My Dear Sara

Civil War Letters 1861 - 1865


My Dear Sara - Civil War Letters

The Civil War Comes Alive in Letters Home!

Corporal Edwin J. Barden (Ned) wrote letters to his girl Sara (and later his wife) while assigned to General Grant's headquarters from 1861-1865.

As a soldier in the 7th Connecticut Infantry Regiment, he documented Union army and navy battles, weapons, travels, and movements. These letters provide an up-close soldier's view of life on the front lines, and include officer assessments, horrid weather, transient housing, poor food, hung deserters, and valiant "colored" forces fighting battles in Texas long after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox.

Through his eyes, you experience this horrid time in history with a real-time view of civil war life, leadership, and a love that sustained two people. Ned and Sara married in 1864 and built a family that will spawn five generations of military fighting men.

These letters are transcribed exactly as delightfully written. They provide a spellbinding look at a soldier's life in the Union Army and at an enduring love during a war that split apart a growing nation.

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Links to the highlighted names, battles, & more


Of great historical significance, a 1905 published book was discovered while transcribing these letters that was written by Stephen Walkley, another soldier and Unit Historian in the 7th Connecticut Infantry Regiment.

"History of the Seventh Connecticut Volunteer Infantry
Hawley's Brigade, Terry's Division
Tenth Army Corps

Twenty-six chapter introductions from this amazing history book allow the reader to follow the war and the unit's role in it as Ned's letters progress through the years.

The editors preserved the punctuation and spelling as written. Spacing is only partially preserved due to formatting.

Corporal Barden wrote the orders, received the battle and casualty reports, and saw the horrors at the soldier and commander levels.

Observe the spelling and punctuation improve as the years progress.

Laugh, cry and gasp at the stories fresh from the battlefields.

This is an experience that you will remember for life.

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About The Editors

5 Generations of Military

This is my third non-fiction work. All are written because the stories MUST be told. Navy SEAL to Army Doctor to Community Physician has given me stories to share. But this book is written by my mother and me by transcribing over 200 civil war letters from our civil war relative to his wife while assigned to General Grant's headquarters 1861-1865 while assigned to the 7th Connecticut Infantry Regiment.

This is a history that has never been told so completely. It is also a love story between Ned Barden and Sarah Maria Jones my great-great-grandparents. Laugh and cry with them. << all three books.

Connecticut at War

The civil war split a young nation in pieces. Brother against brother. Ned enlisted with the 7th Connecticut Infantry Regiment Volunteers at 26 years old and left his hometown of Canaan, Conn. and his girl Sara behind. All the letters he sent her were dated and numbered and saved by Sara. They tell the story of a corporal in Union Headquarters watching and praying that the war will not kill him.

Join The Journey

My mother spent two year carefully transcribing the letters of Edwin Janes Barden her great-grandfather on her mother's side. She completed three years and then they passed to me to complete following her sudden death at 88. Luckily I had saved her work on my computer so I was able to pick up where she left off. It was a labor of necessity until I began listening to the stories unfolding as the war progressed from season to miserable season in tents and heat and storms. And then he marries Sara in 1864 and returns to the fight. Sara starts numbering his letters with No. 1 again as their life together unfolds.

Questions or Comments?

You can send me a message or ask me a general question about the book of "civil war letters home" using this form.

I will do my best to get back to you soon!

Index Links

Links to the highlighted names, battles, & more.

Abbott, John C. BGEN (brevet)
Adams Express
Alabama CSS
Ambratype definition
Annapolis, Maryland
"Annie Lisle" song
Arago (SS) Steamer
Army of the James
Army of the Potomac
Augusta USS
Banks, Nathaniel P. MGEN
Barden, Jesse (a brother)
Barrington, N. H.
Barton, William Brainerd COL
Baynard Plantation, S.C.
Beaufort S. C.
Beauregard, P.G.T. GEN (Confederate)
Belle Isle, Virginia
Ben D. Ford (SS) steamer
Benham, Henry W. MGEN (brevet)
Benton, Mary USS
Bermuda Hundred campaign VA
Bermuda line
Bienville USS
billious intermitent fever
Birney, David B. MGEN
Bissell, Lucius W. Dr.
Bluffton, S. C.
Boat Howitzers
Boston (Massachusetts) USS
Braddock Point SC
Bragg, Edward S.  BGEN
Brannan, John Milton BGEN
Buckingham, William Alfred - Connecticut Senator
buckskin gauntlets
Buell, Don Carlos MGEN
Bull Run, First Battle of
bullets, poisoned
Burdick, James H. CPT
Burnside USS
Burrall, George
Butler, Benjamin F. MGEN
Camp Distribution
Camp Finegan
Camp Kettle newspaper
Camp Misery
Camp Palmer
Camp Starr, Fernandina, FLA
commodious definition
cannon, James rifled
Canonicus USS
Carroll, Samuel S. BGEN (brevet)
Carr, Eugene Asa, MGEN
Castle Thunder prison
Chaffin's Bluff, Henrico County VA
Chamberlain, Valentine. B. CPT
Chatfield, John Lyman COL
City Point, VA
Columbiad cannon 8 inch and 10 inch
Collins Line ships
Commissary of Subsistence, Office of
Copperheadism - definition
Cosmopolitan (SS) steamer
Daboll, Henry W COL
Dahlgren, John A. ADM
Danville railroad
Dawfuskie Island
Dead March music
Deane, James REV MAJ
Deane,John M. MAJ (MOH)
Deep Bottom Virginia, Second Battle
Delaware USS
Dempsey, Robert LT
Department of the South (Union)
Depot Hospital, Point of Rocks, Va.Dovers powder
Drewery's Bluff, Battle of
Du Pont, Samuel Commodore
Dutch Gap, VA
Eaton, Amos B. MGEN (brevet)
Edistoe Island
Ellsworth, Elmer LT (song tribute)
Enconiums definition
Fair Oaks and Darbytown Road, battle of
Falls Village, Canaan CONN
Farris (Farrars) Island
felon definition
Fenton, William M.  COL
Fernandina, FLA
Ferry, Orris S. MGEN (brevet)
Finegan, Joseph BGEN confederate
Fingal SS
Folly Island, SC
foolscap definition - sheet of foolscap
Fort Anderson and Wilmington
Fort at Bay Point
Fort Beauregard
Fort Darling, VA
Fort Fisher
Fort Gregg
Fort Johnson
Fort Leavenworth
Fort Marion
Fort Monroe
Fort Moultre
Fort Pulaski
Fort Sumpter
Fort Union
Fort Wagner
Fort Walker
Fort Wells
Foster, Robert Sanford BGEN
Fredericksburg occupation
Fulton USS
Galena gunboat, USS)
General Hospitals at Fort Monroe
George Peabody USS transport
George Washington Parke Custis USS
Gideonite definition
Gillot's Number 303 pen
Gilmore, Quincy Adams MGEN
Gordon, George Henry MGEN brevet
Gould, Charles G. CPT (5th VT Vol)
Graham plantation, S.C.
Grain Boot
Grant, H. Ulysses GEN
Grant's Headquarters
City Point
Gregory, John MD
Halleck, Henry W. MGEN
Hamiltons Light Battery
Hatch, William  COL confederate
Hatchers Virginia
Havelock - definition
Havelock, Henry MGEN
Hawley, Joseph Roswell MGEN (by brevet)
and 42nd Gov of Conn

