Search

Letter to a Union soldier

Selections from the letters of Elizabeth McGee McCartney involve the reader of Hardtack and Heartbreak in a woman’s life in a small Western town in the 1860s. What we now call the Midwest was referred to as Western during the Civil War.

Since she wrote virtually every day and often at length, the letters were too voluminous to include them all. Her letter of June 18, 1863 takes us back to that time.

Deare Husband,

I told you in my last letter I was going to have company yesterday well they came Mrs Depeu, Mrs Dorcey Mrs Hack Robey, Miss Depue Mr Depue Josies baby and Mrs Dorcey’s three boys 9 in all so you see I had a house full for diner and I had a good diner too would you like to know what I had for diner well I will tell you I had beef stake chicken new potatoes I have plenty of new potatoes boiled onions stemed peaches butter molases corn bread buiskits and tea and coffy this was the first part of the diner then we had float cherry pie custard pie rasberries and cream and shugar over them and last of all I had a good cake know don’t you wish you had bin here to help eat it I do

June 19 I have bin to the office this morning I went with a light hart but came back with a heavy one for as we had not had male since Sunday I thought I would git at least one letter from you but immagin my disappointment when I did not git a scatch of the pen from one I love so well what is the matter are you sick are you a prisner have you took some other woman and gone and forgotten me or don’t you think I ever want to heare from you in short what is the reason you do not wright to me as you did at first I am just as game, just as pretty just as true and love you as mutch and am as glad to here from you as I ever was I am in no way inferior to the woman you left when you went to war I send you a letter evry time the male goes down and I think I ought to git one from you every time it comes up

Well we are all well at this time that is we are tolerable well Marcus is not vary well he is right fussy I think he is a bout to cut some teath I feal pretty well a gain

wright soon and often to me Your loving and true wife Lizzie

47 views3 comments

Recent Posts

See All

The letters of James Griffin of South Carolina appear in A Gentleman and an Officer, by Judith McArthur and Orville Vernon Burton published by Oxford University Press in 1996. The book is valuable for

The key phrase that tore the country apart in 1860 is part of Amendment V in the Constitution: “…nor shall any person …be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law” The Supreme

The Civil war began in 1861—one hundred and sixty years ago. After so many years, does that history still matter? It was the most costly war, in terms of lives lost, in American history. From a popul