Salina Public Library Local History Collection

Thumbnail image of the 1st page   Title: Letter from Robert Muir, Jr., Saline County, KS, to his brother, probably John.
Author: Robert Muir, Jr.
Date: October 26, 1862
Type: manuscript
Physical description: 1 sheet (4 p.) ; 7.5 x 9.5 in.
Notes: Letter mentions the guerilla raid on Salina on September 17, 1862, and how the young men are all batching and need a "boat load of girls" sent their way.

View the original letter: pages 1, 2, 3, 4


26 October 1862 Valley Home

Dear Brother

I ought to have answered your letter sooner but I could not on account of having to start to Leavenworth with a load of buffalo hides a few days after I received it. I was on the road fifteen days all alone but got along first rate. The load I had down brought me 99 dollars and some cents. It ought to have brought a good deal more, but about a third of the hides had got damaged with bugs and did not bring full price. I had 130 hides in all but only 55 of them was our own. The others belong to D. Phillips and J. Crothers. I had $1.50 cents per hundred for hauling these down which amounted with some things that I hauled back to 20 dollars. So that our share of the load hauling and all amounted to something over 60 dollars. 50 of that I brought home to pay for a yoke of oxen we bought about a month ago to use on the buffalo range. The balance I take out in ammunition. I shall start down with another load next week and if the boys succeed anything well, will have to go two or three trips after that. I hope they may so that we can get hold of a little money to pay what we owe in Illinois for we own nothing here and have a little left to get some things we need. I suppose that by this time you have heard of the raid that was made on Salina by the Secesh jawhackers [sic] about a month ago and no doubt wondering if our horses was taken along with the rest. For some reason or other they did not pay us a visit at all, and I am very glad they did not for they would have found us unable to make any resistance never dreaming of such a thing happening away out here. There was more enough in Salina to have whipped them and would have done it with one half hours warning, but the rascals rode into town early in the morning just as folks were getting out of bed and took them by surprise. In fact, the most of them [the townspeople] was prisoners and had a guard standing over them with cocked revolvers before they ever suspected anything was wrong. After taking all the horses and arms and ammunition they could find, they let those they had taken prisoners go and started out of town as fast as they could drive the stock they had taken. Tom and I started after them as soon as we could get ready with the intention of going round and getting to a ranch 35 miles west of Salina ahead of them and getting 8 or 10 of the hunters together at the ranch and surprise them when they came up. But it was impossible for us to accomplish our object. We put our horses through as fast as they could go, but it was no use. They were doing the same. You may have an idea of how fast they went when I tell you that they took the mules out of the stage over 50 miles west of Salina 2 hours before sundown. Brother Jim had his horse taken. He happened to be going up to town early that morning after something on horseback. Two of them rode up to him and drew their revolvers on him and ordered him to get off his horse. He had to do it and let the horse go but he has since been able to raise money enough to send to the river for two yoke of oxen which he thinks he can get along with. I was very happy to hear that you were all well and that crops had done so well with you this year, especially the beans which is as good as the ready cash always and this year there will be a good pile of it. I wish we could do something in the bean line out here. Am thinking I would go in pretty strong for a year or two but we are too far from a market yet to think of anything of that kind, but I trust there is better in store for us. I had a long letter from Watson a few days ago in which he said Bryce and the other boys were well and gave me full particulars of the battle at _________. It must have been very trying on the boys to be under fire as long as they were. I am thankful that they all came out of it unhurt. You wanted to know what I thought of the war. Now the fact is I do not know what to think of it. But one thing is certain if Tom and I could have find things so this fall that we could have went we could have been Uncle Sam's boys by this time. But we could not possibly go without sacrificing what little we have got. I wish now I had entered the service when the war broke out. We are all well and still batching away and the sooner you start with that boat load of girls the better for we are very much in need on one to darn our socks and mend our breeches and cook our bite. I hope this may find you all in the enjoyment of good health. Write soon.

From your brother Robert Muir

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