[I think this is from Jonathan Osborn to John P. Reynolds. Osborn did not serve in the Civil War. I think he works in a store. He later marries Amelia Henville. Reynolds served in the Salem Light Infantry Zouaves at the very beginning of the Civil War. He later marries Mary Henville, Amelia's sister.]
Images of this letter are here.
Salem Jun 8th 1861
I have neglected writing to you so long that I am almost ashamed to attept but however you must excesu me for I fully intended to write before this late day. I have made several attempts but have been obliged to cave in on account of some biddy's popping in after a small bit of hickory or some small rimlilt[?].
Every thing is Military. Military. Drill. Drill. I have (very much to your surprise I trust) joined the Salem Light Infantry Zouave Drill Club, a club which has beened formed since your departure from the city (which I trust will long be remembered as a very brilliant affair) by those members of the S.L.I. who were unable to respond to [page2] the call of duty but I suppose you have heard of this famous club before this. We have a very fine company of about 54 men but before long I think we shall have a full compliment if the applications continue to come in as rapidly as they have for the last week or two. last Thusday evening we voted in seven members. The number was at first limited to 30 and afterward to 40 but owing to the vast number of applications we thought it better to increase it to 50. to which number we recruted very fast. but still they came and pressed upon us so much that we have been obliged to increase the number again to 64. We shall not accede this last number (64.) Amongts our names are N & W Knisman J.D Parker. Geo A. Fisher. P.T. Kimball. W.[or H.] Lakin an Geo Ives. N Frye. L. Smith. T Taylor. Geo Chipman and a host of others. so you see that we have a great many tall fellows [page 3] and not only tall but able bodied as you can judge from the sign of H Lakiman and myself. we have got so that we can drill the manuel very well. We are just commencing bayonet Drill which comes[?] very hard for us at first.
Our regular drills are on Monday and Thursday evening and always turn out a large crowd. last Monday evening we were to have a street drill we mustered about 42 men at the Armory in uniform by the way we have adapted a very neat and serviceable uniform [?] a dark blue jacket trimmed on the collar and cuffs with that red braid that the S.L.I. are trimmed with and brass buttons. The regular Salem Zouave Cap and patent leather round abouts and scabbard. We left the armory about 1/2 past 8 Oclk and marched Central and Essex Ln[*] route stop with Charley Estes drumming the regular Zouave tap. no sooner had [page 4] we reached Summer Ln than it began to rain in torrents which surprised us very much indeed. Capt W. gave the order file[?] left file[?] left which was immediately obey and then came the order double quick and the way we traveled down Essex and Washington Ln wasn't slow I tell you. we imagined Jeff Davis just ahead of us at-taking the S.L.I. we have the name of executing it very well. (but the best of the joke is in five minutes after we reached the Armory it was bright star-light) There is a club in the City Guard armory commanded by Geo W. Whipple and drilled by Charly Bates called the Union Drill Club. they have about 60 members and generally muster about 25 to a drill. they have adopted a very neat uniform of Grey Blue & Red. John Downing and Henry Stone belong to it. So you see we have in the store firm Military men. [page 5] beside them too Drill Club there is the S.L.I. and the S.M.S.I.[?] home guard the Artillery and the Cadets making in all Company's of home guard. I call the Cadet home guard I think there is not much prospect of their ever being any thing more. I have been told that they are to remain at home to guard the Old Ladies Home. They are about used up in one [?] of the sword. They are a bye[?] word for every one in the city. The other day a young man asked me to lend him 2 dollars until the Cadet went to war. I was rather hard up for money about that time so I was under obligation to refuse him which of course was very unpleasant. if you ask a person when they are going to war they will answer when the Cadets go. so you see John they catch it from all quarters. I pity anybody that belongs to Cadets now a days. The Artillery have increased their numbers to 100 and have had a new uniform made up in great haste and now there [page 6]is not the slightest prospect of there ever being called. They have made one or two parades and looked finely.[?] The Cadets have had two afternoon drill on the neck lately and made a very fine appeariner [?] the first one they had 102 nuskets. and the second about 80. The Union Club have had three drills down there. their muskets were carried down in a team and the men went down as they pleased. and marched up. the Marblehead company has been over here one. and two of the Danvers companys. they all look a finely. All we seem to hear about is the Salem Zouav. you would think if you were here that there was no other company but they. so you see John the S.L.I. [?] [?] great praise. and now let every man strive to heep it up. the Boston papers gave you quite a compliment by saying that the Salem Zouves where the finest company that had [page 7] made their appearance. Yesterday morning I read in the paper that Capt's Devoraux Martin & Bartlilts[?] company had quelled[?] a [?]. I presume you were there and will write me as full account of the particulars. We have had a great many reports about the company one is that they were all sick another that they are coming home in a few day. another that they were in the battle of [?]ervells point (which proved to be false.) and 4 men killed. so you see we get a great many false reports. John I hope the time is not far distant when you will all return home prepared to give a noble account of yourselves which I trust you will. when that day comes rest assured that there are men enough ready to swell your ranks to over-flowing. Well John bussiness is very dull and has been ever since the first blow was struck at Fort Sumter.
now let the S.L.I. rub out that insult but rubbing own their share of those [?] a rebels who threaten to tramp the Stars and Stripes under their feet and force upon us a rag which we would not stop to pick up. There has been several false reports in curculation about 2 or 3 of our store keepers and one is that Thos W. Downing [?] were going to close there place of bussiness till the war is over another that they are going to Boston to set up the whole sale bussiness, (a lovely time to go into that) These are absolutely false they have no intention of closing up. They love to keep open so well that I doubt if we can persuade them to close on the 17th of June. We want the day very much as the Club is going to Lynnfield for a drill. I see by Amelia's letter that you have heard of it also. put no dependence in it
We are not having every pleasant weather for June. every other day is rainy - we have not had more than three warm day thus far.
Operations are going on rapidly on the new franklin building and cotton factory. they have the foundations all laid for the franklin and are commencing to lay the bricks the factory they have nearly up to second story.
I am glad to write you that Amelia is improving very much. she has been gaining very well for the last [?] weeks and I hope before long she will be able to walk out. we took a very pleasant ride one day last week which I think did her a great deal of good. Mother George Lucy Joe Henry Stone and all the rest [last page] send their love to you and wish you well. Mrs. Henville is sick with a very bad cold but she will be better in a few day. Mr Henville is not at work in Bost [?] I met him in the street this noon and he told me that he had been at work here in Salem fixing some hats. I have not been up to the house but once this week as Amelia is over to Margie Haskills to stay a week or two. I cannot write any more now as it is nearly time to close. Please excuse the looks and all mistakes as I have just had to jump up again for the 19th time since I commenced to write. [?] (up I go again for the 20th time) my love Charly Williams, John Lakeman Frank Hitchings and all the rest. Please write soon. I must close now. so good night.
*Ln or St, hard to tell L from S
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