War in the good old days

Had a great day at the Historical Society. I’ve transcribed many letters written home by Howard G Affleck (along with his mother’s introduction, and most of a letter written home by Dr. Affleck when he visited his son at Philippi. West Virginia, after the early battle fought there.) I am struck, reading these letters, with realizing that things haven’t changed much over the years. The bad stuff: substance abuse (whiskey),¬†friendly fire, supplies mismanagement, looting, empty promises. The good stuff: care packages from home, soldiers helping each other, civilians helping soldiers, soldiers helping civilians, leaders expecting and demanding honorable behavior, and a family’s love.

I know, some of these seem contradictory. With many characters mentioned in these letters Howard saw almost any imaginable behavior during his military career.


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