War Veteran From Civil War's Letters

1205 words - 5 pages

UTK Special Collections, MS 1334:A Civil War Letter from the Harry Cushing LettersMS 1334 is a collection of personal letters from a Civil War officer, named Harry Cushing. Harry Cushing, of Providence, Rhode Island, was a member of the US 4th Artillery Battery H and served as a 1st Lieutenant Officer in the Union army (Hooper, "A Short Introduction"). Harry Cushing manned a tough artillery unit in General Rosencrans' division who was apart of the Army of Cumberland. Cushing served in the Southeast states of Tennessee and Kentucky. Harry Cushing's unit fought in the epic campaign of Knoxville. Cushing also fought in battles such as Chickamauga and Chattanooga before moving with his unit to the Knoxville area. In the letter I have transcribed, dated November 30, 1862, Harry writes to his mother and details how he still feels like a young boy despite the fact that he is actually a grown man and in the army. The personal letter he wrote to his mother, while fighting for the Union, recounts his memories from when he was younger and even admits that he still feels the innocence of his childhood.This four page long letter, on white tarnished paper, is handwritten in cursive with blank ink. Along with the damaged appearance, it is evident that the letter is very aged because of the change in color from white to a light brown. The handwriting of the first two pages of the letter was hard to read, while the last two were more legible. Cushing seemed as if he was nervous or even anxious when beginning the letter because of his rush to write down how he felt on paper. Cushing writes with depressing and trapped diction, displaying how he wishes for the times he used to have as a young boy.Normally when going off to war, it can be said that boys transform into men. However, Cushing continues to feel juvenile while others see him as a strong man. For example in his letter he writes, "and sport my flashing sabre with as much ease" (Cushing, Nov 30th, 1862). This shows how his male strength is exuberated in a courage prestigious way, to where he feels powerful when presenting himself with his sword. In his letter, he is never pessimistic about the fights or battles that are happening around him. He focuses on the things that make him happy in life, and that happens to be his childhood; it is obvious that Cushing was more than likely sheltered as a child and even lived a very wealthy lifestyle. Cushing uses those youthful experiences to help him cope with all the dreadful things that happening around him, and does not want for his family to worry about him. However, being his mother's "boy" gives Cushing a sense of safety that most men would not admit (Cushing, Nov 30th, 1862). A child who cherishes his memories this much had to have lived an extravagant childhood, with the ability of doing and going as he pleases. The typical army man is courageous and is nearly emotionless; up front, Cushing seems like this kind of man, even calling himself "a bold officer who...

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