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Ira Conine Papers: Transcripts - MS 673
Hdqrs Convalescent Camp
Sept 23 1864
My Dear Jennie!
I recieved another of your ever welcome and most interesting last eve in answer to mine of Sept 4'' which I hasten to respond It found me well and in the finest of spirits (after I recieved your letter though) Jennie I "poor wanderer that I am," hav'nt concluded as to where my future days, or the remainder of my time in the service of M. B. shall be spent There! The Lieut is calling me to get ready to go to singing about (7) seven miles from town I will write to you when I get back so good day ---- Well Jennie I have returned we had a very pleasant time but I thought of you all the time if you was but here to accompany me I could enjoy myself as it is everything seems dull Jennie I never know what enjoyment was when I was home or I did'nt know how to appreciate it --- you know I always had everything my own way, went and came when I choose and it was all tight I even then thought I was having hard times but should I even placed in the same circumstances again I shall know how to appreciate them --- if I were now placed in such circumstances I could enjoy myself I wrote you a few lines Sept "23" through the advise of Lieut Wallace I rejected both clerkships I had the offer of ---- I don't know what to think about the mizzer(?) --- If I thought I could get my commission and then resign so that I might get home against the last of March or first of April I might take it but I fear if they me into it they might try to keep me Jon. Shannon is of the Regt'' and you know he used to be a circuit rider and that does'nt suit me ---- However I guess he has forggotten all his good old Methodist freaks if he even had any, for he can Swear drink whiskey and run as many wenches now as any body but that is his business not mine he always treats me with respect and as a mater of course I shall return the compliment This camp will be broken up tomorrow Lieut Wallace is then to he Quarter Master on fortifications --- The General told him if he had any good men he wished to retain he might do so Wallace wants me to say with him this winter I scarcely know what to do I feel as though it was my duty to be with my Regt and I would like to see the boys yet I think I ought to look a little after self interest as I go along If I stay here I shall have good warm quarters wont be exposed to the weather and I wont have any long marches to make or knapsacks to carry; if I go to my Regt I shall be exposed to all there is some one got to stay here and why not I? Jennie, if I was only with you I could tell you a thousand things I cannot write I really dont know what to do under the present circumstances --- but I guess I shall do as I always have done take every as it comes --- good, bad or indiffirent; you appear to have enjoyed yourself verry much up in Sharpesville visiting Nell I love to hear you say you are enjoying yourself --- would that I could say as much --- about all the real enjoyment I see is when I receive a letter from you or writing on to you --- Eliza, has forgotten me entirely I guess as I hav'nt heard from her since she sent me her Photo The Butternut meeting proved a failure did it? Well if they will appoint another meeting I will speak for them --- I suppose you think it would be a great Speak "and I dont know but it would" I have lounged enough if I but had the Brain or talent to back it --- As a matter of course I will vote for little Mac' and why should'nt I? "we are fighting for peace, we are all praying that peace may come again have a permanent and lasting peace, out friends and Sweet Hearts at home area all crying for peace that the Soldiers may all return home again --- Now how are we to get peace? I will tell you it is by voting for a peace man --- But a Peace man at the head of our government and we will have Peace General McClellen is the Man. Sen Hall(?) etc. etc."
