Tag Archives: primary source

He Wrote What? Health and Weight in Civil War Letters

“You stated that you had been weighed, what is your weight?”[i] asked Private Walter Dunn in a letter to his fiancée. It’s a little shocking to modern readers! There are a few questions that are usually considered taboo to ask … Continue reading

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Of Dentists & Elections

I’ve been reading 1864 entries from Benjamin Brown French’s journal this summer as part of my tangent study for perspective on how folks in the north  responded to the impending presidential election. French offers quite a contrast of subjects in … Continue reading

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Words of the Wounded: The Gettysburg Campaign

By the end of the Gettysburg Campaign into Pennsylvania there were an estimated 64,000 killed, wounded and missing between both the Union and Confederate armies. The struggles and the implications on the medical field from the military campaign will be … Continue reading

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Vicksburg or Gettysburg? LeRoy Gresham’s Words

It’s a long and continuing debate. Vicksburg or Gettysburg? Which is more important? Or are they inseparable? Certainly, Gettysburg tends to overshadow Vicksburg in public history interest. But how did people of the 1860’s view the two events? Pondering this … Continue reading

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Musings on Arthur Fremantle’s “Three Months in the Southern States”

When historians look at a primary source, it is often to cut and run. You go to the part of the source that deals with your subject and that is it. In the case of Arthur Fremantle’s Three Months in … Continue reading

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A Captured Letter from the Battle of Brandy Station

On June 9, 1863, one of the largest cavalry fights on the North American continent occurred. Known in the history books as the battle of Brandy Station, this conflict started when elements of Union General Alfred Pleasonton’s cavalry attacked Confederate … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Cavalry, Common Soldier, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

“We will go into the city of Vicksburgh after awhile…”

Nothing quite like a letter to explain what the situation was really like for the common soldier, and here’s a good one from the Siege of Vicksburg. The spelling and punctuation is original. In Camp, Siege of Vicksburg, June 9, … Continue reading

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“Move at the Sound of the Bugle, …Straight to the Front”

The 2nd Rhode Island Infantry Regiment formed in June 1861 and fought from First Bull Run through the Appomattox Campaign. By the opening days of April 1865, Elisha Hunt Rhodes – who had enlisted as volunteer corporal – promoted to … Continue reading

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Christmas 1863: “So Good-bye Homesicknesses”

This week I looked at some excerpts from Elisha Hunt Rhodes’s Civil War journal and found some interesting happenings in this Union soldier’s Christmas 155 years ago. Winter quarters, re-enlistment, patriotism, and Christmas made their way into his writings at … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Holidays, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

General Joshua L. Chamberlain and a Fatherhood Journey

On October 18, 1864, Brigadier General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain wrote a letter to his wife, Frances Caroline. This letter – though written during the war period – is unique and gives a glimpse of fatherhood, rather than war. Chamberlain is … Continue reading

Posted in Civilian, Leadership--Federal, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment