Summary of Content: Brunt tells Martha how much he enjoys receiving her letters, ”for they are full of pure lofty Patriotism.” One again, mentions his devotion to the cause of the Union and the emancipated slaves under his command: ”I tell them that true manhood lies in the mental worth not in the color of the skin nor in the stature or size of the frame.” Writes that his wife is happy at the camp. Expresses his intense anger with draft dodgers and hopes that they ”may Each be afficted [sic] with whatever desease they seek to counterfeit.”
Background: William Brunt was, at the start of the correspondence, a soldier in the 83rd Regiment, Ft. Donelson, Tennessee. He was later made Captain of Company Division 16th Colored Infantry. Brunt’s wife, Olive, and his two children virtually accompanied him to war, living in the nearby camps while Brunt was on the battlefield. William and Olive had lived in Kentucky prior to the war, but were disliked for their strong support of Union politics. By 1864, Olive was helping to run a contraband camp with Brunt, but by 1865 the two had divorced after Olive was unfaithful to William. Brunt retained custody of their two children and, despite the emotional strain which came from marriage of one and the death of the other, remained devoted as a soldier and anti-slavery advocate.