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1862 March 23: “His folks keep writing him discouraging letters”

March 23, 2012

Ed Levings writes a whole paragraph on a soldier—Lewis A. Reynolds—who is sick and whose parents want him discharged so he can come home.  Not unreasonable from the parents’ point of view, but Ed doesn’t like it at all.

Ed also has just a little bit more to say about Norman McLeod, before he leaves.  And he gives us a short description of the village at Fort Scott, Kansas.

The original letter is in the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO), in the University Archives and Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Fort Scott, Sunday morning, Mar 23rd,

Dear Father and Mother;
                                                   I think I must write you a little this morning, though I have nothing new to relate.  There is a lull in our movements now and we are in complete ignorance as to what we are going to do or when we shall leave for other parts, but there are many conjectures, some thinking we are to go on south, some, back to St. Louis, others, that we shall remain here till ordered home.  The latter idea I do not entertain at all.  There is a rumor among us to the effect that government is about to discharge a large number of Regts.  I guess not yet.  There have been no new arrivals of troops, of late, at this point, and there is nothing to indicate the arrival of any more.  A large, heavy, provision train came in yesterday.  The high stage of water in the stream, there being no bridges, is a great obstacle to the trains coming from Leavenworth.  A strong force is now at work building a bridge over the stream at this point.  This out-of-the-way place you will be surprised to learn, has a gristmill and sawmill, several stores, saloons, and quite a number of dwelling houses.  Withal the place is larger than I had supposed.  There is no regularity in the mails at present — no postage stamps at post office for sale — a stamp sells for 10 cts here and I am nearly out and would be glad to have you send in a letter 50 cts worth.  [Ed put a large space here, probably his way of indicating a new paragraph without wasting too much space.]

Received letters from cousins Louisa and Emma the other day, enclosing their pictures which, are truly fine ones & well taken — they have the Levings look.  They Their letters can not be beat, that’s so, no particular news.  Ten of our boys came on from Leavenworth the other day.  Louis [sic] Reynolds1 is still in the Hospital at  Weston has been sick ever since we went to that place.  His folks keep writing him discouraging letters, wanting him to get his discharge and come home &c, making him homesick and dispireted [sic].  He is no sicker than many others have been who have recovered, but I do not believe he will get much better as long as his folks keep writing such letters.  A more jubilant, enthusiastic boy than he was, at his enlistment, never went to Warthan he was at his enlistment.   Let them write to him letters of cheer and hope, if they desire to save him from despondency and, perhaps, death.  For his sake I wish you would tell them to stop such practice at once, and talk to them in good earnest.  It is just like them exactly and all they know.  [Another large space instead of a new paragraph.]

The weather is cold to-day and of late there has been considerable rain and foul, stormy, disagreeable weather.  How do things prosper up there and what prospect is there of business and good times?  What are you doing now, both of you?  I want to know very much.  You must write often for it takes about 18 or 20 days for letters from you to get here.  I wish they would do something with us.  Norman McLeod leaves us to go home, to-morrow I think, having received his discharge.  Letters received from Prescott state he wrote home to his wife that his leg was lame and troubled him so he did not know but he should be obliged to resign and go home.  His leg has not been lame at all and he can march as far as any of the company in a day.  Poor man!  “The way of transgressors is hard.”  I wish you would send us occasionally the Rural, or the Prescott Journal regularly, if convenient and if you take it.  Mail goes to-morrow and I must close.  Homer thinks he will not write this time — is well as usal [sic] — have both good health — wish you would write immediately and tell all there is to write.  The Rebels are getting it thick and fast and they will have to succumb soon or be destroyed.  I would write more had I time, but for the present I close.

Yours affectionately — Edwin.

1.  Lewis A. Reynolds, from River Falls, enlisted in the Lyon Light Guards on September 23, 1861.  His parents will get their wish and he will be discharged on April 29, 1862.  He will then re-enlist on September 24, 1863, and will be placed in Company A of the 30th Infantry.

Edwin Levings letter of March 23, 1862, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

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