Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 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.

Bragg, Braxton (1817-1876) to Henry J. Hunt

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00925.01 Author/Creator: Bragg, Braxton (1817-1876) Place Written: Barrancas, [Florida] Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 21 April 1861 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Writes to his old friend and comrade about the turn of events their lives have taken over the last year and expresses is his regret over them being on opposite sides in the war. "How strange are the mutations of life! That we should be in hostile array against each other. A few short months since companions in army, and almost brothers in friendship, it is hard to realize the fact that we are in hostile array against each other." Believes that each of them will have to follow their own conscience but warns that every southerner is "united in the cause." States "we have asked for peace, but shall not decline War. Your president has decided on War. His orders to you are to get you into position and war is inevitable." Ends the letter reaffirming his friendship, but still believes Hunt, along with northern friends of his, are in the wrong. Hunt remained loyal and later served as Chief of Artillery for the Army of the Potomac. Enclosing four news clippings on secession of Virginia (2) and North Carolina (2). Mentions Fort Sumter. Partly published in Longacre's biography of Henry J. Hunt, pp. 82-3.


Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Keywords/Subjects: Civil War, Military History, Confederate General or Leader, Confederate Soldier's Letter, Confederate States of America, Union General

Sub Era: The American Civil War