27 July 1865

Mt. Pleasant [Iowa]
July 27th 1865

Dearest & best friend,

I must write a little for you this evening. ‘Tis such a pleasure for me to imagine I am talking to you & that my scribbling will please you. Then this is a peculiar evening. Do you remember July 27th 1860 at Thomas Nicholson’s ¹ Bushwack? I’ll never forget that night for ever since then I have felt that we belonged to each other — or at least ought to. Then I’ve another good reason for writing. I have two dear letters of yours to answer — letters which fill my soul full of peace & love. God bless you, dear Lot, for sitting up after others sleep to tell Neal you are thinking of her & Oh! what a foolish thing I am. But you’ve set my heart to singing a gayer song than it has known for a long time. You’ve given me a little room to hope “He will come.” I shall see him once more & that is enough to make me happy. I’ll try to to be prepared for disappointment though for I know it is all so uncertain, & you must do what is best. I realize your position in the army & do not ask you to leave it. No, terrible as it would be to think of, I would spare you another year rather than have you leave your post dishonorably, though you have as much right to resign as any officer in the service. But that you may come home for a few weeks seems perfectly reasonable & I shall expect you so anxiously. I believe every friend I had in the army as far as I can learn are ordered to be mustered out except those in the 4th Cavalry. Their turn will come next, I hope.

Neal and her relatives toured the Iowa Lunatic Asylum in July 1865

Neal and her relatives toured the Iowa Lunatic Asylum in July 1865

I wrote last week from Joel Jones’. The next day Joel brought us over to Uncle Leonard’s where we remained until Tuesday morning when we came to town & were blessed by the sight of letters, good ones, from absent loved ones. Uncle Asa [Thompson] & family were in with the wagon & we had a gay excursion to the Asylum ² which we viewed from bottom to top. The next day at noon, my cousins left. They seemed to enjoy their visit well & liked it too but not quite so well as I might. I’ll tell you all when you come.

Today the Sewing Circle met here to help Mrs. Pixley who is behind with her work, having been from home almost all the time for four months nursing her daughter [Mrs. Frick]. Mrs. Fisher is one of them. She tells me Jo is out of the service & is in Winchester, Indiana [and] talks of settling in business there. I hoped he’d come home on a visit at least.

Web Pixley wrote to you this week to get word to his little wife he talks about in Columbus, Georgia (I do hope you’ll not get a chance to take it to her, not but what I want her to get it, but I don’t want you to have to go there). Sometimes he denies being married & none of us know whether he is or not. You spoke of Hort coming north. Was it to Iowa you meant? John Kerr was up this week & reports all well & scolds big because I wouldn’t go home with him, but I told him I wouldn’t go till you came home.

Saw your brother John half a minute yesterday but I didn’t get any news — only the folks are well. I think I shall go out there next week & afterward I’ll go to Canaan & do some quilting. I’ve no plans father than that & not that certain. I feel considerable as I did a year ago last spring when I wrote you I was afloat on an open sea, but doubtless will float into the place I’m needed soon. Wherever I am & whatever betide, I am ever dreaming of my dear soldier, loving him truly & praying for his safety & happiness.

Mrs. Pixley sends respects & hopes she’ll see you soon. Almost everyone I meet asks the second sentence, “Where’s the Captain? How’s Abraham?” or something of the sort. Suppose they are interested in my welfare or yours, I hardly know which. They’re all very wise anyway. I’ll repeat a lecture my wise little coz’ Mary gave me just before starting someday. She couldn’t get done regretting she couldn’t see you but ’tis bedtime & I must say Good Night. ‘Twont do to act over the scene of 1860 here all by myself. I’m ever fondly thine own, — Sarah C. A.

¹ Thomas Nicholson (1820-1907) was the son of John and Sarah Nicholson of North Carolina. Thomas and his wife Margaret Maxwell lived in Indiana for a time before relocating to Henry County, Iowa.
² Neal is referring to the Iowa Lunatic Asylum that opened in Mount Pleasant in 1861. Portions of the facility were not completed until 1865.

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