Description: A despondent Phisterer, whose best laid plans had all gone wrong, wrote to his good friend, Townsend, from Bartow, Florida, in June of 1879.
"I have almost no friend but you, so you must not be disgusted if I trouble you so much. When I left for this country I expected that my wife could stay with her father until I could get a comfortable home for her here. Today I received a letter from her, informing me that her father has rented out his house & place, and gone to boarding, and that she will have to do the same. This will use up the little money we had left... I cannot ask my wife and children to bear the hardship that would fall on them here under these circumstances, and am compelled to give up my place here, a plan that has been near my heart for years too. It would take about $400.00 to set me alright here, but as I have not got it, I must sacrifice what I have done here. I shall have to go north, and get something to do, no matter what it may be. Can you assist me to anything, no matter what...I don't care what it is, so it is something to do, until something better will turn up. I am totally broken down in mind and spirit. Yours, Fred Phisterer."
In response, Townsend notes here that he "Sent June 30th/79 to Col. Phisterer a BK Draft on NY for 400.$ as a loan," and signed that note with his distinctive lettering, "Fred'k T."
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.
Written on both sides of a single sheet of ruled writing paper. The paper measures approximately 9.75" x 7.75". Item #A00891.
Condition: Fold lines, small amounts of paper loss where it seems to have been nibbled on over the years, some staining/toning, particularly along the top and bottom margins. Both signatures are clear, clean, and intact, and only a couple of words of text are missing or illegible. In good condition overall, and an intimate portrait of a particularly vulnerable moment in life and the generous response of a friend.