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, William B. (fl. 1834-1880) to Mary Mayberry

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02829.13 Author/Creator: Allen, William B. (fl. 1834-1880) Place Written: Aboard USS Resolute off Windmill Point at St. Mary's, Maryland Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 2 August 1863 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Says he is lonesome and received a letter from Mary yesterday, the first letter he received since he left New York. Notes that she was traveling up to the country. Says there is great sporting in Maryland -- fishing, crabbing, and oystering. Says fruit is abundant here too -- peaches, pears, apples, and plums. Has gone up the Potomac River from the mouth to Washington, DC. Says at Point Lookout, Maryland where "they have 15,000 Reble [sic] Prisoners ther [sic] and they ar [sic] as happy as can be." Says he has been having easy times and goes sailing and fishing often and "take a darkey with me and get a good rubbing down with a corse towl [sic] and I can tell you I feel the good effect of it." Says he thinks often of his family. Sends greetings to his family and says he misses home. Wants her to "Know I am almost as some of the Contrabands a board[.] I have been running in the sun so much."


Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Keywords/Subjects: Civil War, Military History, Union Forces, Navy, Soldier's Letter, Union Soldier's Letter, Sports and Games, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Diet and nutrition, Washington, D.C., Confederate States of America, Prisoner of War, Health and Medical, African American History, Slavery, Contrabands

Sub Era: The American Civil War