The John Taylor Cuddy Correspondence

Sixteen-year-old John Taylor Cuddy left his home in Carlisle, Pennsylvania to enlist in Company A of the 36th Pennsylvania Infantry on June 5, 1861.  Over the next two years, Cuddy wrote 77 letters home to his family describing his experiences as a soldier in the Union army.  Cuddy’s correspondence is available online as part of Dickinson College’s “Their Own Words” digital archive.  Over the course of his service in the army, Cuddy wrote his parents full of exuberance to go “lick the south” from his training camp at Fort Wayne, with a tempered tone of experience after fighting in the battle of Gaines’ Mill, and with a critical analysis of “old abe[‘s]” Emancipation Proclamation.  At the Battle of the Wilderness, which lasted from May 5 to 7, 1864, Cuddy’s regiment was captured and sent to Andersonville, a Confederate prisoner of war camp in Georgia.  With his capture, Cuddy’s letters stopped.  Although John Taylor Cuddy never made it home to Pennsylvania (he died in a prison in Florence, South Carolina on September 29, 1864), his correspondence creates a living picture of the life of a teenage Pennsylvania soldier during the Civil War.

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