Duvalls Bluff Ark
Sunday morning Sept 27,/63
Dear parents
it is with mutch pleasure that I pen you those few lines to tel you know that my health is stil improving. my general health is good, my breast troubles me a little by spels yet think it wil not last long when I wrote you last I expected to of been with the reg before this but have not been able to procure transportation yet as the cars are loaded down with rations for the troops at the Rock there is but one engine & 5 cars (word illegibile) there was one engine & 6 cars brought around here on the steamer Lady Jackson which wil be put in motion in a day or so then I supose we wil be sent to our respective regs from what I can find out. I think we wil go in to winter quarters at Little Rock they have sent back to Helena for our tents
old Prices army I judge is about played out deserters are stil comeing in by the 1000. there is an expedition of cavelry & mounted infantry fiting out for some point in the west so I think we wil not be sent any further with out we are mounted. infantry can not stand it to march throug this country for water is to scarce in places I think we wil have a splendid time this winter if we go in to quarters at Little Rock as all agree that it is the best military Post in the west our reg is camped close to a splendid spring which afords plenty of water for to brigades this camp is becoming quite health there is but very few sick here we are haveing first rate times, no duty to do & plenty to eat & that what is good I wouldent wish to live any better than I have since I came to this place I go out in the country some times in the morning so I can have warm milk for breckfast we are permited to go where we please I herd from wilson yesterday he was well I havent had a letter from father since I left Helena I expect there are some at the reg for me from him I had a letter from you & John McNealLouisa which gave me mutch pleasure I heard by a letter from Lewis Campbell wif that Dave was at home on furlow also that Armstead Litton was dead, the 5 Iowa are at Helena, they were ordered to Little Rock but a few minutes before starting from Helena Steel sent them orders not to come as he did not need them there, I wrote a letter to John McNeal (photo at right) over I month ago. I told him to direct his answer to father & he would send it to me I look for an answer soon The soldiers are all in fine spirits in regard to the war they think it can not last a great whil this army is now so near played out that they can not give us mutch more trouble heretofore they have allways had the odds in their favor but it is quite different now the Southern army is deserting by whole regs, both east & west there was 2 regs deserted in a body & went to Blunts comand at fort smith on the Ark river I have nothing more of interest to write you at present give my love to all write often yours in haste Allan to his Mother Penina McNeal

Gravestone of Allan and Henry McNealAllan McNeal apparently was severely wounded April 30, 1864, at Saline River, Arkansas, as Union forces retreated toward Little Rock after a series of battles on Prairie deAnn and died of his wounds Sept. 24, 1864, at his parents' home in South English, Iowa, at the age of 21 years, 9 months and 12 days. Wilson DeGarmo reports learning of Allan's death in a letter received from Louisa Oct. 14, 1864.

The information about Allan's age and date of death was recently supplied by Ella E. Smith, who visited the South English cemetery. Henry and Allan McNeal's gravestone at the left was photographed by another recent visitor to the cemetery, Anita Von Ahsen.

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Comments may be addressed to Larry Pearson, lpearson@pobox.alaska.net