Apart from their value in chronicling a common soldier's activities and attitudes during three tumultuous years, these letters offer memorable vignettes of events and famous personalities. Fitzpatrick commented about the Seven Days, Second Manassas, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Overland campaign, and Petersburg. He described feeling in the ranks toward Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and other leaders. He left no doubt of the central role religion played in the lives of countless mid-19th-century Americans, as well as the inestimable importance of home and family. In short, this testimony does more than help us, at a distance of more than a century and a third, understand the day-to-day process by which soldiers went about the business of living and campaigning. It also illuminates the broader context of the world in which the Fitzpatricks and millions of other Civil War-era Americans lived.
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