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George Lewis Letter,

Identifier: Ms-2012-015

Scope and Content

This collection consists of a single letter written by Union soldier George W. Lewis, 4th Michigan Infantry,to his brother, and dated February 1st, 1863. The letter was written from camp near Potomac Creek, Va. In the letter, Lewis gives detailed descriptions of the construction and pitching of the ubiquitous Civil War Sibley tents used in camp, as well as vivid descriptions of the sounds made by musket balls flying across the battlefield. He also describes the poor conditions in camp, including spoiled rations, and the low morale of his fellow troops. Lewis was wounded on July 2nd,1863, at Gettysburg, Pa., and subsequently lost his leg.

“... It is grumbling from morning till night ... The soldiers damn the war... and hope the Union will go to the devil if the war is not settled by spring as they think the president and the congress can do as they please but are obstinate about a settlement - because they are making too much money."

"...we lay in the ‘fatal city’ (Fredericksburg) for two days with the guns of both armies playing over us and the Rebels threw some among our men. Musket balls we could pick up anywhere. They went splat, splat against the walls around us. One piece of a shell planted itself about five feet from me and went into the ground about 4 inches. It weighed half a pound. I was also under an apple tree in a garden and a heavy rifled cannon ball came smashing through it a foot or two from me."

"The shells make music the sweetest - as they start from the guns they make a noise like a whip swung rapidly around in your hand, the noise being flickering or appearing to waver for a few seconds and then increasing to a scream almost deafening a few moments before it bursts...”


  • 1863


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from George Lewis Letter must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Biographical Information

George W. Lewis enlisted in Co F, the 4th Michigan Infantry, on June 20, 1861, at Adrian, Michigan. He was wounded in action at Gettysburg, Pa., on July 2nd, 1863. He subsequently lost his leg, and was transferred to the Invalid Corps in Washington, D.C. on February 15th, 1864.


0.1 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of a single letter written by Union soldier George W. Lewis, 4th Michigan Infantry,to his brother, and dated February 1st, 1863.

Acquisition Information

This collection was purchased by Special Collections in February 2012.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the George Lewis Letter was completed in June 2012.

A Guide to the George Lewis Letter, 1863
Cliff Bryant, Student Assistant, and Kira A. Dietz, Archivist
© 2012 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US