Seeking a brother’s release
In this letter to the Union commander of the prisoner-of-war camp at Point Lookout, Maryland, one of four sisters asks the commander to release their brother. Writing on August 11, 1864, from Marietta, Ohio, Lou A. Briggs asks the commander to have pity as they were orphans and cannot “get along without him.” One sister was sick with consumption, she wrote, and “desires very much to see her brother once more in this world.”
Letter from Lou A. Briggs to the Commander of Point Lookout Military Prison Regarding Rufus Briggs, 08/11/1864
From the series Personal Letters to Confederate Prisoners at Point Lookout, Maryland, 1889 - 1904
Charles Longfellow- Son Of Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
In 1863, he ran off to enlist as a private in the Union Army during the Civil War, and eventually received a commission as a lieutenant in a cavalry regiment. Miraculously, he survived a bout with malaria and what could have been a mortal gun shot wound to his back, which he received while on campaign in Virginia. The bullet traveled across his back, nicked his spine, and exited under his right shoulder. He missed being paralyzed by less than an inch.
He knew his father disapproved of him fighting, but went anyway. He wrote a letter to his father saying, “I have tried to resist the temptation of going without your leave but cannot any longer.”
Charles Longfellow went on to become one of the earliest American tourists in Japan. His journal offers a rare picture of the Asian nation opening up to the world after centuries of isolation. Charles was independently wealthy with inheritances from his grandfather, Nathan Appleton and his mother, and spent the rest of his life traveling the world. He died in 1893, in Cambridge from pneumonia and is buried in the family vault in Mt. Auburn Cemetery. The souvenirs of his travels and his uniforms and accoutrements from his service in the Union Army are at Longfellow House in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
A group of Union soldiers from the 12th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry Regiment posing in front of two photography studios at Point Lookout, Maryland.
A Union soldier from the 31st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment posing with his family in front of a tent near Fort Slocum in Washington, D.C., 1861. Animated stereoscopic photographs.
[Unidentified soldier with amputated arm in Union uniform in front of painted backdrop showing cannon and cannonballs] (LOC) (by The Library of Congress)
"King Sulivan; served in the 4th Kentucky Volunteers, United States Army; noted in frame: King Sulivan, Kentucky Volunteers, Co. F, 4th Reg, 3rd Div. Age’d 18 years…kicked and killed by horse, three days after returning home to Kentucky."
Six Union soldiers and two civilians standing on a porch (1861)
Officers of Combined Batteries B & L, 2nd U.S. Artillery. L-R: Wilson, Vincent, Robertson, Woodruff.
Photo by James F. Gibson. Library of Congress
Fair Oaks, Va., vicinity. Capt. James M. Robertson (third from left) and officers.
[Unidentified soldier in Union assistant surgeon uniform with Ames medical sword]
Of the wounds recorded in the Civil War, 70%+ were to the extremities. And so, the amputation was the common operation of the Civil War surgeon.
The field hospital was hell on earth. The surgeon would stand over the operating table for hours without a let up. Men screamed in delirium, calling for loved ones, while others laid pale and quiet with the effect of shock. Only the division’s best surgeons did the operating and they were called “operators”. Already, they were performing a crude system of triage. The ones wounded through the head, belly, or chest were left to one side because they would most likely die. This may sound somewhat cruel or heartless, but it allowed the doctors to save precious time and to operate on those that could be saved with prompt attention.
- Digital ID: (digital file from original item) ppmsca 33414 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.33414
- Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppmsca-33414 (digital file from original item)
- Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print