Library of Michigan releases 'Michigan Men in the War' letters online

Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Public and Governmental Affairs 517-241-4395
Agency: Education

December 21, 2018

LANSING – The Library of Michigan proudly announces Michigan Men in the War, a series compiled by E. Elden Davis, is available online at the Library of Michigan’s digital repository, Governing Michigan.  

With quirky titles like “Brag is a good dog, but holdfast is better,” and ‘The boys call them Sharpfellers,” these booklets contain transcripts of selected letters authored by Michigan soldiers during the Civil War.  

Originally published during and after the 1860s in Michigan newspapers such as the Detroit Advertiser and Tribune; Wolverine Citizen; Detroit Free Press; and others, the letters provide insight into both the significant and mundane events of this conflict through the eyes of the Michigan men who experienced it.

Civil War enthusiast Elden Davis has dedicated decades, and travelled thousands of miles in Michigan and elsewhere, to research and compile this series.  The letters he transcribed contain detail about troop movements, camp conditions, and the general health and outlook of the soldiers.

Each letter is written with a unique style and voice, taking the reader back to a time of danger and apprehension through first person accounts and original poetry that communicate a broad spectrum of emotion. 

In addition to the soldier’s writings, Davis has included (when available) factual data on the individual soldier, photographs of monuments or other relevant sites and uniquely appropriate illustrations. 

“This series reflects exactly what the Library of Michigan is about, collecting and showcasing unique Michigan stories, by Michigan authors,” said State Librarian Randy Riley. “We are excited to provide access to this material and grateful to Mr. Davis for sharing his work with us and the rest of the state.”

These works are provided by the Library of Michigan and available on the library’s digital repository,Governing Michigan.