This letter was written by Melinda Adeline (“Addie”) Johnson (1847-1877), the daughter of John Johnson (1825-1921) and Harriet Ann Jennison (1828-1855) of Township 18, Range 6 (Athens Post Office), Menard county, Illinois. After Melinda’s mother died, her father married Elizabeth Jane Gaines (1829-1915). Addie was married in 1876 to Dr. Willliam E. Hall (1848-1923) in Menard county and died the following year.
Addie wrote the letter to her Uncle Samuel Estill (1824-1900), the son of William Estill (1794-1885) and Mary Williams (1798-1842). Samuel was married to Martha Jenison and was a carpenter by trade. He was commissioned a Captain in Co. K, 114th Ill. Inf., on 18 September 1862. He mustered out almost a year later in August 1863.
Addressed to Capt. Samuel Estill, Cairo, Illinois
Co. K, 114th Reg. Ills. Vols.
Postmarked Athens, Illinois
February 8, 1863
As I promised to write to you after you went away, I will now try to fulfill y promise and write you a few lines to let you know how we are all getting along. We are all well at present, I believe, excepting Pa and he has got a very bad cold since he came back from the Land of Dixie. He got home the 21st of last month. We were not looking for him when he came. He had a good deal to tell us about the boys.
Well there is not much news here now, I do not believe. I suppose though you always want to hear what kind of weather we have. It is very war, now. We had a pretty large snow last Thursday night but it has been very warm since and last night and this morning it has been kind of raining, snowing, and sleeting all at once so the snow that was on the ground is pretty near all gone. If it was to freeze up now it would be so slick we could hardly walk.
Tim Kincaid, Bob Kincaid, Kit Pierce and Mr. Calloway have gone down to see the boys. They started last Tuesday. I don’t know whether they are going to see the 114th or not. I suppose they are though. I think while they are down there, they ought to go to see all of the boys they know.
Lucian Terhune ¹ has not got home yet. They got him as far as Petersburg and couldn’t get him home. It was thought that his foot will have to be taken off. That will be too bad if it has to be done. I suppose, of course, he will be discharged or he will resign. Barney Haden was wounded at the Battle of Murfreesboro (I forgot where he was wounded) and he has not got home yet. I don’t know whether he is going to be brought home or not but I supposed as a matter of course he would be.
Your old woman has just gone away from Betties. The roads have been so bad she couldn’t get up to Jirus. She was at Bettie’s the time of the wedding [on 14 January 1863]. Mr. & Mrs. [John W.] Dalbey have got back now from seeing his folks in Columbus, Ohio. They are going to live just a little piece from Elkhart so I understood. Hannah [(Kincaid) Dalby] is at Uncle Ken’s now. I don’t know when they are going to housekeeping.
Last Saturday Uncle Jake Williams met Wal [Walter?] Ross in the road down here some place. He was on his way home from the army. He was in a Mason company—I forgot what regiment it was he was in. Maybe you know better than I do. He had been taken prisoner, stripped of everything which was fit to wear and then paroled and sent back. He has now got home. He has been out pretty near two years, I believe. I suppose there would be a great rejoicing when he hot home. He knew Uncle Jake but Uncle Jake did not know him at first sight.
Well Uncle Sam, we are going to have and examination and exhibition in about five weeks. I expect we will have a big time. I don’t know yet for certain what I will have to do. I guess I will have to do something though. I would like very much for you to be up here about that time. I suppose of course you have heard about our new teacher. The boys call her “Foxy” because she has red hair, I suppose. I don’t know what else makes them do it. They make all sorts of fun of her all the time.
Well, Uncle, I guess I will have to quit for this time and save a little for next time. I want you to be sure and answer this as soon as you receive it for I want to hear from you. Goodbye. From your affectionate niece, — Addie Johnson
P. S. Give Foster and all the rest of the boys my best respects. Don’t forget to write.
¹ Lucian C. Terhune (1836-1923) was the son of William M. Terhune (1799-1881) and Hannah T. Shanklin (1805-1871) of Petersburg, Menard county, Illinois. Lucian served as a 1st Lieutenant in Co. K, 114th Illinois. Infantry until he was mustered out on 29 February 1864. He was married in 1860 to Betsy (“Bettie”) Asher Killion (1841-1930).