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Collection

Anna Seward Poems, 1781-[1793]

4 items

This collection consists of six manuscript poems written by Anna Seward (1742-1809), including a copy of Monody on Major André, which was published in 1781.

This collection consists of two volumes that contain six manuscript poems written by Anna Seward (1742-1809). The first volume includes a 21-page copy of Monody on Major André, which was published in 1781, as well as an untitled 6-line poem in French on the follies of young women. Major John André, about whom she composed her Monody, had courted one of Seward's close friends and went on to be accused and executed by the Americans as a spy during the Revolutionary War. The pieces in the second volume include 8 pages of "Verses by Miss Seward, on receving [sic] Mr Hayley's Picture drawn for her by Mr. Romney," signed by Seward and dated Litchfield, November 7, 1781; a 12-line "Epitaph On Anne Whately who died May 1793 aged ten years"; and two undated sonnets.

William Hayley was an English poet who briefly courted Seward and with whom she corresponded throughout her adult life. The William L. Clements Library holds prints of the George Romney portrait to which her poem refers. Anne Whately has not been identified.

Collection

Elizabeth Bonney van den Bosch collection, 1943-2002 (majority within 1943-1951)

32 items

This collection is made up of military documents, photographs, and ephemera related to Lieutenant Elizabeth Bonney van den Bosch's service in the United States Navy and Naval Reserve during and after World War II.

The Documents series (15 items) contains official military records from Bonney's service in the United States Navy and Naval Reserve. They relate to her training at the United States Naval Reserve Midshipmen's School at Smith College and the Naval Training School at Mount Holyoke College; her promotions to ensign and lieutenant; and her formal resignation from the naval reserve in 1951. Also included are an identification card verifying her active duty in the United States Navy and certificates acknowledging her military participation in World War II.

Photographs (11 items) include black-and-white portraits of Elizabeth Bonney and other women in naval uniforms. Govert van den Bosch sent Bonney pictures portraying soldiers and a military funeral from his service in Indonesia with the Royal Netherlands Marines.

The Printed Materials series (6 items) consists of commencement programs for the United States Naval Reserve Midshipmen's School and the Naval Training School for communications, a commemorative book with photographs of navy officers in training at the Midshipmen's School, and a page from the Sundial with humorous cartoons and quips. Two items form 2002 are a printed poem dedicated to the memory of Elizabeth Bonney van den Bosch and her obituary from the Ann Arbor News.

Collection

Griffin family and Lydia Sigourney papers, 1807-1885

0.75 linear feet

The collection consists of correspondence related to the Griffin family of New York City and includes 58 letters that George Griffin and his family exchanged between 1833 and 1854 with author Lydia H. Sigourney of Hartford, Connecticut. Additional material includes correspondence among members of the Griffin family that provides commentary on family life, two extended trips to Europe, Protestant theology, and higher education. The final series in the collection is a 3-page manuscript copy of Sigourney's poem on the death of American poet John Trumbull.

The collection consists of correspondence related to the Griffin family of New York City and includes 58 letters that George Griffin and his family exchanged between 1833 and 1854 with author Lydia H. Sigourney of Hartford, Connecticut. The second series of the collection includes several folders of correspondence among members of the Griffin family, especially letters of fatherly advice that George Griffin wrote to his sons Edmund Dorr Griffin (1804-1830) and George Griffin, Jr. (1811-1880). In addition to narratives of family life, the bulk of these letters involve accounts of two extended trips to Europe as well as discussions of Protestant theology and higher education. The final series in the collection is a 3-page manuscript copy of Sigourney's poem on the death, in 1831, of American poet John Trumbull.

Sigourney Correspondence, 1833-1854: This subseries consists of Lydia H. Sigourney's correspondence with her close friend and intermediary, George Griffin, and his family in New York City. Thee letters from Lydia Sigourney, dated in 1857 and 1858, may or may not have been to Douglas Smith. In them, she offered a brief remark on her own aging and disclaimed the notion of striving to appear young; content on shipping books to the U.S. Consul; and an interest in agricultural sciences.

