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The Courier
Bethel, Maine
History Journal of the Bethel Historical Society
Vol. 36, No. 2 (2012)
ISSN 0749-9208
ters were fragile bits of paper that had to be delivered
under difficult transportation and battle conditions.
Letters home were awaited with bated breath, preserved like holy relics, and often bound with ribbon.
Telegrams, enclosed in orange envelopes, were feared.
Those facts were doubly true 150 years ago, when
news was not yet available via telephone, radio or television. Personal correspondence reached record levels.
For instance, the Gilder Lehrman Collection, on exhibit at the New-York Historical Society, contains
12,000 letters, most unpublished.
On May 28, 2013, the Bethel Historical Society will open a
new exhibit entitled “In the Field & On the Homefront:
Bethel During the Civil War”—the Society's contribution
to the Maine Civil War Trail project, a statewide effort
commemorating the 150th anniversary of “The War Between the States.” In this issue of The Courier, Ann
Chandonnet, co-author with Roberta Gibson Pevear of
“Write Quick": War and a Woman’s Life in Letters, 18351867 (see back page for ordering information) discusses
the significance of Civil War letters—to the soldiers and
families of that era, as well as to modern historians.
"The Balm of Heaven"
Civil War Letters
Ann Chandonnet
A single love letter—brought to national prominence in
1990 by Ken Burns in his celebrated documentary,
“The Civil War”—has come to symbolize the haunting
nature of letters from that conflict. The letter was written on the eve of battle by Rhode Islander Sullivan
Ballou to his wife. Ballou left his law practice, his family and two young sons to take a commission as a major with the Union Army. He served for almost two
months before he was fatally wounded at the First Battle of Manassas/Bull Run.
Ballou’s passionate, eloquent and fatalistic letter
was written the calm summer night of July 14 at Camp
Clark—the second letter he had written to his wife
Sarah that day. Anticipating his end, Ballou locked the
letter into his trunk before marching off to Virginia, and
Sarah did not receive it until after his death. Over the
years, she shared it with veterans and it was published
locally.1 One sentence from the letter, “I wait for you
there, come to me and lead thither my children,” was
carved on the memorial obelisk at his grave. Ballou's
story reached the public first in 2006 through Robin
Young's 800-page book, For Love & Liberty: The Untold
Civil War Story of Major Sullivan Ballou & His Famous
Love Letter.
Now that face-to-face communion is possible
through Skype, it is difficult for the American population to consider that just 60 years ago, combatants' let-
One of the principal figures in “Write Quick": War and a
Woman’s Life in Letters, 1835-1867 (see page 8), Eliza
(Bean) Foster was born at West Bethel in 1835. In 1856
she wed Henry Charles Foster at Lowell, Mass., where she
had found employment as one of the “mill girls.” Henry
Foster and Eliza’s brother, Andrew Jackson Bean, documented their participation in the Civil War in more than
150 letters which were donated to the Bethel Historical
Society in 2005 by Roberta C. (Gibson) Pevear.
In the first years of the War Between the States,
mail was not delivered to homes, so wives, parents and
other relatives made daily trips to the post office both to
Repeatedly and fervently, Abial Edwards of the 29th
Maine Regiment tells his correspondents how valuable
their letters are: “Please write soon and often for time
moves slowly of late.”5 “Please write soon and often.”6
“Be sure and write….”7 “Your kind letter was received
in due season and I was much pleased to hear from
you…. Please Write…. Don’t fail to write.”8 “Don’t
fail to write. I wish I could get your letters sooner Dear
Anna.”9 “Darling Anna write often your letters are perfect treasures and are read a great many times over.”10
Letters were read over and over again until they began to come apart at their folds. Abial Edwards wrote
to his future wife, Anna, “It is indeed a great blessing to
us Soldiers to rec’t letters that comes from fiends
[friends] & home. Many a time have I read & reread
your kind letters when I have felt lonely and it always
causes me to feel encouraged to read them.”11
In the same mood as Edwards, Theophilus Perry
wrote to his wife Harriet in 1863, “Lazarus did not
more greedily pick up the crumbs from under the Rich
mans table than the soldier does the little items of home
news…. Your letters are more valuable than gold or
The separation of North from South put the postal
service in a tizzy. For several months after the fall of
Fort Sumter, there was very little delivery of mail in the
South. However, the Post Office Department of the
Confederate States of America had already been established, on February 21, 1861. Soon one hundred post
offices in the Confederacy began to issue their own
stamps. Union mail service to the South ceased on
May 31, 1861. The CSA postmaster streamlined
routes, but blockades, burned bridges and northern invaders severely hampered delivery. Federal mail service in the South was gradually restored after November 1865.13
With no radio or television access to news, no notion of inventions such as the Internet or Twitter,
women and families waiting at home did not know
what to believe, as rumors and contradictions flourished. Official correspondents took note of the death of
officers, and these were published; but no one was responsible to record the passing of common enlisted
men. Margaret Stanley Beckwith, a refugee with her
family in Lincolnton, North Carolina, complained to
her journal: This suspense will drive me mad. Ten
thousand rumors reach us each day after day, but not a
bit of reliable news….”14
Letters were important at the siege of Petersburg in
the summer of 1864—to black as well as to white combatants. In the 4th United States Colored Infantry,
“Whether or not facile with the pen, almost everyone
kept in touch with loved ones at home through regular
correspondence. As Mike Arnold informed the readers
post and to retrieve letters. Some of these letters were
written on special stationery with patriotic headings.
Printed cards and envelopes with poems surrounded by
an artistic border also emphasized the roles of the soldier and the folks at home. J. A. Howells published
envelopes and cards bearing poems such as "Wilt Thou
Think of Me at Home," "I Miss Thee So," "Our
Wives," and "No Letter Yet."2 Here are the first lines
of a typical poem, "To a Wife":
Dearest, Like the Breeze of Heaven,
Comes the Solace you impart,
Dropping like the balm of heaven,
On the weary home and heart,
Home with all the joys is present,
When the letters come from thee,
Household faces bright and pleasant,
Look with sassy smiles on me....3
The importance of missives both sent and received
is evident in the diaries of combatants. H. G. Otis
Perkins of Company K of the 5th Maine Infantry often
recorded entries of this sort:
“Sept. 24—Rote [sic] a letter to Augustus
Sept. 27—Received a letter from Augustus Rote
a letter to Augustus
Oct. 3—Received a letter from Frank & Helen
Oct. 5—Received a letter from Alura and
Oct. 6—Rote a letter to Hellen.”4
Henry C. Foster, husband of Eliza Bean Foster of Bethel, in
his Union infantry uniform. The photograph was likely
taken at New Orleans during the summer of 1862. The
“A” for his company is visible on his hat. Bethel Historical
Society collection. (See page 8)
of the Anglo-African, even in the midst of siege operations, the ‘Post Office [and] Express Co….are in full
operation.’ Perhaps the most successful of Ben Butler’s
efforts to maintain the morale of his troops was an
army-wide postal service that delivered an average of
50,000 letters per day. [General] Butler also saw to it
that the Adams Express Company maintained branches
at Fort Monroe, Bermuda Hundred, and other points
on the [Union] army’s line of operations. By the winter
of 1864-65, the branch at Bermuda Hundred alone was
distributing 2,000 parcels a day—mainly gift boxes
from loved ones at home to the soldiers at the front.”15
A slave who escaped to serve for three years with
the Union Navy, Benjamin B. Gould sometimes wrote
as many as five letters a day to friends and relatives,
recording in his diary all mailings and all receipts of
mail. (He exchanged at least 60 letters with the woman
he later married, Cornelia Williams Read. She and
others sent him reading matter, including The AngloAfrican, a black abolitionist newspaper published in
New York City.) Like all servicemen, Gould hungered
for news. Writing January 2, 1864, while in port at
New York City aboard the screw-propelled frigate
U.S.S. Niagara, he complained, “It is a shame to the
country that we laying in the Harbor of New York and
have been three days without A mail. Such is the regulation of uncle sam [sic] to his children. Oh for A
mail, A mail. A Kingdom for A Mail.”16
Still stalled at the Navy Yard eight days later,
Gould is depressed: “Indulge all day in thoughts of
those far away and sign for A letter. I hope some kind
friend will send me one.”17
At Antwerp, Belgium, July 24, 1864, Gould complains: “A small Mail from the states but nary [a] letter
have I.”18
In Cadiz, August 24, 1865, Gould writes: "We received A Mail but not A line did I receive. No one
favord me with A remembrance.”19
On duty abroad like Gould or on the march, soldiers and sailors could travel for weeks without their
mail catching up with them.20
In addition, in the field, men were often constrained by lack of paper and stamps, not to mention
writing surfaces. Press correspondents who roamed
freely among Union camps let their readers know the
obvious hardships: “Corresponding under difficulties
certainly, with a cartridge box for a table, and forty five
drops of ink, all in the country, as the limit of my material, the drum likely to beat at any moment for an advance.” Thus wrote a correspondent for the Providence Journal on July 22, 1861.
