1862-4: David Fisher McGowan to Friends & Family

These letters were written by Orderly Sergeant David Fisher McGowan (1838-1924) of Company I, 47th Illinois Infantry. David was the son of Col. James McGowan (1795-1879) and Eliza Conn (1807-1898). In 1871, at the age of 33, David married Ida Annette Miller (1850-1927), the daughter of Washington D. C. Lawyer, Lemuel Bissell Stoughton Miller (1817-1889) and Sarah Norton Evans (1820-1903). David’s connection to Ida Miller is confirmed by his pension record.

McGowan's Pension Reord

McGowan’s Pension Reord

David F. McGowan’s enlistment records indicate that his residence was Bennington, Illinois, when he mustered into the 47th Illinois at age 23. Though he was born in Pennsylvania, his family moved to the Baltimore, Maryland suburbs when he was a young man where he no doubt bettered himself by attending higher caliber schools than the average union soldier. How or why he came to reside in Bennington, Illinois in the early 1860s remains a mystery, however. And with no surviving envelope, it is not possible to confirm who Ellen and Fannie were and to what location the letter was directed. McGowan ancestry records for this family do not show siblings by these names but these records may not be complete. After the war, David  found employments as an auditor in the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington D. C.

The 47th IL had its baptism of fire, at Farmington, Mississippi on May 9, 1862, and on May 28 it participated in an engagement near Corinth. It participated in the battle of Iuka in September, where the army under Gen. Rosecrans defeated the enemy’s forces under Gen. Sterling Price and it also took part in the battle of Corinth, Oct. 3 & 4. The regiment lost in that engagement 30 killed and over 100 wounded. On May 2, 1863, it marched with the army down the west side of the Mississippi river, crossing it at Grand Gulf, and with the 15th Army Corps marched to Jackson, Mississippi, where it participated in the engagement which resulted in the capture of that city.

The 47th participated in the first charge on the enemy’s works at Vicksburg, losing 12 men killed and quite a number wounded, and on June 4, 1863 it participated with the brigade in the defeat of a Confederate force at Mechanicsville, Mississippi, 30 miles from Vicksburg, near the Yazoo river. It was present at the capture of Fort De Russy, LA in March, 1864, and participated in the Battle of Pleasant Hill in April. On June 5th it moved up the river to Lake Chicot, moved inland and came in contact with a force of Confederates under Gen. Marmaduke, which they completely routed.


Otterville [Missouri]
January 20, 1862

Friend Ellen,

Yours of the 13th came duly to hand and was read with much pleasure. I am very sorry that I can not be at your sociable but I am at Uncle Sam’s at present, and he will not hear of my leaving at the present time. Don’t you think he is very selfish?

Your letter found me a little under the weather, but I am getting about well again. I have had a slight Billious attack. the boys are out on drill so I thought I would have a good chance to hold a few moments to chat (through the medium of pen ink and paper) with you.

The weather has not been very pleasant for the last week or two. We have had about 4 inches of snow since I last wrote. It has nearly all gone by this time. The ground is covered with ice and it makes it quite slippery—especially for drilling.

I should judge by your letter you had a very merry time sleighing. I suppose you enjoyed it very much as you had such a long ride in such a short distance. I should like to have been at the Elders with you. I think by your description, the newly married couple must have looked very interesting. You have quite a good number to attend choir meetings. There are several of the Ladies that I was not acquainted with. I suppose you have quite a time at the meetings. I should like to stop in once in a while to hear you sing.

We are in a very strong secession district but as yet have had no fight and not much prospect of getting into one. There is a rumor quite prevalent in camp to the effect that war operations (on both sides) have been stopped for twenty days and that the South is about suing for peace. I don’t put much confidence in it yet. If they do make a peace, I hope it will be honorable to the United States Government.

Tell Miss Fannie that I am very sorry that I cannot go to spelling school with her. There is nothing I would like better. I used to be very fond of going to spelling school (when I was a boy).

We will be kept very busy from now on as we are going to drill every day. There will be officers drill from ten till half past eleven, Company drill from one till half past two, Battalion Drill from three till half past four, & Dress Parade at five. So you see we will not have much time to spare. We have not drilled any since we left Jefferson City.

