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'All we read is not half as bad as it really is...' So wrote Mary Crowell on 28/29 April 1862, to family back east in Vermont. Her brother, Henry Tucker, had been on the sick list during the Battle of Shiloh, so came through the two days unscathed. Henry was a private in the 15th Illinois, Co. E. But, her other brother, Corporal Rufus Tucker, of the 15th Illinois, Co. E, had just been returned home to Nara Township, in Jo Daviess County, in order to heal and fully recover from wounds he'd received in the battle. His experience, as part of Veatch's Brigade, had left him bitter; he told everyone who would listen that 'Whitelaw Reid was right,' and that 'General Grant should be hung.' Returning to Mary's letter, she wrote that 'Henry says he is not coming home until the war is over.' Also, she mentions the news that New Orleans is now back in Federal hands, and predicts that 'all the Federal prisoners captured at Shiloh and sent to New Orleans can look forward to being released soon.' Aside from war news, the letter is also of interest for the other events of the day that are deemed important, such as the 'backward Spring,' and its effect on the planting of wheat. And her need to have teeth extracted in the nearby town of Galena: U.S. Grant's most recent abode, prior to the breakout of war. The Mary Crowell letter: important for reflecting the contemporary thoughts and attitudes of ordinary folks, affected by the Battle of Shiloh. This letter can be accessed on the Internet, as both a photocopy of the 4-page original, and as a transcript, via University of Notre Dame, Hesburgh Libraries. <<rarebooks.nd.edu/digital/civil_war/letters/crowell> In addition to Mary Crowell's letter, there are dozens more letters and diaries, Union and Confederate, most of which are available in their entirety on the Internet. (Some have catalog details provided, and brief descriptions of content, but may require your physical presence in South Bend, Indiana to gain access.) Examples of both... John A. Albright (4 Letters) Feb 1864- 1865; a private in the 16th Wisconsin, Co. K (new company K, under Captain Morris.) Entered service from Eagle Township, Waukesha County, Wisconsin. Catalog no. MSN/CW 5016-1 - MSN/CW 5016-4 Meek Family correspondence (27 letters) 1861- 1869. The struggles of the Meek Family of East Tennessee, after Judge James Meek was taken into custody and classed as a 'political prisoner.' Some letters sent from Camp Oglethorpe, (Macon, Georgia) in June 1862. Taylor Family correspondence (5 letters) 1864. The Taylor brothers, Robert and Gibson, were Confederate cavalrymen, who served in Kentucky units attached to General John Hunt Morgan. Gibson was captured, and sent to the Union prison at Rock Island: at least one of his letters was sent from there. To gain access to this extensive collection, go into your favorite search engine via 'University of Notre Dame, Hesburgh Libraries' In 'Hesburgh Libraries catalog search, type 'rare books and special collections' [enter] In 'Collections,' select 'US history & culture [enter] 'Manuscripts,' select 'Civil War era' Available for view: Topical Collection (Wirz/Andersonville); personal papers; military records; diaries and journals; letters (where you find 'Mary Crowell's letter') Cheers Ozzy