Steptoe's letters recount both the joys and frustrations of his time in the Union Army. They are deeply personal, and serve to illustrate the importance family ties played in the day-to-day lives of Civil War soldiers. Despite his prolonged time away from his family, it is clear from both his words and the frequency with which he wrote that his greatest source of strength was the support he received from home. As war-weariness began to take its toll, Steptoe's letters home illustrate that his firmest commitment was to his family, rather than his country or his regiment.
Steptoe took an unauthorized or "French" leave to visit his wife briefly in March , and he later threatened to abandon his duties as a soldier entirely in the hopes of being permanently reunited with his wife and children. Wounded and then captured at the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia in May , Steptoe was sent to Andersonville Prison in Georgia, then to a prison hospital in Charleston, South Carolina, where he died in October , never to see his wife or his children again.
James Steptoe's last letter to his wife Amanda, dated April 19, The "Full details" button links to the entire folder of Steptoe's Correspondence. The April 19, letter can be found on pages in the digital document viewer. Quarter Master Seargant Henry Wendt is to furnish a duplicate invoice for a horse. Keefer to T. Bowers, January 2. Written in Bowling Green, Kentucky U. General Hospital. Requests a descriptive list and account of pay and clothing for soldier Henry Dietze, 24th Illinois. Notice that fourth quarter stores were examined and have been sent to the Second Auditor because no vouchers were furnished along with the records.
French, 2nd Auditor, February 7. Written in Springfield, Illinois Camp Butler. Written in Nashville, Tennessee Hospital near. Hannah Mihalotzy, February Informs her that her husband was fatally wounded and she should come see him immediately. Hannah Mihalotzy, March Written in Tyner's Station, Tennessee.
Includes copies of resolutions passed by officers honoring her recently deceased husband. Rascher to Colonel Geza Mihalotzy, March Receipt for whiskey and cigars for Lieutenant H. From member of regimental band. Letter describes how he was captured and held by the Confederates for a while and was then released through a prisoner exchange. He received medical treatment and has been at a distribution camp for months with the promise of returning to his regiment.
Wanted—Correspondence: Women's Letters to a Union Soldier
He asks his Colonel to request his return so as to speed up the process. Turchin to Colonel Geza Mihalotzy, undated. Larner to Colonel Geza Mihalotzy, undated. Regarding officers discharged from his regiment. Stone to Mr. Written in Fort Runger, Virginia. A Box 16 Letter written by F. Curtis [? B Box 16 Letter written by David W. Written in Camp Dixon, Illinois. C Box 16 Letter written by David W. Written in Chicago, Illinois Camp Douglas.
Final Letters From Fallen Warriors
D Box 16 Letter written by David W. Written in Bolivar, Tennessee. E Box 16 Letter written by David W. Written in Humboldt, Tennessee. F Box 16 Letter written by David W. G Box 16 Letter written by David W. H Box 16 Letter written by David W. Written in camp near Jackson, Tennessee. I Box 16 Letter written by David W. Written in Johnson Mills, Tennessee near Jackson. J Box 16 Letter written by David W. Written in Haynes Bluff, rear of Vicksburg, Mississippi. K Box 16 Letter written by David W.
Written in DeValls Bluff, Arkansas. L Box 16 Letter written by David W. Written in Little Rock, Arkansas. M Box 16 Letter written by David W. N Box 16 Letter written by David W. Written in Devalls Bluff, Arkansas.
O Box 16 Letter written by David W. P Box 16 Letter written by David W. Q Box 16 Letter written by David W. R Box 16 Letter written by David W. S Box 16 Letter written by David W. T Box 16 Letter written by David W. Written in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. U Box 16 Letter written by David W. V Box 16 Letter written by David W. W Box 16 Letter written by David W. X Box 16 Letter written by David W. Y Box 16 Letter written by David W. Morris to parents, March Written in Rochester, Illinois.
Written in Saint Charles, Arkansas. Written in Arkansas Mouth White River. Written in Emporia, Kansas. Written in Little Stranger, Kansas. Sent from Ridgeway P. Morris, April May Noble, Brooklyn, New York, August B Box 15 Letter written by Otis M. Moody to Annie F. Noble, Brooklyn, New York, June Noble, Brooklyn, New York, December Noble, Brooklyn, New York, February E Box 15 Letter written by Otis M. Noble, Brooklyn, New York, March F Box 15 Letter written by Otis M. G Box 15 Letter written by Otis M.
