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Ira Conine Papers: Transcripts - MS 673
Sept 25th (1864)
I have been waiting and waiting for a leisure half hour to write you such a long letter when I was not too tired but that I have given up entirely and I now devote ten minutes to tell you that I do not forget you but think of you more often of possible than ever. I put off writing to you yesterday untill to day thinking I should have more leisure but I have nearly had a moment to myself.
I sat down after dinner thought I would just read that one story in the magazine then I would write to you but had'nt got half through when two of my class in the Sabbath school came after me and found me reading. Of course I had no excuse on hand so I had to go along with them. You may think I did'nt feel in no very amiable frame of mind scarcely enough to teach a class tight. I had a great notion to present my class book to the superintendent and tell him I was'nt going to be at home for some time. Oh it is provoking when one can scarcely get time to write to their best friend. Come to think I believe I don't owe you a letter a week yesterday since I received that mammoth letter and not a word from you since but I did read a letter from you last Thursday instead of being written. To Jennie B. it was written to Jennie B. and since I have come to think of it that might account for me not receiving a letter from you as that letter spoke of a very fascinating sweetheart down there that ___ considerable of his time. I was foolish to think of hearing from you under a month at least knowing the circumstances under which you are ___ at present. Excuse me, for being so rash. It was indeed fortunate that more of your uncle Johns folks could read the letter otherwise I should not have had the pleasure. Now my dear I guess I have caught you this time.
Get down now acknowledge and beg pardon wont you? Enough of this nonsense for this time you will begin to believe that I am in earnest. OH what would I not give for the pleasure of seeing you just for one half hour. I have been thinking of you so much lately Ira. Here is a song that speaks my sentiments-
I have been looking with the utmost impatience for that picture you had promised me and since you had no more discretion than to promise it to me you will have to send it or be ___ most unmercifully so you will send it wont you Ira or bring it soon that will suit me best.
Moll Steward and I had a gay time yesterday. She came down here to entrap a rich old bachelor but from the looks of things I am afraid she wont succeed but my letter is growing lengthy. If you have any spare time please write a word to your ever loving Jennie.
Gen J.M. Ashley is going speak in Ottawa the 30th please come up and hear him. Your pa and ma are coming.
Sept 28th 1864
My Dear Soldier
Your kind missive of the 18th was received this evening. I cant tell you how glad I was. Almost two weeks since I last heard from you. Seemed so long. Why did you not write sooner. Oh if you knew how anxious I feel you would'nt wait for a letter to answer. Now you wont next time will you? Han is here visiting with me this week came last Monday.
Han and I want to uncle Johns to day. Oh we had a gay time of it. They did'nt get supper untill late and don't you think we came all the way from uncle Johns after dark and it was real dark too. Don't you think we will do for soldier wives? Indeed we are almost soldiers ourselves. Well it is pretty late but I must answer your letter to night. I received two letters today besides yours. One from a cousin in [Ill] and the other from David E. Saunders.
Thought mine 12th rather a diminutive affair that so. It was small but I think you will pardon me if I promise not to do so again and I am glad you was kind enough not to send that note in return. I should have felt miserable if you had. Yes Ira your letter Sept 4th was a large letter not a stomach full though. I was thinking I should get another of that kind as it was so long coming but I was fearfully mistaken. Although it was a very good letter nothing to complain of.
Thank you? I should love to ___ you to the singing could I do so conveniently but circumstances will not permit to do so at the present. Perhaps at some future time I shall accept the invitation. I cant help by envy that sweetheart of yours. Just to think of any person receiving attention from y ou. Is'nt that enough to arrouse [arouse] my jealousy. But that's not all-she cant have you next year this time-shall she?
You can say honestly you have not spent an hour with any lady since the night of Nov 2nd. But you don't believe I can say the same. I have confidence enough in you to believe you tell the truth. But you seem to doubt my word although I can say truthfully to that I have not talked with any man alone either married or single ten minutes since the night of Nov 2nd.
I have been informed that you received a note from Ottawa stating that your lady love had been guilty of something. I don't remember what that was. One thing you didn't tell me of although you say in your last that you tell me every thing. Do you believe what was written to you by that unknown writer. If so never write to me again untill you find you are mistaken. Write to some person in Ottawa that is acquainted with me. Find out how I have lived since I cam here. If they tell you the same then we will disolve [dissolve]. Now is not that fair. This is the only way if you cannot believe me. Did you hear what capers squire Groves had while he was home on furlough. I think there is a bullet molded for him somewhere if there is not I hope there will be soon.