Muddy, impassable roads meant that both sides
spent several months in camp during the winter. Cutting firewood, smoking pipes, playing cards and wash-
ing clothes occupied only so many hours. “Our principal and standard amusement during the long winter
months was writing to the girls at home. It was a poor
letter-writer that did not have several lady correspondents,” says Union Private Warren Lee Goss.21
This photo, from the BHS collection, shows Henry Foster
and his family during his furlough in the spring of 1864.
His wife, Eliza (Bean) Foster, stands by his side, with
daughter, Henrietta (who later married Ira S. Hickford of
Bethel), and son, George, seated. Henry would die the
following September from war wounds suffered during
the Third Battle of Winchester, Virginia. (See page 8)
Artilleryman John Billings seconded Gross's description of winter social life as playing cards and
writing letters. The side of a hard-tack box was often
the writing surface of choice, according to Billings.
Stamps were sold in envelopes totaling 25 or 50 cents in
value. "Many an old soldier can recall his disgust on
finding what a mess his stamps were in either from
rain, perspiration, or compression, as he attempted,
after a hot march, to get one for a letter. If he could
split off one from a welded mass of perhaps a hundred
or more, he counted himself fortunate.... It was later
than this that the [Union] postmaster-general issued an
order allowing soldiers to send letters without pre-payment...."22
Stamps were first issued in the United Kingdom.
The first United States stamp was issued in 1847. The
war greatly increased the amount of mail in the North;
1,750,000,000 three-cent stamps were issued to keep up
with the demand.
"I had cut some brown locks for his mother and taken
off the ring to send her, telling how well the talisman
had done its work, I kissed this good son for her sake
and laid the letter in his hand...."24
Alcott's letter on behalf of John received a reply in
just two days. In general, however, mail delivery could
be quite sluggish. In July 1863, Harriet Perry speaks of
letters taking two months to reach her, although they
“frequently come in a few days now.”25 As train tracks
were destroyed, supply trains burned and ships sunk,
many letters were lost—as correspondents who took to
numbering their letters were able to prove.
Coming or going, the post often took circuitous
routes. Theophilus Perry writes to his wife, Harriet,
from Pine Bluff, January 1863, “There are no mails
from here to Little Rock. All our letter[s] have to be
sent by private conveyance. I have written you letters
& then failed to send them on account of having no opportunity.”26
In February 1863, Union Lt. Colonel, Alfred
McCalmont, described to his brother the slow progress
of mail: "The mails here are like everything else, they
go by military routine. We are only a mile and a half
from the steamboat landing; but our letters go first to
Brigade Headquarters, then to Division Headquarters,
one mile due west; then to Corps Headquarters, three
miles further west; then to Grand Division Headquarters, a little further toward the Rappahannock, and finally to the Headquarters of the Army of the Potomac,
stopping, I believe, at each Headquarters about twelve
or twenty-four hours. After going through this interesting preliminary transition they are sent down to
Falmouth and thence by rail over to the Potomac river
from which they started. The system is admirable.
One cannot help admiring its order, its regularity and
precision; but like all other workings of the same system, it is impossible for a plain man to see how the
great and desirable result of getting a letter to its destination is hastened by the process. There is a great deal
more of method for the sake of method in the army,
than of method for the sake of substance.”27
When servicemen received scant news or no news
of home, they frequently grew concerned, as exemplified by Theophilus Perry: “You do not write me often.
