This letter was written by Vermont native, Hosea Paul (1809-1870) to his wife, Ellen (Gamble) Paul. Hosea and Ellen were married in 1833 at Canaan, Vt., where Hosea served as the postmaster. In 1834, he settled in Cuyahoga Falls, OH, where he pursued a career in surveying and engineering.
During the Civil War, he served as the chief of railroad location parties for the US Engineers 5th Division. During much of the war, he was based at Big Hill, Kentucky, and in 1864 he worked on surveying fortifications outside of Cincinnati, Ohio.
November 2, 1864
My Dear Wife,
I received yours of October 27 on Monday, being the second from you since leaving Cuyahoga Falls. I am in good health, am still boarding near Ft. Mitchell, have been at the drawing room of the office since last Friday, shall have to go to Ft. Whittlesey and survey it in a day or two. It is 3½ miles from here east of the Licking [river]. Col. J. is gone to Louisville [and] will be back in a day or two.
I think I shall get my money for October on Saturday. I have bought nothing big or little except ferry tickets & my board since I have been here, probably enough. Shall have to buy a pair of stockings if I stay more than 2 weeks. I shall get all the surveying that I now know of in that time. But Col. J. wants some guns mounted &c. in Fort Burnside and if a joiner and some other hands can be got, Robert and I will go into camp and stay there 3 or 4 weeks. I suppose Robert is now getting ready &c. I have not seen Harry to speak to him since I last wrote. As soon as I can do so, I will ascertain about Mary coming down. If you can get along, it will be more pleasant for her to have Robert here although Robert does not go to Harry’s much, and probably will not at present. At any rate, I shall not.
It is rainy today. I hope you have got your boys work most done, as I suppose it is very cold there. I should be very lonesome if Robert were not with Hosea if he has not, had better use the new chain. I wrote the other day how to fix it. It will only take him 5 or 10 minutes. I hope he will do all the surveying that he possible can. I fear if he does not, I shall lose the good will or run of work. And I have an idea that I shall [ever] do any government work after this trip. I do not intend to ever go away again to stay while we both live if I can possibly help it. I want to see you all very much indeed. The time somehow seems very much longer that it did last year.
You must write all of you—Dwight and Ed as well as you Mary and Hosea.
I am your affectionate husband, — H. Paul
Will send money just as soon as I can get it.