I Remain Yours: Common Lives in Civil War Letters

TitleI Remain Yours: Common Lives in Civil War Letters
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsHager, Christopher
Number of Pages336
PublisherHarvard University Press
CityCambridge, Massachusetts
Abstract

For men in the American Civil War--and their wives, children, parents, and siblings at home--letter writing was the sole means to communicate. Yet for many of these families, taking pen to paper was a new and daunting task, as the war marked the first long term separation they had experienced. This book narrates the Civil War from the perspective of ordinary people who had to figure out how to salve the emotional strain of war and sustain their closest relationships using only the written word. Christopher Hager presents an intimate history of the Civil War through the interlaced stories of common soldiers and their families. The previously overlooked words of a carpenter from Indiana, an illiterate teenager from Connecticut, a grieving mother in the mountains of North Carolina, and a blacksmith's daughter on the Iowa prairie reveal through their awkward script and expression the personal toll of war. Hager shows how relatively uneducated men and women turned writing into an essential medium for sustaining relationships and a sense of belonging. Letter writing changed them and they in turn transformed the culture of letters into a popular, democratic mode of communication.

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981994859

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