We have got a hospital built out here in the woods. It is built out of logs. Of course it is not very smooth but will answer the purpose very well. We are thinning the timber very fast. It was pretty heavy timber when we first came here but is getting thinner very fast. There are a good many sick. Not many that are very bad. I was sorry to hear of the death of John Knowles. I don’t know whether you can make this miserable scroll out or not, but I have not time to revise it. Write soon. Your friend, — D. F. McGowan


La Grange [Tennessee]
December 15, 1863

Dear Sister Ellen,

Your kind letter of December 8th came to hand in good season and was read with much pleasure. I almost had the blues but your letter kept them off. So you see your writing does some good anyhow. I am very sorry to hear that Mr. Brown has to give up preaching but think it is the best thing he can do under the circumstances. It is quite evident that he is not strong enough to stand much studying and I think if he gets at some kind of light outdoor exercise, it may prove beneficial to his health.

My health since I returned has been first rate and I have some hopes of being able to stand it all right for the future. Still it is hard telling. Quite a number of the boys are having the ague and it seems almost impossible to cure it. I don’t think I will get it though I may. I am sorry Mr. Hart and me missed those two songs and if we all get together once more, we will call on you to sing them. Will you?

Well Ellen, I just wish you were here to see it rain. It has rained at least ten times today and is just pouring down now. It was a little clear yesterday and I thought we were going to have some nice weather, but last night it began to rain and I suppose it will continue until it runs out of water.

I got a letter from Mother yesterday. They were all well. Also from Fannie B. I wrote to Mother yesterday. The fact is, with my company writing and letter writing, I am busy about all the time. Well, I will have to stop awhile as it is getting very dark & there is a prospect that our tent will blow down. Oh! how it does rain—or rather pour.

9 P.M. Well it has stopped raining for a little while and as nearly all the boys are in bed, I thought I would finish my letter. There is nothing of much interest going on here if I except the theatre. We are actually going to have a theatre in the seminary building. I expect they will be ready to commence operations about the last of this week. I don’t suppose it will amount to much. They say there are to be four actresses. I may go once just to get a sight of a woman for I can assure you, they are a scarce article in this benighted land. There are a few in town. Out Col’s wife and a Lt’s wife (neither of them are very attractive. I have not got acquainted with either of them yet) are here for a short stay.

We had a new flag presented to us yesterday—a present from the children of Peoria. It is quite handsome. There is a good deal of talk about enlisting in the Veteran Corps. I have not made up my mind yet whether I will go or not. I want to be satisfied whether my health will permit it. I hope there will be no necessity for our re-enlisting as I want to get home for good. I enjoyed myself so much while at home that I long to get back again—not that I am homesick, for I don’t allow myself to get into that awful state of mind. It don’t pay.

I was quite surprised to learn that Miss Helen had gone to teach school. I would like to step in and see her. Hadn’t we better step out and pay her a visit tomorrow? I think she would be glad to see us, don’t you? I expect the next thing I hear will be that you have left the City of Minonk and then won’t we be lonesome? I guess you had better stay at home for I can’t see how we will get along without you. Well, Ellen, you know you wanted me to promise to read a chapter in your testament. I have read some every day but two since I left you—commencing at the beginning. I would not promise to read a chapter everyday but I will agree to average one a day. There are some days when it is impossible to do so.

I suppose from present appearances that we are likely to stay in this place for sometime unless we are mounted and then we may look out for some scouting. The Rebels are in force at Jackson, Tennessee—about 80 miles north and a little east of this place. They have not troubled us since we got here but it is hard telling how long they will leave us rest. There is one thing certain—it would not be very pleasant to march in the mud and rain.

I am sorry I can’t be with you on Christmas. There is no talk about it here. I guess it will go off like every other day—Sundays excepted. There was preaching here last Sunday but I had writing to do in the morning & could not get through in time. Mr. Hart & I have worn “Uncle Sam’s Funeral” and several other tunes in the “Bugle Call” completely out and are wishing for some other good tunes. We will get the “Patriotic Glee” book the first opportunity. I have played on the flute several times since I came back. Wish I could step in and hear you play on the Melodeon but can’t. Tell Fannie I haven’t seen Orion lately on account of the clouds. I will keep a watch on him some of these nights.

How I would like to see you all. You must not let Sarah get down-spirited. You can kiss the children for me. Also your Mother & Fannie. I will make it all right when I come home. Well, I suppose you think I have written enough but I believe I could write all night and then have some foolishness to write. Well, you will have to read this with the best grace you can. I hope you will be able to read this and if there are any mistakes, please overlook them. I have had to write in a hurry. I hope before long to have more time to write to my friends. Tell Nellie I often think of her & the cat. I think I can see her now just as she looked when I bid her goodbye at the depot. You will have to take my place in teasing the cat. Capt., Dan Hart, Wylie & Robinson are well. Tell Fannie to write soon. Also Willie. Tell me how all my friends are getting along. My kindest regards to Mr. & Mrs. Brown. Goodnight. Your affectionate brother, — Dave

P. S. Remember me to the school marm.


La Grange, Tennessee
December 23, 1863

Dear Sister Ellen,

Your kind letter of December 13th came to hand yesterday and found me enjoying a good fit of the blue. On Friday and Saturday I had the ague and could not get along with the regiment when they marched on Sunday. It always gives me the blues when I can’t go with the boys. I could hardly keep from going when I saw them start but then I thought of the last march I took when I ought to have stayed back and came to the conclusion that I had better not risk it again. I have been taking medicine for the last three or four days and think with proper care, I may not have any more chills.

The weather has been quite disagreeable since I came back. Yesterday and day before were quite fine. But today has been quite cold with indications of a storm. I hope the weather will be good until the boys get back as they have no tents with them. Well, I suppose we will have to take it as it comes.

As to my missing your company as much as you do mine, I think I can safely say I do, and probably a great deal more. Well, we won’t quarrel about that at any rate. I would like very much to step in and take a sing but haven’t time just now. So I hope you will excuse me. I suppose Miss Frances feels very consequential since she was detailed as one of the committee on the New Years Social. I am hardly [heartily] sorry that I can’t be there to write for you for to tell the truth, I have as much as I can well do to keep my particular friends supplied with letters. Am sorry I can’t be there to help you sing for I am particularly fond of that part of the performance.

So poor Old Dash has departed this life. Well may his ashes rest in peace. “He was gentle, he was kind.” And you will very seldom find as good a “dorg.” I am sorry you did not take Waldo Moses’ advice and try to chain the mad out him. I suppose sausage will be very cheap in Minonk for some time to come. By the by, we had some good sausage the other day. Don’t know what kind of meat it was made of. Tisn’t best always to know.

Butter is quite cheap here just now—only thirty cents. Don’t see how they can afford to sell it so cheap for I am confident that one lb. of it will be four times as strong as any they have in Minonk. Well, it is a little better than none at all. When we put enough sugar on to take the taste of the butter away. Just tell Nellie that if she don’t quit behaving herself, I will come over and worry her cat for an hour. There, if that don’t settle her, I don’t know what will.

How does Theodore and the old cow get along? I would like to send you something for your Hibernian but there is nothing at this place of any interest that I have seen yet. Maybe I may come across something worth sending.

Capt. Andrews and me went to the theatre last night. The plays were just tolerable. There was quite a full house and considerable noise and I did not enjoy it very much. The theatre is quite close to our camp. I can hear them now cheering the actors. Capt. has gone off somewhere tonight so I have the tent all to myself. Can’t you stop in and see how soldiers live? I will try to entertain you for a short time. You might bring a few friends along.

Have you heard from Miss Lizzie Bartlett since she went away? If so, how does she get along? When you write to her, give her my kindest regards and tell her I still bear the cord and tassels on my hat. How does Miss Helen get along with her school? I would like to step in and see her teach the young ideas how to shoot. Remember me kindly to her and Lizzie and in fact, all my friends.

Well, Capt. Broad has just come in. Says he is almost froze. The stars are shining very brightly tonight. Also the moon. Tell Fannie I can see Orion quite plainly. Hope she will not forget to look at it once in awhile. Well, Capt. Andrews has just come in and I guess I won’t have much satisfaction in writing anymore as they are jabbering away at a great rate.

I would like to eat Christmas dinner with you. You must eat double rations and try to imagine that I am there. How is Mr. Brown’s health? I would like to see him. You must remember me very kindly to him and Mrs. Brown. Does Old Mr. Page get any better? Tell Fannie that I am waiting very anxiously for a letter from her. I would like to have Nellie write once in a while also. I will write to her some day when I have time. Has Sarah ever taken your lounge home? When I left home, I was a little excited and forgot all about it. I am very much indebted to your Mother for her many kindnesses for which you will please tender my heartfelt thanks.

