The following letter was written by Charles Clement Goodale (1844-1925), the son of Jared Goodale, Jr. (1812-1871) and Pheba Ann Norton (1814-1907) of Addison, Vermont, though he was raised in Essex County, New York. At the age of thirteen, Charles came to Farmersburg, Clayton County, Iowa, where his parents located on a farm. He worked on the farm and studied at the country school for a few years and then began teaching the school himself. In the fall of 1863, he went to Chicago and spent the ensuing winter there as a student in a mercantile college. He then returned to Iowa and on the 5th of May 1864, he enlisted in Co. C, 3rd Iowa Infantry which was later consolidated with the 2nd Iowa and he was carried on the roster in Co. F, 2nd & 3rd Iowa Veteran Infantry (Consolidated). He was taken prisoner on 22 July 1864 near Atlanta and sent to Andersonville prison. He was confined there for two months and then sent to Florence, South Carolina, until paroled in Charleston Harbor on 6 December 1864. From there he was taken to Annapolis, Maryland, and then sent home on a furlough. When he wrote this letter in March 1864, he was detailed as a clerk in the assistant adjutant-general’s office at Benton Barracks.
After he was mustered out in June 1865, he returned to his home in Iowa, where he continued to farm and teach school until his mother’s death when he moved to Madison county and at once began to take a prominent part in its affairs. He was elected county auditor and took up the study of law which from that time became his chosen profession. He visited Lamar, Colorado, where some of his old-time friends had located, in August 1886, and decided to locate here. He filed on land and purchased city property. He moved there with his family in April 1887, and “from that time his history and the town’s have been so intertwined that the story of one could rest be told without that of the other.”
Charles wrote the letter to Elbert Buck (1849-1921) of Farmersburg, Clayton county, Iowa. He was the son of Samuel H. Buck and Maria Hazen.
Benton Barracks, [St. Louis, Mo.]
March 4, 1865
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I received your welcome letter today and hasten to answer it. I have been expecting one from Mother for some time and I see the reason is that she has never written. Tell Father that I take the hint about Gen. Butler but still cannot acknowledge the [?] till I see more positive evidence. I think Master Elbert, if I was there, that you would soon know whether you would down me or not. Always judge the future by the past and book back and see what you have to encourage you in your quaint ideas.
Today has been a holiday in honor of the President’s Inauguration. I was down and saw the procession. It was two miles in length, composed of soldiers, artillery, and civilians. They fired salutes and on the whole it was quite a good time.
Tell Mother that I have taken the liberty of giving the needle case she intended for Will to Conrad Madison, my fellow prisoner in Florence [South Carolina]. 1 I took out the Testament and if I see Will, he shall have it. My reasons for giving to Madison were that I think it will be a great while before I shall see Will and if I do, he can have the free use of mine. And as I was at headquarters and was going to leave Madison, I wished to present him something, which I did, and he sends his thanks to her.
My eyes feel more like peeled onions that anything else but they are getting better. Have you any snow yet? Tell Father that I have Expressed a box to McGregor to him with two overcoats and a pair of pants. The large overcoat is for Emerson and the pants and the other coat, which is mine, is for Father. Clothing has raised and the boys do not wish to sell while it is so high. I will enclose a note in this which you will hand to Emerson and when you write, send me his P. O. address as I have forgotten it. Tell Father that he have mine for eight (8) dollars and if he concludes to take it, to send the money as there is no prospect of my getting any pay for some time yet.
Well, I suppose this is rather dry. If it ain’t, I am and shall get a drink of muddy Mississippi water.
And now mt dear sisters & brothers
Your patience no longer I’ll bother
And as parting advice I’ll give
That as long as you have health, you will surely live
So I’ll bid you goodbye this Saturday night
And as soon as you receive this I hope you will write
So remember and write and send the next mail
An answer to your servant, Mr. Charlie Goodale
Miss Emily Buck, Miss Cynthia Buck, Mr. Albert Buck
1 Conrad Madison served in Co. D, 53rd Illinois Infantry. He was from Leland, La Salle county, Illinois. Conrad was born in 1836; he was mustered out of the service at Benton Barracks, Missouri, on 16 May 1865, discharged as a veteran for disability.