This collection contains letters that United States Army lieutenant (and later general) Amos Beebe Eaton wrote while training at the United States Military Academy and traveling in New York, Connecticut, Ohio, and Michigan. His early letters reflect the daily life of cadets at West Point in the mid-1820s, and his later letters to his wife provide family news, as well as information about the Army and contemporary politics.
This collection (59 items) contains letters that United States Army lieutenant (and later general) Amos Beebe Eaton wrote to his grandmother, Tryphena Cady of Canaan, New York, and to his wife, Elizabeth Selden Eaton.
Eaton wrote 6 letters to his grandmother between September 14, 1822, and March 26, 1826, while attending the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He described cadets' daily lives at the academy, including their physical regimen, and discussed the possibility of remaining in the military after graduation. Though he considered applying for the marine corps or becoming a doctor, he stayed with the army, and wrote 3 letters to his grandmother between April 16, 1828, and October 21, 1830, while he served at the Hancock Barracks near Houlton, Maine. A group of 5 letters, written to his sister and grandmother from Fort Niagara, New York, between February 21, 1831, and November 8, 1833, concern his movements with the army and his family life, including news of his new wife and young daughters. He also described Fort Niagara and shared some of his opinions on enlisted men. He wrote to his grandmother from Fort Gratiot, Michigan Territory, on July 7, 1834, commenting on his distrust of the pursuit of recognition.
Between 1832 and 1836, Eaton wrote to his wife Elizabeth ("Betsy") while he traveled in New York, Connecticut, Ohio, and Michigan, on military and personal business. He often mentioned family members, religious sentiments, and general details of his daily life. Two letters were written from Detroit during the Black Hawk War, in which he briefly mentioned ill soldiers, his opinion about the mistreatment of Native Americans, and the military's pursuit of Black Hawk (July 24 and 30, 1832). In another he discussed foreign relations with France as well as abolitionism (February 12, 1836). The collection also contains 2 letters that Eaton wrote while serving as Commissary General of Subsistence in 1867.
Several letters are addressed to Amos Eaton. One, written by "Gordon" on August 10, 1832, comments on the public reaction to and possible consequences of a recently published letter of Amos's, wherein he attributes the cholera outbreak in the military during the Black Hawk War to the mistreatment of Native Americans. Also included is a letter that Amos Beebe Eaton's father wrote to his son with extracts of his communication with New York Senators about the motivations behind Eaton's statements, a partial copy of the offending letter, and the impact it had on his military career (September 21, 1838). Other material includes one letter addressed to Elizabeth Eaton from a sibling (July 3, 1836) and a copied document signed by several recruits, stating that they had recently received pay (June 9, 1835).