The Stevens papers contain 29 letters written by George T. Stevens, surgeon with the 77th New York Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. Although the letters, all addressed to his wife, Harriet (Hattie), span a period of only about four months during the late summer and fall, 1864, they include several excellent, action-packed descriptions. During these months, Stevens' unit was involved in Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign and in countering Early's raid on Washington. However, Stevens provides few details of these military campaigns, and with the exception of his own maladies, describes few of the medical cases he encounters during these campaigns. His comments on Lincoln, McClellan, and the election of 1864 offer some insight into the major issues of the day.
Stevens' letters are valuable in two ways: as an indication of how a surgeon spends his considerable spare time, and, in a broader sense, as a record of the emotions of a soldier increasingly anxious to return home to his wife and friends, while fretting over the difficulties of beginning his life anew following the war.