This letter was written by Jeremiah Shindle Shuman (1839-1918) from Catawissa — a quiet little village on the Susquehannah River in central Pennsylvania. Jeremiah was the son of Solomon Shuman (1813-1886) and Hannah Miller (1815-1873), a Quaker family. Jeremiah served in the state militia briefly during the summer of 1863 when the state was threatened by Lee’s army. He married Mary Florence Clark (1843-1893) during the Civil War. Jeremiah’s younger brother, John A. Shuman (1842-1863) died on 10 March 1863 while serving in Co. A, 6th Pennsylvania Infantry.
Jeremiah wrote the letter to his friend, Joseph Schelly [miss-spelled Shelly in regiment records] who was killed on 30 June 1862 at Charles City Crossroads [the Battle of Glendale or Frayser’s Farm], Virginia, while serving with Co. F, 1st Rifles of the Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps. They were famous for the bucktails they wore on their caps.
Addressed to Jos. Schelly, Comp. F, 1st Rifles, P. V. R. C. [Pennsylvania Volunteer Reserve Corps], Col. Chas. J. Biddle, Gen’l McCall’s Division, Camp Pierrepont, Virginia via Washington D.C.
November 15, 1861
Yours came duly to hand and was perused with no little pleasure. I am happy to inform you that I am enjoying good health, hoping this may find you in the same condition. I was really surprised to find you located where you are. I should have written to you previous but I did not know where you were. I often think back of the good old times we had last winter. Such for instance as boiling eggs, making lemonade, eating oranges with Tanker Dunbar and drinking grog with James Ward. But so much for all this.
I must inform you what I have been doing since I last saw you. I have been visiting nearly one half of the time while the rest of it I have been engaged working on the farm. I have not heard anything of the delicate ones. You are aware of the ones I have referenced to. I presume Miss Stoffletts. Some pumpkins. I received a couple of letters of ____ requesting me to come back again. I will reflect a little before I decide. You know by experience that it is not good to be too hasty in your decision. I wonder how the apple butter is progressing and also the old lady.
I think you have been flattering about your regiment, although I have no doubt it is a good one on account of the number of deer hunters in it. I was happy to hear that you fetched some Seceshers — only give them Ellick and take them through standing.
I am going to teach school this winter. My school will commence on the 18th (Monday). I am boarding at home this winter. And believe me, I am going to have some tall times here among the fair sex for there are about 7 to one young man and then you can imagine how well a person can enjoy himself.
Today it looks a little like winter. We have some 2 inches of snow but I should like to see a little more come — anyhow enough to take a [sleigh] ride. Please write soon and give me all the particulars. I should have written more but I am unwell. I have taken a bad cold. Please address as before. Catawissa, Columbia County, Pennsylvania
I wish you success and hope ‘ere long to see or either have an early reply.
Yours fraternally, — J. S. Shuman