Dear Friend Anna: The Civil War Letters of a Common Soldier from Maine [Hardcover] Edwards, Abial Hall; Kallgren, Beverly Hayes; Crouthamel, James L. and Edwards, Anna

$27.95

The Civil War letters of Abial Edwards are published here in full, with careful attention to reproducing Edwards’s exact wording, spelling, and punctuation. Historian James L. Crouthamel places the letters in historical context with introductory comments and explanatory notes and suggestions for further reading.

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Description

Abial Edwards was the third son of a wheelwright and carriage maker and himself a textile mill worker in Lewiston, Maine, when the Civil War began. In September 1861, at the age of eighteen, he enlisted in the Tenth Maine Regiment. Discharged in 1863, Edwards soon reenlisted, serving in the Twenty-ninth Maine Regiment until June 1866.
Throughout those years, Edwards maintained a steady correspondence with Anna Lucinda Conant of Portland, Maine, in a relationship that slowly deepened into warm affection and eventual marriage.
While Edwards was a “common soldier,” never rising above the rank of corporal, the diversity of his Civil War experience was remarkable. The war took him into the Shenandoah Valley under Nathaniel Banks and to the bloody battle of Antietam. In 1863 he served in Louisiana as part of the Red River campaign, later returning to the Shenandoah Valley under Philip Sheridan. With the war over, he served on garrison duty in occupied South Carolina for a year before being mustered out.
During those years, he experienced danger, illness and discomfort, boredom, anguish at the destructive violence of war, and deep sorrow at the loss of friends. It was a solace to write home to Anna, and he did so frequently. To her he described these experiences and many more: meeting Ulysses S. Grant, catching a glimpse of Abraham Lincoln, riding proudly at the front of his regiment in the Grand Review at war’s end.
Anna Conant preserved Abial Edwards’s letters and other papers; many years following her death her grandson discovered them in a family barn. The Civil War letters are published here in full, with careful attention to reproducing Edwards’s exact wording, spelling, and punctuation. Historian James L. Crouthamel places the letters in historical context with introductory comments and explanatory notes and suggestions for further reading.

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