Fort Preble, Maine

August 5th 1849


My dear Hal,

Your letter arrived while I was away at Eastport on a Court Martial and I delayed writing until I could tell you positively when to expect me home.  The news of [Issy’s?] death quite shocked me.  I never supposed for a moment that she was seriously ill.  What sorrow it must inflict upon her Sisters!  When you write tell me some of the particulars of her illness?

I should have left here before this, but that I promised one of our officers to stand by him on a certain trying (or tiring) occasion—and I had expected that to delay me only [by this?] until the 15th of this month.  But a few days since, Maj. Anderson received an order detailing him on a board—to report a system of Artillery tactics—which meets at West Point on the 20th [inst., Dec.?], which will prevent my Leaving here for the present.  How long he will be away I can form no conjecture, but I think not very long.  As soon as he returns you may expect to see me.

By last night’s Herald I see the “Alleghany’s” arrival at Washington all well.  How happy he must be!  I should like to be at home now, very much indeed.  If Will & [Rebecca?] come any where near here, before I can leave, let me know and I’ll ___ on, and see them if possible.

Has Kate got back?  I rec’d her letter just before I left for Eastport and did not answer it as she requested because I supposed she had returned by this time.  I hope Lydia will be at home this fall, and then we may be all once more together.

The officer whose marriage I allude to is Lieut. Ayres of our Reg’t; the Lady is a Miss Dearborn, daughter of the Late Lt. Col. D. of the Army.  He goes on leave for a month after the ceremony and when he returns I may be able to get my leave, tho’ it’s very uncertain.

It is probably as well I did not get my leave this summer as I could not have traveled much, for just when I wished to go north, the Colera is the worst.  This place is remarkably healthy.  No case of Colera has ever been known here.  I suppose L. has been healthy.

Good night.  Give my love to all.  It is 1 o’clock and I have a pile of papers as high as my head on my table which I have just finished.  So you see I have had writing enough for this day.  Look carefully __ on the seal of the next letter I write.  I intend to send you a Gold dollar, tho’ I suppose you have seen them before this.

Excuse this scrawl,

& believe me, ever your affectionate

Brother John


Miss H.S. Reynolds

         Lancaster, Pa.