This letter was written by Freeman E. Aldrich (1833-1888), a farmer residing in Jefferson Township, Switzerland County, Indiana. Freeman was the son of Peter Worden Aldrich (1805-1865) and Ann Eliza Cory (1809-1877). Freeman was married to Uquilla Matts (1842-18xx) in December 1860.
Freeman wrote the letter to his cousin, John D. Aldrich (1839-18xx), the son of Royal Aldrich (1815-1899) and his wife Hannah (1819-18xx). John married Cynthia Markland in 1858 and had two sons — Albert and James — by the time this letter was written in 1862.
From the content of this letter we learn that Freeman — and most likely his cousin John — were Union Democrats but anti-abolitionist and probably Copperheads. Neither of them, it appears, served in the union army though Freeman tells us he was mustered into the home guard when Confederate General Braxton Bragg threatened to invade Ohio before being turned back at the Battle of Perryville in October 1862.
Addressed to Mr. John D. Aldrich, Indianapolis, Indiana
November the 24, 1862
We received your letter the 22nd. Was glad to hear that you was all well. We are well at present except I have got a very sore finger. It is as big as a whiskey barrel. The folks at Center Square is as well as common — all but grandpa. He is very sick.
John, we are drafted yet, thank God, but we had to muster like the devil. We has to stand guard for a long time along the [Ohio] River and we had to go to Vevay two nights and we would of had a big fight if General Bragg had not sent for reinforcements. It saved our bacon.
I had a stable-raising not long ago and have got the boards made to cover it. It has been very dry here. It has not rained any since you were here till last Sunday a week ago [when] we had a fine rain. It rained for three days. The grass and wheat growed one inch in an hour.
The Democrats have played thunder with abolitionists, hain’t they? Amen to it. The wooley heads are beat forever [and] I am very glad of it.
John, I wish that you lived close [to] here so that we could take some big hunts together and have some fun like we did when we was down the river.
I must bring my letter to a close right soon. Excuse my bad writing and spelling for my finger pains me very bad. Write soon. — Freeman and Uquilla Aldrich
Tell Cynthia that Uquilla sends her love to her and the children and for her to kiss the children for her. Good bye for this time. Write soon. Hurray for the Democrats.