Mr. Lincoln's War - - - printer-friendly version
This letter was written to Orrin by his wife Francis. View an image of
the original letter here.
(at the top of letter are locks of family hair marked as follows: Dilla Caby Frank)
Harmony at Home Tuesday, Oct 25th/ 62
My own sweet Orrin
I just rec'd letters you mailed Oct. 23rd, about 12 days since I have heard from you before and rumors of attacks, skirmishes, and battles at that place, have wrought on my imagination that I have pictured you lying helpless in some dreadful place or captured by some heathen rebels. Oh! such awful suspense. Well dear kind letters of today has for a while put flying such unpleasant and perhaps you would say unnecessary imagining Well darling you know that I am more than half a woman so please make due allowances for such a poor half as your lot to choose. Now about writing to you, I intend to write so that you could have one every week and if I lived near a P.O you should have two or three a week but dear you know how we have watch for a chance to send to town don't I beg of you, think tis because I think it as task, for it would be a pleasure to write you every day. I must tell you what I dreamed. T'was on three nights since, thought I was with you on a strange camping ground you was attired in a beautiful suit of blue with epaulets and other fixings showing at once that you were an officer of high rank. I spoke and was about to give you such a kissing and loving (as would naturally take place on such occasions) when you raised that stick that you walked around with down there and motioned me de. I obeyed but thought I could scarcely breathe it pained me so, then went to the Colonel and asked for an explanation, was coldly repulsed there. Then found out where you bunked and waited till quite late. When you came attended by several waiters. I asked if I might stay with you, when you sternly informed me that I had no right to address myself to a person of such distinction. Well thought I if this surely the result of "honors conferred" I wish you " back again" Then I awoke and was glad enough to find it a dream.
Mr. Case came yesterday to finish the pantry and bedroom, has worked a day and half. Thinks he can finish all up tomorrow, charges a $1 per day. He is an old man but has so far done his work solid. Pa has been helping him today placing props under the house, mixing the plaster etc. etc. oh such a mess I don't believe you have seen down there, guess we shall get cleared out and all right ere long. Heard that Emogene and Hitchcock were to be married. This one thinks tis a true report for there is quite a stir there, and tis almost, 12 night heard their bell ring a few minutes ago don't know but t'was a sign of distress, guess there will not be any of that come to think. The reason why I write to you evenings is this, I cannot when thinking of you, tolerate even the sounds of a mouse, I want everything perfectly quiet. We heard the D. Waite was brought home, write and tell me if it was by his request. You cannot know how sad I felt. I thought what should I do if it was my dear one, but your life and health is yet spared and for that we cannot be to grateful. I must bid you good night and mail. Til tomorrow era I finish this.
I have just finished my morning work and will write a few lines ere I commence dinner, for breakfast we had codfish hash bread and butter, berry sauce, potatoes and a dish of pear coffee, for dinner we will have boiled beef, mashed potatoes, pie, coffee with the necessary accompaniments, pickled tommys included. The mason has finished the pantry and is now plastering the bedrooms. Pa is helping him; if you were only here I should take pride in fixing up the new rooms. Aunt Alvina is down to see me, she said give my respects to Orrin and tell him I wished I had his likeness. I do not believe she enjoys here life very well. I have got likenesses of yours that you let Cynthia take so long ago. She has ours together and thought that would do. Dill says, "I feel very choice of you". She feels pleased to think you speak of her in your letters. Tis time to commence dinner and I have to leave wish you were here to dine with us. If long letters are a proof of affection you will understand this, won't you? I you don't get tired of reading. Your letters do me more good and help me to live, more than all the food I should consume while you are away.
Thursday eve 27th
Know person can ever know how often I think of you, tonight you are thinking of home, I am sure for tho we are separated by many miles yet sometimes I think your mind and thoughts, in a degree have influenced mine. Two of your letters were dated the very day and hour that I was writing to you and did you have "symptoms unbecoming for a soldier" when you were writing to me surrounded by "piles of bread" and buckets of B. porridge well tis a comfort to know that you do think of and love your (how noble thou full of deep feeling; this couplet)
"Young barbarians all at play their Dacian mother"
You say "do not let the little ones forget me" I guess you would think their memory pretty good if you could take a peep in here when I get a letter from you, they both know all about it and have to read and kiss it ever so many times. Yes, John and Emogene are really married all right, best thing they could do. Gilbert and Victoria are to Ma's, came there last night, have not seen G. yet there is a Institute held at Panama, he went there today perhaps he will stay there till tomorrow and go home Saturday. The roads are pretty muddy here now, commenced snowing last Friday afternoon and Sunday. T'was about a foot deep, looked like winter in good earnest, saw one or two cutters pass but the snow is nearly gone now and the wind will soon dry the road providing is does not storm within a day or so. Florence came sown to stay with me tonight he looks thin and says he feels weak; he gains for a few days then lean downs.