Hilton Head, SC
Hine, Peter E. MD
Hitchcock, Edwin S. CPT
Hogshead definition
Holley, Alexander H., Connecticut Governor
Holley, Maria (Gov Holley's daughter)
Hospital Morris Island 7th Connecticut Volunteers
Housatonic USS gunboat
Housatonic railroad
Howlett's Battery VA
Humphreys Station the end of the Military R.R.
Hunter, David MGEN
Hunter's Regiment – former slaves
Illinois (SS) Steamship
Irish waiters in hospitals
Ironsides, USS
James Island (and campaign)
Jackson, James S. BGEN
James rifled cannon
James river
John Adams, USS gunboat
Johnston, Albert Sidney MGEN confederate
Keokuk,(USS) steamship
Kilpatrick's Calvary
Kilpatrick, Hugh Judson MGEN (brevet)
Lakeville, Mass.
Lamar, Thomas J. COL confederate
Landon, Ashbel
Legareville, S.C.
Libby prison
Light House inlet, SC
Loco-focos party
Marion (SS) Steamship
Marshal, Humphrey BGEN CSA
May Port Mills, FLA
McClellan, George C. MGEN
McClure, Charles COL
Mead, George G. MGEN
Meigs, Montgomery C. MGEN
Meridian Hill, Washington DC
Milburns, William H. REV
Mills, Charles C. CPT
Mitchell, Ormsby MGEN
Mohawk, USS
Monitor, USS
Monohansett,(SS) steamer
Moore, E. Lewis CPT
Morris Island, S.C.
Mount Prospect, MD
Morgan, Michael Ryan COL
Moultreville, SC
mortar shells
Morris Island, SC
muskets, smoothe bore
nabobs definition
Nantasket USS
Neptune USS
New Haven, Connecticut
"nutmeg" State
Oath of loyalty for confederate troops
Olin, George
Olustee, Battle of
Ossabaw Island
Palmetto Herald newspaper
Parrot gun
Paul Jones USS
Pawnee USS
Pawne Landing, SC
Petersburg and Richmond railroad
Peterson's Magazine
Pettifogging definition
Pickney Island S.C.
Pierpont, William H. CPT
Planter, USS  gunboat
Pocotaligo battle SC
Point of Rocks, VA
Porter, George L. MD
Portuguese hymn
Port Royal, SC  Battle of Port Royal
Pope, John MGEN
Porter, George L   doctor
Puttnam, Haldimand S. COL (brevet)
Reid, Adam Rev
Reid, James Rev
Rhode Island Light Artillery Battery
Robbers Row, SC
Robin Adair song
Rockwell, Alfred P. BGEN (brevet)
Rodman, Daniel C. BGEN (brevet)
Rods (definition)
Rosencrans, William S. MGEN confederate
Ruby,(SS) blockade runner
Sabine, Thomas T., MD
Salisbury, NC
Sammons, Simeon COL
Sanford, Oliver S. MAJ
Sanitary, and Christian Commissions
scapegrace definition
Seabrook plantation
Sealy, Israel R. CPT
Secessionville (Ft Lamar), SC
secessh (definition)
Senators Wilson and Sprague
Sewells Point, Virginia
Seymore, Horatio NY GOV
Seymour, Truman MGEN (brevet)
Shaw, Robert Gould. COL
Sherman, William T. GEN
Sheridan, Philip H. GEN
Skinner, Benjamin F. CPT
Smith, Kirby GEN (confederate)
Smith,  William F. MGEN
Smoking cap
South Side Railroad
Spencers breech loading rifle
S.R. Spaulding SS steamer transport
Sprague, William Senator R.I.
Spotswood House
Stanton, Edwin Sec of War
Stephens, Alexander H. (V.P. Confederacy)
Stevens, Clement H. BGEN CSA
Stevens, Isaac MGEN
St. Augustine FLA
St. Helena Island
St. Johns Bluff
St. Johns island
St. Johns River
Sterlings Ambrosia
Streight, Abel COL
Stono River
Strong, George Crockett BGEN
Suttlers Stores
Swamp Angel Battery
Tattoo, military
Terry, Alfred H. MGEN
Three months men
Tompkins, Charles H. BGEN (brevet)
Tortugas confinement
Tourtellotte, John Eaton BGEN (brevet)
Townsend, James Matthew
Treasury Department, Second Auditor's Office
Tredegar works
Turner, John Wesley BGEN
Turner, Richard "Dick"
Tybee Island, GA
Uncle Gideon
Vodges, Israel, BGEN
Walker, William S. COL CSA
Walkley, Stephen Pvt 1905 book author:
7th Connecticut history

Wallack's Theatre
Weldon Railroad
Welles, Gideon Sec Navy
Wells, George L PVT
Wiley, Daniel Day BGEN (brevet)
Wilmington Expedition
Wilson,  Henry  - Senator
Wilson, James H. MGEN
Winfield Scott (SS) steamer
Wolcott, Samuel W.
Wood, Charles A. 2LT
Woods, Charles R. MGEN (brevet)
Wright, Horatio G. BGEN.
Yellow fever (billious intermittent fever)
Yulee, David L. FLA Senator
1st US Colored Infantry Regiment North Carolina
1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery
1st Massachusetts Cavalry Regiment
2nd Conn Heavy Artillery Regiment
3rd New Hampshire Infantry Regiment
3rd Rhode Island Regiment
4th New Hampshire Infantry Regiment
4th NJ Light Artillery Battery
5th Virginia Infantry Regiment - confederate
6th Cavalry Regiment
6th Connecticut Infantry Regiment
6th Corps
7th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Regiment
7th New Hampshire Infantry Regiment
8th Maine Infantry Regiment
8th Michigan Infantry Regiment
9th Maine Infantry Regiment
10th Army Corps
10th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Regiment
10th Infantry Regiment (regulars)
17th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Regiment
9th Maine Infantry Regiment
18th Corps
21st South Carolina Infantry Regiment
24th Mass Infantry Regiment
25th Army Corps (Union - colored)
28th Connecticut Infantry Regiment
28th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment
39th Illinois Infantry Regiment
46th New York infantry Regiment
47th N.Y. Infantry Regiment
47th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment
48th N.Y. Infantry Regiment
48th Pennsylvania Regiment
54th Massachusetts (colored)
55th Pa Regiment
61st North Carolina Infantry Regiment
76th PA Regiment
76th NY Regiment
97th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment
98th New Your Infantry Regiment
112th N.Y. Infantry Regiment
117th. N.Y. Vols
169th N.Y. Vols
176th Pa Regiment

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