Below is the scan of a letter from Private Albert Pancake, 80th Indiana Infantry, Company H, to his father William Pancake residing in Pike County, Indiana, dated September 25, 1862. Private Pancake had shipped out from Camp Gibson, Indiana, just two weeks prior and was writing to his father for the first time in his life. Included below is a scan of the envelope the letter was sent in.
       Albert's first letter was short. No doubt writing letters was an unfamiliar activity for Albert and it would take him some time to figure out what he should write and what was of interest to his family.
       This letter, like virtually all his letters, is written on one piece of paper which is folded longitudinally and scribed on both sides to give the appearance of four written pages. The first scan below is pages 1 & 4 (page 1 on the right hand side). The second scan is pages 2 & 3 (page 2 on the left).
       As you can see, there is no punctuation, no paragraphs, phonetic spelling, and inconsistent capitalization. All these characteristics are quite normal for a modestly educated Civil War soldier of the ranks. They also present a challenge to understand and transcribe.
       This is the first of many posts leading up to the publication of the complete archive of Civil War letters written by Private (eventually Sergeant) Pancake to his relatives in Pike County.
       My thanks to Tad Berlin for these materials and the permission to post them.
Sept 25, 62--pg1,4

Sept 25, 62--pg 2, 3

Sept 25, 62 envelope