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Somethin' to Write Home About: Civil War

An exhibit featuring letters from the Regional History Center Collections

The Visual Dictionary of the Civil War

Stanchak, John. The Visual Dictionary of the Civil War. New York: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000.

Civil War

April, 1862

Unreliable mail service could leave loved ones concerned about each other's safety. Giles Paddock Ransom from Roscoe, Illinois served as an assistant surgeon during the Civil War. His wife, Mahala, having not heard from him for 20 days, sent Giles a letter dated April 29, 1862 that began, “Husband if I have one.” Giles writes back and lists the dates when he had written and finishes with, “So you can see that it is not my fault that you do not hear from me.” He adds, “The mail’s run very irregularly and the Post Office at Cairo is so thronged with mail matter that it is hard to get through it especially after such a fight as at Corinth.

If only Mahala and Giles had the modern technology that we have today perhaps their anxiety could have been alleviated by using Facebook, email, Twitter, or Skype. Also in these two letters Giles recounts the Battle of Pittsburgh, more commonly known as the Battle of Shiloh, to clarify any news of the battle that Mahala received at home.


Dr. Giles Paddock Ransom Family Collection

Dr. Giles Ransom Padock Family Collection, RC 275, box 6, folder 3

Civil War


Dr. Giles Ransom Padock Family Collection, RC 275, box 6, folder 3

Invoice of Medicines

Invoice of medicines issued by Dr. Giles P. Ransom, 1862

Dr. Giles Ransom Padock Family Collection, RC 275, box 48, folder 6