m not in the humor for much talk. ‘Tis church time & I must go. Your own, — Neal

Oh Lot, be comforted, cheerful & hopeful. Better times will come & we’ll be careful to make up for all the disappointment by an extra amount of happiness & love when we are old folks. I shall ever love you above all expressions & pray God to care for my own dear soldier & bring him safe home soon.

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