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|Abstract||Soldier and educator of Providence, R.I. Chiefly letters to his wife from Henry E. Simmons while he was serving as a sergeant in the 11th Rhode Island regiment, U.S. Army, chiefly in the area around Washington, D.C., and in eastern Virginia, 1862-1863. Letters particularly emphasize Simmons's personal religious efforts among the soldiers and his observations of blacks and black laborers employed by the army. Also included are three letters, late 1865, from Simmons while he was principal of a freedmen's school at Arlington, Va., discussing affairs at the school and other matters.|
|Creator||Simmons, Henry E., fl. 1862-1865.|
|Curatorial Unit||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.|
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Letters, 1862-1863, from Henry E. Simmons, corporal and later sergeant in charge of muster rolls and payrolls (company clerk) for Company I, 11th Rhode Island Volunteers, U.S. Army, to his wife, Anna, while he was in the army. Simmons was stationed in Virginia from October 1862 to July 1863, in the neighborhood of Washington, D.C., and later near Suffolk and Norfolk, Va., and Yorktown. Simmons and his wife apparently lived in Providence, R.I., before the war, but many of his letters to her are addressed to Westfield, Mass., where she stayed with her family during his absence.
Much of Simmons's duty seems to have consisted of remaining in camp on the edge of battle situations and being on hand to guard strategic locations. His letters include long, detailed accounts of his days, listing everything he did from the time he got up in the morning. He told Anna about his clothes and food, and compliments and commendations he received for his work. He was particularly careful to keep her informed about his health. Simmons also reported all services and prayer meetings among the soldiers that he attended or heard about and also told of his aspirations in the field of personal evangelism.
In addition to his comments on his army life, he often discussed his wife's arrangements at home, including his disapproval of her decision to return to her job at Tinkham & Co. He also discussed the affairs of her sisters. Most of these letters, however, relate to his own work in the Congregational Church's Sunday School.
The five items from 1854 are short writings of Hal Simmons. The three letters of October 1865 were written from the School for Freedmen, organized by the American Tract Society, Freedmen's Village, Greene Heights, Arlington, Va., where Simmons was principal, while Anna was away. Simmons wrote about the happenings at the school, household arrangements, and teachers' illnesses. There is also one letter to Anna from her sister, Addie, who was employed at the same school.Back to Top
Processed by: Suzanne Ruffing, August 1996
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008
Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, January 2010
This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.Back to Top