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Battlelines: Letters from America's Wars

Found in: social studies, 6-8, 9-12

Battlelines: Letters from America’s Wars is an online exhibition (grade 9-12 social studies and history) of letter text and audio written by soldiers of all ranks and their families. From the American Revolution to American involvement in the Iraq war, the Letters are presented in five chapters: Enlisting; Comforts of Home; Love; Combat; and The End of War. Each letter includes an image and transcript. The homepage links to related essays, interactive, teaching resources, and multimedia.

  • Chapter One: Enlisting opens with an 1861 letter from a Confederate General to his longtime friend and Union General. Both survived the war. This chapter has seven letters.
  • Chapter Two: Comforts of Home opens with a 1756 letter from, Lucy Flucker to her husband Henry Knox who was serving in the Continental Army. Knox became a General and later Washington’s Secretary of War.
  • Chapter Three: Love includes a 1969 letter from 1st Lieutenant Dean Allen in Vietnam to his wife of two years. Four days after writing the letter, Lt. Allen stepped on a landmine.
  • Chapter Four: Combat includes a 2003 letter from journalist Mark Rickert to his grandfather about investigating rumors of a mass grave in Iraq.
  • Chapter Five: The End of the War opens with an 1806 letter written on behalf of Peter Kiteridge, a former slave who fought in the Continental Army. Disabled in combat, Kiteridge requested assistance for himself, wife, and four children. Note: More than 5000 African Americans fought in the Continental Army, most in racially integrated units.


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