Well of course if you say we are to be two after I vote for little Mc. As you wear the brieches, I shall have to draw off, either not vote at all, or vote for Old Abe You know I dont want to let Politics divide us as I love you more not I love McClellen or Lincoln either Well there I guess I have written foolishness enough, I will commence answering your letter ---- Say you are counting the moments as they pass, I believe you are more aspious about the time than I am. It does'nt seem long since I left home and it is almost one year you ask me what I would do about teaching This winter if I was in your place "I would not teach in the winter for any body" --- don't you think it is wicked to be on the go all day Sabbath as you certainly must be if you attend two Sabbath schools and one meeting each Sabbath The Lord Seh a past one day in Beben for seek which one do you keep? If you are on the go all day Sabbath Now I dont keep any day, we hav'nt long to stay in this world at most, and I don't purpose loosing any time --- As I have you pardon for using ungentlemanly language in my letter writing heretofore, I shall be d'd careful how I talk hereafter as you might give me another cathauling Now dont think that d'd in the sentence preceding this is using ungentlemanly language again for D'D you are aware stands for Doctor of Divinity --- I did'nt notice it until it was written or I should'nt have used the initials --- of course Miss C. had my pardon for burning that letter but she will never get another one to burn
You ask how could you betray yourself Jennie there are a great many was a woman can betray herself yet for my sake do not harbor thought that I doubt you in the least should I not be satisfied? Jennie! I must say this for you --- That in all my courtships and travels I have never found your equal in virtue --- now Jennie dont think I am flattering you for as I have already stated should'nt I be satisfied! Although you are aware I never had much experience in courtship ---- suffice it to say where I doubt you I am not in any way mealy mouthed, and where I doubt you; you will hear from me --- now Jennie! do not accuse me of doubting you again; for indeed I do not like to hear you talk so --- wont talk so again I know --- well I much finish up my writing there is only about seven or eight boys in my room, Lieut'' Wallace among the rest talking about forts , their correspondents and various [-----] stories The boys have absconded and it is twelve olcock at night but I must answer this before I retire for the night --- Lieut Wallace appears to be very easy considering he correspondence as I hear him say nothing about it --- I don't think Wallace has anything in the process --- he has gone as far as etiquette will adjust --- I think Maggie had lost all as he (Lieut') is a merry lad and writes some gay letters --- He got one from [?] Ohio this eve I should love to give you a synopsis of the same but time and paper will not allow --- it was so [---] rich I fear you could not undergo the pressure of it but he is competent of answering any of them ---- while this sheet is about played out and I surly have you letter about half answered Well you think the little differences that for exists between us in opinion should not diminish our love for each other --- wither do I yet you say if I "vote for little Mc you and I are two" I dont know how to take you -- I dont believe you are all you say that picture is not on the way yet say I have had no opportunity of sending it, give my compliments to Moll [?] tell her I would like to her from him --- I should very much like to attend your fair but circumstances will not admit of it so excuse me I am well and getting along as usual sill waiting adjutant of the camp they did not break up our camp to day you will direct as usual
Ira B. Conine
Hdqrs Convalescent Camp
Sept 28 1864
My dear Jennie,
This is a rainy bad day another mail came in with out a letter for me but I [?] a Jeffersonian I am really in a study this morning what to so There is talk of this Camp being broken up I have three offers vis Take a commission in a Colored Regt accept a Clerkship in the Commisary Department or go to my Regt almost made up my mind to take the latter let come what may I have a notion to try to serve the remainder of my time in my Regt." If I accept a Clerkship I will be confined to the office all the time and you know that would'nt suit me --- Yet I told them if they detailed me I should try it ---- If I should accept a Commission I would have to be [?] in for three years longer and I don't like a nigger well enough to spend three years with them I will know in two or three says what I shall so as soon as I have concluded I will write you don't answer the till you hear from me again, I am well I am acting adjutant of this camp now as well as Q. M Sergt you see I have my hands full will make out my [?] morning Report tomorrow and Sunday go to Singing School
I remain as ever
Your most affectionate
October 7, 1864
My Dear Jennie,
Wednesday morning brought in a very large mail but no letter from you-the only mail that has come clear through for two weeks the railroad being out-but I received five letters: one from Apger, one from Han, one from Eliza H-, one from Jennie [Conine], and one from mother, and yet I wasn't satisfied because I didn't get one from you. I wrote a letter to Miss Staunton a day or two since. Perhaps she will let you see it. You musn't let her know you know the handwriting or that you know who it is from. I have a copy of it here in my desk, when I send you letters again I will send it with some others. I do indeed have some gay times here. Have nothing to do but write such foolish things. I wish you would tell me what kind of looking girl she is so that I can picture her in a letter. If you will give me her discription [description] and she does not answer that letter, I will write another under another name and give another discription of myself and also discribe [describe] her. I sent that [phot] of mine by express rolled up in a Rebel Jacket, which I bought of [Jno.] Morgan's waiter. When [Jno.] was killed, his waiter (a mulatto boy) got his jacket. Please take care of it for me if it is not too much trouble. And see if that [phot] of mine looks anything like the discription I gave my self in a letter to Miss Staunton. I am well and getting about as usual. Have not gone to the front yet. I may go in three days and I may not go in three months. I do wish you could see the letter I received from Eliza Humphery. I wouldn't have thought she would have written as she did, but you needn't let anyone know that I said anything about it. Jennie, I am going out about ten miles from town Saturday and stay till Monday attend [protracted] meeting-I anticipate, a nice time wish you was here to go along. Well, breakfast is ready and I have written about all I can think of for this time. I will close and eat breakfast. Now don't think because I am up this morning and have written a note that I always get up so early. I generally lay in bed till they call me to breakfast about two or three times. Give my best regards to all and write soon.
