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At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

West, Lewis H. (b. 1829) to R. West

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03836.80 Author/Creator: West, Lewis H. (b. 1829) Place Written: Aboard USS "Fernandina" at St. Catherine's, Georgia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 1 December 1864 Pagination: 4 p. : docket ; 20.2 x 12.6 cm.

Says the election turned out alright and that Pennsylvania redeemed herself. Says 2 deserters told him of a sloop with 10 bales of cotton that is trying to run the blockade. He has since been searching for her. Has heard Sherman is 20 miles from Savannah. Says the admiral wants to send sailors on shore to help the army but goes on to say "I dont believe that any amount of drilling will ever make soldiers out of sailors, so as to make them useful in military operations." Says 22 of his 80 men are about to leave as their time in the service is up.

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