I have not read the President’s Message. I did not have time when it was around. If you have it, I would be much obliged if you would send it. I have read President Davis’ Message. It is quite an able document. Speaks quite hopefully of the final independence of the Southern Cornfederacy. Well, paper is running short so I will have to say goodnight and I suppose you think it high time. I only hope you won’t get too tired trying to read this. Write soon and often. Kiss Fannie & Nellie for me & I will make it all right when I get “home again.” Well, give the cat’s tail a good tug for your affectionate brother, — Dave


LaGrange [Tennessee]
January 15, 1864

Dear Sister,

We have orders to march at 6 o’clock in the morning. It is now about 11 p.m. I have been very busy packing up & writing tonight & am getting tired so I will write but a few lines tonight. We are going to evacuate this road, I guess. the last train load of troops &c. came from Corinth today. I can’t inform you where we are going. Nobody seems to know where we are going. I will take the earliest opportunity to let you know our destination.

I got some photographs taken today. I will enclose one for you or Fannie. You know I don’t know which of you got the other. When you & Fannie get yours taken, you must reserve one for me.

My health continues good. We will have a pretty rough time I suppose when we get started. We will take no baggage—only what we carry on our backs. Our tents are to be turned over when we get to Memphis. Nearly all the boys are well. We have had several days of beautiful weather. Quite comfortable without coats. The nights are a little cool.

I received a letter from the East the other day. Father don’t want me to re-enlist. I guess maybe I will obey him. You must continue to write as often as you can. Your letters help to enliven camp life considerably. Was sorry to hear that you had frozen your fingers. I wrote to Miss Helen the other day. Hope she will receive the letter & answer it. Give my love to all enquiring friends. Well, I have not time to write any more. Excuse haste. Good night.

Your brother, — Dave


La Grange [Tennessee]
January 19, 1864

Sister Fannie,

I was beginning to despair of ever hearing from Minonk & thought you had all froze up or something else desperate had happened to keep you all silent. You may rest assured my countenance brightened up considerably yesterday when I received five letter (in three envelopes) bearing the Minonk Postmark. It raised quite a load from my mind. I knew you had been having some very rough weather and we have had a pretty good share ourselves.

The citizens say they have never seen such cold weather before. There is one thing very unfavorable. We have such sudden changes. It is quite warm one day and the next very cold. Day before yesterday it was quite warm & I went to church (the first time since I left Minonk). In the evening it commenced raining & rained very hard the greater part of the night. Towards morning it began to snow and when we got up it was very cold which continued the balance of the day. Today it is bright & beautiful—very comfortable without a coat. There is no telling what tomorrow may be.

You will have to excuse me if I don’t take your advice about getting discharged. My health is improving slowly. I have not had a chill lately and have hopes that I may not have anymore. The health of the regiment is improving very fast. There used to be from ten to twenty of our company on the sick list. Now we have but one (i.e., today). I think from present appearances we will be here but a very short time though we have no marching orders. Still, everything has the appearance of a march just now. There don’t seem to be any person that can say where we are going down the river—but there it ends. Some think we will aim at Mobile—some Texas—and others have placed it somewhere in the Red River country. When it is settled, I will let some of you know. The fact is I don’t care much where we go. I would just as soon end my term here as anywhere. If they move us, I don’t care much where we go. Don’t think we can get to a worse place as far as climate is concerned just now. Presume it is quite healthy here in the summer time.

There is quite an amount of business done here by the citizens. they bring their cotton here and sell it for greenbacks & then get permission to buy what goods they want for their own use. I don’t think it very good policy to let them trade with us but no doubt many of them would starve if it were not for our men. There don’t seem to be many Rebels in this neighborhood just now. Suppose they are all south of Holly Springs.

I have not heard from Bro. Will since he left New Iberia. I am glad you hear from him regularly. Hope he will continue to have good health. I suppose he has to write to Minonk so often that he don’t have time to write to me. Did you mean that Howard Jenkins was discharged? There was some talk of his trying for a discharge.

I have been thinking some of enlisting in the Veteran Corps. What do you think of the idea? From present appearances, very few of the 47th will re-enlist. That is one drawback to my trying it and then I want to have my friend’s opinion. I have had letters from home lately. Neither Father no Mother are very well. I rather think my duty calls me there when my term of service expires. I feel very anxious to see them all over more. And if I am spared until my term of service expires, I will not be slow in going there. I suppose I have another brother-in-law by this time as sister Addie was to have been married about the 15th of this month. From all I can learn she has made a good choice. Of course I think he has. In Mother’s last letter, she mentioned your family very kindly—regrets that she did not prolong her visit. Blames sister Bertie for her short stay.

Was sorry you had such cold weather for your social though I guess from all accounts you enjoyed it pretty well. Think Mr. Raymond did not show much gallantry. Hope Ellen will take care of her fingers next time. It may interfere with her knitting fly nets for head. Nellie propounds a very serious question (in regard to squaring accounts when I get home). I will have to study on it and after I come to a conclusion, I will let you know. Well, as Joe Wylie & Dave Hart have come in and are cutting up, I will have to stop awhile.

