Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed, October 5, 1862

In this letter from October 5, 1862, Samuel Reed writes to his wife describing the difficulties his party has encountered surveying land in Melrose, Iowa. He writes that two of his men were badly wounded "by cuts with an axe," a creek in the valley has been nearly impassable, the food has become tiresome, and his party experienced a severe rainstorm. He also notes that Mr. Thielsen has informed him of a possible change in the supervision of the railroad and would like Reed to stay on as his engineer if the change does occur. Reed tells his wife that nothing is certain yet and that she should "say nothing about it until more is known."

Dearest Jennie

When I wrote to you last from Charitin [sic] I was on the [eve] of starting to explore a Rail Road [sic] down the valley [?] creek and supposed three days would accomplish all that was necessary to be done but we have encountered many difficulties. 1st two of my men were badly wounded by cuts with an axe and one sick with [chills] and out of ten days we have been in this hole in the ground it has rained five days. The creek has been impassable only as we can find [ties]long enough to fall acrost [sic] and numerous other difficulties have been encountered to delay our [progress], to say nothing of the [?] we find in most places on the creek such as living on gritted corn bread and stale bacon without salt or butter. One day more and we shall get out of this valley. I pity Mr. Ainsworth & party for they will locute a line here where I have merely made a preliminary examination.

I go back to Chariton Tuesday and have two days work to do there then I shall start eastward but can't say when I can get through so that I can go home for a few days but will make the time as short as posable. [sic]

I saw Mr. Thielsen a few days since. He says there is a prospect of a change being made in the supv of the road and thinks he will be offered the place if so wants me to stay with him and do the engineering when the road is built. Nothing definite about it yet we will talk over the matter when I see you in the mean time [sic] say nothing about it until more is known.

For two days past my eyes have been a little sore but they feel much better today and I hope will be quite well tomorrow. I have had no opertunity [sic] of sending you a line or receiving letters from you since leaving Chariton and know how anxious you are to hear from me and send a man seven miles today partly to relieve the wounded and partly to carry this to the P.O. Not long since we were caught out in one of the most severe rain storms I have encountered this season we all lay flat on our faces in the grass and I did not move until the water ran under me and wet all my books then I thought it was S B Reed 62 5th Oct 1862time to leave and walked three miles to the nearest house no one was at home but some of the boys went in and soon had a good fire and we were [sperally]drying ourselves when the people came home and did all they could to make us as comfortable as posable [sic] .

I shall be very much disappointed if I don't hear from you on my [?]in Charitin [sic] . I must on act of very poor eyes close this scribble.

I would write Anne a good long letter if I thought it would do for me to write more today and hope she will send Papa a kiss.

Remember me to all and may our Heavenly Father us all from harm through these times of great trial and trouble.

Yours Very Affectionately
Samuel B. Reed

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed
  • Extent: 4 pages
  • Citation: Yale University Library, Manuscripts and Archives, Samuel Reed Family Papers, Box 2, Folder 28
  • Date: October 5, 1862