Much of Sigourney's correspondence with George Griffin directly involves her work as an author and her position as a woman in that profession. She frequently sent him copies of her written pieces, some of which had already been published in periodicals, asking for advice about the content of the work and about how she might pursue publication. In the course of doing so, she remarked upon her writing and revision process. These letters also specifically address her negotiations, often through Griffin's work as intermediary, with the Key & Biddle, Harpers, Leavitt, Lord & Co., D. Appleton, and Van Nostrand publishing firms, as well as the publication of her Letters to Young Ladies (1833 and 1841), Poems (1834), Sketches (1834), Girl's Reading-book (1838), and Letters to Mothers (1838). Additionally, a small number of letters from 1840 deal with Sigourney's trip to Europe.

Griffin, in turn, kept Sigourney apprised of developments with publishing firms as well as on the sale and review of her work. He candidly offered his response to works she had sent him, as well as general advice on the direction of her literary career. As a writer himself, he too sought feedback for his work, which took the form of theological essays. A manuscript copy of one of the reviews of his book, The Gospel its Own Advocate , appears in this series. Both correspondents also reflected on the challenges facing the publishing industry during the financial crisis of the late 1830s (especially the Panic of 1837) and shared their opinions on the state of American literary culture.

This series also includes letters that Sigourney exchanged with George Griffin's wife, Lydia Butler Griffin, and daughter Caroline. These pieces tended to relate family news and household matters but also included reflections on reading and Sigourney's involvement in various charitable societies. She briefly remarked on her relationship with her African American servant, Ann Prince. In addition, Sigourney conveyed in her letters to George Griffin that she valued the responses of his wife and daughters to her work. Finally, the series contains 2 letters composed by Charles Sigourney, Lydia Sigourney's husband.

Griffin Family Correspondence, 1807-1885: The Griffin Family correspondence contains over 150 letters, dated between 1807 and 1885, that relate to George Griffin (1778-1860) of New York City and his family.

Most of the letters from the 1820s deal with Edmund Dorr Griffin (1804-1830), the second son of George and Lydia Butler Griffin. A handful of these items chart his religious convictions and pathway to becoming an Episcopal minister. The bulk of these letters, however, are ones that Edmund exchanged with his parents, siblings, and friends during the extended trip he took to Europe between October 1828 and April 1830. George Griffin's letters to Edmund during this trip are full of advice and directives about where to travel, what to observe, and practicalities about money. He also kept his son informed about matters that were unfolding among the Episcopal churches in New York and at Columbia College. Although George Griffin was the primary writer of these letters, many of them include notes from other family members as well, with accounts of family life, including the courtship and marriage of Edmund's older brother Francis to Mary Sands.

Edmund's letters home narrate his journey and impressions of Europe in extensive detail. George Griffin actively compiled his son's epistles to have them published in periodicals, and upon Edmund's death in September 1830, these travel accounts (not all of which are included in the collection) made up the bulk of the "Remains" compiled by Francis Griffin and published in his brother's memory in 1831. Letters pertaining to the preparation and reception of this document, as well as a 12-page account of Edmund's final days, can be found in Series I and II of the collection.

Another group of letters from 1830 chart George Griffin, Jr.'s (1811-1880) sudden religious awakening and decision to pursue ministerial training under the care of his uncle, Edward Dorr Griffin (1770-1837), a Congregational minister and the president of Williams College. Later letters in the collection reveal that George Griffin, Jr., eventually became a farmer in Catskill, New York, and deal with his efforts to sell his hay. He would also travel to Europe, in 1850, with his ailing sister Caroline (1820-1861). While they were away, their father conveyed advice regularly and procured letters of introduction, some of which remain in the collection.

Additional materials include subjects related to male and female friendship; family financial matter; the births, deaths, or marriages of family members; education; Protestant theology; health and medicine; early telegraph communication; and family genealogy. The handful of items that date to the 1870s and 1880s include a printed piece called "Dear Erskie!" which contains a series of riddles, and a fifteen-page booklet that includes two poems titled "Picnic" and "Archery."

Lydia Sigourney Poems and Photograph

This series consists of four items: a 3-page manuscript copy of Sigourney's poem on the death of American poet John Trumbull in 1831; her poem "Tomb of Josephine"; a "List of L. H. Sigourney's published poetical works" (ca. 1857? in her hand); and a carte-de-visite seated portrait of Lydia H. Sigourney. The photograph was published by E. & H. T. Anthony & Co., New York, from a photographic negative in Brady's National Portrait Gallery. It is signed by Lydia H. Sigourney to her friend Mrs. E. Douglas Smith.

