Fort Hovey Dec 18th, Wednesday evening
My Dear Wife, Those pies and cakes are first rate. I divided among my mess mates as they all do the same by me. They all said Mrs. Follett was all right. I send you some specimens the largest is loadstone (?). That is it's ___ a _______ (Iron). Try it with a (needle). The next is a first rate specimen of (Iron) ___ from Pilot Knob. The third in size is iron bearing generally -- and the fourth is a piece right off the highest point of Pilot Knob. I would send more but Mr. Smith cannot carry them. I send by him a poem I want you to read, also a paper with a piece in it written by Mell. Yours as ever John.
Dec 19th Dear Hortense last night we had a supper. Geo (Goddard) had a turkey, and a cake and you know I had some cake & pies and we (made) a first rate supper for which I was much obliged to you my dear. Your first cake was first rate and the pies did taste right (nice) I tell you. I have no more to tell you this time. Do you remember the men who eat dinner at the (Dr's)? when I was up. His boy is dying now. I watched with him a part of last night. Poor man. I feel sorry for him. I am as ever my Dear Hortense,
John M. Follett