This letter was written by Elias Langham Buterbaugh (1846-1899), the son of Henry Buterbaugh (1809-1879) and Mary Ann Langham (1818-1898) of Indiana county, Pennsylvania. He wrote the letter to his sister, Sarah Melinda Buterbaugh (1853-1910).
Elias enlisted in the US Signal Corps in 1864 and mustered out the following year.
Addressed to Miss Sarah M. Buterbaugh, Utah P. O. Indiana county, Pennsylvania
April 6th 1864
It is with great pleasure I take my pen in hand to write you a few lines to let you know that I enjoy the best of health and that I hope these few lines may find you all enjoying the same health.
I have wrote three letters home since I left Georgetown. It has been so stormy on the Chesapeake Bay that the boats could not run. It has been raining for three days and three nights and in some places it is knee deep of mud. I wrote Amos a letter a few days ago but it has not left Norfolk yet. I wrote for Pap to get me as pair of boots and he may send them as soon as he gets them. I sent for to get french cip [kid?] but if he cannot get it, get a good calfskin. The rest of the boys has fine boots but me and J. B. The reason they wear fine boots is that we have to keep them as black as we can get them and when we go anyplace, we always ride. I want very thick soles on them and I want one or two flannel shirts—not twilled ones—but single ones. And I want you to make me a needle cushion and put two seines of black thread in it. I want you to make as nice a one as you can and put some needles in it. Send some pant buttons too.
If you send the box by Express, if it is lost they will have to pay for it so there is no risk to run by sending by Express. That is all I want. Tell David that I want him to make them boots as soon as you get the leather. I want stump-toed ones.
Well, Sarah, I have the best of times here. We have nothing to do when it is raining and when it is foggy. And when it is nice, we have only to watch 4 hours in twenty-four. We can get a pass whenever we want one. Some of the boys is at Norfolk every day. I have not been down yet for I don’t want to go down till it gets nice and then I will get some photographs taken and then I will send you all one.
I am not lonesome here for there is something new every day. They are bringing in rebel prisoners every day. They are pretty hard-looking fellows. There was a boat run the blockade yesterday. They search every boat that passes here. This is a bout all the news that I have to write at the present time. If you and Amos keeps my sheep till I come home, I will pay you for it. I am going to try and get a furlough next fall and I will bring you and Jane a gold ring. I sent mother one and I have not heard whether she got it or not.
I want you to write and let me know whether she got it or not and I want you to let me know how grandmother is getting along. Write as soon as you get this and write me a long letter and let me know all the news.
From your brother, — E. L. Buterbaugh, U. S. Signal Corps, Norfolk, Va.
to Sarah M. Buterbaugh