Collection

Harriet Gladwin commonplace book, 1808-1810

1 volume

This commonplace book (56 pages) was compiled by Harriet Gladwin, daughter of British Army Major General Henry Gladwin, who commanded the British forces during Pontiac's siege against Detroit in 1763. The volume contains Harriet's copies of a published account of the siege (33 pages), a memorial poem dedicated to her father by William Hayley (13 pages), and 3 additional memorial poems and epitaphs (7 pages). She began the volume on September 25, 1808.

This commonplace book (56 pages) was compiled by Harriet Gladwin, daughter of British Army Major General Henry Gladwin, who commanded the British forces during Pontiac's siege against Detroit in 1763. The volume contains Harriet's copies of a published account of the siege (33 pages), a memorial poem dedicated to her father by William Hayley (13 pages), and 3 additional memorial poems and epitaphs (7 pages). She began the volume on September 25, 1808.

The first portion of the book (pages 1-34) contains a passage copied from Jonathan Carver's Travels through the Interior Parts of North America in the Years 1766, 1767, and 1768. The text regards the attack on Detroit by Native American forces throughout the summer of 1763. Carver's account concentrates heavily on Gladwin's role in successfully defending Detroit against the Native Americans.

Harriet copied "An Ode to General Gladwin, requesting him to publish his Journal of the Siege of Detroit" in the next section of the volume (pages 36-48). The poem, written by William Hayley (1745-1820), is comprised of 13 7-line stanzas, and celebrates Gladwin's victory over Pontiac and the allied Native American forces.

The remaining pages contain memorials for 3 members of Harriet Gladwin's family. The first is "An Epitaph on General Gladwin who departed this life on the 21 of June 179[1] in the 61st year of his age" (pp.49-51). A brief prose celebration of his military accomplishments is followed by a 10-line poem. The next memorial is dedicated "To the Memory of Jhon [John] Beridge M. D. who died Octbr. 17th 1788 aged 45" (p. 53). This 6-line poem, written by William Hayley, commemorates Harriet Gladwin's grandfather, Henry Gladwin's father-in-law. The final memorial, attributed to "G. H.," is titled "To the Memory of a beloved Wife who died May the 3d. 1810[.] By her Husband" (pp. 54-56). The poem contains reflections on mortality and on the life and qualities of the deceased.

Collection

Irene Levis Roberts album, 1844-1863

1 volume

The Irene Levis Roberts album, entitled "Flowers of Loveliness," contains poems by W. H. Green and A. H. Roberts of Smyrna, Delaware, and Edmund Brewster Green of New York, New York. A note about Roberts's baptism is also present.

The Irene Levis Roberts album, which has the title "Flowers of Loveliness" imprinted on the cover, includes 9 entries (17 total pages): 8 poems and 1 note. The poetry, mostly written by A. H. Roberts, concerns topics such as nature and the seasons, religion, travel, and death (see below for a full list of titles). The note by Thomas C. Murphy, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church in Smyrna, Delaware, pertains to the baptism of Irene L. Roberts on performed on March 11, 1855. Colorful crayon scribbles appear over one of the poems and on several of the later pages.

The book contains a series of colored prints show women dressed and decorated as flowers, each representative of a virtue.

Poems:
  • "To My Niece," by W. L. Green, November 25, 1852 (1 page)
  • "The Flight of Time," by Edmund Brewster Green, September 7, 1844 (2 pages)
  • "To My Friends," by A. H. Roberts, undated (2 pages)
  • "On the Death of Mrs. S. M. of This Place," by A. H. Roberts, undated (2 pages)
  • "Lines Suggested on Witnessing the Burial of Mr. D. Carr, Respectfully Addressed to His Widow," by A. H. Roberts, undated (2 pages)
  • "The Home of the Christian," by A. H. Roberts, undated (2 pages)
  • "The Hindoo Mother," by A. H. Roberts, undated (3 pages)
  • "Reflections on My Past Visits to Cantwells Bridge, Addressed to E. D. Clark," by A. H. Roberts, copied by I. Roberts, May 1863 (2 pages)
Collection

James H. and Mary E. Miller family collection, 1843-1933 (majority within 1852-1888)

145 items

This collection is made up of correspondence and other materials related to James H. Miller and his wife, Mary E. Waggener, who lived in Missouri and Kansas in the mid- to late 19th century. The Millers received letters from Elizabeth Miller, James's mother, who discussed her life in LaRue County, Kentucky, before, during, and after the Civil War. James H. Miller wrote to his wife and children about his experiences with the 3rd Missouri Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War.

