Gibbons family papers  1858-1941 (bulk 1868-1941)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Aaron H. Ingraham papers contain 12 letters from a Union soldier to his parents and sisters from 1861 to 1862, while he served in the 48th New York Infantry. In them, he provided a description of his daily activities and responsibilities, and included basic information on troop movements. As Ingraham traveled from Camp Sherman in Washington D.C. to Annapolis, Maryland, Hilton Head, South Carolina, Camp Perry at Daufuskie Island, South Carolina, and finally to Fort Pulaski, Georgia, he described each of these settings. For instance, he reported that Annapolis was "a mere nothing, the houses being of inferior size and quality. The streets narrow and running in every direction but straight and there is naut of life and activity which makes it seem like anything but a northern city." In a letter to his sister, he mentioned a conversation with a free African American woman in Annapolis about her children whom had been taken north (October 17, 1861). Later letters concern the fortifications of Hilton Head and the effectiveness of mail delivery to the forts. Though he often described the monotonous life of a soldier, and complained about poor food and his lack of money, he used his keen sense of observation to highlight interesting events in the forts. The January 20, 1862, letter provides a wonderful account of eating at the fort and his excitement about receiving ginger snaps and bread in the mail. In this letter he also mentioned a friend who drowned after walking over the side of a boat in his sleep. Letters from November 29, 1861, and February 12, 1862, both recount instances of friendly fire. Ingraham wrote the letter of March 30, 1862, from Fort Pulaski, just after the Union captured the fort. He reported a rumor that Jefferson Davis was captured by Union troops, but he believed the rumors unfounded. While he held strong anti-Confederate views, he was not an abolitionist. In the final letter in the collection, he noted that slavery should simply be allowed to die out or at least contained in current slave territories.

The letter from January 9, 1862, has a red and blue patriotic engraved image of a woman carrying an American flag.

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