I have seen nothing of your ___ yet hope it will come before Han goes home. I am going to take her home Sunday.Your folks [expressed] you a lot Monday. I also put a letter in the office for you Monday. Well I have nothing of importance to write nothing going on in town all quiet. Perhaps I shall have more next time. Excuse all I am sleepy and tired. Our girl is sick so I have all the work to do. Good night and pleasant dreams.
Oct 8th (1864)
My Dear Soldier
Another opportunity presents itself and I shall improve it by conversing with you for a short time. I wrote you a few lines yesterday telling you I was going into the country. I did go just got home this evening. Had a good time turkey roast to day but I did'nt enjoy it. Had to think of that good big long ___ letter ___ ___ lying at home unanswered. Just thought I could enjoy myself better reading that letter over again than telling nonsense and eating roast turkey.
So this has been a very cold day for October nearly froze coming home. How I wish this winter was over. I can get along very well but to think of my dear brother and another one that I consider much more dearer than a brother to me who will have to endure the hardships incident to a camp life. I can hardly endure the thought. There is one consolation it will be the last winter for you in the army if you only get safely through. You will never go again will you? No you wont! I can answer that question for you for you know I wear the breeches now. There that was rather an unlady like confession but it wont make any difference. So you don't tell Knoxville any thing about it. I guess you wont tell them thought? Of course you would'nt want them to know you was corresponding with such a dowdy girl as I am.
I presume you will be saying Jennie had better be answering your letter before she gets sleepy. Well I think Jennie thinks so too so here goes for the answer.
Father just came in wanted to know what Ira had to say. I read your Peace Proclaimation to him. He says tell him he is all right on the peace question.
I think you must have your hands full acting ___ and "J. M. Sergt." I am afraid you wont be thinking of me so much as you should. Don't forget little Jen by any means. I am under the impression that you spend to much time with that sweetheart. Thought more of her and the singing school than you did of answering your Ohio sweethearts letter. Went on with a great big ___ about not enjoying yourself only when answering a letter to Jennie.
Now my dear cant soft soap me in that stile [style]. No use trying. There must have been some kind of enjoyment. [Here] soldiers go miles to singing school for nothing. Do they Ira?
I hope you wont go to think I am [gasping] I mean I hope you will think so for of course you would'nt think I was in earnest about all this nonsense but oh dear oh dear what is the use of us girls worrying out soldiers so they are all a treacherous villainous set whey they get down to Dixie. I don't worry half as much as I did before you turned copperhead. You know we are two now that is this if you vote for small ___ but then you know you wont dare to do that now as I wear the the the you know what.
May I quit writing now and finish tomorrow. I am awful sleepy and tired which I have no doubt you will see by this scribbling. With a kiss and a good night I am still you little Jennie.
Don't forget to dream of me will you?
October 17 1864
My dearest and best friend
This evening finds me well and seated to respond to your kind favor of Sept 30th and Oct. 7th
Received yours of the 30th last Friday. Thought I had better not answer until I heard something more from you. Went to the office today with the expectation of getting a letter but was badly disappointed I was very glad to hear you are still in Knoxville I have been imagining you as soldier marching to Atlanta but I am glad that I am mistaken
Hope you won't have to go at all. I had just got home from your fathers the day I received yours of the 30th stating you were going to leave Knoxville Han also received a letter while I was there stating that she was going to Atlanta I can tell you it made us all feel kind of solemn, golley your ma and I got our long faces on Han didn't mind it so much, she has not received a letter from AA I was in a hurry to get home thinking there would be some kind of letter for me. But I found something better than news. The picture I had quit looking for it so it came rather unexpected but none the less welcome. Oh I cant tell you what good times the picture and I have together so natural so mischievious but I cant see the Roman nose the fascinating moustache and goatee neither neither can I think that you fat now as you do not look as though you weigh 230 lbs Everyone that sees it thinks the frame quite a curiosity It is nice but I scarcely ever see the frame. The pair of black eyes a sweet mouth attract my attention more I don't know how I lived as long without it I am sure I couldn't do without now Well perhaps you will think this is enough for the picture. Had your fortune told. Told the truth all but one thing and that was you was a married man. Well Ira that may be true for all I know you might have two or three wives and me know nothing of it. Ira, you and I differ a little in regard to his telling the truth. There might have been some truth in the description of your girl but he just happened to guess that right as to the county officer and all that it was just a make up of his own and if you are foolish enough to believe such stuff I will have to let you although I should be sorry indeed to think you had no more confidence in me than all that comes to be
If he missed it in one thing he would miss it in all as to your living so close to a woman I should take it that it is in the place you are in at the present for I am very much mistaken, If you haven't lived closer to women since you have been in the Army than you ever did when at home. Now isn't that so Ira? I cannot say that I believe a single word he (the fortune) said for that concerning the county officer I know to be untrue. Maggie received your letter and knows who it is from she has seen a specimen of your penmanship before I tried to persuade her that it was not your handwriting but could not convince her she received a letter from Wallace this eve I have not read it yet but expect to in the morning. Did the thought never occur to your mind that Maggie P Stanton might be an assumed name you need not tell Wallace. Maggie and I had a good time over your letter plenty of fun in it. I believe you would laugh too if you knew who you was calling "Dear Maggie made me feel rather jealous knowing all the time you was not in earnest. But just to think of you calling anyone else "dear" if you do don't let me know it then it won't hurt me I hope I shall have the pleasure some day of telling you all about this Maggie but I cannot now I have told too much already but I never could keep anything from you.
