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Letter to John Corydon Bushnell in Oregon.
                                                                 Kirksville   Mo.       Dec. 21th, 1861

My Dear Uncle:

After a long though unavoidable silence, I am seated this evening, to talk with you again, for a short time. Tis the night before Christmas. It is the eve of the anniversary of the Birth Day of the Son of God, our Saviour and our Redeemer. A Day which was not heralded by the shouts of multitudes of soldiers, the clash of glittering sabres or the thunder of cannons belching forth heavey draughts of murder and dismay. But a day heralded by officers of the Heavenly host - proclaiming the opposite strain, “Peace on earth, good will to men.” Would to God the dying thousands upon the various battle fields of our country had felt the truth and the power of this Blessed Gospel; and suffered their swords to remain sheathed. Then we would have heard (as a nation) the shrieks and cries of the helpless ones as they mourn uncomforted over and around their disolated hearth stones; and look anxiously upon the vacancies in the once perfect but now broken family circuls. We are surrounded with war, and blood shed devestation, strife, and carnage. Agriculture, commerce, literature and the fine arts and in fact the whole land is now groaning under the “imperial” tread of perhaps two of the greatest armies that were ever mustered upon the soil of any country. The fields on which plenty used to smile are canopied now by the dark flapping of the broad wings of the "Death Angel." The places once the sanctuary of God and where the harp of Zion sounded have now become the quartering places of soldiers and instead of harping forth the praises of God they are engaged in desecrating his Temple.

                                  “The harpist once through Toro’s halls
        The love of music sheds;
Now hangs mute as Toro's walls
        As If that soul fled.”
                                 

The lightnings sad glare seems to be painting hell on our poIitical and religeous skye. Notwithstanding all of these things; which form some of the reasons why have not written before this time.

We are all as well as common though I am and have been suffering much from bronchitis - times are very hard and growing worse, I fear. Pork is 1 3/4 cents gross, corn 10 cents per bushel - money about 25 percent discount - common shirting about 25 cents per yard. They have taken several thousand hogs from Kirksville which has been gathered within the vicinity of the same. Pa has sold upwards of $70.00 worth of hogs and has about $60.00 worth on hand for sale yet. Crops of corn during this just season have been so abundant that it is a drug now - I am staying at Pa’s this winter; don’t know how long I shall remain here - I would be pleased to see you again but when I view the distance that rolls between us together with the awful circumstances which surmount us I despair of seeing you soon but I will still keep my vow or promise as far as my labors will admit and hope that my tardiness will have no effect upon the frequency of your letters. I would be glad to hear from you often and will write as often as I can. Remember me to all of my relatives and friends in Oregon and forget me not yourself. I have received a letter from Aunt Helen which I will answer soon - Please write on receipt of this and give me all the news. I have no news to write that could be relied upon. But will give you what I can collect when I write again, so for the present farewell

                                                                  Yours affectionately

Edwin Bushnell

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