A few changes in spelling and capitalization have been made, and punctuation has been added to facilitate reading, but the grammar and syntax of the letter are original.
Des Arc Ark June 18, 1863
Dear Brothers and Sisters
After so long a time I drop you a few lines to let you know that we are still living. If I knew that you would get this letter, I would write you a long letter. I have not heard from you since Mrs. Waddill was there. If you would write to me perhaps it would get here. I have not heard from some of my people in a long time. I have so much to write, I hardly know how to write. I have not been in the army yet. I am exempt. There have been a large [?] near here for a long time. Our Texas, Arkansas & Missouri troops have been round through here for fourteen months. That is some thirty thousand of them. They have had several fights in the state. The nearest fight was 18 miles, but I have heard the cannons a great many times while they were fighting. The Feds have been in 6 miles of us, but did not tarry. They hold a small part of the east of our state. They destroy everything where they go. We still hold hard claim to the state. They have never got to the Capitol yet. The army has caused everything to be very scarce and high. Corn is $2 per bushel, Flour as high as $1 per lb, Bacon 25 cts per lb, Sugar $1 per lb, Salt 30$ per bushel VC Wheat crops are very good and will sell I think at $2 per bushel. Fine prospects for corn. Alford Lowry & Henry & William Teague are in the army and have been to see me last year but they are moved out of reach now. Alford was taken prisoner last winter in a fight, was taken North and died. I have not heard from the other boys for some time. Washington and Melville Plemons was here last year but they are sent back to Missouri. William Plemons & Betsy & James are all dead. They all died near the same time about 15 months ago. James Lowry and Alford's wife are both dead. I would like very much to hear from you all, and much better to see you, but we are all scattered so badly and everything is such a fix the possibility is we never will see each other any more, but let us do the best we can. I have just got over a spell of sickness that I thought I would die. I came very near going. I had the Small Pox and did not know what it was until I was getting well. It was the fifth day before the eruptions appeared. I was very sick. Mary has had it and is now well, none of the children have taken it yet, but it is near the time for them to take it. I think we will get along with it very well. I now have 16 cases of it, have had seven cases that are well, the balance are mostly doing well. I think I can manage it all right, and but few will be marked. I and Mary have no marks left. I had no Doctor with me, or Mary. I have not lost a case yet, except one man before I was sick. I and 2 other Doctors waited on him. He died without breaking out. We did not know what was the matter with him until the rest of us taken it. I have got every case of it yet. No other Doctor has been called yet for it with the exception of this. There has been but little sickness this year. I never expect to die with the Small Pox. I would write you lots more if I knew that you would get it. I have seen several of my old acquaintances here. Tom Morse, Mr. Moore, Lazarus Neuman, Hamilton Bradford. When I see them I think of old times, but I think a great many things and pass through heavy storms, but I still live and try and be all the benefit that I can to my fellow Man. I am not making any Money, only to live on. We have plenty to eat. I have waited on a good many Soldiers without any pay. I do practice for a great many women and children that are left and got no pay, but it goes free. I cannot bare to see any one suffer when I can do them any good. When I am not practicing, I am making shoes for them. My losses in the last twelve months is not less than one thousand dollars, but I am bound to do all I can. I think this is the duty of all that is left at home. There is but few man left at home here. I must close at this time. I have a chance to send this east of the Miss River by hand. Tell Mary Ann and McCleskey this letter is to them also. Receive all our best love and respects and write to us. Our main work should be to prepare for heaven. I hope to meet you all in a short time since I thought I would soon be gone but I felt I was ready to go.
Farewell for this time.
A. D. Lowry