I fear you are unwell. Why do you not write? If you
are unwell write me.” Later in the same letter: “How
are the children? Write me four pages about them
alone. You do not write me much. No one write[s] to
me but you.”28
Trying to cope with the stresses of battle and waiting for battle, men could be quite demanding of their
wives. Sullivan Ballou of Rhode Island wrote to his
wife Sarah on July 10, 1861: “You know I need to be in
some fault with your letters—because they were so
Letter by Andrew Jackson Bean (born at Bethel in 1828),
written on April 21, 1863. Dispatched from camp and
field, such letters reveal the honors and horrors of the
Civil War. Bethel Historical Society collection (See page 8)
While poet Walt Whitman sat with suffering young
soldiers in the hospitals of Washington, D.C., he took
their dictation of letters to their families. When men
died, Whitman often penned long letters of condolence
describing their final bravery and composure as well as
their thoughts of the Savior. He spent four to five
hours a day visiting, making as cleanly and cheerful an
appearance as possible. On his limited income, he informally distributed fruit, tobacco, candy, pickles,
wine, shirts, socks and underwear.
“[Whitman] soon saw that the best thing he could
give the [literate] men was writing supplies.... An inveterate letter writer himself, he knew how important it
was to keep in touch with the folks back home.”23
Louisa May Alcott's Hospital Sketches records her
providing the same kind of service as Whitman. In one
instance, she wrote a letter to "mother and Lizzie" for a
dying boy named John, a Virginia blacksmith. Their
reply arrived after John's death, but Alcott answered it:
short and told me too little of your everyday thoughts
& feelings—But I find a happy change in your style
now; and I know when the mail comes I shall find a
missive full of tenderness and affection—and something to tell me how all your domestic affairs go on and
how my dear little children get along. Knowing how
you must depend entirely on yourself I feel as though I
must hear of everything you do in almost every hour of
the day.”29
Occasionally men were so stressed that they began
to doubt their wives' fidelity, as Henry Foster does in
May 1864. On furlough, Henry visited his Massachusetts home with his comrade McIver whom he knows
to be a drinker; he suspects that McIver compromised
his wife and berates her in a series of highly emotional
When sutlers were not within range, or knapsacks
had been left at an abandoned camp, the materials for
letter writing were as sought-after by troops as combs
and spoons. During a three-week period in May and
June, 1865, the Sanitary Commission in Washington,
D.C., supplied to troops and hospitals:
84,436 combs
1,710 spoons
312 pounds of soap
108 crutches
396, 305 envelopes
4,855 bottles of ink
453,250 sheets of writing paper
93,385 pens
15,558 pencils31
Enclosures in letters were often small photos,
which soldiers exchanged and which the home folks
mounted in gilt albums. The carte de visite (French for
“visiting card” or “calling card”), or CDV, was an inexpensive way for soldiers to send portraits home. This
small photograph made its American debut in 1860. It
looked much like a black and white postcard, about the
size of a modern credit card, and was mounted on stiff
card as opposed to metal. For $5 a soldier could have a
dozen copies made.32
The soldier could also send home as a small package a more expensive likeness—the tintype. This was a
small image (3x3 or 4x4 inches) processed on metal
rather than paper or cardboard. The best tintypes were
hand-colored, and encased in an ornate frame, many
lined in velvet and with covers that could be clasped
shut like small boxes.33
More than letters was entrusted to the postal services of the North and South. Soldiers requested photographs of their growing children as well as socks and
shirts and delicacies like butter and cake. Women at
home responded with care packages ranging from tomato jam to new potatoes. Some were sent by express
service, secured in wooden crates. Others were entrusted to relatives who ventured to visit the front.
In the long run, however, it was not cake that the
soldier wanted, but news. Civilians serving in the conflict felt the same way.
Cornelia Hancock, a nurse at Gettysburg, wrote on
July 8, 1863, to her sister: "I hope you will write. It
would be very pleasant to have letters to read in the
evening, for I am so tired I cannot write them.... Write
everything, how ever [sic] trifling, it is all [of] interest
Of course, letters from the battle front are not only
valuable to their recipients but also to historians. The
Virginia Historical Society, the Louisiana State Museum and many other repositories all contain files that
preserve a single letter from a Civil War combatant.