Noble, Brooklyn, New York, October Written in Lake Forest, Illinois. Noble, Brooklyn, New York, April Noble, Brooklyn, New York, May 6. Noble, Brooklyn, New York, May Noble, Brooklyn, New York, June 5. Written in Wilmington, North Carolina. M Box 15 Letter written by Otis M. N Box 15 Letter written by [Louis? Written in Minden, Louisiana Camp Allen. Noble, Brooklyn, New York, November Written at "Home. Written on picket guard near Nashville, Tennessee. Noble, Brooklyn, New York, [no month listed].
S Box 15 Letter written by Otis M. Written in Camp Schaeffer, near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Otis writes on his birthday about a visit and inspection from numerous generals and officers, as well as generals' wives. He is pleased because General Rosecrans declares theirs the best Division in his Army. Describes the ceremony and review. Reflects on turning 33 and having met Annie only 8 years earlier. Written in [Cascadia? Bradley to Annie F. Discusses how much he misses their mutual friend Otis Moody and describes the circumstances under which he died in battle in September V Box 16 Letter written by [illegible — a doctor] to Annie F.
Noble, Brooklyn, New York, May 5. Written in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Likely same author as W Box 16 Letter written by Annie F. Noble to Captain Moore, September Written at Adelphi Street [New York]. Noble, Brooklyn, New York, November 3. Written in Deckerd, Tennessee. V Noble, Brooklyn, New York, December 3. Written in Albion, New York. About George Washington. AA Box 16 Letter written by P. Anstruther [? Noble, Brooklyn, New York, undated. Moody to [Annie F. Noble, Brooklyn, New York], undated.
Seems to be missing page[s]. Presumably written to Annie. Written in camp near Warrenton, Virginia. Includes partial transcription. He writes about long, hard marches and wishes he had not come to the war. He goes on to write of family matters. Palley to "My Dear Wife," March Written in camp near Falmouth, Virginia.
Writes disparagingly of a Dr. Hull whom Palley felt was not helpful to him when Palley was ill while they were under heavy fire for days. Written in United States Yard. Writes about overnight marches and lack of knowledge about destinations. He constantly hears guns and cannons. He also discusses their food. Carmen, April 9.
Written in Portsmouth, Virginia. Includes transcription. Parker of Downers Grove, Illinois, August 9.
- Two Tons of Gold!
- Women and the American Civil War (December 2015): Northern Perspective.
- Last War Letters to Family Members From Fallen American Soldiers.
Written in Downers Grove, Illinois. Discusses military positions during Civil War. Parker of Downers Grove, Illinois, November 2. Written in Richmond, Virginia. Requests obtaining a roster of the Society of the Association of Northern Virginia. Parker of Downers Grove, Illinois, November Written in Wadesboro, North Carolina. Discusses particular movements and sequence of events of Battle of Sharpsburg, Maryland Antietam on September 17, Written in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
Written in Prattville, Alabama. Written in Empire [? Parker of Downers Grove, Illinois, December 8. Stevenson, Private, 10th Alabama to R. Parker of Downers Grove, Illinois, December 9. Written in Jacksonville, Alabama. Includes names and addresses of some of the members of the 8th, 10th, 11th, and 13th Alabama regiments. Houghton, 2nd Georgia to R. Written in Birmingham, Alabama. Jackson, 6th Alabama, Company E to R.
Parker of Downers Grove, Illinois, December Written in Spring Hill, Alabama. Discusses the 6th Alabama. Written in Faunsdale, Alabama. Turner, 23rd North Carolina Infantry to R. Written in Jasper, Alabama. Brandon of Montgomery, Alabama, December Written in Autaugaville, Alabama.
Discusses request of R. Anderson Division to R. Written in Havana, Alabama. MacRae, 5th North Carolina to R. Parker of Downers Grove, Illinois, January 1. Written in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Parker of Downers Grove, Illinois, January 8. Written in Orange County, Virginia. Informs Parker that they don't have a map of the area noting property owners before and during the Civil War.
Directs him to elderly citizens who fought in the Confederate Army for assistance. Parker of Downers Grove, Illinois, January Written in Bellhaven, North Carolina. Discusses his wounds that he received in the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 3, Parker of Downers Grove, Illinois, February Written in Montgomery, Alabama. Includes a short biography. Fleming, Attorney to R. Written in Jacksonville, Florida. Discusses the Florida Infantry in the Civil War.
Klipstein, Marshall Chemical Co. Parker of Downers Grove, Illinois, March 1. Written in Marshall, Virginia.
Civil War Medicine (and Writing): Civil War Personals! (SWM Seeks)
Discusses a map of Fauquier County, Virginia and roads and movements of various military units in the County during the Civil War. Written in Gadsden, Alabama. Discusses how he didn't fight in the battles at Sharpsburg Antietam and Gettysburg because he was wounded at the earlier Battle of Seven Pines. Britton, 5th Alabama, Company D to R. Parker of Downers Grove, Illinois, January 3. Written in Tunstall, Alabama. Discusses how he didn't fight at Sharpsburg because he was ill. Also describes wounds he received at other battles such as Chancellorsville.
