Remembering our Good Fortune

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Hello again, and welcome back to the Library blog. I hope everyone had a pleasant Fourth of July and a weekend spent with friends and family. Sadly, during the Civil War hundreds of thousands of young men could not share in this simple joy. Separated from their loved ones, the only merriment many soldiers had was what they could create for themselves. Private Michael Guinan of the 128th New York Volunteers Co. A wrote to his sister a letter several days after the Fourth, recounting the somber celebration he and his unit had produced.

To Ms. Eliza Guinan, Michael's sister. The letter was not sent until Michael arrived in Washington DC on July 30th. From The Mariners' Museum Collection.

 

“We passed the Fourth of July in camp with no amusement of any kind whatsoever only in the evening (Bill?) Forster got a couple of barrels of beer and called us all up and we all drank a glass in honor of the day… at taps we all went to bed, to dream of times gone by and of those to come again: to dream of the Fourths of July we passed at home, and of those we will pass if God spares us to return again.” – Pvt. Michael Guinan, July 1864.

It’s easy to forget that not everyone may be as fortunate in their situation as we are today. The brave soldiers who fought for our country in the past and in the present deserve our remembrance even more on days like the Fourth. Perhaps Michael Guinan’s letter can help us realize that no matter how far apart we stand in time or distance, we are all joined together by the bond of our Independence.

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