Diaries and Letters

19 11 2009

I don’t know how many of you have noticed this, but there are very few published collections of soldiers’ diaries and letters that discuss First Bull Run.  I sometimes run across various sites that have letters transcribed on them, and I think I’ll start a new section on my links page for them.  But here’s how you can help:

If you have in your possession any diaries or letters written by campaign participants or even civilian commentators, please let me know via this comments section. 

If you’d like to share any family diaries or letters here, that’s great – I’ll include attribution, and if you want to provide a biographical sketch of the writer that can be generally confirmed I’ll include that too.  Images of the documents themselves are a plus – I have to be responsible and try to limit the risk of posting phony stuff.

And, if you know of a published work or website, even if it should be obvious to me, shout it out.

Letter above by a civilian observer from this site.

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6 responses

19 11 2009
Bill Parker

Hi Harry,

As you already know I will be presenting letters and diary entries from an ancestor of mine who was in the 1st Conn. vol. regt at the new blog threemonthmen.blogspot.com. I hope to do weekly posts presenting this material in chronological order starting with events from the end of 1860 and terminating with the mustering out of the regt. after First Bull Run. I will be supplementing these entries with other information I have regarding the three connecticut volunteer regiments. I hope that all interested parties will follow along and find this informative and worthwhile.

19 11 2009
Harry Smeltzer

Hi Bill. Yes, I found your new blog a while back and added it to my blogroll. What I’d like to do is post your letters here in the reources section after you put them up on your site. The reason for this is that I don’t want to have to depend on the continued existence of any other site for anything I put in the resources section. Of course I would give proper attribution and provide a link to you. If you prefer I don’t do that, I’ll still include a link to your site on the blogroll – I don’t want to lift your work without permission. Let me know if that’s OK.

19 11 2009
The Abraham Lincoln Observer

Harry: Um … dairies and letters? You milking this topic? Sounds cheesy to me. It’s not First Cow Run.

19 11 2009
Harry Smeltzer

Thanks Mike. Good thing I have a blunt newspaperman around to show me the error of my ways every now and again. All these other guys are just a bunch of yes men!

19 11 2009
Will Hickox

I don’t know whether it belongs in the “Should be Obvious” category, as it’s rather an obscure book, but William Styple’s “Writing and Fighting the Civil War” has several letters dealing with Bull Run. The book features letters sent to a Democrat-affiliated newspaper by soldiers mostly from the New York City area. There is a lot of stuff from Fire Zouaves, Duryee Zouaves, “Mozarters” (40th NY), Excelsior Brigade men, and other NY units both famous and obscure. Styple reprints some fascinating editorials as well. This was very much a Democratic paper and the anti-Lincoln letters and editorials reflect that.
It’s not Bull Run material, but my favorite item in the book recounts a supposed incident in the Fall of ’62 in which Duryee Zouaves try to recruit Horace Greeley.

19 11 2009
Harry Smeltzer

Will, I have Styples’ books and paln to use some stuff from them. Newspapers are a whole different category and a wealth of material, and I think I can never get enough of them, particularly soldier accounts.

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