"I hope to have the pleasure of Seeing you very Soon, I think every minute an hour, and every hour a day, and every day, a Week till I see you..."
In the annals of American history, the most moving letters from home to soldiers on the front lines are often considered to be from our Civil War. This latest offering from the Sol Feinstone Collection provides an example of a wife's affection that is every bit as poignant and moving as any document written during the great conflict of the mid-nineteenth century. On 13 September 1777, Elizabeth Morrison wrote from her home in Bedford, Massachusetts, to her husband John, who was posted with his regiment in Bennington, Vermont. Though John presumably hailed from Bedford as well, he was serving in Captain Samuel McConnell's Company of the 11th New Hampshire Regiment of Militia, commanded by Col. Thomas Stickney. The answer to why a Massachusetts man was serving in a New Hampshire militia unit may come from the fact that Stickney was a native of Bedford, a town that neighbored the more famous town of Concord, Massachusetts. In raising his militia regiment in 1777, Stickney may well have called upon old friends in Bedford to help supply him with recruits. The 11th saw hard service in 1777, first reinforcing the garrison of Fort Ticonderoga in the spring, then joining General John Stark's Brigade for the Battle of Bennington in August. Judging by Elizabeth's letter, John escaped unharmed, though many of his colleagues would not have been so lucky. As her letter shows, John's family missed him a great deal, leading Elizabeth to use every argument in her power to cajole him home and head off any impulses he might have entertained to serve longer than his allotted time. The full transcript of the letter, which is available below, testifies to the heartfelt bonds that linked the home front to the front lines during the Revolution, and which made the war extremely difficult for those civilians, even in protected areas, who had relations serving with the army.
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