The following letter was written by Esther Livingston Pratt of Tinmouth to her grand-niece, Ellen Maria Doty Schermerhorn, who at the time lived in Effingham County, Illinois. Ellen was the daughter of Aaron Vail Doty of Wallingford and Lucretia Salsbury of Tinmouth. The Dotys left Rutland County about 1850 and settled first in Hillsdale County, Michigan, then in Effingham County, Illinois.  Ellen married Algernon Sidney Schermerhorn in Michigan, then moved with her husband and children to Illinois. Their eldest son, Algernon Vail Schermerhorn, was my Grandmother Broom's father. Maria Clark mentions several relatives, including her sisters, Sally Barnum and Mary Salsbury Verplank, her brother-in-law Darwin Barnum, and her son Elias E. Clark, who was in Company I, 5th Vermont Infantry. 

Tinmouth Feb 13th 1863 On the Hill  . . . 

 Dear Algernon & Ellen & the little Ones

  You have all been the subject of much thot lately by those who yet live on this old Hill. We want to hear from you & your dear Parents & all the family connections & we think you would like the same & I will try to tell you. 

   Granma [ Fanny Livingston Salsbury ] is still alive but she is so poor & her teeth all gone & she is bowed over so I think you would not know her. I am changed more than she is for I cant walk but she can. There is no one to write but me. Aunt Sally [Salsbury] is in Brooklyn with Aunt Mary [Verplank]. Uncle Darwin [Barnum] has enlisted and gone to Baton Rouge. Uncle John [Salsbury] is in the army. He helped get up the 9th [ Vermont] Regt. & they went off & then the Gov wanted him to help get up another Regt so he did so & went with them. He was first lieutenant in Co. C. 

  The Regt went to Washington & from there to Poolsville where they are now ... So you may write to Capt. John A. Salsbury, Co. I, 10th Regt. Vt. Vols., Washington, D.C. & right glad will he be to get a letter from his darling little Ellen as he used to call you ... Poor old feeble Granma feels at times as though she should never see him [ her son John] again & she prays for grace to support her & says "Thy Will be done." You knew Elias [ Elias Clark, Maria's son] was in the war. He was mustered into service September 16th 1861. He has had the measles & some other sickness & endured great hardships. Was wounded in the knee at Savage Station & taken prisoner & remained a prisoner forty days & lived on soup made of Mules meat & thick with maggots. Elias said he drank it because he thought it would keep him alive, but very many of the feeble soldiers starved to death. When Elias was exchanged he was carried to U.S. Hospital, Chester, Pa where he is now ... New Years was very lonely with us. We had taken supper & were sitting back round the room in the lonely twilight hour & the door opened suddenly & "I wish you all a happy New Year" broke the deathlike silence & Elias stood in our midst. One simultaneous scream rent the air. I believe that scream would have driven a brigade of Rebels without Bayonet shot Powder or Ball ("teapot or kettle"). An hour was devoted to tears of joy & gratitude before we could settle down & appear rational. 

  Elias stayed 13 days and returned to Chester . . . Poor boy, how he did enjoy his visit at home after being gone almost sixteen months & seeing death all around him in all its most hideous forms . . .

  Now we want to know all about yourself & family. The good letter that you & Algernon wrote & told us all about dear little Fannie's [ Ellen's sister] sickness and death & all about your folks is kept choice & we read it a great many times & it is a great comfort to that feeble old Granma & me. Sometimes we have a real cry over it but love it & we love son (as your mother called him) because he was so good to gratify us old folks that he never see. Now will you write once more & tell us all about your Father & mother & Salsbury [ Ellen's brother] & Jane [ Ellen's sister] & family & Mr. [ ?] and the darling little ones & your own precious selves. The little fellow [A.V.?] has outgrown the picture I have of him I suppose but it is looked at & kissed a great many times now ...

Submitted by Joseph Broom