8 February 1865

Pidgeon’s [near Salem, Iowa]
February 8th 1865

My own brave & true soldier,

The very first leisure moments after the wedding must be employed in writing to you. Oh how often within the past three days have my thoughts wandered to camp. Even in the midst of the liveliest excitement, the thought of one who ought to have enjoyed it with us was constantly with me & often with others of the party too judging from the number of times it was spoken. “Lot is thinking of us today.” “If Lot could only see us now.” &c. &c. ‘Tis all past now & [your brother] John & [his wife] Kitty are settled down “old folks” & all the gay party are scattered & I have subsided back to the “Roost” to play ‘second’ to Miss Packer a few weeks longer.

[Your sister] Mag wrote to you last night, I suppose, & gave you full particulars, so ’tis not worthwhile for me to repeat them. I get through it all somewhat like you did the drill — in a fit of desperation. Was gayer than common. Only stopped to take one little cry & that was in sympathy with poor Maggie Bartlett ¹ who had just lost her last sister. But the best part of all the good feasts was awaiting me in the Salem P. O. when we got back — your letter of February 1st.  Oh Lot, there is nothing half so sweet to a woman as praise from the man she loves & you have given me my full share. Dear Lot, I would wish to be “good and beautiful & true” for your sake that I might in some degree merit your love.

The faint distant sounds of peace which greeted us lately has again subsided & “War to the Death” is again the cry. And dreadful as this was is, I can but feel that our sacred duty to ourselves & generations yet to come demand that it shall go on until every traitor is humbled. If it does separate us for a few months longer, ought we not to bear it as our share of the great sacrifice? I sometimes think, “Am I not foolish to encourage in any way you remaining in the army when it seems as if life were not worth the having while you are away. And yet I should be ashamed of myself had I not courage enough to stand up to duty, hard though it may be. The burden for each would be lighter if we might bear it side by side. But that cannot be now. Yet we can be a great comfort to each other. Oh Lot, it makes me proud & happy to think of my own true soldier & his love is the beacon light that guides my poor little Bark on the storm-tossed ocean of life. And now it shall be my highest ambition to cheer you on in duty’s path till it leads you to my side & then —— Oh! Lot, we will live for each other & be happy. I am not always brave & strong, but for your sake I will be. More than ever now. Let us let the past and disappointments go & paint bright pictures for the future.

Neal read The Prairie Flower by Emerson

Neal read, The Prairie Flower (1849) by Emerson Bennett

I have great hopes that the Spring Campaigns will crush rebellion & establish peace on a firm foundation & that our next national birthday will shine on an undivided Union. Oh, if it only might see us reunited, to be separated by war no more.

‘Twill soon be six years since we met the first time. Does that seem possible? Quite a lengthy courtship by the way & quite a contrast to [your brother] John’s short one of less than six months. They have hardly had time to “make” as much “love” as we have? They’ll get along faster now they’re married, I recon.

Well, this sort of stuff won’t edify you & I may as well quit directly. The details of my quiet life at the ‘Pidgeon Roost” would not be very interesting. I may give you some of them, however, if I can find time after answering some of the eight or ten letters that lie waiting. I’ve a novel on hands that I requested to read also — “The Prairie Flower.” ² Have had it three weeks & looked in it today now for the first.

For the present, I’ll say ‘Good Night.’ Ever remaining thine own, — Neal

John M. Abraham family (1898)

John M. Abraham family (1898)

¹ Margaret B. (“Maggie”) Bartlett (1846-1915) was the sister of Catherine Margaret (“Kate” or “Kitty) Bartlett (1842-1901) who married Lot’s brother, John McCue Abraham on 5 February, 1865, just three days before this letter was written. The Bartlett sisters were the daughters of John William Bartlett (1807-1885) and Catharine Carmichael (1808-1879) who married (1830) in Dearborn County, Indiana, and emigrated to Iowa in 1854.
John and Kitty Abraham lived in Henry County until the spring of 1881 when they relocated to Nebraska, settling in the Elkhorn River Valley of Douglas County. In this family photograph taken in 1898, John and Kitty are shown (lower left) with their children.
² The Prairie Flower was a novel written by Emerson Bennett in 1849. The subject was the Oregon Territory though Bennett had never traveled there himself.

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