Through Ordinary Eyes: The Civil War Correspondence of Rufus Robbins, Private, 7th Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers

Through Ordinary Eyes: The Civil War Correspondence of Rufus Robbins, Private, 7th Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers

Through Ordinary Eyes: The Civil War Correspondence of Rufus Robbins, Private, 7th Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers

Through Ordinary Eyes: The Civil War Correspondence of Rufus Robbins, Private, 7th Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers

Synopsis

This extensive two-way exchange of letters between Rufus Robbins and members of his family provides a highly personalized view of the life of a Union soldier, as well as life on the home front in South Abington, Massachusetts, an important source of war materiel. Enlisting in the Seventh Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment at the seasoned age of 31, Rufus carefully crafts letters that are articulate, graphic and often witty and that contribute much to our understanding of the daily course of the war. Notes from home reflect the Robbins family's ever-present worry and concern for Rufus' well-being. His brothers detail their involvement in the sewing of army boots, an activity for which South Abington held a large contract.

Excerpt

Rufus Robbins was a native of South Abington (now Whitman), Massachusetts. He was a soldier in the Seventh Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment and was among the first to answer President Lincoln's call for volunteers to suppress the rebellion.

The correspondence of Rufus Robbins and his family members provides important insights into the lives of an ordinary Union soldier and those left behind. This collection is highly unusual in that we have an extensive, two-way exchange of letters. Articulate, often graphic and witty, the letters provide a highly personalized view of what life was like for a Union soldier as well as what civilian life was like back home.

Although more has been written on the military aspects of the American Civil War than on any other war in history, both professional researchers and amateur enthusiasts never have had enough material. And now, there is a growing interest in the more ordinary aspects of those times and events to supplement our understanding of the political and military leaders and of the strategies and tactics of battles. These letters contribute significantly toward that end.

On the personal side, Rufus' letters demonstrate the depth of his character. Showing through quite clearly are the maturity, confidence, and likableness of the man. As the war progresses, we see . . .

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