I have another update on the Civil War letters project. We in the Information Management Branch have finished adding the letters from the Larkin S. Kendrick Papers and Daniel W. Revis Letters to the North Carolina Digital Collections (NCDC).
We’ve found something interesting as our staff go through the Civil War letters – every staff member seems to bond with a particular collection or family. I’m not sure why that is although I suspect we tend to feel connected to whatever family or letters we were working on when it really “clicked” for us how amazing these materials are; so my coworker Tiffanie is really invested in the letters of Henry H. Bowen (a Confederate Marine stationed in Charleston, S.C. in 1864) and those of his wife Ann L. Bowen, which are part of the materials I’m currently adding to the NCDC. Likewise our cohort Amy in the State Library is very fond of the brothers from the Futch Letters, one of the largest groupings of letters we plan to add to the Civil War digital collections.
For me, it is the Daniel W. Revis Letters that I connect with. They aren’t the most informative or most well-written of the Civil War materials we’re adding online; poor Daniel spends an awful lot of time wishing he was home to plant his crops while his wife Sarepta has the disadvantage of being illiterate and having to have someone write for her. But every once in a while you come across something amazing in them, like the letter Daniel writes to Sarepta after he receives the news that their son Slocum has died or the letter in which Sarepta reports the raid on “the Staton boys” and a group of deserters by the militia in Henderson County. Part of it may also be that Daniel Revis served in the 64th North Carolina Infantry, the same regiment as one of my ancestors, Robert Hardy Massey.
The Kendrick letters are great resources for a lot of reasons, including having a letter with one of my favorite lines so far (“Huldey Said tell W. H to Kiss her Wrump & Stay thare.” from the letter: Emeline Putnam and J. G. Hill to Larkin S. and Mary C. Kendrick, June 28, 1868). Here’s just a few of the subjects you’ll find mentioned in the letters from the Larkin S. Kendrick Papers (although there are many, many more):
- North Carolina Infantry Regiment, 34th; North Carolina Infantry Regiment, 15th;
- Weldon (N.C.); Hamilton (N.C.); Roanoke River (Va. and N.C.); Cleveland County (N.C.); Raleigh (N.C.); Guilford County (N.C.); Charlotte (N.C.); Petersburg (Va.) [including several letters dealing with the siege of the town].
- Women and their lives on the home-front during the Civil War [Several of the letters in the collection were written by women including Kendrick’s wife Mary and various female relatives and friends.];
- Weather, food prices, money, news from the family farms, clothing and dress, the difficulties of postal service, cattle;
- Military food supply and various equipment and supplies issues
- Health aspects including medical care and Civil War hospitals [Larkin Kendrick spent some time in hospitals and many of the letters were either written by him there or were letters written by others but sent to him there in order to let him know what was going on in the war or at home.];
- Prisons and prisoners, both Union and Confederate;
- Religious aspects;
Finally, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but I’ve added a links page to this blog which includes a direct link to the Civil War collection within the North Carolina Digital Collections. So, if you ever want to read these letters or any of our other Civil War materials online but have forgotten where to find them, just check on the links page.