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Letter from Archibald Penny to his Mother July 9, 1863

Letter from Archibald Penny to his mother; July 9, 1863

Letter from Archibald Penny to his mother; July 9, 1863

New York State Library, NYSL_SC11836_Archibald_Penny_letter_18630709
Document Description
Letter from Archibald Penny to his mother asking her to write often.
Head Quarters 9th Regt. NYSM
            On top South Mountain MD
                                    July 9th 1863
My Dear Mother
                        I have written
several times and sent them
by private male. So you may
not have got them. I intend
to write to you every chance
I get and I wish you
would write often. Particular
at these times. We get a
mail quite often. I suppose
we will have a fight before
long. The Rebels are used
up. I have been very fortunate
in the late battles and I know
that He who has been my
Shield will be with me [    ]
You will get more news
from the papers than I could
write. We know nothing
what is going on only
[    ] [    ] you. Will you
please give my love
to grandmother and all the
rest. Excuse short letter
and write often I will
try and do the same.
Eugene must try and write.
I will bid you good
            Your Son
                        A Penny
To whom does Archibald give credit for his survival?
Where does Archibald tell his mother to look for information about the war?
Why do you think Archibald has so little information about the war?
What is overall tone of this letter?

About this Activity


Lesson Topic:


Historical Context
When the American Civil War began in 1861, citizens of both the North and South had no idea how long the conflict would last. Many Northerners, including the Union army leaders, envisioned a three-month war that would quickly bring the South back into the Union. The assumption that it would be a short war, coupled with a surge in patriotism, led thousands of New Yorkers to voluntarily join the army. The men of the Penny family were no exception.

In 1860, the Penny family consisted of seven members: Elijah, Jane, Archibald, Alfred, Eugene, Charles, and Louise. They lived in the town of Southeast in Putnam County, New York. Elijah, the father, and the two older boys, Archibald and Alfred all volunteered to fight for the Union in 1861. The letters, census records, and military documents all provide a glimpse into one New York family's experience during this time of national unrest.

Essential Question
What impact did the Civil War have on individual citizens, families, and local communities?
Check for Understanding
What is the purpose of the this letter?