[Iowa City—Wednesday, 20 October 1875]

Wednesday 20. Went to prayers at the University of Iowa which stands in a park just opposite the hotel. Found 600 boys and girls together, a fine sight—later in the day we walked over the bridge across the Iowa river. The day was exquisite, warm as summer, with a soft haze over everything. We sat on the hillside enjoying it and amused ourselves greatly watching a family drive a drove of pigs to market. In the afternoon a Mr. & Mrs Coldren drove us out. They were good people full of patriotism and desire for culture but they could not speak correctly although she was the adopted daughter of the Governor elect (and chosen for the second term also) Governor Kirkwood!!

We left Iowa City at dark for Davenport on the Mississippi, thinking to change cars there for St Louis where we are due tomorrow evening. On the way the Conductor informed us there was some mistake. The train would leave Rock Island for St. Louis 2 hours before we could reach that place. We were much disappointed and confounded. To disappoint a St. Louis audience and to lose one hundred dollars was rather serious, however it was not our fault so we stopped as resignedly as one might (here I was obliged to stop trying to write in the cars) at the Burtis house, a large hotel at Davenport, for the night. Burtis is a good natured, large hearted old soul to whom Mr. Collyer once gave J. a letter of introduction. He was delighted to receive us and we in good faith went to get a bit of supper. But such an uncared for hotel was seldom seen before. I saw my ghost (the bed-bug) fortunately on the outside of the bed before I lay down in it, complained, and was given another room but the good old man was so kind I felt like some low minded wretch, to quarrel with anything that was given us.

Early the next morning we drove across the Mississippi to Rock Island where our government has a large station. The day was one of the most beautiful ever seen and the noble park as we drove through it, catching glimpses of the noble river here and there through the trees was indeed most lovely. A few years will see this place wonderfully improved. Great store buildings of beautiful appearance are in process of erection and the walks, drives & trees are evidently objects of care and pride to the country.

Davenport and Rock Island possess unrivalled positions on the opposite shores of this great river. Surely it can never be anything but a growing community and one day a place of great importance.

On again by a train which stopped often to Bloomington Ill. It was half past ten P.M. when we reached our hotel. Here we found a reunion of the 33d Ill. regiment and other soldiers & officers and their wives, amounting in all to 300 persons. We were allowed to enter the pretty hall and see the festivity and hear some of the speeches—one made by General Lippincott was very good. It was a touching sight as these reunions must always be. When they discovered “J” was in the hall they would not rest till he had responded for Massachusetts and said a few words to them. The applause was terrific, and indeed the speech though short was to the point. There was no liquor on the table and the presence of women gave a home-like cheerful aspect which kept the memorial day from becoming too painful. One man with only one leg got up to speak and tottered whereat his comrade in arms arose to support him while he spoke, the new-comer having but one leg also.


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