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Bartlett, George O. (fl. 1862-1865) [Collection of George O. Bartlett, B battery, 1st regiment, Rhode Island, light artillery] [Decimalized .01-.21]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02158 Author/Creator: Bartlett, George O. (fl. 1862-1865) Place Written: [various places] Type: Header Record Date: 1862-1863 Pagination: 21 letters, 7 envelopes

Summary of Content: Bartlett came from Rice City, Rhode Island, and saw action at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. His spelling is poor but his writing is descriptive. The George O. Bartlett collection of Civil War correspondence contains letters and envelopes addressed primarily to his friend, Mr. Ira Andrews of Rice City, Rhode Island. Bartlett wrote most of his letters from Falmouth, Virginia and discusses fighting in the Fredericksburg Campaign (1862-1863) (.03, .04, .07, .13, .14). Of particular interest is the letter dated December 18, 1862 which vividly portrays his first foray into the abandoned town of Fredericksburg (.03). He also discussed the lack of discipline in the face of battle, saying the 11th Regiment "brock and run like the Devel" (.04). Bartlett also criticizes the generalship of General Joseph Hooker (.08). Throughout the entire collection, he consistently illustrates how terrible and destructive war is. For example, Bartlett discusses walking over the Second Battle of Bull run site, describing it as "sad to se the Bons of Dead Men bleachin in the Sun, there is the Rellicks of war strewn all a round for miles" (.17). Like many soldiers who fought for the Union, Bartlett was not motivated to fight to free the enslaved people. His reaction to the Emancipation Proclamation in January of 1863 illuminates the opinion held by soldiers of this persuasion. In a letter dated January 4, 1863, Bartlett explained his distrust of the government, his hopes for the creation of a new Congress and Cabinet, and his belief that the "Northern fenaticks" had other motivating factors for war, such as a desire to "carrey the day and have a Shee Nigger throun in"(.05). Money was also a motivating factor for Bartlett and others fighting in the war. In each letter, he discussed his financial situation. In the first letter he gives Andrews instructions on what to do with his bounty money (.01). Bartlett also describes the commissioner system that helps him do his banking (.02). The importance of the mail system in securing Bartlett's valuables was also a topic of discussion (.03, .04, .06). Bartlett discussed the discovery of Chaplin Perry's scheme to come to a "grate share of some of our Boys money in this Battery and others Battrey buy cheating of them of all there Bounty money"(.08). Bartlett's letters vividly illustrate several other important topics. In one letter, Bartlett gives advice to Mr. Andrews about whom to pick as a substitute for Andrew's son Elbridge, telling him to "Settle the Lody Estate on Arnold, Rounds and his wifes Children, I think Mr. Rounds would make a good Hospital stuard"(.10). The war's effect on dating prospects and the sudden increase in the number of widows is also discussed by Bartlett (.08).

Background Information: Barlett served with Company B, 1st Light Artillery Regiment Rhode Island. He was a tailor before the war and a widower.


Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Subjects: Military SubstituteSoldier's LetterEmancipationArtilleryCivil WarMilitary HistoryUnion ForcesUnion Soldier's LetterBattleBraveryWartime Pillaging and DestructionUnion GeneralAfrican American HistorySlaveryEmancipation ProclamationGovernment and CivicsCongressAbolitionWomen's HistoryFinanceSoldier's PayBankingPost OfficeCorruption and ScandalHospitalMarriageDeathConscription

Sub Era: The American Civil War

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