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Samuel Ayres [Ayers?] to Lyman Langdon

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Moneka Linn Co Kansas Dec 29, 1861

 

Honorable L Langdon

 

Dear Sir:  Yours of Nov 22nd inst came to hand yesterday and I need not say it was truly welcome for all communications from your pen are by us highly prized well knowing as I do my unworthyness to receive such acts of kindness from one so far my superior.  But enough of this.  From statements in your letter I conclude you are not entirely ignorant of our movements in this far off region.  We as well as you have our own excitement and scears (?) of trial and conflict And in some instances it may be we have rather more than do the citizens of Defiance to cal into action our combative power and power of endurance.

 

Two weeks come  tomorrow morning we broke up camp nine miles southeast of Leavenworth for West Point Mo.  I left the command as we crossed the Kansas River Bridge and turns a my course towards home whilest the command turned in the direction of Kansas City. At Kansas City a detachment of four companies were sent to Independence to attend to some secessh in that place and a long the road.  From Independence they struck through to Harrisonville to do the same there and join the command at West Point. What was done by this party I have not been definitely informed but conclude this trip was not an intirely unproductive one.  Our circumstance I will mention which was related to me yesterday by one of the party.  He said two of them were winding a long and over took a man in citizens cloths  On questioning him he informed them he was a Col in the secession army they told him he must go along with them which he did without any particular opposition.  After traveling a piece he said there was his place pointing to a house near some timber and he wanted them to go their so that he could get a horse to ride.  They told him they did like to have him go there but they press  a horse a little ahead for him to ride.

 

One of them went forward for this purpose and whilst engaged in sadling one four men were seen emerging from the woods above mentioned well mounted and on a full run towards the man who had the prisnor in charge.  When he saw them he told the prisnor to quicken his spead but he slackened it he was told if he did not hurry he would be shot but still he continued to lag whilst the horsemen continued rapidly to gain on them – finding remonstrance in vain the man drew his revolver and shot the prisnor down. When the horsemen saw him fall they turned their course back to the timber.  On searching the body, papers were found confirming the prisnors statement that he was a col of the southern army and was home on a furlow.  During the march of the two divisions from Kansas City to west point they burned not far from fifty dwellings liberating one hundred and fifty slaves and took about four hundred head of horses – mules – and cattle.  As near as I can learn our regiment since it took the field has considerably more than paid its way.  According to the Quarter Masters report we have turned in to government some $1800 dollars more than their expenditures.  Perhaps bue few regiments have done as much.  Still the expence of fitting out has been heavy.

 

When our next move will be I cannot at present say.  I forgot to state that on their march our regiment took a number of prisnors some of whom on examination were dismissed on their taking the oath of fidelity to our government whilest others have been sent to Kansas City for safe keeping

 

As a general thing we do not calculate to take many prisnors for we have no place for them.  Occasionally however some fall into our hands and whence over there we have to adopt a different policy with them we should in case they had never surrendered.  We are having a very mild open winter and for those in the field as we are it is very fortunate.  If the weather continues as mild through the winter as it bids fair too be it is doubtfull whether we go into winterguards during the winter

 

I am calculating to join the command tomorrow.  They are now encamped near Morristown: There is a report that Gen Price has left the Osage crossing south.  If so I think it is in consequence of our throwing in quite a fource along the line and Gen Pope is reported to be on his way from Sedalia with 15 or 1600 men  Gen Prentice is operating on the north with some four thousand  Whether Gen Siegler is [XXX] with Pope I cannot say.  One report said he is south of Price and will intercept Prices’ retreat but I cannot say  where he is.  I heard a report at Mound city yesterday that Siegler and Price had been fighting some two or three days but it needs conformation.  If Gen Prentice succeeds in taking possession of Lexington and Gen Pope drives Rains Price & co south and we can clear the border counties of their secessh inhabitance  I think for the present we shall not be in much danger of invasion of Kansas soon.  From the papers I see there is some danger of a rupture with England in consequence of the Mason & Slidell affair.  If France and Germany unite with England acknowledging the Independence of the  southern confederacy and commence hostilities on the general government in connection with the southern rebels I think we shall have as much as we can attend to on our hands.  But I cannot yet think such will be the case.  At any rate I hope governance will take a firm and bold stand in relation to the Slavery question and exterminate the unholy institution from our midst But I must stop my unruly pen; for already I must have exhausted you patience by my prolifity.  Pleas continue to let me know how you are prospering.  My kind reguards to your dear family  Long shall I retain in my fond recollection the kind reguard manifested  by your dear lady in contributiary to my comfort during my stay with you last winter and likewise your children.  My place of address is Moneka Linn Co. Kansas

 

Yours Affectionately

Samuel Ayers

 