In yours of the 7th you spoke of receiving no letters from me I am sorry I do write every week Well you got other letters they would do in place of mine. That rebel jacket I will take care of for you. Presume you will be rebel enough by the time you get home to wear it.
What kind of a letter did Eliza write you I would like to know I hope you will have a good time at the protracted meeting getting quite Pious. Hair will all be gray pretty soon. I wish I was there to go along with you.
You lay abed till breakfast is ready do you? You lazzy soldier I wish I was there to to to wake you up in the morning you better sleep all you can now I'll get you up early enough after while
Well I guess they will have to call me two or three times tomorrow morning if I don't go to bed pretty soon. The old clock is just striking 12. Do you remember how we used to listen at the clock striking. We are going to make apple butter tomorrow and we have been peeling apples this evening I am tired and cold as there is no fire in the room I shall have to be up late tomorrow night as we expect Aunt Almira on the one o'clock train. She is coming to visit us Oh I do hope you will not have to leave Knoxville soon write often. With a kiss and a good night I am still your own little Jen
I think I shall go into the printing office to set type this winter instead of teaching school don't you think it would be nice
My Own Dear Soldier
While Mother and Aunt Almira are so busily engaged in conversation I shall endeavor to answer your kind letter of the 10th which was received to day I was really glad to hear you was safe. Maggie P received a letter from Liut. Wallace in which he stated you and one of the teamsters had gone into the country the day before he expressed some uneasiness stating that guerrillas were plenty and that there was a chance of your being captured.
I couldn't help feeling uneasy knowing you was in danger going so far from camp you might be taken prisoner or be killed and no one be any the wiser Ira I cant help but think you are too venturesome. Oh do be careful for my sake wont you! No doubt you had a gay time waiting on the parsons daughter to church. Hope the Parson and his daughter will make a good christian boy of you. I am afraid the Parsons daughter wants to steal my boys heart from me. What do you think? Can she do it? "Woe be unto her" if she does.
I read some of your letter to Aunt when I read the description of the meeting and what a good time they had "Oh" said she "what a good boy he must be to want to go to meeting what a blessed thing it would be if soldiers was all like him" I just thought if she knew you as well as I did she would knot there was some other motive in view besides the meeting or you would not be so anxious to go. Now my dear is not that the truth?
You think there is a couple of soldiers who think Han and I would make good soldiers wives. Well we are trying to make ourselves worthy of two such good brave soldiers as ours are I hope and trust that neither one of you may be disappointed.
I am glad you put no confidence in the letter you received concerning me. Who ever it was had a mean principle to try to make disturbance between us I guess they will have to try again before they succeed. There is no hear say that ever could convince me of your inconstancy I would have to be convinced by own eyes first. However I may have written to you extremely miserable if I did. Oh no Ira I am not afraid of your showing my letters It was only in fun when I wrote as I did of course. You have Judgement enough to know when and when not to show my letters. Squire Groves came home on furlough was home nearly sixty days I think and in that time promised to marry two girles and did'nt marry either one of them. The girles were Lovina Downing and Ell Wood his folks prepared an infare for him and Miss Wood was all dressed and waiting but he did not go untill in the evening and then went to tell her he had changed his mind concluded not to get married untill after the war was over. She told him he would never marry her less he wanted her to promise to wait for him but she said she would marry the first chance she got and I don't blame her he treated her mean. He also promised to marry Vine Downing had the license and all. They had a party at the Groves settlement there was quite a number there and among the rest a Miss Sallie Rollins she lives near Ottawa she happened to be in that neighborhood on a visit and of course was invited to the party. She is soon to be married to a gentleman of Ottawa. Well this Miss Sallie went to the party and as she is hansome and quite a gay girl what does Mr. Groves do but fall in love with her and asked leave to accompany her home went home with her and left Miss Downing crying and to get home as best she could. Next evening went to see Miss Downing told her he had changed his mind concluded not to marry untill the war closed of course Miss Downing took it very hard her father declared if he could get sight of him he would shoot him and I think it a pity that he did'nt get sight of him. In a short time after he packed up his napsack and started for the army.
