Hilton Head, South Carolina
March 20th 1862
My dear and only brother Millet,
It is with pleasure that I seat myself to answer your kind letter that I received yesterday. Yours found me well and rugged and I hope that this will find you the same. I was well pleased that you had such good luck in fishing this winter. Fishing is all played out with me. Tell Mother that I am glad that she is so fruitful in her old age. Never mind our family is on the increase. Well, if you are satisfied, I am.
You spoke of your Grandfather’s death. That reminds us that we must be prepared at all times. Life is very uncertain but death is certain. I feel that I will be prepared. Let death come when it may. I would like to be up there with you all but there I cannot [be]. I hear of much sickness up there at the present time. Our regiment is very rugged at the present. We have ot lost more than twenty-five since we was mustered into the service. I think that we have been lucky, don’t you? I do not know of much news to write—only that we get good news all of the way round. I hope that our folks will still continue to whip the Rebels.
The Milton Boys is all well and rugged. You spoke of your going away to work and leaving Lydia at home. I think it is the best thing that you can do. I tell you, if you get a little ahead before you go to keeping house, it will help you a good deal. I want you to tell me all of the news. You spoke of my writing often. I write as often as I get any answer to my letters and I will answer all of your letters. Give my love to all.
Tell Charles Loss that I have answered his letter. I cannot think of much more to write this time. This is from your brother-in-law, Stephen F. Downs. Write soon. Yours truly, — S. F. D.