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MS – 129: Burlew Letters

(1 box, .27 cubic feet)

Download Finding Aid - Adobe PDF (138KB)

Inclusive Dates: 1861-1864

Processed by: Rachel Hammer

June 2012


Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum, 2007


Aaron E. Burlew (June 25th, 1841-April 13th, 1906) mustered into Company F of the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry (113th Volunteers) as a 1st Sergeant on March 11th, 1862. He was from Atkinsons Mills, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania and the brother of John W. Burlew and Carrie Burlew. In a July 1863 letter to their sister Carrie, John mentioned Aaron being taken prisoner, but in a letter in August of that same year, he said he was told that Aaron returned home. This was most likely during the Battle of Carter’s Woods (June 15, 1863). The 113th Volunteers did not see many major battles. He mustered out on July 20th, 1865 with the rest of his company. Aaron married a little over a year later on November 13th, 1866 to Emily J. Lemanan in Illinois where they settled down. They had four children; Lillie, Louisa, Meriam, and Alviretta. He died in 1906 and is buried in Nebraska.

John W. Burlew (1843-1864) mustered into Company K of the 49th Pennsylvania Infantry for three years service as a private on August 18th, 1861. In January 1864, the regiment condensed from 10 companies to 4. He was reenlisted into Company B on January 2, 1864. He was from Atkinsons Mills, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania and the brother of Aaron E. Burlew and Carrie Burlew. On May 10th, 1864, during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, he was wounded and captured when his right leg was shot off at the hip. Company B’s rolls do not have any information on him after the 10th, he died 2 days later. Samuel Ewing had his body buried in the field. Ewing also brought his watch home. His name might also be listed as John W. Berlew.

Carrie Burlew was from Atkinsons Mills, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania and the sister of Aaron E. Burlew and John W. Burlew.

Scope and Content Notes

This collection consists of 1 box of letters. 24 are written by Aaron to Carrie, 1 is written by Aaron to John, 1 is written by Carrie to John, and 20 are written by John to Carrie. Aaron wrote March 10th, 1862 to December 22nd, 1864. Carrie wrote May 3rd, 1864. John wrote September 17th, 1861 to April 24th, 1864.

In his letters to Carrie and John, Aaron talked about home, their parents, sending money, his need for stamps, his thoughts on the girls back home and marriage, getting pictures taken and sent home, getting a lock of hair to Carrie, and a few stories from camp life. Aaron wrote

primarily from Virginia (also in what would become West Virginia) and Maryland including Manassas Junction, Winchester, and Bolivar Heights.

John wrote about home, his strong faith even in war, his need for stamps, getting his pictures taken and sent home, and, more so in his later letters, about the war. He mentioned battles and skirmishes he’d heard about, including Manassas. He talked about how he was in a few battles. There was Yorktown, one on November 27th, 1863 near the Rapidan River and a skirmish near Hagerstown after the Battle of Gettysburg (Funkstown, MD). John wrote primarily from Virginia, including Camp Griffin, White Oak Church, and Brandy Station.

In her letter to John, Carrie mainly talked about people they knew from home and if she had heard about the fate of others they knew in the war.

This collection also consists of other items. There are 2 undated letters by John, one appears to be a poem and the other is parodying the Civil War song, "When Johnny Comes Marching Home." There is a note to John from an unknown person about Lewistown. Other items include a picture of all of America’s Presidents up until that time, 2 American Tract Society (a non-profit Christian Literature organization) pamphlets, and a 1934 letter.

Download Finding Aid - Adobe PDF (138KB)