Civil War letters written by Islip soldier delivered to Long Island historical society

The correspondence was written by 41-year-old Frederick Wright Sr., a private in the Union Army, to his family home on Monell Avenue in Islip.

News 12 Staff

Nov 30, 2022, 11:58 PM

Updated 542 days ago

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Over 100 letters providing a firsthand account of life during the Civil War were recently delivered to a historical society on Long Island.
The correspondence was written by 41-year-old Frederick Wright Sr., a private in the Union Army, to his family home on Monell Avenue in Islip.
One of the letters explains the harsh reality of the war, reading in part: "Not one of us got hurt but it was sad to see the infantry killed and wounded by the hundreds."
"It really captures what the war effort was like, what the experience was with a private in the New York calvary and the various battles and what camp life was like," says Robert Finnegan, of the Islip Historical Society.
The letters were a cherished Wright Family heirloom for five generations. Someone recently offered to buy them, but the family declined to sell because they didn't want to profit off of history.
Claudia Kepner, of Richmond, Virginia, is Wright's great-great-great granddaughter.
She says the letters were recently found in a shoebox at her mother's Rhode Island home.
Kepner says because her mother was involved with the Islip Historical Society, they wanted to donate it there.
"You don't usually think about Islip and the Civil War in the same sentence or the same thought, and I want people to be able to experience it through somebody's words or somebody from my family," Kepner said.
Victoria Berger, of the Suffolk Historical Museum, spent months meticulously preserving each letter.
She says when they came to them, they were folded into a very tight little square for over 160 years.
Finnegan then transcribed all of the cursive.
He is now working on compiling the letters in a book.
The letters are available for viewing on the Historical Society of Islip Hamlet's Online Museum website


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