This collection is made up of correspondence and other materials related to James H. Miller and his wife, Mary E. Waggener, who lived in Missouri and Kansas in the mid- to late 19th century.

The Correspondence series (104 items) consists of incoming letters to James H. and Mary E. Miller from family members in various states, as well as letters from James H. to Mary E. Miller. Approximately 40 letters date from the Civil War years.

Elizabeth Miller, the Millers' most frequent correspondent, wrote to her son and daughter-in-law from Hodgenville, Kentucky, and other LaRue County locales throughout the mid- to late 19th century. Most of Miller's letters refer to her health and to news of family members and friends. She sometimes discussed the hardships she faced during and immediately after the Civil War. She mentioned the draft of September 1864, the Union Army's efforts to enlist African Americans, and tensions between Union and Confederate supporters during and after the war; in her letter of March 31, 1867, she commented on the perception that Reconstruction legislation favored African Americans over whites and noted that whites would object to African Americans testifying against them in court or serving on juries.

James H. Miller wrote letters home to his wife and children while serving with the 3rd Missouri Cavalry Regiment in Missouri and Arkansas between 1863 and 1865. Though he missed his family, he felt a sense of duty toward the Union and hoped that his relatives and friends in Kentucky also supported the federal cause; many of his letters are written on stationery with patriotic poems and illustrations. Miller discussed movements between camps and sometimes mentioned encounters with Confederate troops. His letters frequently contain reports on fellow soldiers, including members of the Waggener family, and his responses to news from home (such as his wife's dental problems). Mary E. Miller also received a letter from her brother William during his recuperation from an unknown injury or illness at Washington Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee (July 14, 1864).

The Millers' other correspondents included James's brother Fielding, who lived in Farmerville, Louisiana, in the mid- late 1840s, and one of the executors of Fielding's estate. John G. W. Duffey and his son James, an uncle and cousin, wrote from Hernando, Mississippi, commenting on farming and the progress of their crops. Their letters also contain remarks on the 1852 presidential election and, in one instance, Southern attitudes toward African Americans and the poor (July 8, 1854). Additional postwar items include letters that the Millers received from their children and other relatives in Nebraska, Kentucky, and other locations as late as 1911. The final item is a letter from Bertha Waggener to a cousin regarding the death of her mother (March 29, 1933). The series also contains a religious essay, "The Chariot," that James H. Miller wrote in the mid-1840s.

The Documents and Financial Records series (22 items) includes an employment record of James H. Miller, listing missed days of work in the early 1840s. Many of the remaining items are tax receipts from the Millers' time in Lewis County, Missouri, and Phillips County, Kansas. Other items include a promissory note addressed to Elizabeth Miller (August 28, 1848), copied legal documents, an undated property inventory (partially completed), and a document certifying James H. Miller's election as constable of Highland, Missouri (August 12, 1854).

The Notebook, which belonged to James H. Miller, contains accounts and notes related to Miller's Civil War service, partly related to clothing and supplies. A document about Miller's temporary appointment as head of his class is laid into the volume (May 3, 1844).

The Poetry series (6 items) includes 4 poems that James H. Miller sent to his wife while serving with the 3rd Missouri Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War. His poems concern aspects of soldier's lives, such as their remembrance of loved ones and their duty to the cause. One sheet contains an undated poem about death by David Miller. The final item is an unsigned 1847 poem concerning conflicts between British soldiers in Canada and Yankee troops.

The Recipes series (3 items) contains instructions for making a cure for dropsy, lemon jelly, and soap and blue ink. The final two recipes, written on a single sheet, are attributed to George Wilson (July 26, 1870).

The Genealogy series (7 items) is made up of notes related to the Miller and Bell families, including lists of birthdates, death dates, and marriages. Gilead Ann Miller, the daughter of James H. and Mary E. Miller, married into the Bell family.

The Printed Items series (2 items) consists of a fragment from a reward notice concerning the abduction of a young boy named Charlie Brewster Ross (undated) and a copy of the Christian Banner (2.6, September 1863).

Collection

New England Schoolmaster's teaching book, 1787-1811

1 volume

In this book, a traveling New England schoolteacher recorded instructional exercises, instructional explanations, poetry, and biographical information about pupils. The author taught in New Hampshire and present-day Maine. Subjects of instruction include arithmetic, surveying, geometry, nautical navigation, and writing.