Since he has been gone Sallie Rollins showed me a letter an Photograph he sent her. Now don't you think he acted mean I hope the rascal wont get a woman when he does want one now.
I don't think the girls he fooled lost anything in the operation for he never would have been worth any thing if he had married one of them. Perhaps he would have fallen in love with the first pretty face that came along.
If I was Ell Wood I would practice shooting untill he came home and then try the effects of a shot on him.
Auntie says it is time to go to bed she wont go to bed without me so I will have to quit writing. Mother and aunt have had such a good time talking this evening learned to take so much comfort that I almost wished I had a sister. Sisters have so much pleasure talking together I have been getting letters so often lately that I cant help feeling disappointed if I don't get one every mail Write as often as you can and I will do the same. Thank you for those stamps they come very good as this time.
Ira B. Conine
I am sure you will admire the address on the out side of this. Han directed a similar one to A.A.
My Dearest and best friend! For such only can I call you! I was again made glad by the reception of another of your kind letters which found me well and waiting rather impatiently for a word from my soldier boy. Yesterday it came. I was just ready to start to Gilboa. Libbie William and I were going for the carriage. We had intended to stay all night, but after receiving the letter I concluded to come home as I always make it a rule to answer your letters before I retire for the night, but we were detained longer in Gilboa than what we thought we would be[.] Consequently we did not get home until after dark. I thought after I would eat my supper and get a little rested I would answer your letter[.] By the time I was ready to write in came a half dozen of people to spend the evening[.] Then I had to give up my writing entirely. It was rather a trial too! When I have my mind set to do anything I can hardly give up without doing it. It was very late before they went home and aunt said I should not write until this morning.
Your description of the dinner was real[l]y rich[,] almost equal to the oyster supper I attended last Saturday night. And by the way, I must tell you what my escorts name was. It was Fred Foltz. He is rather handsome, tall, well portioned, and a gentleman in every sense of the word. Belongs to the National Guards. Was out in the service this summer. But what I regret the most is that he is going to spend the winter in Massillon Ohio and I shall be deprived of the privelige of being escorted to another oyster supper by him.
If you will have no objection, I would rather exchange places with you or I will let you wear the breeches if you promise to call me Jennie. I cannot endure Miss B! Now will you submit this one time[?] Indeed you must.
You have nearly as comfortable quarters where you are as you would were you at home. But you say there is one thing lacking. I should judge that one thing might be easily remidied [remedied]. I presume there are soldiers there that would be glad to share your bed with you. You often slept alone when at home. If you was like me you would rather be alone. Perhaps I better change the subject or like you I might say to[o] much.
By all means go to singing school every opportunity especily when such dinners can be had.
Then you have got your eye's opened since you belong to the copperhead Party. If that saved you of going to the Lunitic asylum go ahead. I won't be surprised if I hear you are there about the time old Abe is elected. I still must say (although it is with regret) that I cannot love a copper nuts.
What do you mean by those boys getting sick of coming into the army to make money do it by playing cards! Ira[,] are you playing cards? Till me if you are.
If you was here you would give me a kiss would you[?] I wish that if was out of the way. Why wouldn't it do for you to be so near home[?] I think it would be just right. I am sure I cannot see the harm in it.
Miss Armstrong's letter was good enough[.] Yours was better. I shall keep them untill you come home[.] A solider came home yesterday that has not been home since he enlisted, which was three long years. I saw him meet his wife and it was a meeting. They are calling me to dinner. We have a roast chicken for dinner. I was going to wish you here but you have plenty of roasts there. Present my compliments to the Lieut.
On the left margin of the first page:
And tell him that it was a big supper. But as he is a solider and a man of his word I cannot but believe it. We are looking for your father and mother to-day but as it is noon I suppose that are not coming to-day. That picture still looks sweeter and better every day. Yours as ever, Jennie.
On the right margin of the first page:
What did you dream of? Jennie
On the right margin of the second page:
I received a letter from Davis Randall. Wants to know why I did not answer his letters of August. What shall I tell him?
On the right margin of the third page:
I wish I could take your advice concerning the school. I am sure it would be better for me but we cannot always do as we would wish.
On the top margin of the third page:
Aunt Almira starts home to-morrow
On the right margin of the fourth page:
We have not heard from brother yet. I am going to write to Lieut Eply to-day
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