Levi Hines papers  ca. 1839-1864
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Collection Scope and Content Note

Levi Hines' letters are intimate in nature and provide access to an individual soldier's personal feelings. Seventy of the letters in this collection were written by Hines to his sister Maria, his brother Chester, and parents or other relatives while he was in the service. The remainder of the collection consists of letters from relatives to Hines, with the majority coming from Maria (9 letters), John (5), Chester (5), brother Joseph (7) and E.C. Fisk, who served with Hines in the 1st Vermont Heavy Artillery.

A notable letter in the collection is Hines' account of seeing Lincoln and his entourage in Washington. Hines writes that Lincoln "is a much better looking man than I I [sic] expected to see... There is something in his Eye and in his physiognomy, that denotes firmness decision impressing one with an idea that when he had once taken his course he would not be easily swayed from it..." (1863 August 7-15). Hines also provides an account of the raising of the statue of the Goddess of Liberty on top of the Capitol Building, an occasion upon which he fired the fourth of seven shots in celebration. In the garrison, he recounts the story of a scam run in camp by three men of Company K who bought watches on credit and then deserted (1864 March 4). Another letter includes a humorous account of lice infestation (1864 March 5). Other noteworthy subjects include: Hines' thoughts of home while looking at the night sky (1862 October), his feelings regarding the lines of graves of soldiers who died of disease, and his comments on guard duty or fetching water for the regiment.

Hines' four letters from the field were written while in the trenches at Cold Harbor and Petersburg. He writes of how soldiers become inured to the violence surrounding them and the constant crash of shells and whistling of shot over head. These letters afford insight into one soldier's reactions to intense conflict.

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