You are here

Letter from Archibald Penny to his Parents April 28, 1864

Letter from Archibald Penny to his parents; April 28, 1864

Letter from Archibald Penny to his parents; April 28, 1864

New York State Library, NYSL_SC11836_Archibald_Penny_letter_18640428
Document Description
Archibald Penny's last letter home to his parents.
Camp A The 9th Regt. NYSM
            Culpepper, VA
                        April 28/64
Dear Parents
                        Your letter dated
26th came at hand by due
course of mail and found
us comfortable on camp.
We have not marched yet
and there is not much
prospect of it. Not so much
as there was some 3 weeks
ago. What do you
think Grant has ordered
that we should drill 4 hours
per day with knapsack.
I think that rather hard
on old soldiers. Rest
assured only 40 more days
and then they can get
someone else. We
have target practice twice
per week. We can muster
some good Shots at 500
yards longer with our
spring-fired rifle.
We have splendid weather
And the roads are in
good order. I suppose
you will try and meet
me in NY on the 8 of June
that is if I get there by
that time.
I am glad that
you have received the
certificate from Washington.
I was afraid that you would
not get it. When I find
those You do
not say a word about
them. How do you like
their [    ]. Brutis and Frazier
are my mess mules and have
been for nearly 3 years.
Will you please give my
love to Louise and
the rest of my [    ] write
so that I will receive your
letter on Wednesday.
                        Your Son
How does Archibald describe his current military life?
What event is Archibald looking forward to?
Why do you think Archibald's unit was being drilled so hard?
Read Archibald Penny's Muster Roll Abstract. What happens to Archibald? Why were they being drilled so hard?

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
Describe Archibald's attitude toward the war using evidence from the letter to support your answer.