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A collection of letters sent by William Penn Oberlin to his wife, Anna Marie Stauffer Oberlin and his sister between August 27, 1862 and May 19, 1865. Oberlin served with the 148th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. The letters were transcribed by his great, great grandson, Dr. Allen H. Ryen. No originals are available. Oberlin writes in vivid detail about camp life in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia; the hardships of long marches and the dangers of battles in Maryland and Virginia; foraging and plundering for food and horses; encountering whole families of escaped slaves along the road; capturing dispirited, poorly equipped Rebels; the Battle of Gettysburg and the battles in Maryland and Virginia in which Oberlin fought; Abraham Lincoln's visit to the troops; the hospital tent city in City Point, Virginia where he spent the last months of the war; his dreams about returning home and seeing "the old homestead" and his family again; the process of mustering out; and his reasons for fighting.




William Penn Oberlin, Battle of Gettysburg, Civil War, Jefferson Davis, personal narratives, Ambrose Everett Burnside, City Point Hospital, Hopewell, Virginia, pay allowances, Battle of Cold Harbor, Camp Parole, Maryland, Camp Purtin, Pennsylvania, 148th, Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, health and hygiene, destruction and pillage, soldiers, Maryland Campaign, 1864


The digitized images of letters, photographs, and other items from the White Collection in the “Indiana, Pennsylvania in the Civil War” exhibit are the property of the Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County, Pa. These images may only be used for non-commercial, educational purposes under “Fair Use” guidelines. For additional information contact: HGSIC, 621 Wayne Avenue, Indiana, Pa. 15701; (724) 463-9600. Email


The Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County, PA; White Collection

Collection of the transcribed letters of William Penn Oberlin, August 27, 1862 - May 19, 1865