Mt Pleasant [Iowa]
June 27th, 1865
I told you I should not write any more to you from the Quaker Prairie & therefore did not immediately answer the letters received last Saturday. ‘Twas of date June 15th. ‘Twas altogether because I had said I would, not that I did not spend part of the last Sunday writing to you, but for various other reasons that I hardly dare tell you. I have always tried to write cheerfully or hopefully. Have not always succeeded, I know, but I would not willingly add one item to the already too heavy burden you have to bear and I knew I could not write words of comfort feeling as I did, and I am not much better yet, but it would be wrong to put off writing longer. You will be eagerly awaiting this little sheet, and I judge from my own experience, ’twill be a satisfaction even to see the familiar writing.
I am sorry you are getting tired of your pen. Oh if we could only spend these long dreary summer evenings together. How dear, how sweet the intercourse would be. But alas! Alas! That cannot be. Writing is a poor substitute and seems almost useless when time goes on smoothly. No changes of importance occurring. But when the letters don’t come, oh how slowly and wearily the time drags. You know it as well as I do. Oh Lot, you don’t know how foolishly I hoped and believed that I should see you the coming 4th. Your letter destroyed that illusion and then I wished that day would not come. I’m foolish I know. It will come and I will mingle with a gay crowd and rejoice with them over ‘The union restored, a nation saved. And shall help to do honor to her brave defenders whose work is done and who have returned to enjoy the privileges they have helped to purchase. But amid it all Oh! how my heart will yearn for the absent ones. I ought to be so thankful that they are not like so many others hopelessly absent. I will try to be.
Well, I finished my school in gay style. Had a picnic and plenty of fun. About 80 people present romped and swung &c. till almost dark, then next day went to Hillsborough after my pay. Came back and moved to Salem and went to Joel Jones’ where I stayed till Monday morning. Went in but was too late for the Hash. So I put in the day to the best advantage possible though that was dull enough, visited the school &c. &c. Had better luck this morn and got here before Nine o’clock. Before noon, [your sister] Maggie came in to see me and we had a good time consoling with each other for were neither of us the happiest in the world right now. The folks at home are all well except Susie. She has to suffer a great deal it seems. They will be up here the 4th of July I suppose.
Dear Lot, Mag and I have talked it over and come to the conclusion that you ought to get leave and come home awhile. There is not much for you to do there and the change would do you good. We honor your feelings about leaving your company and could not ask you to forsake them now even to be with us, but a months leave you certainly might have. You’ve stood to your post very closely for the past three and a half years. If [Jacob] Hart is able to be moved, can’t you come and bring him home? But perhaps I’m talking about what I know nothing of and I’ll quit.
I am ever truly your, — Neal