Appendix E: Transcribing and Editing
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309 a p p e n d i x e Transcribing and Editing I did not change any of Gilbert’s and Esther’s language. Colloquial expressions such as “overhalls” and phrases used repeatedly such as “first rate,” “prospects,” and “to enjoy each other’s society” give a feeling of the way they spoke. I did, however, make some changes to spelling and capitalization and I added paragraph breaks to make their letters more easily accessible to the general reader. Both Gilbert and Esther sometimes open a letter by writing “Dear” (either at the left or in the middle of the top line) and then starting the body of the letter with the name. Other times they put the salutation as part of the body. I have changed each of these to a salutation of “Dear Gilbert” or “Dear Esther” at the beginning of the line before the body. I have added the comma in most of the salutations. Both Gilbert and Esther sometimes put the addressee’s name after the closing. For example, “Yours truly, Esther” would have “Gilbert” written on the following line. I edited these out. I have standardized the dates to the form of “January 1, 1863.” If a letter is undated but I could determine the date from context, I put the date in brackets (e.g., [January 1, 1863] or [probably January 1, 1863]). Gilbert’s letters were sometimes dated in variations of the form “J 11/63.” If the day of the week is included in the date, I include it, spelling it out if it is abbreviated. Both Esther and Gilbert occasionally added “th” after the date (e.g., Jan 27th 1863). However, they often left it o¤ if a date was given in the letter without the month or year (e.g., “the afternoon of that day, the 25” I changed to “the afternoon of that day, the 25th”). Throughout the letters, I have changed many words ending in “-eing” to “-ing” (such as “making,” “taking,” “coming,” “judging”). Esther occasionally repeats a word or a phrase, which I have edited out. For example, “Last Monday the boys the boys fixed up the stables and made a door to go out of the barn into the shed” becomes “Last Monday the boys fixed up the stables and made a door to go out of the barn into the shed.” In Esther’s letters, I have changed “brot” to “brought”; “reg.” and “regs” to “regiment” and “regiments”; “Conn” to “Connecticut”; “Tenn” to “Tennessee”; “privaliges” to “privileges”; “com” to “commanded”; “wed” to “weeded.” Though Gilbert rarely capitalized the beginning of a sentence, he did capitalize many words within his sentences. The following words would be capitalized wherever they appeared in the letters: Boys, Camp, His, Headquarters, Gun, Steamer, River, Picket, Fort, Prison, Our, Orchard, Soldier, Oªcer, Captain, Idea, and many others. In Gilbert’s money notations, I have added the “$,” which he rarely included, and I have changed his usual comma to a period. Thus “19,05” becomes “$19.05.” In Gilbert’s references to the various regiments, I have spelled out the state and added a suªx after the numeral, which he does only rarely. Thus “25 Ill” becomes “25th Illinois.” In Gilbert’s letters, I have added breaks between sentences and paragraphs. I’ve added punctuation and changed spellings and capitalization to make the letters more readable. Here is an excerpt from his letter of November 27, 1862, as originally transcribed (two pages from the original letter are reproduced below): . . . degree of earnestness was manifest I do not spend my evenings in Barracks but in the tent of the Chaplan or at the Quater-Master department Liut Certs of the 30th having charge. We are going to start a Prayr meeting if we can get a room I am sorry I could not be at home to day and have a Thanksgiving dinner with You But I trust I am thankfull that Gods mercy and care has been towards us thus far and I can trust Him still I have been appointed to draw rations For the Waukesha Militia All I have to do is is to get and present the order and detail the men to get that which I order in the Provision line I hope you will not shut your self up at home bcause I am gone but improve every oppertunity you can viseting You must till Anna not to get the blues because James is...


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Subject Headings

  • Claflin, Gilbert -- Correspondence.
  • Claflin, Esther -- Correspondence.
  • Claflin family -- Correspondence.
  • Soldiers -- Wisconsin -- Oconomowoc -- Correspondence.
  • Wisconsin -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.
  • Oconomowoc (Wis.) -- History.
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