Written in New York, New York.
Charles Marshall of Baltimore, June Discusses compiling reports and letters for published presentation in an appeal to the President. He hopes to get Marshall's permission to use one of Marshall's letters. Edward S. Rollins, U. Senate, June Written in Morristown, New Jersey.
Potter to wife Mary, January 4. Written in Elktonville, Tennessee. In this letter, Potter recounts his frightening experiences during the Battle of Nashville and discusses his desire for the war to end. Potter to wife Mary, January Potter to brother, February Potter to wife Mary, March 6. Written in Pontoon, Bulls Gap, [Tennessee]. Potter to wife Mary, March In this letter, Potter complains about how isolated the soldiers are in camp, especially from news sources.
Potter to wife Mary, April Potter discusses the poverty of the civilians in Tennessee. Potter to wife Mary, May Potter to uncle, May Potter to wife Mary, July 2. Written in New Orleans, Louisiana. Potter to wife Mary, July 3. Potter to wife Mary, July First Martyr in War for liberty of Murdered, Baltimore, Md. Ladd was killed. Written 25 miles east of Knoxville, Tennessee. Written in Loudon, Tennessee. Realf expresses his admiration for the personal qualities and policies of President Abraham Lincoln. Supports Lincoln for re-election. Written in Coosa [?
Whipple, September In this letter, Realf seeks to apply to become an officer overseeing a black regiment. Includes transcript. Taylor, March Written in Wheeling, Virginia. Thanks her for sending a bouquet. Goddard to General G. Wagner [? Written in Crawfish Springs, Georgia. Directs sending enclosure to General Burnside. Burnside, September. Written in Chickamauga, Georgia. Rosecrans to Major General A. Translated by James McCarney, December Discusses Camp Douglas. Written in Chicago, Illinois [?
Sherman to General McArthur, June [? Written near Vicksburg, Mississippi. Sherman to General McArthur, July 2. Written in Camp on Bear Creek. Regarding the placement of gun batteries to protect troops moving down the Mississippi to take Vicksburg. Sherman to General McArthur, July 3.
Written in camp near Vicksburg, Mississippi. Sherman to Gen. Thomas, July Letter in secretary's hand with Sherman's signature. Discusses General James B. McPherson's death. Sherman to Col. Whittlesy, September Written in St. Louis, Missouri. Sherman to J. Williams, March Sherman, January In June , Corson was injured and had to leave the battle. Spiller to wife Clarisa, October Written in Springfield, Illinois Camp Yates.
Spiller to wife Clarisa and children, October Louis, Missouri Camp Jackson. Spiller to wife Clarisa and children, November Written in LaGrange, Tennessee. Spiller to wife Clarisa, April 7. Written in Vista Plantation, Louisiana. Spiller to wife Clarisa, April Spiller to nephew; wife Clarisa, April Letter to nephew includes a note on the last page to his wife Clarisa regarding money he sent along. Spiller to wife Clarisa and children, April Spiller to nephew; wife Clarisa, June 1.
One letter with two messages: one to nephew and one to wife. Stanley to Colonel H. Kennett, Chief of Staff of Mississippi, September Written near Jacinto, Mississippi. This battle report describes movements, stores and activities of troops. Ames Binney of Baltimore, April 4. Written in Blue Springs, Tennessee. States he has no official papers to contribute to Mrs. Ames's album to raise money for a sanitary fair. He will ask his wife to check his papers at home. Ames Binney of Baltimore, April Written in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Describes accompanying battle report Entries include commentary on the weather, evidence of his being a devout Christian, of his injury or illness and recovery, of the mail he wrote and received from his wife and daughters, the price and purchase of eggs and his becoming a Mason.
These entries continue to comment on the weather and his incoming and outgoing mail. He also discusses his duties as guard at the Carroll and Old Capitol prisons. A Box 17 Letter written by John S. Pickard; John M. Latheon [? Latheon at the end. B Box 17 Letter written by John S. Weaver, Lena, Stephenson Co. Discusses how many men enlist at Lena, Illinois; some soldiers sick with typhoid; he sees Eugene Way every day.
Written in Columbus, Kentucky. Discusses how four companies of his regiment left three days ago going downriver and asks if a regiment left Rockford recently. E Box 17 Letter written by F. F Box 17 Letter written by George S. Written in Morganza, Louisiana. Written in Camp Burnside [Kentucky? Has "Mr. Griffing" written on the front, and "Mr. Roush" on the back. Postmarked Indianapolis, Indiana. Includes envelope addressed. Discusses how soldiers have been building new barracks for the regiment; states that he is lonely and talks about parties at home. I Box 17 Letter written by Denison J.
