I am out of postage stamps so you will have to pay 5c for this valuable document.
Ft. La Fayette, N.Y.
March 28th 1854
My dear Sister,
I have just rec’d your letter. I had no further delays upon my journey hither, than that one which caused me to prolong my stay with you at home. I arrived here on Thursday afternoon as I expected and intended, since which time I have had my foot off the Island but once & then only for a moment at Ft. Hamilton. Lt. Patten, the only officer who has been on duty with me here, left a week ago yesterday on a visit to his friends in Virginia & I have been solitary & alone for one week, without seeing a soul that I could talk to. It has been blowing a gale ever since Thursday last, and is yet, with little sign of its moderating, & is as cold as December. One day last week we had a snow storm. Pleasant life! This, for a man with a [southern?] constitution!
Orders have been received for two companies of the Regt. to embark for California & they will sail on the 5th of April—they are the two which lately came from Texas & were not on the San Francisco. Rumor says that two or more companies will follow on the eve. of the 20th & two or 3 more on the 5th of May. It is quite probable, that I shall not go until the last detachment. I have been quite busy this week all by myself, & have done a great deal in the way of preparation.
I should like very much to pay you another visit before I go, but am afraid it will be impossible—____ too—unless some more officers join it will be utterly so, & even then not at all certain.
I am in command of the fort with two companies (150 men), quite a respectable command, & I hope to be allowed to take them out to California; if so there will yet be a great deal to do, requiring my presence here all the time. These companies were both on the [Sh?] “San Francisco” & came back totally disorganized & broken up, not a paper or record of anything, so all this has to come from Washington, &c.
If possible, or rather unless it is quite impossible, I will see Miss Jane before she sails. Where will she stop in N.Y.? At the “Aster” I suppose!
Tell Hal that unless the other vol. of the Day of _____ is somewhere in the Library, I do not know what has become of it. I may have left it in N.O.
I rec’d the letters forwarded by Jim, for which he has my thanks. My vaccination took, I believe, famously—that is as far as I could judge. It was blowing so hard that I would not go over to the other side to show it to the Dr. as Dr. A. requested.
When I can go to N.Y. I’ll send Kate two nice cages for her birds & tell her, will not forget the daguerreotypes tho’ I have forgotten the place she named. I have been thinking, that if I do not have them taken now, I will have become so grey, before I have another opportunity that all pretension to youthful appearance will have vanished.
I will write to [sister?] Lydia. Tell her before I sail, & when you write Will & Be[cky] again, mention the probability of my being in San Francisco. You do not mention whether Sam came up, after I left, or not. I am sorry I could not stay to have seen him. Nor do you mention Aunt in your letter, so I ________ she is well, but you should always mention her. Recollect that she is now the only one left to us of the passing generation! Give my love to her, Jim, Hal, Kate & Jane when you write, & all friends in L.
Ever your affectionate
John F. Reynolds
Miss Ellie Reynolds,