Letters Home

To soldiers, letters from home provided encouragement and welcomed information. During the Civil War these letters would arrive one to three months after they were written. It did not matter to the soldiers. They enjoyed reading about life at home, neighborhood gossip, and how the farm was doing. These letters helped the soldiers endure the hardships of battle and camp life. In turn, family and friends were flooded with letters from the soldiers. In great detail soldiers described camp life, quality of food or lack of food, wrote with great joy of capturing enemy supplies and soldiers. Many wrote about their strong religious beliefs and their powerful sense of patriotism. The most horrifying letters described the screams and cries of dying comrades. Although soldiers sometimes exaggerated their heroic battle deeds, these letters remain an excellent primary source for historical research. In addition to gaining historical insights from these letters, researchers learn more about the person who wrote the letters. The humor, misspellings, grammatical errors and penmanship speak of the common soldiers who wrote them. 

Organization Affiliation
Fort Sumter National Monument
Time
30 min. - 1 hr.
Lesson Plan Subjects