Excerpt from 1860 census

In the 1860 census Simeon Tierce is listed as 27-years-old, black, male, gardener. His wife, Sarah Jane, is marked illiterate, but in fact received letters from her husband that describe both Tierce's life in camp as well as his home life in The Hills. It is true that someone else could have read and or written Sarah Jane's part of the correspondence. However, as The Hills community maintained a school and had many educated adults, it is at least as likely that census-takers incorrectly listed Sarah Jane as illiterate. The letters are part of the National Archives Pension Records, as they were submitted by Sarah Jane as part of her benefits claim.

Pension Records often contain important primary documents, such as letters, interviews, and other first-hand accounts of war. The government did not censor correspondence during the Civil War, and so such accounts may be particularly informative.

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