After dinner. Can’t say we had a very good dinner but then it was good enough for a soldier. Old Santa Clause didn’t put anything in my stockings on Christmas. I feel very much slighted. Wish I had been with you to help eat the good things you complained of having. Well, if I am home next Christmas, I’ll make up for lost time. I shouldn’t wonder if I would make myself sick.

There is no war news in the papers that I can see. Suppose everybody is waiting very anxiously for the Spring Campaign to begin. I am inclined to think we will have busy times when it does begin. There is some move going on here that we don’t understand. They are moving some of the siege guns from Corinth towards Memphis. It looks a little like evacuating this road. Still I can’t think they will do that yet for awhile.

Well, Fannie, I don’t know whether you can make sense out of this or not. I am afraid not. Hart is playing the Dead March on an old fife and it affects my nerves very unpleasantly, don’t it yours?

Your description of your S. S. Social was very fine. Made me feel very sorry I was not there to join in your fun—especially the Post Office & Grab bag. No doubt I would have drawn an Elephant or maybe a Cat. You know cats are my favorite. We have several in camp. They are more for ornament that use as the rats are larger than the cats. Mr. Hart & me have a board floor in our shebang and there are quite a number of rats under it. A couple of them got on our bed last night. One of them got on Mr. Hart’s head. He made a very energetic movement and the enemy was routed and beat a hasty retreat. One got on my feet but by gently moving them (my feet), the rat left. I don’t think they are very dangerous as they have no discipline. They fight among themselves—and you know they must be Union to be strength. Well, I suppose you think I have chosen a queer subject to write about. Still as they are our nightly comrades, I could not do less than mention them.

The roads are most awfully muddy just now so there is no pleasure in running about. Capt. & me have been down town two or three times to have some music but the man we went to see wasn’t at home so we were disappointed. I haven’t become acquainted with any of the fair sex of the benighted land. Nearly all of whom I have seen have the everlasting snuff stick in their mouths—isn’t it disgusting? Almost as bad as tobacco chewing. They can spit beautifully. Maybe you don’t understand the modus operandi. They split the end of a small stick (something like a split broom) and dip it in snuff and then stick it in their mouths, leaving about three inches of the stick exposed to view.

Now for a more interesting subject. We signed the payrolls yesterday so there is a prospect that we will be paid off shortly. I have no objection. Still I could wait a while yet. It will come very welcome to some of the boys.

Fannie, if it isn’t too much trouble, I would like you to copy a “Thousand Years” for me (just the words) and send it. I am fond of taking a sing once in awhile even if I have to do it myself. Hope you will be able to get a Church Melodeon. It would prove a great help to the singers. Well, I believe you must be tired of this uninteresting letter so I will bring it to a close. Does Mr. Brown still preach? I would like to hear one of his good sermons once more. Remember me very kindly to him and his better half. Also any other friends I may  have about Minonk. My love to your own family & Sarah’s. Kiss the little ones for me, not forgetting Nellie. I’ll make it all right when I come home. Now I expect Nellie will want to know what that means again. Time will show. Write very soon to your brother, — Dave Fisher


Vicksburg, Mississippi
March 7th, 1864

Sisters Ellen & Fannie,

Your welcome letters of date Feb. 22nd & 26th both came yesterday and found me head over ears in work. I have been writing nearly all night for the last 3 nights. On the 26th of Feb. we (our brigade) started in charge of a large train of wagons with rations for General Sherman’s Army. We marched to Canton, Miss. in 48 hrs (56 miles). Canton is one of the prettiest towns I ever saw—something like Holly Springs, only not so large, is much prettier laid out, and is in the (by far) best portion of Mississippi I have yet seen. It is the county seat of Madison County.

Negro Refugees

Negro Refugees

We left there March 1st during a very cold rain. The roads coming back were execrable. We reached Black River Bridge on the third after a very tiresome march. We marched — or rather crawled — nearly all night two nights in succession. On our way out, we met a train of Negroes about 4 miles long, estimated at 5,000. They had all kinds of wagons, carts, etc., quite a number dying on the way. Mothers killing their own children to get rid of them. There was also a very long string of captured horses and mules. Sherman destroyed 23 engines at Canton, also a large number of cars and about 100 miles of railroad during his march. I suppose you have seen the account of his raid in the papers.

