Numa Barned papers  1862-1865
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Collection Scope and Content Note

Although Numa Barned's letters are few, many of them are very valuable because of the effort that he put into them. Unlike many of his fellow soldiers, Barned did not write simply a succession of one-liners to fill out a page. Rather, he stays on a subject for a full paragraph, viewing it from various angles, philosophizing, and fleshing out his ideas. One excellent letter in this genre is almost entirely occupied with his opinions on African Americans, drawn from a wide range of experiences with them. Another deals with the equivocation inherent in the question of killing another American -- even a rebel -- in battle.

Barned is also good at writing a sequence-of-events letter, such as the report of his capture by Confederates, and his subsequent attempts to escape. He has a head for chronology, as exhibited in his lists of day-to-day positions, apparently reconstructed after the fact. One additional feature of interest is Barned's continued cry of "On to Richmond," long after most soldiers had given the phrase up as another hollow reminder of the ill course of the war.

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