Newark. Oct 9th 1864
My Dear Mother.
I have had no letters from home for most a month. I do not think I shall be sent away very soon. I got a letter from Aunt Abby the other day. I sent you a letter a week ago yesterday & sayed you could write here to me until you heard again from me. I am still acting as medical Distributer of the Hospital We had a big Lincoln meeting here & the Republicans have built a big Wigwam. I was out & heard most of Speeches. I have had some slight tutches of the Ague here but dont mind it much. Our Dr is as good as any in the Hospital. As I sayed before I am compleatly run ashore for money & do not know where I shall get a postage Stamp to put on this letter or paper for another. I suppose you are hard up & I wish I could get my pay & send you some money but we will not be paid here until the 10th or 15th of November. If I am still here then I shall send most of my money to you & Also go to Grafton to see Aunt & prehaps to Boston. the whole trip would not cost me over 15 Dollars if it did as much. You see I can travile on half fair & so the expence would be small. I shall draw over $100 if I am here in November. I should try and answer Frankies letter but I suppose she has gone home before this. I have just received a letter [Oct 10th] for you & you suspect that I have had my pay & did not want to send you money. You also say you did not think I would use you so. So now it seems you have no confidence in your Son. and do not believe what I say. for you know I said I would send you all the money I could spare just as soon as I was paid. It is of no use indeed for me then to write home, for when I do write you do not believe me. I told you the true reason why I did not write – it was because I had nothing to write with. You prehaps do not think that I am among strangers here — not as tho I was with my own Company. Be assured I shall send you the money (the very first I get my hands on if I am suffering in need of it) to pay my debts then I suppose I shall be obliged to shift for my self. You do not know how much your letter has pained me. from you too. I do not know what to say for you will suspect it is not the truth so I shall say nothing. But if you wish to satisfy your-self on the truth of my assertion, I will refur you to the Surgeon in Charge of the Hospital. Prehaps he can tell you when we were paid last. And whether I have received any pay since I have been in the Hospital. As to my health I have already spoke of it & I do not know as there is any thing more to write if there was probally it would do no good.
So I will close hoping these few lines will find you feeling in better Spirits than yours did me.
I am & Co
S. F. McOmber
Curator’s Comments: This letter is actually written over a period of two days. In the first half, Spencer complains that he hasn’t heard from home in almost a month; that he is suffering from the ague, that is, malaria; and that he still has not received his pay. He describes a Republican campaign rally – the Presidential election is just a month off. McOmber also notes that he is the distributor of medications to patients at the Newark hospital.
Spencer finishes the letter a day later. He has received a letter from his mother that has upset him. She seems to have accused him of not sending her money as he had promised. It’s possible, based on earlier letters in which he asked for money, that she had done so but expected to be repaid.
Spencer reacts to the letter by accusing his mother of not believing his reports that he hasn’t been paid. He is put out that she would not believe her son. There is, however, something a bit overly dramatic in Spencer’s protestations. We might say he seems to be “guilt-tripping” his mother.