This collection of letters were written by Eseck G. Wilber to his parents and family during the Civil War years, 1862-1864. The letters describe army life, pitched battles, inlcuding Fredericksburg, the Second Battle of Bull Run, and Chancellorsville. Also included in the letters are comments or mention of superior officers and other dignitaries, including George B. McClellan, Stonewall Jackson, Joseph Hooker, George Meade, and Abraham Lincoln.
Permission to publish from the Eseck G. Wilber Civil War letters, 1962-1864 must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.
Eseck G. Wilber (1840-1864) joined Company K of the 120th New York State Volunteers on August 22, 1862, leaving his father (William S. Wilber), mother (Clarissa) and two siblings (Fremont and Julia) in Cairo, New York. His military service would take him to Fredericksburg, the Second Battle of Bull Run and Gettysburg. Eseck was captured on October 10, 1863 and his letters dated January 24 and January 27 indicate he was held at the Belle Isle Confederate prison in Virginia. Belle Isle, located in the James River, was intended to hold 3,000 but would grow to more than twice that number by 1863. Prisoners were given tents to sleep in; a hospital for prisoners and an iron factory were located on the island, but no barracks were ever built for the prisoners. The enlisted men who survivied Belle Isle were later transferred to the Andersonville Prison in Sumter County, Georgia; officers were sent to Libby Prison. Wilber was transfered to Andersonville and died there on September 15, 1864. He is buried in the Andersonville Cemetary.