Asks about people at home; asks about Mr. Written in Camp Smith, Nashville, Tennessee. Discusses tearing down the buildings at Camp Smith to move them to Edgefield; drawing double rations; mentions Charles Haggart and Captain Baeke. K Box 17 Letter written by George S. Written in Camp in the field, Alabama. States their march to Mobile ended; working at Spanish Fort 12 to 15 miles from Mobile on the Bay; on bridge building duty the previous week; they have the enemy surrounded on land; Union gunboats trying to cross, one sunk by torpedo; Confederates charged last night, repulsed by 50th Indiana Regiment; has frequent picket duty; captain is sick so Roush is in command.
Written in Macon, Mississippi. States that company is miles from Mobile; it is guarding government property; many young ladies in the town offering invitations; many paroled Confederate soldiers in town who are friendly; arrived in Mobile, Alabama on May 24 and go to Texas soon. M Box 17 Envelope sent to Flora A.
Sent from Indianapolis, Indiana. N Box 17 Envelope sent to Flora A. Welch, April December 25; January January 3. Accounts of engagements at Farmington, Mississippi on May 3 and 9, Entries written in Hamburg, Tennessee, in camp by a swamp in Mississippi, in Farmington, Mississippi, on the march to Corinth and in Boonville, Mississippi. Welch, February 22 - June Accounts of battles at Averasboro and Bentonville, North Carolina. A Box 17 Letter written by William R. Wilder to brother Frank J. He asked to see the letters for himself. Howe got in touch with United States Postal Service historian Jenny Lynch, who requested that he email images of the pages to her office in Washington, D.
Though the letters looked authentic, she verified their provenance by consulting Dan Piazza, assistant curator of philately at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. After scrutinizing the paper, its size and the ink, Piazza pronounced his verdict. This article is a selection from the November issue of Smithsonian magazine. An ancestor, Lt. Charles Kochersperger, was second-in-command of a Union regiment at the Battle of Gettysburg in The following year he led the unit during the Battle of the Wilderness, where he was severely wounded.
Post Office Department. The government sued him— United States v. Kochersperger —and eventually prevailed. The 21st-century Kochersperger is a sleuth who uses a computer screen instead of a magnifying glass. Still, for all his decades of postal gumshoeing, this particular case presented a special challenge. He began by transcribing the handwriting.
Literacy rates were high on both sides during the Civil War—about 90 percent for Union soldiers, above 80 percent for Confederates. Still, many enlisted men preferred dictating messages to comrades whose writing was swifter or neater or both. Walt Whitman, who volunteered at D. Army hospitals beginning in , was the most famous of these scriveners. Once the letters were deciphered, Kochersperger aligned the events Shephard described with the historical record. Kochersperger relied heavily on archival newspapers and genealogical sources like census reports and military rosters.
No saint, the adolescent Nelson was arrested for burglary and did a stretch in Jackson State Prison. By the summer of he was working as a mill hand in the town of White River, where the Shephards had resettled. After Confederate forces opened fire on the federal garrison at Fort Sumter in South Carolina, on April 12, , President Lincoln asked the Northern states for 75, militiamen to help quell the insurrection. Though no battles took place in the state, Michigan men fought in every major battle.
During the summer of , the year-old Nelson enlisted in the 26th Michigan Volunteer Regiment. He mustered with Company C, which was made up of men primarily from Muskegon County. Under the command of Col. Judson S. Farrar, the 26th reached the District of Columbia on December 18 and was given a couple of days to see the town. It is all White and completely filled with the most Beautiful Paintings I ever saw. After crossing the Potomac, the infantrymen marched to Alexandria, Virginia. To maintain order during the occupation, the regiment was detailed for guard duty.
The Michigan troops camped outside the city near Fort Lyon. They will shoot one mile through a target of six feet solid Oak and six inches solid iron. Bolted together they are Capable of doing execution at the distance of six miles and a half. They only carry lb. Slug Balls there is 18 Cannons on Fort Lyons that is from 16 to 18 feet long and one long tom 22 feet. Rifled Cannons all but 8 and them look like a sugar [loaf?
Ira A. Nash of Company I died in Alexandria due to a friendly-fire incident on January 25, Shephard closed the note by reassuring his family. I am not in any danger here. All the Rebels are a great ways off from here. At Suffolk, a Union outpost under siege by Confederate troops, droves of wounded passed their camp en route from the front to the hospital.