Description: This July 7-9, 1879 letter follows on from one Phisterer sent a couple weeks earlier, with a similar theme - "Misfortune has been pursuing me now for years, and I am in hopes that matters will now change." Phisterer elaborates here on his plans for homesteading in Florida, including where he thought the money for those plans would be coming from, and also details a series of unfortunate events that left him without much of that money and with no place for his wife and children to stay comfortably.
By this time Phisterer, finances exhausted, determines that he has to leave his homestead, rather than expose his wife and children to the hardship they would experience if they came to meet him in Florida immediately - "anything would be preferred by them, and so by me." Not wanting to give up entirely, he explained his plans to apply early for his patent. He requests that Townsend send a recommendation to the Gainesville Land Office on his behalf, if Townsend thinks he might know and/or could possibly influence the Commissioner.
Phisterer had felt "deserted and discouraged" until he received a June 30 telegram from Townsend, offering financial assistance, which he declines here on the basis that "it is altogether more than I could expect from anyone, no matter how dear a friend." He does say that he will accept a slightly lesser amount to both purchase his land if he is denied the early patent, that he might have it as an investment to sell once it appreciates, and to start or join a business, both of which would allow him to pay a loan back exponentially faster than his original plans would.
Phisterer continues the letter on July 9, after having received a letter and its enclosed check from Townsend, expressing appreciation and asking permission to use the funds for his new plans. He also provides new contact information, as his new plans will take him to either northern Florida or Ohio. He makes a final set of complaints about his father in law, who "has been the cause of all my troubles," including that the man "made me leave the army under promises, which he never fullfilled," before closing with the more optimistic thought he has been clinging to: "that after dark days, bright ones will follow." He signs off, "Sincerely, gratefully yours, Fred Phisterer"
Frederick Phisterer (1836-1909) received the Medal of Honor for passing along information "under a heavy fire" at the Battle of Stones River (Murfreesboro), in Tennessee in 1862. The information was credited with saving a battalion of regular troops from "capture or annihilation." Later in life, Phisterer compiled the 6 volume New York in the War of the Rebellion.
General Frederick Townsend (1825-1897) was an Officer of the US Army’s 18th Infantry. He also served three terms as Adjutant General of the State of New York, both before the Civil War, from 1857-1861, and after, from 1880-1882. Phisterer served as Townsend’s Adjutant of the 2nd Battalion in Stones River/Murfreesboro.
Begun July 7 and written on all four pages of a full sheet of ruled writing paper, with an additional page written on July 9, on a half sheet of the same sort of paper. The paper measures approximately 9.75" x 15.25" when unfolded (The July 9 page measures approximately 9.75" x 7.75"). Item #A00912.
Condition: Fold lines and some light soil, generally in very good condition.