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Contemporary Personal Letter regarding the effects of the Epizootic

The Guild was pleased to receive the following email in early 2012:


I'm working with an historical letter collection, and I occasionally run into difficulty dating a letter correctly (the letter-writer and subsequent letter-keepers make mistakes!)

Anyway: you helped me date a particular letter - I stumbled on your web site while trying to pin down when the horse epidemic occurred in 1872, because that was one of my clues - that info, with an historical calendar to identify which months had the 1st on a Friday, did the trick.

Below is the letter excerpt from 1872, the section that pertains to horses - it is written from Louisiana (and turns out to have been written Oct 1 1872).

"My own little darling
Yesterday, upon going to the post office I found yours of the 25th -- telling me about the horse disease. I had seen telegrams, from day to day, about it, and have been fearing its coming here. It is already at St. Louis. What a singular, and disastrous affection! Already millions of dollars have been lost to business, throughout them north, from its defects. Yesterday's dispatches or rather those in yesterday's paper -- mention its prevailing in Baltimore and Washington, but in a mild form. I do hope that as it progresses south it may become still milder. If it should get amongst the mules whilst planters are rolling, it would be ruinous to many. Our horses have so much fresh air -- both in and out of the stable -- that I hope they may escape. We must wait and see however. Fortunately, from all accounts, it is not very fatal where immediate attention is given. I do hope it may not come here whilst I am gone."

Thanks!  Kathy (

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