Hon L. Langdon

 

 

[Letter 2]

 

Lawrence Kansas April 5th 1862

 

Friend Langdon: Dear Sir

 

Your kind and more than welcome letter was duly received and I hope that such favours may continue to arrive  At present we have but little if any news in this section but what you have in that country.  From published statements our armies are under the guidance and blessing of a kind and beneficent providence acheaving great  and splendid victories which must greatly revive the heart afore [?] droping spirits of many of the friends of our government and produce a thrill of joy through-out the length and breadth of our land.  From our late victories some may conclude our war is nearly closed – I wood it was so if peace can be visioned on a bassis which will seem a permanent peace.  But rather than peace should be closed on any other principal I would rather as much as I desire a secession of arms the war would continue even for years.  I think however if proper measures an instituted the war may be brought to a permanent close in a year from now if not before.  To accomplish this it is my opinion that the cause of the war must be removed before anything permanent can be accomplished unless provisions are made by Generals for its speady removal.

 

Before that point is attained however in my opinion there must be some hard fighting and in all probability we shall need wish some reverses [?].  Strange in deed would it be if our arms should meet with no defeat from now forward until the rebellion is fully subdued.  From all I can learn in relation to the movements of the conferats I think we may expect warm work at Corinth and I should not think it very strange if at first our troops would have to give back.  We may not be so and still it may  In New-Mexico the confederates are reported to be in the assendant and reinforcements on the part of the government are called for.

 

It’s for that as generally supposed the troops are bring collected hear in order that they may get their out-fit and be ready to march as soon as the grass become sufficiently plenty to sustain our horses and teams on the march.  The distance from hear to Santa-fe is according to the best information I can obtain some 800 or 850 miles  quite a distance for an army to march on an uncultivated country or alast the greater part of the way. Whether I shall accompany the command or not I cannot positively say much depends on the stat4e of things when we get ready to march  I rather think however I shall go.  At present there are 4 Regiments encamped just above the town (viz) the Wisconson 12th & 15th and 1st and 7th Kansas – the 7th Kansas is what is generally called the 1st Cavalry regiment Kansas Volenters.  I was likewise informed last evening that the Kansas 2nd are encamped at Brooklin eleven miles from hear waiting for the same purpose  Whether any more regiments will join the expidition I cannot say  Some think there will be 7 or eight regiments when we get ready to start.  But before we get ready to move such man [may?] be the state of things we shall have to go in some other direction

 

If our troops should be overrun at Corinth it would not be any thing strange if we should be ordered in that direction instead of New-Mexico.  Army movements are very uncertain things.

 

Our spring thus far has been very backward  freed is not standing but little and the ground is so wet but little ploughing has been from cows especially we shall be rather late in putting in our spring crops.  When we start if I am with the troops I shall calculate to keep a brief sketch of the country through which we pass and the events which may transpire on our march.  If I find anything which I think will be interesting to you I will communicate as we pass a long.

 

I am now looking for Fordis and family hear.  Whether they will pass through this place I cannot say.  Pleas present my kind reguard to Mrs. Langdon and family.

 

Until you hear from me a gain if you write please direct to Moneka Linn Co Kansas.  If I go with the expedition I will write you and give you instruction how to direct your letters so there I can obtain them.

 

Yours Affectionately

Samuel Ayres

 

Hon L. Langdon

 

 

[Letter 3]

 

In camp at Union City Tn

June 12, 1862

 

Friend Langdon

 

From the place whence this communication is dated you see I am moving on still further south and move into the heart of secessiondom.  From what I can learn there are but few truly loyal men in these parts and those who are loyal at heart are so defenceless they can not say a word in vindication of the union.  In fact the secesh are not afraid to come out and boldly announce their secesh sentiments to our soldiers as we march a long and in one instance as Gen Mitchell and his body guard were passing a schoolhouse the teacher and schollers came out and  hurraed for Jef Davis and at the same time they passed unrebuked.  There is something connected with the movements of our commanders  I do not neither can I fully understand as reguards their treatment of rebells.  They act as though they were afraid they would be injoured in person or property.  Say they the secesh are erring bretheren and must be treated as such  such were the orders as I am informed given by Gen Quimba to a detachment which was sent from Columbus to Mosco and that if any one interfear and in any respect with their person or property they should be severely dealt with.  Now as it reguards Jayhawking I am and ever have been an opposer of the practice.  Yet I can but wonder at the sensativeness of our leaders on the point.  If a Union man is robed by a secessionist it matters but little—it is a natural consequence but the property of a secessionist must be held sacred.  For soldiers to take the property of rebels and appropriate to their individual use I believe to be wrong further than is necessary for their immediate comfort but I do not think it wrong for

 

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