“It being impossible almost, to write or sleep”

Charles W. Reed (1841–1926) to Roxanna R. Reed, August 29, [1863]. Charles Wellington Reed Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Now before I forget I am going to make a desperate appeal for reading matter which I am entirely destitute of and which is in great demand. it being impossible almost, to write or sleep which all have a strong inclination to do on account of the hot weather and the innumerable aggravating flys, but with a cigar, which we manufacture ourselves for we have come across a secesh plantation where there is an immense tobacco house full of the weed nicely cured in a natural state, and helped ourselves to enough to last us till next spring, with a sigar (as I was saying) and something to read. for the former keeps the flys at a distance, and the latter is conducive to sleep, which if one is fortunate enough to enjoy during this tedious dogday weather then he is a lucky man for after one lapses off into forgetfulnes or “goes home” as the soldiers term it, with a red bandanna over his face or a newspaper, and wakes up after a peaceful nap he can get through the rest of the day quite easily.

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.