The letters of Saratoga County‘s Alonzo Bump, compiled in part from the collection of the History Center at Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa, provide an account of the experience of an upstate New Yorker who left home to fight for the Union during the American Civil War.
Alonzo D. Bump lived in the thriving cotton mill community at Victory, the home of the Saratoga Victory Manufacturing Company where he was employed as a weaver. With the desire to, “go down to see the world,” Alonzo left behind his wife Mary and his three-year-old daughter Mattie. Private Bump’s letters were primarily written to Mary, though a few were directed to his mother, mother-in-law, and his two sisters-in-law.
His letters reveal a deep love shared with Mary. For Alonzo, composing letters served as the primary instrument whereby he maintained his emotional ties with Mary and had a powerful therapeutic benefit for the married couple. He wrote about camp life, poor rations, disease, marching, combat, desertion, commanding officers, the enemy, military pay, sex, prostitution, pornography, and African Americans.
The Saratoga County History Center will host a presentation by David Handy, author of the recently released book Theas Few Lines: The Civil War Letters of Private Alonzo D. Bump, 77th New York State Voluntary Infantry on Thursday, September 26th.
David Handy is a graduate of Union College in Schenectady with a major in 19th-century history. He holds graduate degrees in Counseling, Divinity, and Social Work, a retired minister in the United Methodist Church and a psychotherapist in private practice. David is also the author of McKean’s Sunday School Boys Go to War, published in 2014.
This program will begin at 7 pm and will be held at the at Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa. For more information or to register, click here.