Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed, August, 10 1862

In this letter from August 10, 1862, Samuel Reed writes to his wife from Center Township, Iowa stating that he feels like he is "on the extreme borders of civilization." He describes the excitement over the war in the area, speculating that if enlistment throughout Iowa were on par with that portion of the state "it will not be necessary to resort to [a] draft." Reed also offers an anecdote of his party's progress just before leaving Ottumwa, Iowa, and notes that a son of Mr. Thielsen, aged 13, has joined his party.

Center Township Iowa

Dearest Jennie

Once more I take the opportunity of writing to you. I am quite well and have a good apetite [sic] to eat notwithstanding the food I get is not generally very palatable. During the last week I have suffered some from a rash caused I suppose by the heat. Shall no doubt feel better as soon as it is a little cooler. Blackberries continue very plenty and sell in the market for 2 cents per quart. I wish I could send you a bushel or two. How I would like to be with you this holy sabbath day here seven miles west of Ottumwa there is no church servis [sic] or meeting of any other denomination that I know of. It seems like being on the extreme borders of civilization but I shall have to [moving] a mile west to get beyond the confines of civilized life. There is much excitement all through this portion of the state about the war and hundreds are enlisting and if all sections of the state turn out as many volenteers [sic] as this it will not be necessary to resort to draft to raise the required number from this state. I have but little that would interest you if I should write all the little incidents that occur in my party. It might amuse you to see us in our active duties. All of the party except the [Ayemen] are from Burlington and not at all used to the hardships of a life like ours some laugh and some cry sometimes when called on to go or follow in bad places. An instance occured just before leaving Ottumwa. It was necessary to crop a bend in the river with the line and I wanted to be very particular in getting measurements and surroundings. It was the first bad place and you would have laughed to see the expression of astonishment on the countinance [sic] of each when told to go through the line. Since they have learned to go where the line leads them without asking questions.

I have in my party a son of Mr. Thielsen 13 years old, a lad that has been too closely confined to his studies and you have no idea how much good physically the trip is doing him. He is improving in health and apetite [sic] daily.

All your cautions about my health will be duly observed and I shall do my own work and see that all in the party do theirs. The most we suffer for when out is want of good drinking water which is very scarce except at the farm houses along the line, the water in the creeks which are frequent being warm and muddy.

Next Sunday I think I shall be in Blakesburgh seven miles west of here in the mean time [sic] I hope to hear from you when Mr. Thielsen comes out Wednesday or Thursday next. The surest way for me to get your letters is to send them as heretofore to the care of Mr. Thielsen.

I hope you will be very particular in writing all that is new or that would be of interest to me.

Remember me kindly to all. Has cousin Adda left Mo yet? If not what is the reason?

Now dear Jennie I must say good night to you and our little ones and may God bless and protect and help you from all harm.

Samuel B. Reed

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from Samuel Reed to Jennie Reed
  • Extent: 3 pages
  • Citation: Yale University Library, Manuscripts and Archives, Samuel Reed Family Papers, Box 2, Folder 28
  • Date: August 10, 1862