"Like the sun to the solar system"

AAlonzo Ameli (1838–1912) to brother Peter Ameli, September 18, 1861. Alonzo Ameli Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Oh! it must be a sight of superb grandure to survey from the hight to which the baloonist ascends the various and numerious encampments, or if you will, moveable villages occupied by the bone and sinew of the “Grand Army” alive with an hundred thousand brave and Patriotic yeomanry whose homes are away towards the rising and setting sun east and west from washington. Washington our dear old Capital is to the U.S. of America like the Sun to the Solar System.

This blog complements the Library of Congress exhibition, “The Civil War in America.” This series of posts chronicles the sacrifices and accomplishments of those—from both the North and South—whose lives were lost or affected by the events of 1861–1865. To learn more about the object featured in this blog entry, visit the online exhibition.

"What is my crime?"

Eugenia Levy Phillips (1819 – 1902). Prison diary, August 30, 1861. Philip Phillips Family Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress