Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Touching history: Envelope to N.Y. cavalry officer's father

Envelope addressed to the father of  Charles Greenleaf, a lieutenant in the 5th New York Cavalry.

Charles Greenleaf did not survive the war.
(Photo: Connecticut State Library)
Research at the National Archives can be a crap shoot. Sometimes you hope for big things and nothing pans out, and then there are days like Tuesday, when I found more than 20 letters written by soldiers from Connecticut to their parents back home. I doubt that the large, musty envelopes that I found the letters in had been touched in decades. I also found another neat nugget: an envelope in which Charles Greenleaf, a lieutenant in the 5th New York Cavalry, mailed $40 to his needy parents back in Hartford. Sadly, Greenleaf didn't survive the war. The 22-year-old soldier, who also served in the 1st Connecticut early in the war, was mortally wounded in a skirmish near Harpers Ferry, W.Va., on Aug. 25, 1864. He died two days later at U.S. General Hospital in Sandy Hook, Md.

The Adams Express Co., which Greenleaf entrusted with his hard-earned money, also handled and shipped more precious cargo during the war: bodies of soldiers. Although not the norm, the company shipped the body of Union General Nathaniel Lyon, who had been killed at the Battle of Wilson Creek, back to Connecticut from Missouri for free.

No comments:

Post a Comment