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Franklin County: Jacob Stouffer to Mary R. Stouffer, July 5, 1863

In this letter to his daughter Mary, Jacob Stouffer describes the health of his brother Abraham, the suicide of Abraham Shetter, and the Confederate Army's invasion and emcampment within the area.

July 5 1863


Mary R. Stouffer
Dear Daughter, Sister

It is a long time Since we had the pleasure of hearing from our Scattered family, little did I think when you left home that Such a Scatterment would take place and So long a time elapse without an opportunity of hearing from each other-I feel thankful and rejoiced this evening to hear that you and the rest of our absentees are Still Spared in life and health and that we can Say we enjoy the Same blessing-James Varner came home this evening, and has given us a history So far as he could-how you were and they in Cumberland Co- we are all about as well as usual, and the friends and neighbours too- brother Abraham is recovering a little verry Slowly he has no bodily Suffering but is Still helpless in his arms and legs-we have had Some trials, and uneasy times now for nearly three weeks- and no doubt you have many reports; and many anxious hours on our account- but thanks be to God, who is able to keep and protect all who put their trust in him-we are Still Spared and I trust uninjured-our neighbourhood has Suffered Severly in the temporal blessing,the Rebels entered town on monday night the 15th June Since then we have been under their rule with the the exception of a few days on the 17th they moved toward

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Hagerstown and returned again on the 23rd Since then we have been quite overrun with them many thousand, the greater part of Genl. Lees army have passed by here and have been encamped all around us-they have encamped three different times in mine and Shetters woods this day one week we had Some Seven different camp all around us. which lay from Saturday noon untill tuesday morning-Genl. Lee had his head quarters in A. Shetters woods during this time.-they have encamped in and pastured our four grass fields and all of A. Shetters. in most of Daniels-in the [unclear: poorhouse] field by Joseph Ryder in J. Ryder orchard-in Daniel house yard or orchard-in Shetters woods between us and Abrahams-in my lot by the School house-in the grass lot by J. Bowmans in the lime Kiln lot by Rhodeses & other places-these Camps were mostly wagon trains-of Quartermasters- Genls head quarters- Commissary departments and Cavalry-we had no heavy encampment of Infantry quite close here-on Tuesday June 30 near 700 army wagons passed by here beside the Several encampments which moved away from around us also heavy bodies of infantry-21 peices of artilery and many horses and beef Cattle-all were marcing toward Gettysburg-I am writing more on this Subject than may be proper, and hurriedly and confused that you Scarcely read or understand it-you can learn the particulars when you get home-I can only Say that these men wanted almost everything-bread-butter milk-cheese vegeables & [unclear: C]- while those in authority

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took from us all the horses they could find-many were not moved far away and fell into their hands Geo Overcash lost all of his blind & all-they took all the horse [unclear: geers] they could find-the Oats and corn-hay when it Suited them flour-and every thing they needed-beef cattle young cattle and milk cows-my loss in flour-corn-Oats-hay grass and fences is heavy-all those however are the free gifts of a bountiful creator and are merely lent us and with job we can Say the Lord hath given-the Lord hath taken away and blessed be the name of the Lord-the hardest of of all I have yet to tell you-our friend and neighbour Absolam Shetter was laid into his Silent grave this forenoon-he had been in trouble and at times in a State of despondency-this with the troubles and Excitements around us-deranged his mind and on yesterday morning ended his existence by hanging-this is a hard Stroke on his poor bereaved family-we could not learn until this evening where our boys had come to-the following morning after Benjamin- James & David had Started Amos Started down too with Some of Jacob Leydigs horses-he would rather not have gone-but there was none else to go-he did not find any of the others So he took to the mountains to left of newburg-he Started out on Sunday last to hear how things were-when the Rebels chased him, he made for the park Valley-was at Joseph Ryders and on his way to M. Ryders he was so Surrounded that he could not escape-they took his

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horse from him and he walked home from Loudon-this was hurriedly written by candle light-and now monday morning Jacob Lehman is here waiting to take this letter to Carlise where he is going for Mary Stoner-we learned last Evening that Annie Ryder had come home and that they are all well-Davids and Amos Millers are also well-Little Annie was not So well-the last weeks-I think the boys would best buy two breackbonds down there-or a full Set for the two hind horses-not very heavy as they will Scarcely be Supplied here in time unless brot here from other parts-the front gears we can make up-I think too they will be high in price here-I have many things to Say yet but have not time now as Jacob is waiting for this-I think too our mails will Soon Run again I think you can all come home Soon-yesterday we heard canonading toward Wanesboro-they army had hard fighting at Gettysburg a few days ago. the Rebels were coming across the mountains with their wagon trains and Strikeing from Greenwood to Hagerstown-I will close by wishing you the blessing of God and his protections to you and all Godfearing Souls-my love to all enquiring friends

from your father

J. Stouffer

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