Fort Harrison mail lost when Indians killed express rider

Date Written

May 15, 1841

Rensselaer William Foote was 25 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Charles Augustus Foote, was 23 when it was received.

Rensselaer William Foote died 21 years, 1 month, 11 days after writing this.
It was written 178 years, 6 months, 6 days ago.
It was a Saturday.

Fort Harrison, Fla.
May 15, 1841

My Dear Brother,

I enclose you $5 for James—it is impossible to get bills and I cannot pay the postage. I hope you got the other $5 that I sent some months ago. Some three months ago, I sent my pay accounts to Tampa Bay requesting the Paymaster to send me some money at this place. I was then at Fort Annuttgeliea (Well the Indians shot the Express Rider, and horse, and burnt the mail including my pay accounts) but I have made them out again, and sent them to Tampa, and in a few days will be able to send you more money. I hope James goes to school, and pays attention to his studies. You will perceive I am beginning to fulfill my part of the engagement, and although late, yet you need not fear but what I will send all I promised, if I live. I am sorry that none of you write to me. I want to hear how you get along, how Catherine is and Francis and little George and Aunt Margaret, and what Ebenezer is all about.

I hope James is becoming steady at something. No matter what it is—a blacksmith or merchant—anything to make money, and to become useful and happy. If he attempts to imitate me, he will find in the end, that it is all folly. If I had last at the printing business I now might be worth something, and be comfortable. Instead of kicking about the world, gaining nothing but hard knocks and a ruined constitution—often sleeping on the ground at night, shivering with cold, or tormented with flies, and often wakened up at night with the rain pouring down in torrents, and for breakfast in the morning, hard bread and pork, ditto for dinner, and supper. Now any reasonable man will admit there is not much fun in all this. But I have not time just now, and do not feel in the humor to write a long letter. Give my love to all, and write and send me some lozenges.

Direct to “Lieut. R. W. Foote
Headquarters, 6th Infantry
Fort Harrison, East Florida

Your Affec. Brother,
R. W. Foote

PS You will perceive we are at a new post—Some sixty miles from the last one and farther south—on the Gulf of Mexico. The Regiment is altogether here, (for the first time in Florida) and it looks quite military. We are putting up sheds and buildings to spend the summer.

Let me have all the news when you write and let me know if Mayor Hobbie is retained in office. I hope he will be.

Scans of Letter