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Allegany to Appomattox

The Life and Letters of Private William Whitlock of the 188th New York Volunteers

by Val Dunham

Publication Year: 2013

“Allegany to Appomattox” describes the environment, enlistment and political atmosphere that resulted in the Civil War from the perspective of one farmer, William Whitlock who at the age of thirty five left his family for service to the Union. He wrote at least forty letter home to his wife and family. These unpublished letters serve as the foundation of the book.

Published by: Syracuse University Press


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pp. 1-1

Front Flap, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, About the Author

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pp. 2-10


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pp. ix-x

List of Illustrations

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pp. xi-xii

List of Maps and Tables

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pp. xiii-xiv

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pp. xv-xvi

Many years ago my grandfather gave me an old photograph taken in the first decade of the twentieth century. Twenty-one dark-uniformed old men from western New York sit or stand in front of a tall granite war memorial flanked by a large cannon and surrounded by thousands of graves. ...

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pp. xvii-xx

The large Victorian brick farmhouse constructed in 1895 and the associated barns, milk house, and sawmill were once the pride and joy of the Whitlock and Whitney families. In 1897, William Whitlock’s oldest son, Stanley, moved his family into the large house at the corner of Five Mile Road and Morgan Hollow Road outside of Allegany, New York. ...

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pp. xxi-xxii

I thank a number of friends and colleagues in Conway, South Carolina, for their encouragement during the writing of the manuscript. I was also encouraged by colleagues at Coastal Carolina University, including Ben Burroughs, regional historian and research specialist, ...

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1. Allegany Atmospheres

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pp. 1-8

Upon entering the United States in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, many families were attracted to central and western New York. The heavily forested rolling hills and green river valleys, accompanied by the deep Finger Lakes carved out by glaciers long ago, provided a beautiful setting in which to raise a family. ...

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2. Failed Compromises

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pp. 9-21

By 1850, most citizens realized that the United States of America had serious problems that, if not successfully negotiated, could lead to civil war. As the country expanded westward and new states sought to join the Union, political battles might evolve into military battles if compromises could not be reached. ...

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3. Elmira Excitement

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pp. 22-31

i am well and stuf. We got here last night. i am in the barax. There is lots of soldiers here and it is all excitement. The greatest objection i have is there is to much noys. ...

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4. On the Move

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pp. 32-45

you may be somewhat supprised when you get this for I am now in Washington. we arrived here about 30 minutes ago and I thought I would write a few lines to you. we have bin on the cars since night before last and am pretty well whipt so you must excuse me if I dont write a very long letter this time. ...

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5. Life in the Trenches

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pp. 46-69

I am foarsed to write another letter without receiving one. I tel you Lide, you dont know how I would like to hear from home. it will be five weeks tomorrow morning since I left home and have received one letter. I am well and getting fat as a hog—it agrees here with me first rate. ...

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6. Life Back Home

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pp. 70-85

I hope you will excuse me for not writing sooner for we have bin moving and have bin very bissy for three or four days. I am well excepting a hard cold. I have gin pretty near sick with a cold ever since we commenced moving. I went to see the doctor this morning and he excused me from duty today so I thoughed I would write a few lines to you. ...

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7. “The Bulits Whistled Right Smart”: Battle of Hatcher’s Run I (Boydton Plank Road)

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pp. 86-103

I have seen the elephant. I wrote you a letter dated the 26 in which I stated that we was ordered to march the next morning. we was called at four oclock and ordered to get our breckfast and pack our napsacks. about an hour befour daylight we started and marched about six miles and was drawn in line of battel. ...

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8. Wrecking the Weldon

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pp. 104-128

I have just recied two letters from you about ten minuts ago and was right glad to hear that you was all well. I am well but some lame from the long march we have just returned from. I received a ltter from you the night befour we marched and wrote a short ansur stating we was ordered to march. ...

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9. Faith and Fighting

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pp. 129-144

. . . All the objection I have to joining the Church is this: if I live to come home I dont think I shal stay in that country. If you think best I am willing. You can do as you like and you will suit me. . . .

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10. “We Will Probley Have to Go”: Battle of Hatcher’s Run II (Dabney’s Mills)

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pp. 145-166

I have just reced yours of the 25th and hasten to ansur it. I reded one day befour yesterday dated the 23rd. I know well enough that I knot get all of your letters but I cant complain of you. I wrote one to you yesterday and now am writing another but when I get one form you I always ansur it if I have time rite away. ...

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11. Epilogue: Fires and Rainbows

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pp. 167-184

Morris I recieved your letter last night and will try to answer it this morning. Morris you wanted I should write the partickulars about William. O Mor it seems like a dream to me. Mor he went into battle on Monday afternoon Feburary the 6. He was in a file just ahead of me. I think he looked rather sober that day. ...

Appendixes References Index

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pp. 185-186

Appendix A

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pp. 187-192

Appendix B

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pp. 193-198

Appendix C

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pp. 199-218


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pp. 219-234


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pp. 235-254

Back Flap, Back Cover

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pp. 281-282

E-ISBN-13: 9780815652052
E-ISBN-10: 0815652054
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815610113
Print-ISBN-10: 0815610114

Page Count: 264
Illustrations: 21 black and white illustrations, 4 maps, 8 tables
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 867149330
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Allegany to Appomattox

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Virginia -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Campaigns.
  • Appomattox Campaign, 1865.
  • Soldiers -- New York (State) -- Correspondence.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.
  • New York -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Regimental histories.
  • United States. Army. New York Infantry Regiment, 188th (1864-1865).
  • Whitlock, William, 1829-1865 -- Correspondence.
  • Allegany (N.Y.) -- Biography.
  • Whitlock family.
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