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Letter from Jane Penny to Her Husband, June 14, 1863

Letter from Jane Penny to her husband; June 14, 1863

Letter from Jane Penny to her husband; June 14, 1863

New York State Library, NYSL_SC11836_Jane_Penny_letter_18630614
Document Description
Letter from Jane Penny to her husband Civil War soldier Elijah Penny, 1863.
Patterson June 14th, 63
My Dear Husband
                        I have missed your
usual Sunday letter this past week.
Yet Louise received one in my
stead which pleased her very
much. I write you today from
father’s. Benjamin the girls and
Louise have gone to Wm Benedict’s
church today and Louise says tell
Pa that he must excuse her to
day as she had gone to church
which privilege is very rare.
I wish you could see her. She grows
to be quite pretty, and is what
I call decidedly very smart. She
needs advantages very much. Her
teacher this summer is only 15 years
old is a nice girl, but her teacher’s
new associates are not calculated
to improve her.
I believe I am almost as
impatient to leave Duelville
as you are Virginia. I miss
Charley very much. He is counting
the time when he can come
with mother and he must
for I had to do without the
other children but he and Louise
I must have he thinks as much
of me and kisses as much as even
Annie called down this week
to see me. Her father has gone to
Mish after sheep. I have heard
nothing concerning his health.
I think it must be that it is Malissa.
She is better, Annie has her likeness
and asked which should have it.
You or I told to send it to you as I
thought you would think so much
of it and I could see the original.
Archie sent his photograph home
this past week it is a good one and looks
as he did yet he is very thin.
His neck looks as it if would
do to tie it is so long. He was
not in that late Raid or battle. I
think as his letter was dated the
9th and all was quiet then and
the Battle was the day before
his writing. I am very glad to hear
that your health is improving but
I fear that if you stay until you can
be of any use to them they will keep
you, but we will wait yet a little
longer and see what time will
do for you. The times are very hard
everything is very high something
and most everything is as high
again as usual in the grocery
line. I have a good garden. E Crane
has made it. I am very busy
serving more days. It is stich stich
and all alone from morn till
night. I shall escpect to see you by
the 4th of July so good bye till I write
again. Yours truly Jane
What details about home life does Jane give Elijah in this letter?
What is the overall tone of the letter?

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
How does Jane describe the impact of the war on her local community?