Newark. Aug 20th 1864
Yours of the 17th is in hand. I was much pleased to hear from you again. I hope you may get better. I am improving slowly and can take a Clerkship if I wish but I have in hand a letter from the Reg which states that our Co is to be attatched to the Signal Corpse which will please me much better than to Clerk. I hope to be able in a month to return to the Reg but can not now tell how long I shall stay here. We have an inspection here by the Dr evry morning at 10 oclock after that we get passes to go out into the City. There is a man here who has invented a machine to travile in the air and he can guide it and send it up or down or streight along through the air. it is only a modell he has now and as he is only a Soldier he can not get the money to build a big machine. it works on the principle of a revolving rocket and is fed — by combustible matters like an engine. he also has a machine for washing ringing & drying clothes. You asked about my shirts. One of them has give out the other is all right so are my handkerchiefs. I have them washed once a week. I am all right on the clothes dicker. I hope next month on the 15th to payed off. if my discriptive list comes I am alright for 160 Dollars if not only 26, or 32 for I understand that I am to be promoted at the Reg to light Sergt. I do not think of much more at present so I bid you good by hoping these few lines may find you in the best of health & spirits. Kiss Lillie & Baby for me and give my love to Cousin Frank & tell Jane to write. I have made a visit this morning to the Chaplins House. he is a very fine man. I get books from his library.
Please escuse my errors & write soon.
I remain your Humble and dutifull Son
S. F. McOmber
Curator’s Comments: Ten days have passed since Spencer’s last letter home. His health is improving and he has been offered the clerkship that he was interested in. However, he thinks that the reassignment of his unit to the Signal Corps is a better option. So he hopes to rejoin the 7th Michigan Cavalry in about a month if his health improves.
Spencer then goes on to report that he has met a man who has invented some sort of flying machine. It’s only a model, he says, because the soldier lacks the money to make a full-size version. The man has apparently also invented an all-in-one washer/dryer.
That invention reminds Spencer to answer his mother’s questions about his shirts. He assures her that his clothing is fine. He closes by mentioning that he visits the chaplain who allows him to borrow books from his library.