Have you ever poked around in your family's attic or basement, hoping to discover a long-forgotten treasure? Imagine what it would be like to stumble upon a collection of letters written more than a hundred years ago!

Mary was helping her elderly mother prepare to sell their family home when she came across an old red shoe box she had never seen before. When she opened the lid, she found twenty letters dating back to the 1860s, written during the Civil War.

Mary peered at the envelopes softened with age . . . at the delicate three cent stamps fastened on each one. The letters were addressed in graceful script to Miss Emma Hoadley--Mary's great grandmother. Emma had received them from her brother Augustus, who was away at war, serving as a soldier in the Union Army.

Mary stared at her mother. "Why didn't you ever tell me you had these?" she asked.
Her mother shook her head. "Those letters have been packed away for so many years, I almost forgot I had them."

Before long, the two women were carefully pulling the letters from their envelopes, poring over the faded pages. "Dear Sister Emma," Mary began to read and with those words, she felt her ancestors and the days of the Civil War gradually come alive.


Dear Sister Emma | A Principle of Duty | Sickness and Suffering | Please Write Soon
I hope some day to return | Take good care of it...

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Last updated:
October 14, 2003

 The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum is administered by the
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