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Ira Conine Papers: Transcripts - MS 673
August 2nd (1864)
Your kind missive of the 25th was gladly received. I thought I would answer this morning and again I thought I had better wait untill the train came in and there might be another letter for me then I could answer them together. Mother being so sick deprives me of the privilege of writing to you as often as I would wish to. Perhaps you will be kind enough to take the will for the deed. Your Pa and Ma were here yesterday-heard mother was sick came down to see her. They were here when I received your letter and you know I would have to tell them what was in it. We are all very curious to see that "production of your pen" myself in particular. I think it will be something good for you never write anything only what is good. I went to the office yesterday after reading your letter but there was nothing for Miss M. J. B. I was sorry for I wanted the answer to the rest of my letter. Just received a telegraphic dispatch that the train ran off of the track this side of Dayton. Wont be in untill eight o'clock. To bad now I wont get that letter perhaps not till tomorrow. Oh well it will be good when it does come. You always have something good to write.
Those letters you sent home I have not read yet. Since I came home from my school I have not had one moment that I could call my own. When I do get time I shall investigate the matter and see if Eliza is a little "brick." Did'nt know there was any of his letters in the package.
It seems you have nothing more to say concerning my correspondents. I have no correspondents save yourself and my brother and friend David Saunders. Dropped all the rest. Cant write as often to those that I think more of as I should. Here after when you write address Box no. 27. Please excuse the shortness of this as I cannot stay away from Mother any longer. This is the longest I have sat down today. Oh you cant imagine how tired I am and sleepy too. Hoping this may find well. I will close.
Ever your own,
August 11th 1864
Your very kind communication of the 4th was received to day. I was very glad to see a letter with your name and my own. I have received two other letters beside the one I am answering since I last wrote to you. But I could not think of answering yours of-well I cannot tell you just the date of it for I put it in the stove immediately after reading. Thought several times I would answer them again. I could not answer. But I will answer it if you should live to get home. So please excuse me wont you? I always was bad enough but I could'nt think of using such language in writing as that letter would require. My friend I think you came pretty near telling a story in yours of August 3rd. I did'nt read that story to mother as she was unable to hear it. When she gets well I will read it to her. Said you was'nt going to write again untill you heard from me. I am glad you did tell the story if you had not I would have been deprived of a letter from you to day. I have received a letter every day this week-had a letter yesterday from Moll Coats. She requested me to present her kind regards to you when I wrote.
Had a letter yesterday from Saunders one from George Monday tomorrow I expect one from you. I go to the office every day at two o'clock so you will know what I am doing every day at that hour. Don't you think it kind of me to live in town where you can get the mail every day? I want to live in Ottawa till you get home if no longer. In other respects I like the country best.
You spoke of another mail arriving and no letter from me. You want to know why it is. I cant tell you Ira. I put two letters in the office last week for you no doubt you have received before this time.
I have nothing to complain of in your letter writing. They are both good and long. But you need not be afraid of getting them too long for I love long letters. Then you cant write a love letter cant you. Well it does'nt make any difference to me a little. When you was home I believed it then and I still believe it. If your love should happen to grow cold I would rather not know it at the present. Let me find it out myself then it will be soon enough. If you should write me a love letter I would'nt know how to answer it so I'm glad you cant. I never had any practice in that kind of writing. There now I just hope no other one will call while I am writing. Mrs. Shaw called. She was married in the spring to a young soldier. I think I shall like her real well. She lives just across the street from our house next month! Oh I wish it was my soldier coming home instead of hers.
The day you wrote was fast day. I think the people of Knoxville paid more attention to it than the people of Ottawa for I did'nt ever hear a church bell let along closing stores. I think there is to little attention paid to such things. People think of nothing but making money and spending it. Scarcely a thought on what should concern them more than all things else the welfare of the soul.
I must stop writing, take care of mother while Ann gets supper. Oh yes that was a rich story about the courting experience. Beats yours does it? I should think so, in every respect. I hope those boys will stay away next time not serenade you untill you get your letters of sufficient length write longer letters next time.
I will close stating we are all well here but mother. Father and mother requested me to thank you for your kind remembrance of them and return you their best wishes. Jennie receives your love with gratitude. Will you accept the same in return?
Ira B Conine
[PS] I have seen nothing of your letters to the [courier] should like to very much.
August 15th (1864)
Again am I seated to converse with you through this silent messenger. Yours of the 7th was most gladly received and as I have jut finished reading it I will answer immediately.
