1865: E. B. Pratt to Bowman & Johnson

This letter conveys pricing information for a buggy to be manufactured in Hartford, Connecticut, and to be delivered to a client in Alton, Illinois. I find it surprising that a buggy manufacturer could not be found more local to Alton without sending to the East coast for one. Curiously the buggy is proposed to be delivered to Boston for shipping which suggests to me that the buggy would be loaded on a steamer and shipped to New Orleans and then transported up the Mississippi river (now fully controlled by the Union army) all the way to Alton. This may have been a cheaper and more reliable way of transporting it than by the overland route.


Hartford [Connecticut]
February 15th 1865

Messrs. Bowman & Johnson
Alton, Illinois

Your favor of 3d just inst. is just received. In reply, have to say that such a buggy wagon as I think would suit you (will cost) delivered in Boston in shipping under $85.00 although I can procure one of country make strong in all its parts at 10 dollars less. The kind you describe (? work body) are the most serviceable for all purposes & if made neatly & well furnished with patent leather dashes & seat trimmed in good taste they look nice. $75 dollars is the standing price without shipping expenses for this kind of wagon made in the country, common finish, with wood dashes & wood axles. I would recommend iron axles all things considered for a wagon although for a very light buggy merely to ride in without other loading, I like wood if properly got up. A wagon with an extra set of axles would cost $3 more than the wagon with iron axles.

I will deliver in Boston in shipping order with iron axles for 85 dollars. It will take from 18 to 25 days to complete it after I get the order. Should you order, please state the width you desire the track to be outside & outside the fellows & your order will be executed with dispatch. Please remember me kindly to our mutual friend, Mr. Lincoln, & I remain yours truly, — E. B. Pratt


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