By: Lynn A. Bonfield
Letters and diaries written by people of Peacham, Vermont – both soldiers in the Union Army and women at home – put a personal face on the Civil War. The boys, as soldiers were called then, requested quilts from home to keep them warm through cold nights and to remind them of “days past.” Mothers, sisters, and wives sent boxes with quilts to their male relatives. Ladies’ aid societies also provided needed articles including shirts, sheets, “footings” [stockings], and quilts for army hospitals via the U. S. Sanitary Commission and the U. S. Christian Commission, as reported by local newspapers. In these ways, quilts comforted soldiers and created a connection with home. Making quilts also allowed women to actively participate in the war effort. First-hand accounts compellingly express the personal stories behind the Civil War.