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Madison [Iowa], July 17, 1862

My very dear cousin,

It is with a great deal of feeling for you, that I sit down this morning to write to you, not knowing whether you are in the land of the living or not. I received your last letter three weeks ago to day I believe. I ought to have answered it long before this but I have not had much time. You said in your letter that you wrote to Bida about three weeks before that, and she hadn’t ans’ it yet, you said she was’nt very good at ans’ your letters. I guess you will think the same of me this time. Oh Forest what an awful awful time you are having at Richmond, it is awful, we are very anxious to hear from there again. and oh! how anxious I am to hear from you again. I hope to hear you are alive and well.

This is an awful rainy day. it rains just like a shower all the time most. Jennie and I have both got to stay at home from our schools. it is too late to go now I guess. well we are in safe harbor, where we are. Oh! Forest I had a splendid horseback ride last night. it is the first one I have had this summer. there were six girls went. I didnt get home until quite late in the evening. I used to ride considerable last summer. I love to ride.

We are having very pleasant weather here. crops of all kinds are looking splendidly. the farmers couldn’t ask to have them look nicer. Our folks commenced haying yesterday. I guess the rain wont do it any good. it wont be but a little while before the farmers will begin to cut their grain. I wish you could see the prairies about that time. it looks nice to see fields of grain, all over them as afar as you can see, and that is a good ways. I guess it will be pretty difficult to get help this year to help harvest. there have so many gone to the war.

I was reading in the paper this morning that they wanted five regiments more from Iowa. Oh dear, they will get everybody from us yet I guess. There has one young man died that went from here, and the news have come lately of the death of another one, but it is’nt generally believed I guess. I hope it is not so. I was in hopes when they went away that they could everyone of them come home just as safe and sound as they were then, but where there are so many goes they don’t hardly ever all come back. there is generally some one of them that never come home. When will this war end?

Pa and Isaac are not at home this week. they are building a school house about seven miles from home. when they get that done they are going to work not but a little ways from home. they are going to build a house for a man that has just come from York state. There is considerable building being done around here now. It doesnt look much as it did when we first came here. there wasn’t but two or three barns here now most everybody has got one. Mary and Rollin have been down to Orwell and C Point again. how I would like to go there once more. I think I shall too, if I live long enough. My school was half out last Friday. I am so glad, it will pass off faster now. I shall think it is on the last half. I dont like teaching very well. I don’t like to be so confined one bit. I intend to go away to school this Fall and Winter. Jennie and I, though we may not after all, we both want to very much.

Oh Forest your miniature, I can not forget that. I do want it awfully. I don’t suppose you can have it taken now anyway, if I had it now, I should take a great deal of comfort looking at it, when I got to thinking about you, and where you are. Do have it taken just as soon as you possibly can. Forest you have not been sick one bit yet, have you? I hope you will not be, for how I would hate to have you in the hospital. the sick are not taken very good care of in some places I have heard.

Our baby grows finely. she will play awfully. she begins to set alone some. she is a nice one, I tell you. I see my sheet is most full, and so I must stop. Be sure and write often. We all join in sending much love.

From cousin Cate
(as Jennie calls me) to Forest.

--Next: Letter from Captain E. S. Stowell to his family

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