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  • Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed, March 22, 1863

    In this letter from March 22, 1863, Samuel Reed writes to his wife noting that the government has procured control of all steamboats on the Mississippi River. He believes many will be lost once they are sent up small rivers and the water levels fall, and laments that railroads cannot "be conveniently taken south to help whip the rebels." Reed also complains about the rise in prices and the fact that work on the western road cannot be commenced until the next season as two of the railroad's largest investors have gone to Europe before examining the work estimates. He closes with remarks about how difficult it is to be parted from loved ones for so long and "with such small pay."

  • Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed, March 2, 1863

    In this letter from March 2, 1863, Samuel Reed writes to his wife expressing concern over the appearance of cannon in Joliet, Illinois and the potential violation of "the liberties of the people." He describes the political climate in Burlington, Iowa as "not as pleasant as I could wish," and is particularly disturbed by the wholesale treatment of Democrats as traitors. Reed also details his tiresome trip back to Burlington, and notes a reminiscence of "old times and troubles on the M. & M. R.R." resulting from an impromptu visit from a Mr. Rheinhart.

  • Letter from Erastus H. Reed, January 25, 1863

    In this letter from January 25, 1863, Erastus H. Reed, one of the enlisted brothers of Samuel Reed, writes home chastising his family for not answering his letters. He offers some details regarding the first fight his regiment engaged in and the damage it caused to the land, comparing the destruction it wrought to that of the tornado which hit Camanche, Iowa in 1860. He states that the things he saw made his "blood run cold" and believes that "if the feelings of officers & men wer consulted" the war would quickly be brought to an end, but ultimately the fate of the soldiers rests in the hands of "a few politicians at Washington."

  • Letter from Jennie Reed to Samuel B. Reed, January 18, 1863

    In this letter from January 18, 1863, Jennie Reed writes to her husband, Samuel Reed, discussing various events at home. She tells him that her sister, who is visiting, cannot go home "with that land of savages at present." She also informs him that his enlisted brother, Erastus H. Reed, is still well after participating in the Battle of Stones River.

  • Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Wife and Children, January 11, 1863

    In this letter from January 11, 1863, Samuel Reed writes to his wife and family describing his work contracting "for wood timber and telegraph poles" along the railroad. He again requests information about Erastus H. Reed, his enlisted brother, fearing he may be among the list of those dead or wounded. He also asks for news regarding a family member named Marshall's "prison life in the south." Reed notes that his eyes have been troubling him, and that he may ask for a few days off if they do not get better soon.

  • Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed, January 4, 1863

    In this letter from January 4, 1863, Samuel Reed writes to his wife apologizing for not writing to her sooner, explaining that the end of the month is always a busy time for business. He describes his life as monotonous, and details his daily routine for her. Reed also expresses worry that Erastus H. Reed, his enlisted brother, may have been involved in recent battles near Murfreesboro, Tennessee and requests news regarding his status.

  • Letter from Sally A. Kendrick to Jennie Reed, March 6, 1862

    In this letter from March 6, 1862, Sally A. Kendrick writes to Jennie Reed, wife of Samuel Reed, describing her work as a nurse for wounded soldiers at a hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. She expresses political beliefs similar to Samuel Reed as she discusses her hopes regarding the outcome of the war and as she laments the impending loss of her church's pastor due to offense he has given to a few "secessionists in the church."

  • Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed, October 3, 1860

    In this letter from October 3, 1860, Samuel Reed writes to his wife informing her that he has returned from his trip into the South. He tells her the engineer who promised him and John R. Boyle work was mistaken about the time it would be available and they do not know yet whether they will get it. He describes the wealth present in Vicksburg, Mississippi and states that he found it "very comfortable to have all the help wanted about a place and to feel that they are stationary and will not leave if any fault is found with them." He describes the slaves as "contented and happy," noting that they are better dressed than the laboring classes of the North. He also notes that Stephen A. Douglas is to speak in Chicago "and there will be a gathering of the people that will make the black Republicans quil in their shoes."

  • Letter from Marion K. McMurphy to Erastus H. Reed, February 26, 1860

    In this letter from February 26, 1860, Marion K. McMurphy writes to her brother, Erastus H. Reed, from Pontoosuc, Iowa discussing family news and the prospect of a railroad being built "from Appanoose to the junction or Burlington the coming summer." She states that she hopes the railroad will "make business a little more lively here as it is very dull on account of hard times in getting money."