All to bed and sleeping now; He told me that Sherman Williams had come on account of poor health. F. Harrington was taken prisoner, is in Sherman Village on parole, so Mr. Case told us today. Fra. J. Sheldon was wounded in battle, died in about 24hrs, his father went after him. He was brought to Sherman, three or four weeks since where his funeral was held. My dear one may this awful war be closed ere you are called into the fields. May peace and Union be restored, and you left to me again.
The mason finished our pantry, bedrooms and chimney looks "really cute" as little Dilla says. When things look to suit her. Mason's wages amount to $3, but he was owing Pa sixty-nine cents so he made a turn and I saved a little. This will count toward what Pa was owing you. Will send you a piece of my calico and Della's dress, do not think me extravagant for I need them, didn't I ? Mr. Sargent called to the door a few minutes this morning. I asked him if he ever re'cd more than one letter from you, he said not. I concluded you had sent more than to him for you spoke of letters that you had sent him and I told him so. I have not been into a neighbor's house since I was up to Ma's. I have not been enough to hear and know hardly what is going on. I have fallen into moody, dreamy state and am trying if possible to arouse myself from it, do not think me sick, no, I am perfectly well and if I was 50 years old would not wonder at this strange dullness. I assure you will try to keep straight for the sake of the children.
Mr. Sargent said he should write to you after the elections. Dear O.S. I told our folks to write a scrip and send it to you but they have such lots of company it keep them on the move all the while. They think of you and speak of you tenderly, whenever I see them. I do believe my letters are a long time on the way or you would have one once a week surely if you think they would go through sooner. Why I will direct, it to Suffolk, tell me in your mailed one to you from Westfield last week Monday, containing postage stamps. Don't know as I can get any put in this, if I was going to the P.O. myself, I could, ought to have bought some at Westfield but it looked like storming and we had to hurry up business. That is why I forgot them. You may rely on some in my next-to you. Ma has heard from that girl again she expressed a finger to her (to Ma) . The girl has changed her place of abode, told her friends that she was going west and instead took a different direction altogether. She is in a little town somewhere in Pennsylvania, trying to find a situation to teach. Ma thinks perhaps she was sent there by some friend, be that as it may all that we know is this, she is trying to help take care of Elmer. Old Calo stays with me yet likes to stay under the stone well, as ever cow looks quite well. Florence gathered our apples, a few days ago. Two from one little tree, one from the other, shall keep them long as I can. Perhaps will come and help us eat them.
Drafting commences 10th, Nov. 15 to come from this town. If I was near a bookstore to night I would pick out something and have it mailed forthwith. You cannot know dear Orrin how few my chances are for leaving home, if I get a book and mail it to you do suppose it will come direct? I wish it was in my power to make you comfortable for reading materials as well as other things. Mr. Bushwell has not brought any wood to me yet did you ask him too? Pa is so hurried or I would have him get my winter wood, he has split most of the blocks laid east of the house. If you made arrangements with Mr. B why then I will ask him for it. Now my dearest one do protect yourself, be careful about eating anything that ever was in the hand of a Secesh, do not try to walk without your stick. Wish you had to favor that lame walker a little. I am glad you are in the cooking department if it does have its advantages.
Wish I could sit here all night and write to you tis so quiet but I know the little ones will arouse ere long if I do not hasten to bed. When you write tell me how you get along for paper and envelopes you said a fellow gave you one, have you used all your pocket money? If so you ought to have some more, do they pay you monthly? If so you will have some before long won't you? Well dear O. I know you are prudent and I will try to be and save all that I can for you. Write to me about D. Waite, how he came to be sent home etc. etc.
Good night darling hope you will not sleep cold.
Friday 28th , morning
I must fold this and have it ready to send you, for Florence said he thought Pa would go to Sherman today. Our folks are well wish I could write something that would interest you but t'is the same old story every time. Take care of yourself and remember your family as well as your country.
Orrin S. Allen Yours forever Frankie