In this letter, Frank talks about the war and his health, gives farming advise to his wife, talks about buying a slave, and ends with a prayer. I'm posting the transcription today, and I'll post my thoughts on it soon.
Dear July [Julie],
Having just received a letter from you I will hasten to reply. Your letter was thankfully received. I was extremely glad to hear from you again, it affords me great pleasure to hear that you and our little boys are well and also to hear that you have hired a Negro to help you along with your work. I am not very well at present. I have taken such a severe cold and soar [sore] throat and also that disease which I have in my breast hurts me a great deal worse since I have taken such a severe cold. I have never reported sick, yet some days I am not able to walk 2 miles. We have no duty to do, except inspection and guard duty and not much of that. if we had to drill much or march much I would be compelled to give up and report sick or unfit for duty. I cannot tell you anything positive about the war. We have orders for General Lee to be ready at all times. To march to battle at a moments warning. Therefore, we listen every morning for long role to beat. I am unable to say whether we will have a fight soon or not. There is a great many men getting furloughs now. It seems by that our leading men does not think that we may never have another fight. We suffer enough without fighting. Tongue cannot express how bad we fair out here, but O how thankful I will be to my maker if I am spared to see peace made and get home to you and our dear litle children, there to have rest from my pains and trouble during this unfriendly war. July, you wrote to me that you wanted me to come home. I cannot tell you when I will come home as there is so many here that claim a furlough before me and all these that have been home since they left the coast. I want you to let me know in your next letter, when you expect to be confined and if I am spared I will use every exertion to get a furlough to come home about that time. July, if you have not had the new ground cleaned of yet, you would better have the bushes cut and piled and get some person to help you and have it burned of before the March winds come and have all the land broke up as soon as you can that you have at home and if you are of mind to, you may get a few acres more to tend from your Pa or some other person if you think it will pay. Be shore (sure) and let me know how you like that Negro when you write and let me know whether you have got our sheep or not. When you get them you better keep them up till they bring lambs, drive or take them up to that little field and change them about as much as you can and do not neglect giving them and old Susie salt occasionally. July, I have understood from Doc, since I have been here, that old... Fort offered to sell that Negro witch Daniel Jackson has hired for six hundred dollars. I want you to find out whether he will take four hundred $ yet or not. You can ask him, when you see him in paying. if he will take that I will buy her. I have about three hundred $ coming to me independent of what I owe, which I think I will be able to collect this spring and the balance I can give good insurance for until we can make it. So be shore [sure] and find out and let me know as soon as you can. I would like very much to buy her at that price. Edwin Price has got to flouring [flowering] valentines for the boys here at such a rate that I thought I would send you a copy, so do not let it alarm you at all [Mr. Price was making stationary for the soldiers]. July, if you have received that book which I sent you, use some of it for writing paper, use it out of the last of the book and save the alphabet in the first part of the book. I bought paper ......though, paper is selling for $3.00 a.... here from the sutlers. Must bring my letter to a close as I have nothing more that will interest you at present. July, I want you to take good care of my little boys. Try to raise them right and if I never meet you and them no more on earth, I hope to meet you in heaven. May the Lord be with us in all our troubles and help us with the pleasure of meeting again before long, to stay in peace at home and raise our children and to rest from our troubles in this war. So nothing more, but remain your true and affectionate husband until death.
F E Leaphart