Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Wife and Children, October 15, 1862

In this letter from October 15, 1862, Samuel Reed writes to his wife and family from Ottumwa, Iowa where he travelled to recruit more men for his party after losing all but three to sickness, wounds, or disappearances. He states that it is quite difficult to find "idle men," and describes the extent of the work needing to be done in Ottumwa. He informs his wife that he will not be able to return home for a visit for at least another two weeks.

My Dear Wife & Children

You will no doubt be surprised to learn of my getting to this place so soon, but here I [am] recruiting not for the army but my party. Sick wounded and missing has reduced me to three effective men and I am very anxious to finish what is yet to be done before breaking up the party and have come to this place to get more men.

And shall go out this P.M. to start work again. I have finished on the west end and have about ten miles to run here but it is very rough and will take me two weeks at least. You cannot want to see me more than I want to get home it seems an age since I left you. Mr. Thielsen partly [promised] to take charge of the party and let me off for a week but he is very busy on the road already built and I have not much hopes of his doing so. Still he may come out at any time and release me but the chances are all against his doing so.

I must be very brief this morning as I have yet to look up my men and it is no easy matter to S B Reed 1862 find idle men here.

[Mary] must be patient if she can until I go home. I am glad to hear of Rollin's recovery also that he has made arrangements to attend the medical lectures in Chicago this winter. Hope he will do well. Last Friday I received two letters from you one dated 28th Sept and the other the eight [sic] of Sept a long time on the road don't you think so? Much longer than letters used to be in passing from Geneseo to Muscutine [sic] but not the less anxiously looked for. Hereafter I shall be in vicinity of this place and can get my letters more promptly.

Remember me affectionately to all. I shall be glad once more to be situated so that I can attend church with you. Kiss Anne & Mary for Papa and accept the best wishes and affection of your husband.

Samuel B. Reed

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed and Reed children
  • Extent: 2 pages
  • Citation: Yale University Library, Manuscripts and Archives, Samuel Reed Family Papers, Box 2, Folder 28
  • Date: October 15, 1862