A traveling New England schoolteacher recorded instructional exercises, instructional explanations, poetry, and biographical information about pupils in this volume (220 pages, 8" x 12") between 1787 and 1811. The author taught in New Hampshire and present-day Maine and entered personal information about teaching appointments throughout the volume. Individual lessons are dated as early as 1787, and the volume includes several lists of male and female pupils from teaching engagements in various towns, dated as late as 1811. Some lists of students are accompanied by the students' birthdates. Classes convened in schoolhouses, other public structures, and private homes.

Each page has a subject label, and several pages are comprised of miscellaneous questions entitled "A Collection of Questions," occasionally attributed to The London Magazine. Much of the volume pertains to instruction in mathematical subjects such as algebra, geometry, and trigonometry, and it includes diagrams, examples, and practical applications. Lengthy sections are devoted to surveying and nautical navigation (including "plane-sailing"), often with many diagrams. Other sections concern subjects such as writing and history, with examples of proverbs, deeds, marriage licenses, and letters for copying. Some pages have collections of anecdotes, proverbs, and poems, usually pertaining to morality and religion. A number of lengthier poems concern death and weddings, and one is entitled "Rodgers & Victory[:] Tit for tat. Or the Chesapeake paid for in British Blood!!!" Other parts include a cure for jaundice, a "rebus," a table of symbols for astronomical objects, information about "Occult Philosophy or Magic," instructions for gauging a copper kettle and a man of war, and a list of nouns with corresponding verbs and participles. Some of the material is copied from outside sources, such as John Love's Geodesia.

Collection

Poetry manuscripts, [1850s-1880s]

4 items

This collection is made up of 2 collections of manuscript poems and 2 printed items. Many of the poems are elegies about loved ones' deaths, and many were copied from publications.

This collection is made up of 2 collections of manuscript poems and 2 printed items. Many of the poems are elegies about loved ones' deaths, and many were copied from publications.

The poems, which include previously published works, works set to music, and hymns, are collected in 2 loosely-bound groups. Many are elegies, laments, and narratives about death, often told from the point of view of a loved one facing an imminent loss. "James Bird," a narrative poem, pertains to a young man's death on Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Death and bereavement are the most prominent topics, but a few poems address children or pertain to love. One group of poems is bound in a copy of Philadelphia's Dollar Newspaper (November 13, 1850).

The printed items are a newspaper article about Nellie Grant Sartoris and her inheritance from her father-in-law, an Englishman ("One of Grant's Daughters") and "Quotations for Autograph Albums," which include proverbs and epigrams.

Contents
  • Book 1
    • "An Elegy on the Death of [Selah] Foster"
    • "The Traveling Preacher's Complaint"
    • "[Crazy] Jones"
    • "My Mother"
    • "Reply to the White Pilgrim"
    • "Delia's Funeral Dirge"
    • Two untitled short poems
    • "Mary Across the Wild Moor"
  • Book 2
    • "Children Go"
    • "The Troubador"
    • "Good Bye"
    • "Brazilian Lover"
    • "The Watcher"
    • "The Dying Child's Request"
    • "My Mother"
    • "James Bird"
    • "My Mother's Bible"
    • "The Orphan's Prayer"
    • "Oh Take Me Home to Die"
    • "The Orphan Boy"
    • "Are We Almost There"
    • "The Field of Monterey"
    • "Mary Across the Wild Moor"
    • "Lie Up Nearer Brother"
    • "Lilly Dale"
Collection

Rees Cadwalader notebook, 1801

1 volume

The Rees Cadwalader notebook contains copied poems and essays on a variety of topics, including several composed in memoriam.

The Rees Cadwalader notebook (48 pages) contains copied poems and essays on a variety of topics, including several composed in memoriam. The text on the inside cover indicates that Cadwalader kept the book for practicing his penmanship, and he may have been a student when he began the volume in 1801. The 16 entries are comprised of 12 poems, 3 essays, and a recipe for black ink. Two prominent themes are death and religious faith, often in conjunction, and the book contains narrative and introspective works, such as a story about the Doan outlaws and elegiac poems, respectively. Also of interest are a lengthy recollection of a dream experienced by Sarah Hunter, who twice saw visions of heaven and hell, poems about several types of love (including the love of God, spousal love, and a father's love for his daughter), and a tale of star-crossed lovers separated by their families' mutual hatred. Several compositions are attributed, and at least three were previously published: "An Address to the Deity" (published in the first edition of Anna Letitia Barbauld's poetry, 1773), "The Evening Fireside" (published in 1805), and "A Birthday Reflection" (published in The Friend, 1831). Pages 43-46 are missing, and page 47 is blank.