Yours as ever,
October 23, 1864
My dearest Jennie,
Another Sabbath finds us well and still at Knoxville with Wallace. Lieut [Lieutenant] Wallace received a letter from my Capt [Captain] ordering me to be sent to my company. Wallace respectfully returned the order with the information that I was detailed here by special order Department of the Ohio; and untill [until] I received an order equal or superior that I should remain here. I don't know what the Capt will think of the reply neither do I care a great deal. I can soldier ten months more almost anywhere if I but keep my health. If my Capt takes the pains to go to Department Head Quarters to get me ordered to my Regt [Regiment], of course I shall have to go. I will stay with them untill I get tired again and there make applications for another detail. I shant do up this letter untill the mail comes. There may be a letter for me from Ottawa. Well, the mail is here but no letter for Ira. Oh, Jennie! What do you suppose I would give to be in Ottawa tonight and when I stop to think there is no telling whether I shall ever be permitted to return to you again, it indeed makes me feel sad. How many thousands have been placed in the same circumstances have at some unguarded moment, when they least expected it, been called from this world to another. Allow me to relate to you an instance of that kind; a member of the 1st Ohio Heavy Arty [Artillery] in the Hospital at this Post, but who had become convalescent and was walking about town last Thursday evening stepped into an Irish grog shop and began drinking, stayed there untill after dark. He was very drunk and started for the Hospital, being too drunk to find his way and being without a guide he wandered about from our alley to another untill discouraged when he lay down being without a cot or blanket and yet weak he chilled and next morning was picked up by a couple of passers by, carried into a house nearby, but it was too late. He died in a few moments after entering the house, despite all their efforts to save him. He was a very likely looking young man. He spoke just before he died and said: "Oh, where is mother." Now this is only one instance, if he had been told the day pervious that in 24 hours he would be in eternity, he would said they were foolish. How awful to die a drunkard! Well, Jennie it is getting late, every one in bed. If you will excuse me I will retire, it is getting quite cold here. Nights are very cold
Give my regards to enquiring [inquiring] friends and write me every opportunity.
I remain as ever yours,
Ira B. Conine
October 26, 1864
My dearest Jennie!
This morning mail brought two letters from Ottawa for me and then they were such good long letters that I almost imagined you was here in person talking to me, I just smoothed back those gray locks; drew on my specks, threw myself back on my dignity, and just more than enjoyed myself in the perusal of them. I read to Lieut. Wallace what you had to say concerning your assumed Maggie P. Staunton but that doesn't [train] him one bit. What does he or I either care what her name is? If you have anymore non de plume in your little one horse town just send to I and Wallace their [their] initials and we will write them. I don't think you can have anymore sport over our letters than we can over thiers, if they do they are welcome to it. I don't want you to understand that I am anything of a correspondent but I can, like everyone else write something. Now you recommended Miss Staunton to me as a correspondent. I didn't ask for a correspondent, if I had and you whom I have thought my best friend on earth had sent me an assumed name with the recommend you did with Miss Maggie I never could have forgiven you. Lieut. Wallace is a friend of mine and has treated me as a gentleman. Tis through his influence that I missed the passed summer's campaign for which I tender him my sincerest thanks, and if you really feel that interest in me which you pretend you do, you certainly would thank him also. Then would it not be wrong in me to decieve [deceive], and betray him? He is a gentleman and I assure you, he is fully competent to converse or correspond with our lady in Ottawa, on any subject. She may select-- now for this reason I read him what you said concerning Miss Staunton being an assumed name. Now as for myself, I wrote her because I thought she might be a niece of our Secretary Staunton and that I might make something out of it, perhaps get on the old Secretary's staff at Washington-so much for building castles in the air. But laying all jokes aside, let her be whom she may. I don't think she has made much at Knoxville as to my hand write if she wishes she can compare her letter with this and see if they correspond, yet I don't deny writing her, for I have the copy of the letter in my desk now. But let us change the subject. You said something about not teaching this winter, but thought you would go into a printing office to set type instead, and ask my advice, now will you take my advice if I give it you! If so, above all things, my dear Jennie, do not go into a printing office. Next thing I hear of you, you will be wanted to go into some factory to work; do for my sake Jennie keep out of such places, if you ever do go to work in such a place not for my sake alone, but for your own sake, never let me hear of it. My reasons I will not give unless you ask them. Why don't you go to school? You say my picture and you have such gay times-better be careful how you fool with that picture, it isn't at all safe to fool with soldiers, for instance, look at the case of Squire Groves! I don't blame him one bit, if girls will lend confidence in uncle Sam's hirelings let them abide by the consequences. My only wonder is that he didn't sleep with the girls before he left.
