Letters Home to Sarah: The Civil War Letters of Guy C. Taylor, Thirty-Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers

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University of Wisconsin Pres, Nov 7, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 328 pages
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Forgotten for more than a century in an old cardboard box, these are the letters of Guy Carlton Taylor, a farmer who served in the Thirty-Sixth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the American Civil War. From March 23, 1864, to July 14, 1865, Taylor wrote 165 letters home to his wife Sarah and their son Charley.
    From the initial mustering and training of his regiment at Camp Randall in Wisconsin, through the siege of Petersburg in Virginia, General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, and the postwar Grand Review of the Armies parade in Washington, D.C., Taylor conveys in vivid detail his own experiences and emotions and shows himself a keen observer of all that is passing around him. While at war, he contracts measles, pneumonia, and malaria, and he writes about the hospitals, treatments, and sanitary conditions that he and his comrades endured during the war. Amidst the descriptions of soldiering, Taylor’s letters to Sarah are threaded with the concerns of a young married couple separated by war but still coping together with childrearing and financial matters. The letters show, too, Taylor’s transformation from a lonely and somewhat disgruntled infantryman to a thoughtful commentator on the greater ideals of the war.
    This remarkable trove of letters, which had been left in the attic of Taylor’s former home in Cashton, Wisconsin, was discovered by local historian Kevin Alderson at a household auction. Recognizing them for the treasure they are, Alderson bought the letters and, aided by his wife Patsy, painstakingly transcribed the letters and researched Taylor’s story in Wisconsin and at historical sites of the Civil War. The Aldersons’ preface and notes are augmented by an introduction by Civil War historian Kathryn Shively Meier, and the book includes photographs, maps, and illustrations related to Guy Taylor’s life and letters.
 

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Contents

Prologue
3
March 25 to May 16 1864
7
May 17 to June 23 1864
19
June 26 to July 25 1864
52
July 28 to October 6 1864
74
October 10 to November 27 1864
127
December 1 1864 to March 23 1865
159
March 27 to May 14 1865
236
Epilogue
289
Roster of the Officers of the ThirtySixth Wisconsin Regiment
293
Roster of Company F of the ThirtySixth Wisconsin Regiment
297
Guy Taylors December 1 1864 Letter
303
Guy Taylors December 1 1864 Letter Rewritten in Sarahs Hand
313
Bibliography
319
Index
321
Copyright

May 16 to July 9 1865
261

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About the author (2012)

Kevin and Patsy Alderson live in rural LaFarge, Wisconsin, within fifteen miles of the Taylors’ former farmstead. Kevin taught American history for thirty-three years and Patsy is an artist. They are coauthors of the book Barns Without Corners: Round Barns of Vernon County, Wisconsin. Together they operate Kickapoo Valley Heritage–Art and Tours and the 1890 Ottervale General Store.

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