Collection

Sylvanus A. and Rachel Wheat papers, 1848-1880

126 items

The Sylvanus Wheat papers contain the incoming and outgoing correspondence of Wheat, a soldier in the 144th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment; the papers shed light on his Civil War service in 1862-1863, as well as on the activities of the Wheat family.

The Sylvanus A. and Rachel Wheat papers consist of 125 letters, covering 1848-1880, as well as an undated religious tract. The bulk of the collection is correspondence between members of the Wheat family during Sylvanus' service with the 144th New York Infantry, documenting Wheat's movements and observations on his duties and camp life, as well as the home-front experiences of his wife and siblings. Of the 60 letters written by Sylvanus during his military service in the Civil War, he addressed 48 to his wife, Rachel, and 11 to his sisters. Sylvanus was the recipient of a total of 58 letters: 30 from Rachel, 16 from his sisters, 6 from his brothers, and 4 from various cousins.

Just two items in the collection predate the Civil War, and both contain poems lamenting the death of Althea Loveland, the sister of Rachel (Loveland) Wheat. These items are dated September 21, 1848, and July 26, 1849. Sylvanus Wheat wrote the latter letter, in which he confessed that Althea "was if possible more lamented by me than any other person."

The letters documenting the war begin in mid-October 1862, and open with Wheat's travel to Washington, D.C., and his discussion of Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart's raid on Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in which he noted that rebels had taken the city and "murdered some" (October 13, 1862). Wheat soon moved to Camp Bliss in Arlington County, Virginia, where he stayed until February 1863, and from there, he frequently wrote home about camp life, duties, politics, health, the destruction caused by war, and other observations. He sometimes described picket duty, which he performed when he was healthy. On December 9, 1862, in a letter to his wife Rachel, he described several days of this duty in the snow and noted that "the officers could not see our fire which is forbidden by army regulations, although we had a rousing big one.” He also complained of the heavy load of supplies that they carried (December 14, 1862), and described the bivouac shelter that they built (December 22, 1862) while on picket near the camp. Another frequent theme in the letters is the destruction caused by war. On October 24, 1863, Wheat wrote to a sister about the "gloom" of "splendid mansions," abandoned and left in ruins near Camp Bliss. On December 9, 1862, he described the buildings and fields stripped and ruined by "rapacious soldiers," and noted that "distrust and hatred are visable on the countenance of all the inhabitants."

Wheat sometimes requested that his family send him tools, so he could improve his living conditions, and in several letters he gave accounts of his efforts to make his surroundings more comfortable. On November 25, 1862, he described elevating his tent by three feet with poles, allowing him and his tent-mates to walk around in it without stooping. On January 3, 1863, he requested that family members send him an axe, calling the ones provided by the Army "miserable soft things." In return, they requested small souvenirs from the war, such as pinecones and acorns, which they found highly desirable and crafted into ornaments and baskets (December 18, 1862). On December 27, 1862, Cordelia Wheat asked that Sylvanus send her a few small rocks or stones from the "sacred soil of Virginia."

In February of 1863, Sylvanus Wheat described leaving Camp Bliss for Camp California, which was located slightly west of Alexandria, Virginia. He noted the large number of "convenient articles" that had to be left behind, such as kettles, cans, cupboards, and a stove and washtub, but remarked that they had made two black walnut bedsteads (February 18, 1863). There, he suffered increasing health problems related to his lungs and throat. By April, Sylvanus Wheat wrote from the U.S. General Hospital in Fairfax, Virginia, shortly before receiving a discharge. On April 1, 1863, he described a night during which he and other patients tried to soothe the sickest among them; he also gave an account of an extensive examination, which involved both medical and personal questions (April 3, 1863). In his final letter before leaving for home, he expressed fears that he would die upon release from the hospital (April 5, 1863).

Several letters refer to the Dakota War, which Sylvanus' brother James and sister-in-law Almira reported on from Lenora, Minnesota. On February 5, 1863, James wrote that he expected the "Indians will make a fuss next Spring in Minnesota. The militia here is organizing and getting ready to do something if necessary." Almira also wrote, expressing worry that James would be drafted to protect settlers from the Dakota (October 24, 1863). A few post-Civil War letters provide news on the children and farming activities of Sylvanus and Rachel Wheat and their children.