July 1861

[Editor’s Note: Goodrich wrote the following letter to his college chum Henry Handerson who was teaching school in Alexandria, Louisiana at the time. The letter reads:]

July 1, 1861   Little Rock [Arkansas]

Dear Handerson.  I received your letter on the 29th but no mail leaves for the South until today. I am very much obliged to you for your kind offer and I will accept it as I can do no better here. I thought several weeks ago that I had a very good place secured in the country about twenty miles from this place, but I understand that the gentleman who is now teaching there intends to remain. I had agreed to go if he left. I saw one of the trustees and he says the teacher is going to stay; consequently my engagement is not binding. Write me whether you are in a school or [working] as a private tutor, the number of scholars, and degree of advancement. And tell me if you know the best rout to get there. I think if the Red River is navigable now, that it will be the best way to go down the Arkansas [River] and the Mississippi [River] to the mouth of the Red [River], then up it to Alexandria. To go by stage the whole distance would cost more than I can afford. Do the gentleman or gentlemen for whom you are teaching wish to engage me if you give up the school?

I like your notion of going to war, and if I were able, I should too. I cannot stand the infantry services on account of my rheumatic legs, and I can’t join the cavalry for I am unable to get a horse.

You will remain there until I can come, will you not? I hardly think the war will be carried on vigorously, if it is at all, until after the meeting of the U.S. Congress. It is vacation now & I have nothing to do.  Yours fraternally, — R. L. Goodrich

[P.S.] I will go when I receive your letter if you wish it.


Letter: to Henry Handerson of Alexandria, Louisiana from Ralph L. Goodrich of Little Rock, AR.   Source: Box 1, Item 61, Ralph L. Goodrich Collection, Arkansas History Commission

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