Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Wife and Children, March 15, 1863

In this letter from March 15, 1863, Samuel Reed writes to his wife and family describing a debate between a Democratic state senator and Republican army officers which he observed while traveling. Reed defends the Democrat's right to free speech, arguing that he said "nothing disloyal" but rather spoke unpleasant truths which the Republicans did not wish to accept. Reed also notes that he may be able to travel home for a visit in the middle of April and intends to have his photograph taken at that time.

My Dear Wife and Children

Another week has passed and I am writing home to you. Three days since I recieved [sic] your letter of the eight [sic] and suppose you have recieved [sic] mine of the same date before this. There is nothing new or of importance to write. One day last week I was out on the road and was quite amused at a little occurrance [sic] in the cars which might have been [senous] as usual there was several army officers on the train and a member of the state senate from one of the south western counties in this state who by the way was a democrat and a good talker at least he was too smart for all the republicans on the train. The talk had lasted for 60 miles both parties waxing warm. At last one of the republican officers made a proposition that the democrat should be put out of the cars by force or stop talking. Neither of which propositions he propsed to submit to. No sooner had the threat been made than up jumps a valiant lady and draws her revolver and dares any man to lay hands on the threatened party very soon there was too many opposed to the violent ejection of the democrat to be safe to attempt to execute their threat and saved a riot if not blood shed. Nothing disloyal was said that exasperated the republicans. But unfortunately the Democrat knew too much and seemed inclined to tell what he knew. The truth was unpleasant and they [made] cover of the little brief authority covered by their blue coats attempted to suppress the freedom of speach [sic] in one who was inclined to speak what he thought regardless of consequences. This has been the first real spring day that we have had and a more lovely sabath [sic] seldom occurs in this latitude. I attended church this morning and did really enter with interest into the most bas servises [sic] appointed for this fifth Sunday in Lent. And should have been very much pleased if you dear Jennie could have been with me this quiet sabath [sic] day. I was very glad to hear that little Anne was much better than when you last wrote to me and hope that she may soon intirely [sic] recover from all effects of the past trying winter.

I don't think I can leave here this month to visit you but hope to before the middle of April I should hence now been with you but Mr. Thielsen has gone to Boston and it will not be expedient for me to leave during his absence. But as soon as he returns I will see you if posable [sic] .

Monday morning. I thought to finish this last evening but did not. And now must be very brief in what I have to say. The letter you wrote to Marthy [sic] I put in the P.O. but have not heard of her since. Do you still think well of the dentistry done for you in Chicago?

It is almost train time and I have got to go out on the road. How do you like your new hand on the farm? Was Patrick dissatisfied or could he do better in Joliet?

If I have time on my next trip home I intend to have my photographs taken if my good looks don't vanish before next month.

Yours Very Affectionately

Give Papa's love and kisses to littleAnne and Mary.

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed and Reed Children
  • Extent: 3 pages
  • Citation: Yale University Library, Manuscripts and Archives, Samuel Reed Family Papers, Box 2, Folder 29
  • Date: March 15, 1863