Fort Ridgely Minnesota
Sunday, Oct 5th, 1862,
Some two or three months ago I received a letter from you, but whether I have answered it or not, I am unable to state, but nevertheless to make sure, I will now write to you, hoping that if your letter has been neglected until now that you will excuse my apparent procrastination when you are informed how the last two months have been spent by me. Know then that about the 1st of August last I joined the army, and that when the Indian troubles broke out we were ordered up here in the Indian country, and that with marching, scouting and occasional fighting my time has been employed ever since I was in the fight at “Birch Coolie” near this fort where the Indians attacked our camp at Daybreak and fought all that day and night until the next day when we were reinforced and the savages retired. Our Company was engaged with some Cavalry in scouting and had pitched our camp little dreaming of the terrific volley of bullets that would [written as a postscript on the upper left of the sheet of paper]: Please [illegible] to me as below. If you ever see Livie Hegeman give her “Didymus’ “ regards. Your old schoolmate, Lieut Thomas van Etten Co “I” 9th Regt Min. Vols Fort Ridgely Minnesota.