Saying your letter was good would be no name for it. It was perfectly rich-just what I had been wishing all day yesterday and today. I was very lonely yesterday. Father was away from home and I had to stay with mother. Did'nt get to go to church untill evening. To while away the time I read all your old letters over and counted them and how many do you think I have received? Almost a hundred. Oh I had a gay time reading them over. Some times felt like laughing sometimes felt like crying and then after I had them all ready and put away I felt a great deal better just as though I had had a good long talk with Ira. Indeed I could'nt be persuaded to take a fortune for my old letters.
I presume you and Lieut [Lieutenant] Wallace have some gay times riding out to call on those dear sothern [southern] ladies. "Success" to both of you if you can derive any pleasure there from got a good drenching did you? Good for you. Stay at home next time then you wont get rained on.
Lieut Wallace was writing to Maggie Staunton was he-well I hope she will answer if it should happen to suit her that is his stile style of address she'll answer but she is very particular.
You would like to happen in some time see how I act. When I received a letter from you no doubt you would think I was crazy. I took it remarkably cool today on receipt of your letter getting used to it. Letter was so long when I got through reading I forgot to act crazy. But you said I should tell you to stop when I thought you had written enough and you stopped before I told you to. You had better mind me or I'll take you through a course of tryouts. Had a head ache did you? I am sorry if you had been here I might have held your head for you. I have cured many a head ache. Did I ever cure your head ache?
But being in such a romantic place and hearing such delicious music as you seemed to be surrounded by was enough to chase all the pain from your head.
Received a letter or note rather from Sharpsville last evening. From Sister Sallie and Han. They had been to Darke Church to singing the night before and from their description they must have had a gay time and enjoyed themselves hugely.
Say you would like to visit up at Sharpsville about a week. I suppose you would'nt come to see me at all then-as you did'nt say any thing about it. OH yes you would come through Ottawa and take me along that would do very well. By the way [Christian Sholty] passed through Ottawa last week on his way to McComb. I happened to be standing in the front door and seen him. Father was on the platform shook hands with him.
There are two or three lines in your letter that I do not fully understand. Something about me owning up telling the truth and [shaming] the ___. Now my little soldier it seems to me you must be dreadfully addicted to using profane language. You know I never allowed that in my presence and you was always to much of a gentleman to use such language. There now please don't write such to me-will you? No of course you wont.
Do I think I could be as kind to you as Mollie was to J. Smith? Yes I could. I could do anything and every thing that lay in my power that would give you one moment of pleasure! Yes I want to be first [beat]-in every thing being overseer would suit me very well. But remember it is you that I want to over see.
I should be very sorry to hear of you losing one or two of your fingers. Yet I should much rather hear that than to hear of you going in the front. The loss of all your fingers would be nothing in comparison to your life so that I can not blame Han for feeling she does.
You will never forget the time Anderson had his eye teeth out on Cincinnati. I Guess if all reports are true Ira had had his cut about the same time. I heard all about that affair.
Anderson told Han when he was at home could'nt play off on you as Andersons girl has on him.
Ah now don't bragg to much. You don't know what is going on up here! Don't be alarmed nothing going on that I know of. Mus'nt take all I say in earnest. Indeed to tell you the truth I don't approve of Hans activities. Neither would I blame Anderson if he did'nt marry her. But I mus'nt be too hard on Han. Perhaps she is true at heart if she does'nt show it in her activities.
You think my father was real hateful do you. There now that's a nice way to talk about your pap-in-law. I guess I'll tell him he wont think so much of you then.
You are expecting a letter every week-want to know whether you will be disappointed or not that depends upon yourself entirely. If you write two or three times a week you may expect that many in return.
You say I will cease dreaming of you as long as I write pretty regular. And is that the reason I did'nt dream of you. I guess I'll stop writing then as I would rather dream of you but you mus'nt stop writing because I do.
George is not in Decatur now. He is in Mooresville. Will M. is in the same Regt and his wife gets along very finely indeed. She don't take quite so many Sunday walks as she used to but she goes to town every mail day rain or shine. Why she makes almost as much fuss about her man as I do about my soldier boy.
Well this is Monday wash day but just as soon I received your letter I laid my wash apron aside and went to writing leaving Ann to wash alone. She think I have written nearly enough. What do you think? Will it do for this time. It is such a warm day. I am glad of some excuse to keep from washing. Do you hire your washing done if you don't it is time you did. Must get used to hiring it done for. I don't like to wash.
I may read this letter to my father and mother excepting a few sentences. I did read it to mother but she says if she cant hear all she wont listen to any of it. I will close by stating we are all well excepting mother. She is mending slowly.
