Letters Home to Sarah: The Civil War Letters of Guy C. Taylor, Thirty-Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers
edited by Kevin and Patsy Alderson
BTC’s Take: Letters Home to Sarah is a lightly edited and annotated collection of letters from Guy C. Taylor of the 36th Wisconsin, written to his wife Sarah at home while he suffered through the last year of the war in the Eastern theater in Washington, D.C. and the front at Richmond-Petersburg. Over 100 letters to Sarah are collected in this volume.
- Book Review: Letters Home to Sarah: The Civil War Letters of Guy C. Taylor, Thirty-Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers
- Preview: New Siege of Petersburg Diary from the 36th Wisconsin
BTC Siege of Petersburg Book Notes:
BTC Siege of Petersburg Book Sources:
A moving collection of newly discovered letters that captures the range of emotions and experiences of the American Civil War 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’ introduction and notes are augmented by a foreword by Civil War historian Kathryn Shively Meier, and the book includes photographs, maps, and illustrations related to Guy Taylor’s life and letters.
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 co-authors 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.
(November 2012, 264 pp., 6 x 9, 34 b/w photos, 4 maps, Cloth $26.95, ISBN 978-0-299-29120-4)
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press,
Release Date: November 7, 2012
The Siege of Petersburg Online: Beyond the Crater Pages Which Mention This Book: