The Civil War Letters of Cpl. John H. Strathern, Eighth Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps

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The letters written by John Strathern during his U.S. Civil War service have been a cherished family collection for over one hundred years. The bulk of this correspondence was given from the "Father" of the letters, Thomas Newton Strathern, to a son, William Newton Strathern (Newt), who in turn passed them on to his youngest child, Margaret Strathern Bumbera, hence to her daughter, Barbara Bumbera Nash. In 1962, Marlene C. Bumbera first organized this collection, typing copies of the contents of the fading pencil-written letters. Since that time, eight other letters have been discovered in the possession of Ardith Strathern Smith, great-granddaughter of another of John's brothers, Allen.

It seems appropriate now to revise the original transcript to include in sequence the additional letters and integrate John's experiences into the historical context of the Civil War in more detail.

To Marlene, John Strathern emerges, through these missives, as a thoughtful young man with a wry sense of humor and an unusual gentleness of spirit, though on occassion, he could become provokes in defense of what he loved most – his family, friends and country. A short, undated essay which he wrote is perhaps the best introduction for this collection of letters, so those comments begin his story.