Jennie M. Bysel
Ira B Conine
My Soldier Friend?
Having a few leisure moments I thought I could do no better than devote them to you in answering your kind communication of July 31 accompanied with your letter to the Hancock Courier. The letter has been near three weeks on the road perhaps miscarried but none the less welcome by being so long coming.
At the time of writing you had received no letters for a week was beginning to feel lonely I can sympathise with you. I to have been without hearing from those that I felt anxious about for several weeks at one time. Indeed I think it a most miserable state of existence to be waiting and looking for a letter untill suspense is killing and I think it doubly so in the army where the soldier is cut-off from all intercourse with friends. It has been so that I could not write to you this summer as often as should like to have done but my heart was with you and I never forgot you for a moment. Since closing my school I have written to you week twice and intend doing so while I have every opportunity.
Your letter to the Courrier is very good yet I am too much of an Abolitionist to approve of all in it. I wont tell you in what respects as we don't want to quarrel about that as this is a free country and every one has a right to there own opinion I did feel sorry to know that I had a friend in the army and one that I value as highly as I do you that would write to so mean and contemptible a sheet as that "Hancock Courier" I should much rather see a production from your pen in the Loyal paper of our county - but you can use your own pleasure of course.
I went to the Donation party last-night had rather a gay time taking the rainy evening into consideration. But I was very lucky as I had a splendid escort home in the shape of a young lawyer from Sidney Ohio. He happened to be blessed with a good umbrella and lantern and how could I refuse.
We had a splendid supper with ice cream and other goodies and got home in good seasons as it was only 11 o'clock when I got home I thought of you very often and knew that you would enjoy just such a party if you could be here.
Oh yes and after I had gone to the party there was a gentleman called to go with me. But I was real glad I happened to be gone.
Presume you do spend some long and lonely Sabbaths. But remember that you are engaged in a glorious course aiding in the restoration of a government which our ancestors purchased with their blood. Such a government is worth preserving and I believe as sure as there is a God in heaven that the good old ship of state will out ride every storm and will ere long conduct us to peace But-Alas there are many of our brave boys that will fall before all this will come to pass.
God Grant that the lives of those I love may be spared in the coming contest.
Perhaps I have already wearied your patience with my scribbling excuse all and Write Soon
August 23rd (1864)
Again I have been made happy by the reception of another of your letters which found me in the best of spirits and I will tell you why. I feel so well this morning just as I had got my work completed and had sat down to sew some one knocked at my door. I opened it and there stood Han Sallie Rebecca [Willest] John Shaw. Oh I was so glad I did not know how to contain myself. They came so unexpectedly.
We have had such a good time all day. All went to the picture gallery. All had our pictures taken together. There was five of us. John is going to give it to Sallie. It cost four dollars frame and all. Don't you think that will be a nice present for Sallie-have all our pictures. I just felt real bad when they had to go home. John is going to Lima to morrow to be sworn into the ___ ___ service.
The last boy is going and John is sure a good boy. Seems like a brother to me and I would'nt wonder if he would be some day.
Well my dear you don't think it altogether right that you should do all the writing. Neither do I think right you should and I am not going to let you do it all. I have since my school is out written two letters a week to you and I intend doing so as long as I can. Your letters are not too frequent. Neither do I think I shall forget you very soon. You who I consider my best friend on earth. But you understand me to day that "I could'nt see the one." Ira you must not believe every thing I say. I very often say things in jest for you know that I never expect to be one with any other. You seem to think I am not like you as much as to say that I do not think as much of you as you do of me. I am sure I think just as much of you as I am capable of. Think of any person.
That realy [really] was a singular dream. You dreamed of me. But what made you dream such a thing [as] that. Yes I very often think of that night we spent together all alone I shall never forget it.
I am sorry so feel so lonely. I know what it is to feel lonely. I hope you will not be sent to your Regt soon. I dread to think of it. It will now soon be only a year untill your time will be out. Oh that the moments would fly away soon. I am counting the moments. All that I ask is that your life may be spared. I think of you so often and think perhaps the enjoyment that I am looking forward to will be a disappointment. Oh I often think if I could just tell you all ___ then I should be more composed. But there is not a single one that I can confide in enough or at least I don't feel as though I wanted a friend but you and you I cannot see and if I could see you I never could [tell all].
It is getting dark Ira and I want to put this in the office so it will go out in the morning.
Please excuse these few disconnected lines and believe to be ever yours.
P.S. Mother is getting better.
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