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.

Allen, George D. (fl. 1859-1864) to Mary Mayberry

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02829.09 Author/Creator: Allen, George D. (fl. 1859-1864) Place Written: Aboard USS Delaware near New Bern, North Carolina Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 31 May 1863 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: References her letter of the 25th. Is sorry to hear she is in such bad health, but sends her encouraging words. Says "If you have seen me fourteen months ago you would not have given much for me as I dont believe I weighed 80 lbs. but I never mentioned it before." Claims he lived on port wine and arrow root for 3 weeks, but thanks God he is now in good health again. Says he is now 133 lbs. Says he went to shore in Washington, North Carolina where his friend Cromwell has a cousin, a major in the 178th Pennsylvania regiment. Says it is a pretty place (in contrast to his negative opinion in GLC02829.08). At Hill Point, they were given a pass by a colonel and allowed to go past the picket lines. They went 6 miles and ended up at a house where they scared the residents. But everything was alright when the people realized they were not there to plunder. Mentions their poor condition. They learned of General Stonewall Jackson's death from them. Asks for measurements for "little Wiles" and says he will have a suit made for the 4th of July for him. Says he is "a regular old codger[.] I make and mend all my old clothes[,] do my own cooking and in fact I dont know what I dont do." Sends greetings to his family and friends.


Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Keywords/Subjects: Civil War, Military History, Union Forces, Navy, Soldier's Letter, Union Soldier's Letter, Health and Medical, Alcohol, Diet and nutrition, Military Provisions, Confederate States of America, Wartime Pillaging and Destruction, Poverty, Confederate General or Leader, Death, Military Uniforms, Clothing and Accessories, Holidays and Celebrations, Fourth of July, Gift, Military Camp

Sub Era: The American Civil War