Gardner B. Clark papers  1861-1865
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Gardner B. Clark papers consist of ten letters with his wife Mary, and one Special Order from Major General Burnside. In his letters, Clark writes of his feelings for his wife, the dead and wounded among his company, the upcoming draft in Michigan, and seeing fellow soldiers from Michigan. He also discusses a few experiences on the battlefield. In a letter from December 20, 1863, Clark voices his opinions on how the government is running the war:

"By what right have a few who hold the reins of the U.S. Government precipitated a long and cruel war upon thirty-million of their fellow beings. They say to preserve human liberty as our forefathers left it. Is it not just possible they are thrusting a worse bondage upon us than relieving us from tyranny. For certain it is the Military power that now rules[.] This Nation has no parallel, only in the history of the despots of the old world."

The order comes from Major General Burnside to the headquarters of the army of the Potomac's Camp near Falmouth, Virginia. The order is largely a morale-boosting call to the army, commending the "gallant solders" for their "many brilliant battlefield accomplishments and achievements."

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