31 May 1865

Pidgeon’s near Salem [Iowa]
Wednesday, May 31st 1865

My Dearest & best friend,

1865 cartoon showing Lincoln and Johnson using their talents as rail-splitter and tailor to repair the Union

1865 cartoon showing Lincoln and Johnson using their talents as rail-splitter and tailor to repair the Union

I wrote you in full only three days ago & my excuse for writing again so soon is that I have just received yours of the 13th inst.  I could write all the time, but guess it would not be very edifying, & I write now at the risk of repeating what has been written. I suppose there is half a dozen of my letters lying at Nashville for you which you will receive soon as you get within communicating distance & I believe I’ve started two to try to reach you from the East, so doubtless you’ll have news enough some of these days. I know it is the duty of the true American Soldier to stick to the cause while he is needed which must be until civil government is firmly established in the rebel states. I supposed it won’t be very long for every paper brings news of the attempts to rearrange the different states, but it does seem rather hard that after laboring four years to subdue the poor deluded creatures, our soldiers must go to feeding & clothing them — guard them & guide them safe to their homes (a sorry place no doubt some of them find it), and see them settled in peace before they can get into “Gods Country” even where they may hear from their friends, but so it must be. And if you succeed in impressing them with a sense of the humanity, justice, & magnanimity of the Northern Army as they are already with its superior skill and powers of endurance, there’ll be little fear of ever having this contest to try again.

It almost makes me shudder to think how you are, with a little handful of men in the midst of those villains who have murdered, tortured, and starved our defenseless prisoners, but you are returning “good for evil” — true “Christian Charity.” I ain’t pure but it would take more grace than I have got to do so freely. When you get home you’ll tell me how you felt over such things & how humiliated Rebs’ looked & talked & a thousand other things that will be interesting. Oh, how can I wait? Couldn’t if I didn’t have to.

Time slips away very fast though. Only think, I have nearly taught a three months school since you have heard from me. Some of it was very tedious but now time seems to fly. School has been remarkably agreeable, haven’t had one bit of trouble and that is a good deal for a teacher to say. Expect one reason is my mind has been too much occupied with greater matters to let little things worry me and all has passed smoothly. I can only write about myself for I haven’t been farther than Salem (a mile) or seen anybody scarcely since I’ve been here.

I’m going down to see mother next Saturday though. Mr. Pidgeon says I can have a horse. All is well as far as I know and everybody is in a good humor and why shouldn’t they be? The war is over and the soldiers are coming home. Those from the hospitals are already at home and even with us who must wait till the last it seems but a short time. Yes it’s a source of comfort that although you cannot come now, you are not exposed to the dangers of war that have so long threatened you.

But as to forgetting you or loving you any less, you know dear Lot that can never be while life or reason last. I’ve tried not to make a love letter of this for I’ve written plenty such lately, but you must know there is not an hour of my life but I think of you and desire your welfare and happiness above everything else. Last night in my dreams I welcomed you home & Oh how often in my waking dreams have I imagined the joy of that happy hour. Oh may it soon come, and until then I remain faithfully your own

— S. C.  Alden

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