Our Collection

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.

Norton, Levi W. to wife

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC09006.06 Author/Creator: Norton, Levi W. Place Written: Mattawoman Creek, Maryland Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 8 November 1861 Pagination: 4 p. : envelope : free frank ; 26.4 x 20.9 cm.

Summary of Content: Envelope has free frank signature of Reuben Eaton Fenton. Writes from Camp Baker. Comments that the roads are difficult to cross so the mail boy delivers the mail only twice a week. While visiting the sick, he knelt down beside a dying man and "wiped away the dews of death from his brow." The man's name was Max Lowe and he died at noon from his own wounds. He was a Bavarian emigrant and a "good true hearted soldier, one who had the confidence of his Captain and comrades." Lowe was buried in a wide coffin and the American flag was spread over it. His coffin was placed in a small grove of pines and cedars. A bench slab was prepared with his name, age, date of death, company, Regiment, and brigade marked on it. A man named Millard has gone to the new camp, which has a good view of the Potomac River; the rest of the infantry will go there tomorrow. If Captain Brown's resignation request is accepted, Millard will become the new Captain. They all think that Brown "did not do right by this Regiment." Would love to tell his wife that he is coming home to stay but does not think it will happen soon. Wants to set a good example for his sons by performing to his best ability. Bailey will probably become 2nd Lieutenant in Company B. Some do not want this to occur, but Norton is sure that Colonel Taylor will put a good man in that position. He does not know who will become Captain of Doyle's Company. Many think that they will spend the winter in southern Maryland. Wishes they could do more to serve their country. Feels that unless this Regiment of the Brigade has a battle to fight in, they are useless in this war.


Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Subjects: Soldier's LetterMilitary CampInfantryUnion ForcesUnion Soldier's LetterBattlePost OfficeDeathHealth and MedicalInjury or WoundAmerican FlagChildren and FamilyMilitary HistoryCivil War

Sub Era: The American Civil War

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources