George W. Martin papers
Collection Scope and Content Note
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The George W. Martin papers consist of 16 letters from Martin to his parents, dated between March 1864 and May 1865. Many of the letters are postmarked from Virginia and include items sent from the Harper's Ferry area, with a number of the 1865 letters posted from New Creek, West Virginia. The letters primarily concern daily camp life, such as a fire in the camp (March 31, 1864) and the theft of two pounds of Martin’s coffee (January 11, 1865). Martin also frequently recounted hardships (“We are almost starving these three or four days.” February 11, 1865), and continually discussed and requested care packages from his parents. On April 16, 1865, Martin wrote to his parents concerning the death of Lincoln, “We got very bad news here yesterday that President Lincoln was shot. And also secretary Steward was stabbed and his son. Dear Mother I am affraid that is a going to put the war back it will encourage the rebbles and they will fight the harder now since he is killed.” The letters document the experiences of a young adolescent faced for the first time with the hardships of army life.