Tag Archives: soldier letters

Question of the Week: 6/21-6/27/21

What is your favorite letter written in the Civil War era? And why is it your favorite?

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“Dear Papa…I wonder how you still can be so good to me”

Josiah Gardner Abbott (b. 1814) had a busy professional life as one of Massachusetts most successful attorneys and a regular civil servant in the offices of county judge, state representative, and state senator, but he made time to influence the … Continue reading

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“To Make A Foray”: A Letter From The Chickahominy Raid

This week I’ve been getting my notes ready for the Virtual Symposium filming session where I’ll be sharing about J.E.B. Stuart’s 1862 Chambersburg Raid. In the process of reviewing the historical information, I moved backward on the timeline and re-examined … Continue reading

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“From Son & Brother, The Soldier Boy”: Crossing The James River, Heading For Petersburg

In June 1864, the armies gathered at Petersburg, Virginia. For campaign or battle anniversaries, I enjoy finding primary sources or battle reports that I haven’t seen or explore before. Last night—while procrastinating on my current events and Civil War history … 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

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“Good bye from your soger boy”: One Last Letter before the Wilderness

Sometimes he signed his letters “with affection” or “good-night” or “good-bye.” Sometimes he wrote his full name, other times just initials, sometimes with the familiar name to his family and friends: “Will.” Most of his correspondence went to his younger … Continue reading

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Primary Sources: One Farewell Letter

Ken Burn’s lengthy documentary The Civil War featured excerpts from many primary sources. One of the most unforgettable letters in the documentary was written by Major Sullivan Ballou of the 2nd Rhode Island Infantry Regiment.

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Primary Sources: Longing To Be A Soldier

“I wrote Mother about my trip, but I don’t think I told her that most of our marches could be called forced marches, as we were on light rations half the time. I stood the Campaign “bully,” but felt as … Continue reading

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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

Of “Promotion,” Camp, Gossip, & Flirtation in August 1863

In late August 1863 – after returning from medical leave and a visit home – Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain wrote a letter to his wife Fanny, giving a glimpse of the “quiet days” of war. The moments at Gettysburg created only … Continue reading

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