You are here

Letter from Jane Penny to her Husband June 6, 1863

Letter from Jane and Louise Penny to Jane's husband; June 6, 1863

Letter from Jane and Louise Penny to Jane's husband; June 6, 1863

New York State Library, NYSL_SC11836_Jane_Louise_Penny_letter_18630606
Document Description
Letter from Jane to her husband shortly before he returns home.
June 6th, 63
My Dear Husband
                        Your letter dated
June 2nd was duly received. I was
much pleased to hear that you was in
so comfortable lodgings and had
so good fare, and the prospect for your
coming home so flattering. Yet I think
by what you write that you intend (if dis
charged, to get into some other light busin
ess in Washington after resting and recruiting).
Eugene and Charley are home today.
Charley rode down on Uncle Oyl [  ] horse.
He has not been home before in 4 weeks.
Eugene is writing to Archie. He had a letter
from him this past week. He is very well
and is within a few yds of the Rebels.
You will be much surprised when I tell
you that Malissa Persing gave birth to
a pair of twins last Tuesday. They are
both dead. They lived only two days.
Malissa was very dangerously sick
but is now getting better. Essie received
your letter. Sarah also received one from
you. I attended the funeral of Aunt
Marie Crosby. She died with the consu
mption, was brought to the Old South
East Church. The sermon was preached
by the Rev. Wm. Smullen. It was a splendid
discourse. The words of his tesct were
“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.”
There were a great many people present.
Oliver Gay is home on a sick furlough.
He is look very thin and bad. His dis
ease is the ganders. Crosby Jenings
was lately married to Cornelia Cole
daughter of Akin Cole. It was done
without the knowledge of his parents
or Mr. Crosby. He has lost a good home
and a nice property from him, so
says the folks. I wish you could have
been home this week. There has been a great
time with Old Duel, a regular set too
with Mr. Steinbeck, Servitt, and Mr. Crane.
Servitt’s horse happened to get
out. Mr. Duel took it up turned
the key upon him, and caused Servitt
to get an order to get him. He is up
to all kind of meanness that you can
imagine. He has but one neighbor
that he can speak to. He had to go
up to the station and tell the much
all over and all he got for it was
sneer and fun made of him.
I have got a very bad headache today
and can scarcely see to write so you
must excuse by short letter. We all
join in sending our love to you.
                        Remain yours truly Jane
Dear Pa
            As ma says she is tired
and wants me to finish this letter.
I will try but I do not feel
?? to you but for Ma’s sake I will
try and do my best. What shall
I write. I don’t know please tell
me. Well yesterday I went up to
Grandpa’s from there to the
station and got Alice Penny
Photographs which is very handsome.
 I would send it to you if we could
spare it. I wish you would send Lickies Photo
graph home after you have had
a good look at it. Much oblige
What kind of information did Jane include in her letter?
Who does Jane mention in her letter?
What event does Jane describe that makes her wish her husband was home?
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
What is Jane's attitude toward her husband's military service?