Pam over at Advertising For Love (a very fun blog, by the way - well worth your time to pop over there and read a few posts) recently mentioned Wanted-Correspondence: Women's Letters to a Union Soldier. When I followed her link, I was fascinated and knew I just had to get my own copy of this book.
(Note to self: Add this book to Christmas list. Highlight. Tape list to husband's forehead.)
During the Civil War, Union soldier Lewis Lybarger placed an ad in a newspaper, looking for correspondents. Over 150 women wrote to him! He carried their letters for the three years he was in the military. 100 years later, the letters were discovered in an attic trunk, and eventually became the basis of this book.
There is something about letters that has always caught my imagination. I once wrote to a friend that writing a letter was like sending a piece of yourself off into limbo. You write it, thinking of the person you are writing to, imagining his reactions, but with no real idea how your words will be received. Sometimes you aren't even sure if the letter even got there.
And here are 150 women, writing to the same man. Did he write back to any of them? Why did they write to him? What were they hoping for? Romance? Moral support for a lonely soldier? Was he taking the place of a loved one who was beyond letters?
I want to find out.
Book: Wanted - Correspondence: Women's Letters to a Union Soldier, edited by Nancy L. Rhoades and Lucy E. Bailey