I haven’t read a paper for some time, being too busy during the last 3 days. I have made out 12 muster, muster-in, and muster-out rolls, 14 descriptive rolls, 24 enlisting papers, 12 discharges, and a monthly Return of Clothing, Camp and Garrison equipage, besides other reports and writing incidental to an orderly sergeant’s position. It is now about 12 p.m., and I should not write tonight, only we have orders to embark tomorrow with 30-day’s rations for a trip up Red River. We take no baggage along. I think we will not be gone longer than 3 or 4 weeks.

I paid a hurried visit to the Vicksburg Cemetery this evening. It had been a beautiful place. The soldiers have sadly marred its beauty. I don’t see how they can have the heart to desecrate a cemetery, do you?

I am very glad you have received your organ. How I would like to hear you play on it. And of course I would help. Well sisters, I am getting most awfully sleepy and with all, am so tired I hope you will excuse me for not writing more tonight.

Enclosed please find some cedar taken from the Vicksburg Cemetery. I have several articles which I got on our last march to send you but we had to pack up so suddenly that I had to leave them.

Your bro., — Dave F. McCowan


Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland
December 22, 1864

Dear Sister Fannie,

Will you forgive me for not answering your letter sooner? You know how hard it is to write letters when you don’t feel right. Somehow I feel completely lost about half the time. If I was away from home I would think I had an attack of homesickness. Maybe i am homesick for my western home. At any rate, I long to see you all once more. Maybe I will get used to this kind of life after awhile but at present, it nearly kills me. Have half a notion to re-enlist and make one of the “300,000 more” that Uncle Abe has called for. Don’t you think I had better? I ought to be perfectly satisfied at home as I have the best of parents and the sweetest of sisters and all that makes home pleasant. Still there is a something wanting. Can you explain it? If you can, I wish you would.

Yes! my thoughts did wander back to Thanksgiving day of 1863 and to many other days of 1863 and 1864 when I used to form one of a happy circle in Mrs. Fowler’s sitting room. How I did enjoy those happy moments. I have been over a good part of the country but have never found such friends as you have all proven to be, and i never expect to find as good. Pure friendship is very rare. But I feel satisfied that I have some true friends in Minonk. And I can assure you it is a pleasure for me to think so. It seems cruel that we should be so widely separated. Well, there is very little pleasure in this world without a large amount of alloy. We must try to draw near to each other by the only medium at our command (letter writing). Still that seems to be a cold way of communicating our thoughts. And yet we ought not to complain for how many persons there are who cannot even use that medium. Well, if I keep on, I will make this an interesting letter, won’t I?

Well there! Don’t you think I must be absent minded? I made a mistake and wrote on the wrong page. Well it is not quite as bad as I did the other night. I started to write a letter and had all written but the last page when I made the discovery that it was already written on by some other person. Of course, I wasn’t mad—oh no. I never get in that happy frame of mind. You know I am very amiable.

So you weigh 102 by the time this reaches you. I think I have gained some also. Weigh about 155 now. Roast beef, oysters, &c. agrees with me. I suppose you were weighed just after eating your Thanksgiving dinner which might account of your increased weight—not that I think you ate seven pounds, oh no! Think I have an idea of how the “United Choir” would make out. Present my best wishes [to] Mrs. Powell (as was) and Orville. Hope the firm (Ferrin Wellson) may prosper. Wouldn’t mind eating a few peanuts myself just now, though not very fond of them.

There is an exhibition at “Rock Hill Seminary” tonight. Expect it is a pretty grand affair. Quite a number of the students’ parents are stopping here, so I had not time to go. Our folks are laying in a good supply of turkeys for Christmas. Wish you could be here to help eat them. Would willingly give you my share. Isn’t that an inducement?

The weather has been execrable for the last two or three weeks. There is very good sleighing just now, and it is very cold. Have not had a sleigh ride yet. Haven’t heard from Sarah from nearly two weeks. She was well when I last heard from her. Will’s health is good. Military news glorious. Thomas has given the Rebs a taste of “Yankee Thunder.” Sherman is all right and I think will soon have Savannah.

Well the Exhibition has ended and people are beginning to flock in so I will have to stop. Remember me to all my friends in general. Mr. Cleggs, Mr. Grays, Mr. Burns, and Mr. Work’s family in particular, not forgetting St. Robinson & Lady and Hervey.” (the happy family)

My love and a kiss to each member of your family “except the cat.” Write soon and often. Accept love and a kiss from — Dave

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