Update to a Surprising Find

Not too long ago I posted a story about how I had come across letters from the civil war in some of my mother’s old things and how I had no idea how my family connected to the author of the letters. In researching this little mystery I’ve discovered that what I have are not copies of the letters themselves, but copies of the letters made by the person who holds the actual letters.
Mike found the letters in a manner similar to me except that his mother was alive when he found the letters. Unfortunately he never got around to asking his mother why the family had the letters. The letters are, as you might expect, fragile and Mike is reluctant to do anything with them except keep them in an acid free environment and away from light so that the writing doesn’t fade any further than it has.
Since talking to Mike I’ve made some progress in tracking down the family of Joseph Thompson. Joseph joined the Illinois 38th Infantry with his brother John in 1861. Joseph was wounded severely early on in the war and spent most of it in a hospital. Most of the letters we have are from John, but John didn’t survive the war. I’ve made significant progress in tracking down Joseph’s descendants and finally found someone who is a living descendant. I sent them a note via Ancestry.com last night and I hope to hear from them soon, and maybe then I can put to rest the mystery of how Mike and I connect to these letters.

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