Isaac Taylor, 5 February 1865

DeValls Bluff, Arkansas
February 5, 1865

Dear Wife,

It is Sunday again and my time has come to write, and I must say something. Firstly, I will inform you that I have a good appetite and have plenty to satisfy it. Nextly, I had a good solid shake of the ague the first of last week, and broke it with quinine. But the saddest news of all is “no payment” and consequently no chance for an officer to resign. I have no idea that we shall be paid until the first and maybe the middle of March, or later. If we are paid for the full time, then I don’t care so much.

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General Alexander Shaler

I am on duty as Judge Advocate yet. We have tried two important cases and have a murder case to try et. I have succeeded very well. I have but little doubt but that I could secure the position permanently if it were not that I don’t intend remaining in the service a great while. I called on General [Alexander] Shaler yesterday. I like him better than Andrews—that is, I think he is a sounder man. He is very gentlemanly—has his family with him.

I forgot to tell you in my last that I saw Lucian Carr [Lucien H. Kerr]. ¹ I was going down to court martial rooms the first morning I was ordered to report, and saw him standing by a fort looking at some men work. We had a short conversation. I could not talk long as I was obliged to go to court. He was down here trying to get recruits for Illinois, I guess, as near as I could find out. I told him there was no chance for procuring them here as they were all picked up to put in these negro regiments. He said he should leave that afternoon on a boat that was going down the river. He saw that we wouldn’t differ in politics as much as we used to. I told him I hadn’t change any. He said he had and voted and made speeches for Old Abe. I told him that you heard him speak in Farmington but of course I didn’t tell him what you said about his speech. I requested him to call on you and tell you he saw me which he promised to do but I guess he’ll forget it. I don’t see that he has changed much either for better or worse.

I wonder what you are doing today. Now I should love to be in with you. I desire your society more than anything else. And I enjoy it probably as much as any husband does his wife. I have received letters from Amelia, Mother, & Russel & Betsy. Russel is going to Saratoga to look after that business.

It is a raining and freezing and the ground is covered with ice and water. It is a lonesome, dark, dreary day. I send love as warm and ardent as our earliest.

Your husband, — Isaac Taylor

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Col. Lucien H. Kerr, 11th Illinois Cavalry

¹ Lucien H. Kerr was born in London, Ohio, on May 4, 1831. The son of a prominent lawyer, Kerr studied at home and worked occasionally as a youth. He came with his family to a farm near Elmwood, Illinois. Kerr traded and shipped livestock in Elmwood, then moved to nearby Peoria to study law. Kerr was admitted to the bar around 1861, then almost immediately enlisted in the 11th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Cavalry of the Union Army. When the unit was deployed, Kerr was named its adjutant. He rose to the rank of major and lieutenant colonel, then assumed the full colonel when Col. Robert G. Ingersoll resigned after his capture. He was mustered out on December 19, 1864. Upon his return to Peoria, Kerr practiced law. He made a public speech announcing his alignment with the Republican Party. In 1870, Kerr was elected to the Illinois Senate, where he served a two-year term. He was a candidate for re-election in 1872, but was unsuccessful. Kerr was appointed Peoria City Attorney, holding the position until his death. In 1873, Kerr accidentally discharged his firearm while hunting, receiving a gunshot wound. An infection quickly spread and he died at the house of the Mayor of Peoria on October 31, 1873. He was buried at Springdale Cemetery in Peoria.

Return to Isaac Taylor Letters

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