By Darlis A. Miller
First released as TO shape A extra excellent UNION in 1941, this infrequent quantity of Civil War-era letters relates the poignant reports of an English immigrant within the carrier of the us military. After Frank Clarke's tragic demise in 1862, his spouse Mary corresponded along with his English mom, detailing the day-by-day struggles of an army widow and her 5 sons in frontier Kansas. 12 halftones .
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Extra info for Above a Common Soldier: Frank and Mary Clarke in the American West and Civil War from Their Letters, 1847-1872
Since we know that female friendship sustained nineteenth-century women, Mary's omission of this topic makes her seem more isolated than she probably was. Mary does not often express joy or happiness, yet neither does she express helplessness. She writes of hiring workers, speculating in land, consulting with lawyers, and even confronting government officials to obtain compensation for past services. "17 Methodology The original letters of Frank and Mary Clarke are easy to read, since each correspondent possessed a firm and legible handwriting.
After a fruitless search for suitable employment, Frank became despondent and again turned to the army. "8 He subsequently regretted this decision and sought release from his enlistment. Failing in this endeavor, he followed his mother's advice and made the best of it, soon attaining the position of sergeant major, the highest rank obtainable in a regular-army regiment by an enlisted man. The peacetime army that Clarke joined in 1849 numbered between ten thousand and eleven thousand officers and men.
Acknowledgments I would like to thank Durwood Ball, editor with the University of New Mexico Press, for suggesting that I undertake the editing of a new volume of the Clarke correspondence. His encouragement and unflagging interest in the project have been deeply appreciated. I am also indebted to John Kemp and other staff members at the Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Library, for providing access to the Clarke papersthe originals as well as the microfilm copy. I extend thanks also to several people who supplied information about the Clarke family: William A.