One precious letter or one brief diary entry may suffice
to clear up a point of history that is in debate. As historian Douglas Freeman remarked, "Many of the diarists
and letter writers were observant…and not infrequently
recorded important fact no officer set down in any report."35
Robin Young, For Love and Liberty: The Untold Civil
War Story of Major Sullivan Ballou and His Famous Love
Letter, xxvii.
Steven R. Boyd, Patriotic Envelopes of the Civil War:
The Iconography of Union and Confederate Covers, p. 83.
Boyd, p. 115.
Gary (Butch) Fuller, Editor, "The Civil War Diary
of H. G. Otis Perkins, Company K, 5th Maine Infantry
Regiment. A soldier from Oxford, Maine," p. 15.
Abial Hall Edwards, "Dear Friend Anna": The Civil
War Letters of a Common Soldier from Maine," p. 57.
Ibid., p. 58.
Ibid., p. 59.
Ibid., p. 75.
Ibid., p. 84.
Ibid., p. 57.
"Dear Friend Anna," p. 23.
Judith Geisburg, "Widows on the Battlefield: Platforms of Grief," in Hallowed Ground 10:4, p. 159.
"The Post Office Service in the Confederate
States," at
Marilyn Mayer Culpepper, All things Altered:
Women in the Wake of Civil War and Reconstruction, p. 59.
Edward G. Longacre, A Regiment of Slaves: The 4th
United States Colored Infantry, 1863-1866, pp. 102-103.
William Gould IV, Editor, Diary of a Contraband:
The Civil War Passage of a Black Sailor, p. 163.
Gould, p. 164.
Ibid., p. 203.
Ibid., p. 266.
Warren Lee Goss, Recollections of a Private: A Story
of the Army of the Potomac, p. 260.
John D. Billings, Hardtack & Coffee: The Unwritten
Story of Army Life, p. 63.
Roy Morris, The Better Angel: Walt Whitman and
the Civil War, p. 107.
Henry Steele Commager, Living History: The Civil
War (Revised and expanded 2000), p. 569.
Theophilus Perry, Widows by the Thousand: The
Civil War Letters of Theophilus and Harriet Perry, 18621864, p. 157.
Widows by the Thousand, p. 89.
Margaret E. Warner, The American Civil War: 365
Days, August 2nd entry, not paged.
Widows, pp. 148-149.
Robin Young, For Love and Liberty, p. 354.
Ann Chandonnet and Roberta Pevear, Editors,
"Write Quick": War & a Woman's Life in letters, 1835-1867,
pp. 372-378.
Norman Bolotin, Civil War A to Z, A Young Person's
Guide, p. 124.
Civil War A to Z, pp. 21-22.
Civil War A to Z, p. 137.
Commager, Living History, p. 561, p. 563.
Living History, p. 27.
Chesnut, Mary B. Mary Chesnut’s Civil War. Edited by
C. Vann Woodward. Yale University Press, 1981. Mary
Chesnut A Diary from Dixie, a facsimile of the 1905 edition edited by Isabella Martin and Myrta Lockett
Avary, was re-issued in 1997 by Gramercy Books.
Mary Chesnut was the wife of James Chesnut, Jr., a
South Carolina legislator and U.S. senator who was a
brigadier-general and aide to President Jefferson Davis
during the Civil War. She kept her diary in 48 volumes
and bequeathed them to Isabella Martin. Quotes from
Chesnut were featured prominently in Ken Burns’s television series, “The Civil War.”
Clarke, Charles Francis. Above a Common Soldier. First
published as To Form a More Perfect Union: The Lives of
Charles Francis and Mary Clarke from their Letters, 18471871, in 1941, this volume of Civil War-era letters tells
the experiences of an English immigrant in the service
of the Union Army. After Frank Clarke’s death in
1862, his widow Mary corresponds with her British
mother-in-law, detailing the daily struggles of a woman
and her five sons in frontier Kansas. The volume, edited by Herbert Brayer, is rare.
