This letter was probably written by Homer Presley Albright (1845-1918), the son of Michael C. Albright (1820-1907) and Mary Ann Malick (1822-1888) of Hittle, Tazewell county, Illinois. Homer mustered into Co. D, 152nd Illinois Infantry as a sergeant in February 1865 for one year’s service. On February 20th, the regiment moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and then on to Tullahoma where they remained until they were mustered out at Camp Butler in mid-September 1865. Mentioned in the letter was Lt. Frank Richmond, also of Co. D.
Homer addressed the letter to his sister which was probably Anna H. Albright (1844-1913). Anna married Edward E. Hickey (1843-1934) in 1868.
June 7th 1865
I received your most kind and welcome letter this afternoon. Was glad to hear from you and glad to hear that you was well. I am enjoying good health. I never was any weller in my life than I am at this present time. I like the service so well I think that I will reenlist in the regular service as soon as my time expires. What do you think, sis? Don’t you think that I had better reenlist again? I think so. I don’t like to work. I would rather soldier, hadn’t you?
I think the war is about played out. We will be at home by the middle of September if not sooner. The boys hasn’t anything to talk about but coming home. They can’t be contented at all. They think the war is over and they hain’t any use use for them when the war is over. Well I think so myself. I ain’t a caring a great deal. I am as well contented as if I was at home nearly. I ain’t a frettin’ a great deal. I wouldn’t care to be at home a while but I believe I am as well contented here and I don’t know but what a little better contented for I have been in the army so long that it seems like home more than home itself.
But when I come home, I think I will settle down and content myself anyhow, and if not, I will take a trip across the plains. I want to be at home next winter and I think I will take a sleigh ride or two. I will have a sleigh and a nice one too. I don’t think that we will be out of the service before next fall some time. If I had money, I would come home the 4th [of July] but as it is, I will have to stay. If we would be paid off in a week or two, I would come but we won’t get any pay until our time expires I don’t think.
I got that letter from Pap today with that 5 dollars in it but not only a few words in it. I don’t know but what I intend to answer it if he can’t afford to write only a few words. I don’t think that I can afford to write any. What do you think? Anyhow I’d rather a great deal get a long letter than such a little one. I as leave have none. I wrote a letter to him the other day and wrote for a pair of shoes. If you hain’t received that letter yet, please forward them. I want high heeled ones that look laces up nice and fine ones too. Well I am going to take a ride in the country tomorrow in a buggy. I wish that you was here to go with me. I am going about 4 miles from here to a cave where I can go in about 3 miles under the earth. We have to take candles to light up. It is very dark and cool in there. It is a nice scene for anybody like you all. You never seen anything — not anything. If you was down here a while, you would open your eyes. You would see something new every day — not the same thing over every day. I am enjoying myself first rate. You needn’t be uneasy about me for I think I have been away from home for a little while. I don’t know but what Frank [Richmond] and myself will stay down here and I believe we can make more here than at home. Besides working, a person can put up a store here and make a good deal more money than farming. And there is plenty of fine young ladies here too and would make first rate wives. And if you want to marry, you can here. There is plenty of Black shavers down here and Black too. I am going to fetch you a couple of little Black fellows home with me and you can have your choice.
I want to know if you paid the Express in that box or not. I paid the Express on it — $3.25 — and I paid on them other clothes that I sent at Camp Butler too. Pap wanted me to get some blankets and over coats. Well I will try and get some more. I have got that quilt and pillow. If I could have the money, I could get them.
Give my respects to Uncle Will [Albright] ¹ and Aunt Flora and kiss Willy and Merril for me and tell them that I[‘ll] come home and fetch them some candy soon. And tell Uncle Will that he has forgotten me but I have not forgotten him and a few lines would be very acceptable from him if he would write a few lines to me and it would answer them. I have written to him. Give my best respects to all of Appenseller’s folks. I wrote to Jacob ² but haven’t received an answer yet.
Well, I will bring my letter to a close in Dutch. Maybe you think I can’t but you will see . We have a good deal of drilling to do but we are seeing first rate times. It is getting late and I am getting careless and I don’t know whether you can read this or not. I have been on guard 3 times since I have been in the service. The way we have to do is the cleanest and the nicest guns and clothes the soldiers have, they get excused for one week.. They don’t have anything to do for one week — only drill in the afternoon. I will send one of them excuses in this letter. When you write, write a long letter like this if you can. I am going to write that long letter some of these days. Lt. Richmond is sitting down by me playing with his knife. He sends his best respects to you. He is going to bed now and I am too.
Yours in haste.
[Signature in German]
You speak very highly of that boarder. Give my best respects to him. I expect he will be my brother-in-law, don’t you? Tell me the next letter. Get him if you can and you can have a fine time.
¹ William Albright (b. 1840) was a farmer in Hittle, Tazewell county, Illinois. He was married to Flora Shivlar (b. 1841) in March 1861 and they had two young boys at the time of this letter — Merril (b. 1861) and Willie (b. 1863). William Albright was the youngest son son of Jacob Albright and Esther Touchstone who came to Tazewell county in 1829 from Tennessee. Homer’s father was the oldest son of Jacob and Esther — there being twenty years difference between the ages of Michael and William Albright.
² Jacob Appenseller was born in Prussia in 1834. When he registered for the draft in Hittle, Tazewell county, Illinois, he was still single.