29 April 1865

In Camp near Burksville Junction
April 19, 1865

Dear Father,

I take this opportunity of writing you a few lines hoping they will find you all enjoying good health. I hardly know what to write as you receive more news through the paper than I can tell you or even know but one thing I can tell you that I do know and that is the rebellion is virtually put down and your boys helped to do it. Yesterday we received an official dispatch of Johnson’s surrender on the same terms as Lee. Yes, I say your boys helped put it down an it is the proudest part of our lives. I have never been sorry that I came down here and now I would not part with the knowledge of what I have seen for the best farm in the country for it will be an honor to anyone to say they belonged to the Army of the Potomac. I will be able to interest you all if I live to get home which will be at no distant day, I hope, for in my short history I have passed through many strange scenes. I think any man—especially young men who has not participated in this war—will feel ashamed when he meets those who have left home to fight for them and they sneaking out of it. They ought to be drummed out of the country or lose their citizenship.

I have been sick with dysentery for a week but I am better and hope soon to be well. Rose is well and sends his love to you all. I got a letter from Fanny yesterday. Please help her all you can until I get paid off for she needs help very much. We expect to get paid next month. I am glad to hear that she is settled in her little house. I think if I ever get home, I can live there very happy. Tell me in your answer to this where you moved the part of the house and whether Fanny has the use of it. Can I have it for a shop and how much ground there is around the house. Mr. Hill was here the first of the week. The boys was very glad to see him and he was glad to see us. I think he is a very fine man. I must close hoping you will write soon.

From your affectionate son, — A[lbert] Van Houten