Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed, August 24, 1862

In this letter from August 24, 1862, Samuel Reed writes to his wife describing the difficulty of his party's work. He states that "the life we are now living would well fit us for army servis [sic] ," and relates joking with his men about joining the army as engineers, admitting that he "would be the first to back out if a serious proposition of that kind was made to us." Reed also gives an account of where the men in his party are originally from.

Aug 2 1862
Moravia Iowa

Dearest Jennie

Another week of toil and I put aside all thoughts of brush to spend a few minutes with you and home friends. Would that I could be with you this calm and peaceful day to enjoy that rest of mind and body that I know not here. I am boarding in the most comfortable place we have had since starting on the survey Mr. Arnold an old Kentucky gentleman of the old school and he spares no pennies to make us comfortable. It is really a green spot in our very weary way, and from the shape of the country in this vicinity we shall be here five or six days more. After croping [sic] the rough lands near here I shall get on the divide between the waters of Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and hope to get along faster than heretofore. Perhaps we can get through in five or six weeks at most. The life we are now living would well fit us for army servis [sic] . I proposed this morning that when we get through we should all join the army as engineers. The boys think I would be the first to back out if a serious proposition of that kind was made to us and I think so too. My health continues good. I have not felt better this season than since I have been on this survey and with ordinary care have no fears of sickness. The party are all well, and with one exception a slight disentery [sic] none have lost an hour from any cause. One day this week we had a little rain the second shower since we have been in the servis. [sic]

I have looked anxiously for letters from you all the past week but have been disappointed Mr. Thielson has not been with me since a week ago last Friday and when he comes I shall expect to hear from you. He spends most of his time on the north line with Mr. Ainsworth. Perhaps he thinks I can do as well without as with him.

My party is made up of men from all parts of the country one from Illinois one from Texas one from Virginia one from Kentucky one from the River Rine [sic] in Germany and he is a very intelligent and gentlemenly [sic] young man. He is a graduate of one of the best universities in his country. I suppose you have seen the stranger comment that is so [rufully [sic] passing] written sight of our ruined world. Have you seen anything in relation to it whether it was expected or an intire [sic] stranger to us.

How is aunt Ann's health does she hear from Vermont friends? I wish she would when she writes to Adda tell her that I shall be in Chariton in five or six weeks and wuld like to hear from her. Perhaps she will come through Iowa on her way to Illinois if so can't she close her matters about the time I close my survey and go home with me.

Any news from Tyrus?

The post office is four miles from here and the man that carries this is waiting so good by [sic] until another opportunity offers. Love to all and Dearest Jennie accept to yourself and our children the constant love and affection of your faithful and devoted companion.

Samuel B. Reed

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from Samuel Reed to Jennie Reed
  • Extent: 4 pages
  • Citation: Yale University Library, Manuscripts and Archives, Samuel Reed Family Papers, Box 2, Folder 28
  • Date: August 24, 1862