Download When this cruel war is over: the Civil War letters of by David W. Blight PDF
By David W. Blight
Chronicle of a normal Union soldier stuck up in awesome occasions via a suite of letters
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The mother & sisters will look in vain in the far off Florida for his return," wrote the New Englander, "or even his grave among the green hills of Penn. where his body probably lies in a pit with lots of his comrades. . " Brewster maintained a certain emotional distance from his unnamed foe in an unmarked grave. But the symbol of the confiscated letters to ''mother & sisters" could only have made him and his family back home wonder in what "pit" beneath which "green hills" Brewster might soon find oblivion.
Since my first visit to his home nearly a decade ago, Jonathan Allured has steadfastly supported my efforts to see his grandfather's letters in print. I want to thank him and his wife, Nancy, for the hospitality and friendship they have extended to me and the generosity they have shown in formally donating the Brewster letters to Historic Northampton. I am also grateful to Ruth Wilbur, former director of the Northampton Historical Society, whose enthusiasm for the project never flagged. And, finally, I thank David Blight, whose talents as a historian will be evident to anyone who reads these remarkable letters and seeks to understand the context in which they were written more than a century ago.
PARSONS NORTHAMPTON, MASSACHUSETTS Page ix Editorial Method and Acknowledgments Two hundred ten of Charles Harvey Brewster's Civil War letters have survived. One hundred ninety-two are original letters and eighteen others exist only as they were transcribed into journals by Brewster's daughter, Mary Kate Brewster, in 1893. Because of the sheer volume of the letters, and in the interest of clarity and to avoid repetition, I have selected 133 original letters for publication. In my selection I have attempted to represent the major themes of Brewster's thought and experience, as well as offer a chronological balance of his three and one-half years of service in the Union army.