George W. Barr wrote 144 letters to his wife during the years 1861-1865, distinguished by their openness and honesty. Early in his service, he spoke confidently of a quick Union victory on the Peninsula, but the horrible casualties and sickness that faced him had a huge psychological impact. Barr does little to spare his wife when describing the aftermath of a battle, and is honest in his criticism of the ineptitude of McClellan, Burnside, and other generals and politicians. Nevertheless, Barr remained a strong patriot throughout.
Military concerns aside, Barr's letters provide some interesting details regarding his medical practice, building a home in Titusville, his interest in the flora and fauna, and his illness which may have been symptoms of hypochondria. Finally, the collection includes a letter from Barr to his cousins and one to his parents, a fragmentary history of the 64th New York Infantry, and a letter to Iris Barr regarding the war-time correspondence.