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Soldiers' Letters from the War Zone

     While it has been a long term goal of the Genealogical Society to discover more about the Gallia County men and women who made contributions to the war effort, it was only in 2011 that it struck home that it was the 150th anniversary of the start of the war and that we should pursue this more aggressively. What these soldiers did transformed not only our nation, which might otherwise have been permanently divided, but also the world. In late 1862, President Lincoln used the tremendous sacrifices of these soldiers as his reason to issue his Emancipation Proclamation, and because of the moral imperatives involved this made it impossible for European powers to intervene on behalf of the South. Worldwide attitudes about slavery were also changed.
     One of the things we discovered was how difficult it was to find out information about individual soldiers and the military units in which they served. Several projects that were already underway and several new ones were attacked with renewed vigor. More than 1300 obituaries have been found for Civil War contributors and are now on this website. Also there are lists of military rosters and many stories about individual exploits and achievements. More than 100 photographs of soldiers and nurses have been discovered and can be found on the website.
     Research for these projects revealed that, during the war, The Gallipolis Journal had published more than 200 letters written by Gallia County soldiers about their experiences in the various war zones. These fascinating letters have not only allowed us to identify many of the letter writers, but also have allowed us unprecedented access to their inner thoughts and attitudes and, most importantly, to their first-hand descriptions of the war from the camps and battlefields.
     The letters were painstakingly transcribed by Eva Swain Hughes, a retired editor and Society member, who typed them from computer screen enhancements of Journal microfilm images. The papers were filmed at the Ohio Historical Society and made available online by the National Archives. Each letter is grouped with the other letters received from other soldiers in the same regiment and then presented in the order in which they were published. There were enough letters from nine of these regiments to tell their own story of the war and are presented in their own category. The others were grouped into three categories according to the war zone from where they originated. Unfortunately, there may be missing letters, as not all issues of the Journal have survived, and a few had small damaged areas which could not be transcribed.

The Letters from Regiments that Tell Their Own Story

The Army of the Potomac

The Army of the Cumberland

The War in the West

Dalrymple Letters: In addition to the above collections, this link will bring you to a collection of letters written by soldiers in the Dalrymple family. The family relationships and the circumstances of this extensive collection are explained in the PDF.