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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.

Semmes, Emily J. (fl. 1862-1863) to Paul J. Semmes

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00715.10 Author/Creator: Semmes, Emily J. (fl. 1862-1863) Place Written: Opelika, Alabama Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 1 June 1863 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Writes to her "dearest husband" as he is on his way to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he was mortally wounded in battle. Hopes that he is over his cold and fatigue. Asks if he would be able to come home if one of the family got sick because knowing this would put her at ease. Gives thanks that he made it through battles. Comments on their children and their schooling. Criticizes their daughters for their excessive pride, "...they do look down upon these poor people with such contempt I think it is so wicked I pray that they may see their sin." States that she has been very frugal, they have enough supplies and the garden is doing well. Includes a postcript instructing Semmes to "Destroy this as soon as you read it."

People: Semmes, Emily J., fl. 1862.
Semmes, Paul Jones, 1815-1863.

Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Keywords/Subjects: Battle of Gettysburg, Military History, Civil War, Confederate General or Leader, Confederate States of America, Children and Family, Marriage, Women's History, Health and Medical, Education Morality and Ethics, Finance

Sub Era: The American Civil War