This online exhibition of letters and audio, created by the Gilder Lehrman Institute and the Legacy Project, features correspondence from over 200 years of American conflicts, ranging from the Revolution to the war in Iraq. This exhibition uses the words of famous generals and lesser-known troops, as well as parents, sweethearts, and children, to explore such themes as leaving home, life in the military, the pride and worries of those left behind, and ultimate sacrifice.
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Chapter One: Enlisting Chapter Two: Comforts of Home Chapter Three: Love Chapter Four: Combat Chapter Five: The End of War

The Gilder Lehrman Collection has thousands of wartime letters. For more information, visit our Collection page, or contact our reference librarian at

Do you have wartime letters or e-mails from present day conflicts that you would like to share? Contact the Legacy Project at, a national effort that works to honor those who serve by preserving their letters and e-mails home.

The Collection Treasures of the Collection