5 May 1865

Salem, Iowa
May 5th 1865

My own dear Lot,

This is the 4th time I’ve dated a letter for you since I got any word from you. ‘Tis two weeks since I wrote last and I usually write once a week, but I did not want to write anything sad & lonely to meet you after your march. This morning I’m sick and lonesome & blue as need be & feel an irresistable inclination to lay my aching head upon some sympathizing breast & have a good cry. That comfort is out of the question here, though the folks are friendly enough. I only tell them I’m not very well this morning & shut myself in my own room & seek relief in writing & while my thoughts are all with you, who else can I write to? I’ve tried every way to keep my spirits up. Kept busy all the time while work lasted, then went to school early and stayed late. Bought some new books of poetry and read between times, tried to keep my thoughts busy among the heroes of Scotland’s hills or any place rather than vainly wandering in search of Wilson’s Cavalry Division among Southern Rebels. But ’tis all of little use for until I know of your safety, I cannot rest.

I suppose if I felt well I should be braver to bear the long suspense. I ought to have taken your advice and let the “little Quakers” learn a-b-c of someone else, for ’tis wearing me out by inches. This is a wet cold spring and there’s a good deal of sickness. The other evening I felt so bad I thought I was taking a fever and if I did I should never get well and I didn’t care if I didn’t only for the hope that you will come someday and then I prayed to live for your sake, that my life may prove my love or gratitude. If we are spared to meet again and enjoy life together, can we ever forget this terrible four years’ war? I feel sure that is about its limit for the dawn of peace already casts aside some of the dark shadows.

The newspapers have got the day appointed for the mustering out of some regiments. Have seen no mention of the 4th Cavalry yet, but its time will come with the rest. I’ve almost a notion to turn coward now and tease you to come anyway if the regiment has to stay longer, but that would be too bad. You know  your duty best and I know you will come as soon as you think you ought.

Monday evening 8

I went from school to see the little blind boy for he is quite blind now tho perhaps he will see some day. I thought a visit there would do me good and guess it did and very little. Hope I’m better and more cheerful, though terribly anxious yet. Got a letter from [your sister] Mag and [your sister-in-law] Kitty. Mag writes of work, lonesomeness, and the most fearful anxiety on account of no news from the soldier. Their last was received when your valise came. Kittie writes of how swift the time has fled. “Just twelve weeks a married woman & so happy.” Oh may it always be so! She also laments the long silence of the dear Brother.

School was larger than common today. Over 40 scholars in attendance — that ought to take all my time & thought. I suppose but it doesn’t quite. ‘Tis a very peaceable quiet school and interesting too. But I’ll quit this trying to write. ‘Tis a very poor try anyway. Oh! I want to say so much and am haunted with such terrible fears that were I to pour out my soul, ‘twould be too much like a wail of despair & you must not hear it. Still trying to be hopefully your own true Neal. I must close. May God forever bless and keep you and Oh may He bring you home very soon!

— S. C. Alden

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