This letter was written by Capt. Lot Abraham (1838-1920) who came from Ohio with his parents to Iowa in 1841 and settled on a farm southeast of Mt. Pleasant in Henry County, Iowa. Lot was the son of John Lot Abraham (1806-1843) and Sarah McCue (1807-1872). The wedding of Lot’s younger brother, John McCue Abraham (1840-1913), to Katherine (“Kate”) Bartlett, is referred to in this letter.
Lot enlisted in the 4th Iowa Volunteer Cavalry (I. V. C.), as private; he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant with the consent and by vote of his company; and was afterward commissioned Captain. He was in fifty-four battles, fights and skirmishes during his four years in the service. After the war, he returned to the family farm and married Sarah Cornelia (“Neal”) Alden on 13 September 1865, to whom he addressed this letter.
Gravelly Springs, Alabama
March 8th 1865
I have not forgot how dear you are to me [even] if I have put off writing a long time. I had very little to tell of here and no letters to answer until now.
We was expecting to move on very short notice for several days and I thought I would wait until we got the order, then write. But instead of that, I was ordered on a scout and started the same minute — March 1st — with 200 men of 3rd & 4th Iowa and it commenced raining, then kept on raining, and I kept on marching, scouting, &ct. until the streams got too high to cross. They were higher than ever known before and caught me in Florence, Alabama, [with] my command out of forage and rations, and beside that 50 prisoners on hand & no communication with anyplace.
First succeeded in communicating by sending an old flat boat down the Tennessee River when they sent a boat up with supplies, but this all took up time and we made the best of it by employing a good time in Florence. I was soon well acquainted with the citizens and ladies & all, and just made myself at home. They made a dance for us the 3rd night when everybody had a good time. I had hard work to get the soldiers away from there when starting time come — nearly all in love. Well its not much wonder for this is a lonely, desolate, forsaken place and that has been a gay little city once but war has made its mark on it. Hood’s army crossed & recrossed there.
Well, on returning to camp, I find no more sign of moving than when I left and I found 2 dear letters — dear to me because my own good, true, & noble Neal wrote them for me. Neal, they tell me what is dearer to me than life itself. One dated Feb 8th & the other February 19th. Yes, Maggie had told me some particulars of the wedding but I can thank Dick ¹ for the most. Bride & Groom had told me how they loved each other and sent me photos. They look well, but I can hardly believe they are married.
Yes, there’s some difference between John’s and my love-making. It will be funny if that 7 years does pass away. Do you remember talking of 7 years courtship? I used to talk of such a think and sing a long saying I courted her for seven long years before she owned she loved me. Oh, I hope John & Kate took time to consider the matter sufficiently. If not, ’tis too late now and they’ll have to improve the time. It’s best to not be in too much hurry. It may do in their case. Well our plan is rather a singular one but has worked like a charm. Our opposers can now say the most in our favor & do but all that could be said — either way [it] could never change my love for you or cause me to hesitate one moment. But why need I talk of such things now? I know myself best.
Well, I suppose I may send letters to Mt. Pleasant now though you don’t say so. I think there is where you will conclude to stay most of the time. I shall write again before leaving here, then will be uncertain when I write again. I think we will go away through Dixie & don’t be uneasy about me. My health is good yet. The small pox has been raging in our camps for some time but I don’t fear it much now. Please excuse this scribbling & write often.
I am, dear Neal, ever faithfully and truly, — your lover Lot
¹ Lot’s brother-in-law, Addison Howe Jackman (1826-1890), was often called “Dick.” He married Rebecca (“Becca”) Abraham (1832-1915) in the mid-1850s and was somewhat of a father figure to Lot who lost his father when he was quite young.