Favill, Josiah Marshall. The Diary of a Young Officer Serving with the Armies of the United States during the War of
the Rebellion. R. R. Donnelley & Sons, 1909. Favill
(1840-1913) served at Bull Run, and subsequently
helped form the 57th New York Infantry. He then
served in the Army of the Potomac until the end of the
war, and was cited for gallantry.
For readers interested in pursuing the subject of civil war letters and diaries, a short, annotated list of suggested sources
Published Civil War Diaries & Letters
Freeman, Warren Hapgood, and Eugene Freeman. Letters from Two Brothers serving in the War for the Union to
Their Family at Home in West Cambridge, Mass. (1871).
Warren Freeman (b. ca. 1844) served with the Thirteenth Massachusetts Volunteers while his brother
Eugene was an engineer in the Union’s transport service. Their book of letters to their parents was printed
for private circulation.
Bucke, Richard M., editor. The Wound Dresser: A Series
of Letters [by Walt Whitman] Written from the Hospitals in
Washington during the War of the Rebellion. Small,
Maynard & Co; 1898; 1978.
Burgess, Lauren, editor. An Uncommon Soldier: The Civil
War Letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, Alias Private Lyons
Wakeman, 153rd Regiment, New York State Volunteers.
Originally published in 1994, this collection is now
available in paperback from Oxford University Press.
It is the only complete collection of letters from a Civil
War woman soldier from her enlistment until her death
Freemantle, Arthur J. L. Three Months in the Southern
States, April-June 1863. Fremantle was a Lt. Col. in the
Coldstream Guards who felt “great admiration for the
gallantry and determination of the Southerners.” He
had originally been sympathetic to the North, but a
“complete revulsion in his feelings” had been affected
“with the unhappy contrast afforded by the foolish
bullying conduct of the Northerners.” Much of this is
taken up with travel across Texas. Edinburgh and
London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1863. Reprinted in the U.S. in 1984.
Chamberlain, Dick and Judy, Editors. Civil War Letters
of an Ohio Soldier: S.O. Chamberlain and the 49th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Flournoy, California: 1990. Samuel
Oscar Chamberlain fought for the Union from September 1861 to November 1865. He sat battle at Shiloh,
Stone’s River, Kenesaw Mountain, Atlanta, Franklin
and elsewhere. Dick is S.O.’s grandson.
Gould, William B., IV, Editor. Diary of a Contraband:
The Civil War Passage of a Black Sailor, Stanford University Press, 2002. The diary of William Benjamin Gould
(1837-1923) is one of only three known diaries of African American sailors from the Civil War period. His
great-grandson has provided introductory chapters, annotations, and an account of Gould’s life in Massachusetts after the war.
Norton, Oliver W. Army Letters, 1861-1865. Printed for
private circulation, 1903.
Pearce, T.H., Editor. Diary of Captain Henry A.
Chambers. Broadfoot’s Bookmark, Wendell, North
Carolina, 1983. Chambers served with Co. C, 4th
Regiment, North Carolina. He kept his journal daily
from Jan. 1, 1862, to April 24, 1865. His attention to
detail includes physical and biographical sketches of
most of the members of his command.
Hanson, Kathleen S., Editor. Turn Backward, O Time:
The Civil War Diary of Amanda Shelton. Roseville, Minnesota: Edinborough Press, 2006. A spirited young
woman of 20, Shelton left Iowa in 1864 to serve as a
nurse for the Union. Her diary of working in the Special Diet Kitchens is a unique story of true grit. After
the war, she continues her nursing—at the Iowa Hospital for the Insane. The book concludes with an address
Shelton delivered in Chicago in 1908 at a reunion of
war veterans and nurses.
Smith, Barbara Bentley and Nina Bentley Baker, Editors. “Burning Rails as We Pleased”: The Civil War Letters
of William Garrigues Bentley, 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
McFarland: 2004. This book is compiled from a collection of 142 letters and offers an insight into the political
thoughts and feelings of the time. The editors are
Bentley’s great-granddaughters.