Now Jennie, you speak of me not having confidence in you, indeed I have never doubted you in the least, but where you accuse me of living nearer a woman since in the army, you accuse me wrongfully. I think I comprehend your meaning! Now I can give you my word and honor, that such has never occurred since I left Hancock County, and as for my conduct there you know as well as I. As to fortunes I have no faith in them. Indeed I do remember how we used to sit and listen for the clock to strike. You always counting an hour ahead , and about the time the old clock would strike twelve the old lady would stick up her head and commence hallooing; Jane, Jane, Jane (but still no answer) You will just make yourself sick. (Jane, with a kind of whine) Yes, mother I am going. And you did go (in about three hours). Oh! Dear Jennie, will we ever see such times again! I trust we may. This letter is getting lengthy but you will excuse me this time for I must answer all; did you show your friend Miss Maggie my [phot] and what does she think of C. M. Carroll. Jennie, you seemed to think we were a pretty lazy set to sleep 'till breakfast and that if you was here you would be. My motto is take this world easy while you can and I believe I am getting my share of the easy part of it. You appeared to feel rather uneasy, afraid of my capture, now you needn't be any way uneasy about that if they ever get me it will be while I am sleeping. As for the parson and his daughter making a Christian of me, I wish they could, but where is the use of their trying that when you cant [can't], as for hearts, I have three or four and want to divide them around as near equal as practicable. Maggie P will have to accept one of them I guess and I have sent one in a letter to Miss Armstrong, I don't want to be at all partial. Now Dear Jennie! In your next I want the real name of the individual, male or female, whom your call your friend Maggie P. Staunton. I want you to write me the truth. I must close this poorly composed and await your answer.
Keep out of Printing offices,
Ira B. Conine
P.S. Enclosed you will find $10.00 for you.
October 30, 1864
My Dearest Jennie!
Another long and lonely Sabbath is spent, and I have scarcely been out of the house. And what makes it so much more lonely I have had none of your ever welcome missives to while away my time in answering or perusing. Yet I cant go to bed without writing you something. If I did I couldn't sleep, and I assure you I have lost sleep enough within the last week with toothache, first I have been annoyed with it since I have been in the army. However I shant go to bed untill the mail comes there may yet be a letter for me, perhaps a letter from Miss Staunton. By they way, Jennie, what is the character of Miss Maggie P. Is she a sporting woman or a modest, virtuous lady? Now Jennie do not take offence at this question, for indeed I have often wondered as to what her character might be since the perusal of yours of October 17th. Well the mail is here but no letter for Conine. Jennie I am sorry to tell you, not so much as my own account as for yourself. It is this my Capt sent for me some time since but we paid no attention to the demand. Now the Commander of the Regiment has telegraphed to General Tillson to forward me to my command and unless something new should turn up I don't expect to remain here more than a week or so longer however if I go to Atlanta I will telegraph to you the morning I start so you may now where to address me. But, Jennie you know many are the meanderings of the world and there may yet something turn up that I may not have to go The Lieut. in charge of the Military Prison is trying to get me a Department Detail if he succeeds I will remain at Knoxville. I would indeed like to spend this winter in this place next summer I would find a place almost anywhere. I haven't time to write more at present so good night.
Ira B. Conine
P.S. Don't answer untill you hear from me again, and then answer all.
Yours as ever,
The general says he cant spare me at present.
Ira, Oct. 31/64
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