Recently, I found a civil war journal of a family member of mine who fought and eventually died for the North in the US Civil War. He notes what he receives from home, and he talks about receiving letters and papers as though they were distinct items. Here are some examples:

May 4 th Recieved 1 letter and 1 paper from home

May 14 th Recieved 1 letter from Znes O. 1 letter and papers from home. 1 paper from brother.

May 25 th Received from home 1 package contains 3 pr or gloves also 1 paper 1 letter.

"Paper" meaning newspaper doesn't really make sense here in context, and they are obviously different for letters. What did he mean by "paper"?

1 Answer 1


Why not newspaper? A newspaper from home would deliver a lot of local news a soldier in the field wouldn't be able to hear otherwise.

  • Yes, the only other "paper" which would make sense would be business or legal papers, possibly requiring action, and there seem to be too many "papers" for that to be the case. I think they were newspapers.
    – BoldBen
    Apr 15, 2019 at 0:30

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