Taber, Thomas R. Hard Breathing Days: The Civil War
Letters of Cora Beach Benton. Albion, NY: Almeron
Press, 2003. In 1862, Charles Benton of New York
enlisted in the 17th New York Independent Light Artillery. He left at home his pregnant wife, Cora, and his
daughter, Belle. Cora wrote 160 long, newsy, romantic
letters to her husband, and Charles valued them so
much that he sent them home again to be preserved.
Thomas Taber bought these letters at auction in 1997
and spent five years transcribing and annotating them.
Hughes, William E., Editor. The Civil War Papers of Lt.
Colonel Newton T. Colby, New York Infantry.
McFarland: 2003. Colby served at Antietam, Chancellorsville and Harper’s Ferry. He crossed paths with
many prominent Civil War figures.
Lane, David. A Soldier’s Diary: The Story of a Volunteer,
1862-1865. Privately printed by the author in 1905.
McCalmont, Alfred B. Extracts from Letters written by
Alfred B. McCalmont…from the Front during the War of the
Rebellion. Printed for private circulation by his son,
Robert McCalmont, 1908 [?].
Tappan, George H. The Civil War Journal of Lt. Russell
M. Tuttle, New York Volunteer Infantry. McFarland:
2006. Tuttle saw action in Maryland, Virginia and
Tennessee, and took part in the Siege of Atlanta and
the March to the Sea. This volume is illustrated with
38 photographs and rare period illustrations.
Menge, W. Springer and J. August Shimrak, Editors.
The Civil War Notebook of Daniel Chisholm: A Chronicle of
Daily Life in the Union Army 1864-1865. New York:
Orion Books, 1898. This is one of the most amusing
collections because of Chisholm’s irrepressible sense of
humor and gift for a perfectly turned phrase. Chisholm
copied not only his own letters but also the diary of a
fellow soldier, Samuel Clear.
Van Alstyne, Lawrence. Diary of an Enlisted Man. Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Co., Connecticut, 1910.
Waldron, Randall H. Letters of Martha Mitchell Jefferson.
New York University Press, 1977.
Welch, Spencer G. A Confederate Surgeon’s Letters to His
Wife. Neale Publishing Co., 1911, 1954.
Newton, David C. and Kenneth J. Pluskat, Editors.
The Lost Civil War Diaries: The Diaries of Corporal
Timothy J. Regan. Trafford Publishing, 2003. These
diaries were discovered in a travel trunk in the 1950s.
An Irish American, Timothy Regan enlisted in Company E of the 9th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry
Regiment and recorded his mustering in (June 11,
1861) and events such as shaking hands with President
Abraham Lincoln. This file, available on the
Internet, contains the memoirs, diary and biography of
Private Jefferson Moses of Co. G, 93rd Illinois Volunteers. The diary begins on Aug. 28, 1863, and ends abruptly after Vicksburg. The memoir was probably written in 1911. A single letter is part of the file.
See also
“Write Quick"
War and a Woman’s Life in Letters, 1835-1867
Transcribed and edited by Ann Fox Chandonnet and
Roberta Gibson Pevear, and published by the Bethel
Historical Society, this captivating book is based on
Civil War era documents, letters and diaries donated to
the Bethel Historical Society by Mrs. Pevear in 2005.
Impressively narrated and edited, it tells the story of
one New England family's daily experiences on the
Civil War home front and battlefield, through never
before published primary source materials. Featuring
over 50 photographs, illustrations, and maps, plus an
index. 572 pp., softcover, $34.95
To order: Send check or money order to the Bethel Historical Society, P.O. Box 12, Bethel, ME 04217-0012, or
call 207-824-2908 T-F, 10-4, with credit card info. Society
members may deduct 10%. Shipments to Maine addresses should include 5% sales tax. Media Mail/Parcel
Post: under $10 = $3.00; $10 to $29.99 = $5.00; $30 to
$49.99 = $7.00; $50 to $74.99 = $8.00; $75.00 and up =
12% of order total (before sales tax); Priority: Under
$75.00, double the amounts above; $75.00 and up = 20%
of order total (before sales tax).
Bethel Historical Society
P.O. Box 12, Bethel, ME 04217-0012
207-824-2908  800-824-2910
[email protected]
Address Service Requested

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