Your Affectionate Husband

A few months back, I came across a nice collection of Civil War-era letters and ephemera. I could spend a month with these, but I thought I would take this week to show off some of the best.

Chambersburg PA - Aug. 1st 1862

Dear Rebecca:

Your very welcome letter reached me yesterday evening. I was much pleased to learn that you and Mr. Campbell had made all things right. I received a letter from him yesterday in which he states that Mr. Hapler (?) was perfectly satisfied. I can now rest. The fact is I was entirely too hasty, at least I  had no grounds to complain because my quarters salary (?) was not due, although they should have interested themselves more to raise the money by the time I left.

I have been very well since I left. I put up with Mr. Clarke where I remained over night. Last night I started with Mr. Waupler (?) and during the day I ran about almost every where. The (?) are all glad to see me. I was at Wanamakers, thye don't take their bereavement as hard as I thought they would. They intend to move to Philadelphia in about 3 weeks. I saw Capt. Gillan, and could have wept over him. He is in the last stage of consumption, and is not able to go to church any more. I don't think he will last beyond fall. I dined yesterday with Judge Nill....(?) But I can't go into particulars until I see you.

All the young men here have joined the army. They want me to because (?) Chaplain which I think I will do. Henry Hutton, Ben. La(?) George W (? likely same name as above), James Maxwell, John Oaks, Jeff Nill are among the numbers.

But I will now close. When we meet I can give you more satisfaction. I will be at Carlisle on Monday morning. If anything happens let me know. My love to the family, I accept a great portion from (?)

Your affectionate husband,
Samuel Philips

-Click to enlarge photos-


  1. I love old correspondence. I sell old postcards and often get slowed down trying to read some of them. I wonder what they would think of us all reading their words so far into the future.

    Thank you for making the effort to write everything out again

  2. "They want me to become their Chaplain" is what it says.

    Also, the ending is part of the sign-off. So, love to the family, and accept a great portion from your affectionate husband..."

  3. I believe the final sentence is "My love to the family, + [and] accept a great portion from [your affectionate husband]." The symbol he uses at the beginning of the second clause is not similar to his other Is.

  4. Interesting. Funny he signs his last name.

  5. Lovely. Thank you for taking the trouble to decipher this letter. Do some more.

  6. I collect postal history covers and if there is an enclosed letter all the better. It does take practice try to decipher the words. Enjoyed your blog.

  7. Wow, I love reading things like these. One time I went to an antique store and saw a diary of a young boy whose brother was sent to the military. It had gorgeous poetry and thoughts. It just really makes you think about the lives that have gone by.

  8. Using the proper last name was common at that time and later. My Great-Aunt Jane who lived to be 96 always, always referred to her husband as Mr. Howard. She was born about the time of the letter posted. It would not have been unusual for a writer to use their full given name in a closure. Although, we do see most affectionate and personal closings often as well. Seems the letter could have been written yesterday. The more things change the more they stay the same. I think I have heard that before. I truly appreciate your blog and postings. It is a unique glimpse into a personal and private world of those before us. I am grateful for those who do save correspondence so we can have this insight.

  9. Most interesting!

    This line: The (?) are all glad to see me.

    May be: The members are all glad to see me.

    This line:I dined yesterday with Judge Nill....(?)

    Reads: I dined yesterday with Judge Nill. They are all well.

  10. I did some back-of-the-envelope research on Philips:

    It appears he did serve in the army, very briefly. Samuel Phillips joined the 1st Pennsylvania Militia, an emergency 30-days unit organized in the tumult surrounding Lee's invasion of Maryland.

    Samuel Phillips was mustered into the field staff as Chaplain on the 11th of September 1862 in Harrisburg and was mustered out of service on the 25th of September.