Friday, July 10, 2009

Rinker War Time Letter Was Discovered

Had Been in Old Building at Livingston
and Was from O. C. Rinker to His Wife
A very interesting letter came to light in tearing down the old land mark at Livingston known as the old red house. John Ackley has sent in to Purley Rinker a letter he found there which he felt sure would be of interest to the Rinker family, coming as it did from O. C. Rinker while he was in the service at Ft. Smith, Ark. in 1863. Though 52 years old the letter is well preserved. It is as follows:

Ft. Smith, Ark., Nov. 29th, 1863.

Dear Wife:

Again I seat myself to try to get a letter to you. Do not think that I have not written to you for I have written at every opportunity I have had to send you letters. The reason that you do not get them I cannot tell.

I am happy to say that my health is good, also the health of Frank and George [his brothers]. The health of the entire company is very good. W. W. Norwood has been very sick but he is recovering as fast as can be expected. I was glad to hear that all were well and also of the recovery of father. I received five letters from you yesterday, it being the first time that I heard from you since you left Nebraska. The latest dated one bore the date of Oct. 21st. This came in a letter from Captain Harvey.

It is altogether a mistake about the officers having an opportunity to send letters and the men not. They all have the same chance. It is true that there is or was some men that traveled from Ft. Gibson to Ft. Scott, but they did not carry any mail either for officers or men. They carried nothing but official papers. But thank the Lord we have now got to where there is a mail line and hope we will not leave it for about eight months. We arrived here yesterday and thank the Lord we have got to see some corn once more. Our horses are very thin, that is the most of them. I have one that is in good order. Frank's looks terrible. George has lost his horse. He was stolen from him while he was grazing him in the cane brake, but I think that he can get another one without costing him very much.

We are now under General McNeal. He has superceded Blunt. As for my self I am pleased with the exchange. McNeal is an Iowa man. There are a good many troops in the place and vicinity. I understand that there are about thirty thousand men. We are expecting to have a fight or a footrace pretty soon with the forces of Cooper and Price. They are in about forty miles of here and there is a portion of our cavalry that is annoying them all the time. As for our regiment we cannot have any of that sport, as our stock is so reduced that it would not be safe. But if we get to feed them corn for a month then the old Sixth can give them all trouble.

We arrived here yesterday. The Iowa 18th is here and as for the other troops I cannot tell as I have not learned yet. I saw Captain Mallory this morning. He is in the 18th.

You spoke in one of your letters concerning the repairing of a portion of our fence. Say to father that he knows what is better than I do, and if the fence needs repairing, have it done, that is if he can pay it with the rent from the place. I do not want to pay the money out for it just now unless he cannot get it done without it. I want you to take as good care of yourself as you can and I will try and do the same. Concerning us coming back to the border, there is strong talk of us going back to the boarder of Arkansas and Missouri. Ewing is calling for the 6th and I think he will eventually get us. If we do come there then you may look for me to come home, but I cannot come from here. The distance is too great and the road is too dangerous.

Ever remaining your true husband, O. C. Rinker to his wife.

Direct your letters to Springfield, Mo., instead of Ft. Scot.
The editor appreciates the contribution of this unidentified newspaper clipping to The Jerome Journal by Geraldine Rinker of Augusta, Georgia.

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