The Ely Family letters consist of fifty-seven letters to Elizabeth Ely Fowler (1834-1887) from her brothers Edgar and Charles, and her sister Emilie. The letters chiefly document the military experiences of Edgar and Charles Ely as Union soldiers during the American Civil War. They include accounts of the Battle of Fredericksburg, the Battle of Gettysburg, camp life, picket duty, illness, and injury. Letters from Emily concern life at home in Madison, Connecticut during the war.
Biographical/historical: Edgar, Charles and Emily ("Emilie") Ely were three of the seven surviving children of Elias S. (1809-1888) and Hester (1812-1881) Ely of Madison, Connecticut. Elias was a farmer. Three of the Ely children fought in the Civil War, on the side of the Union.
Edgar (1837-1896) enlisted as a private on July 30, 1862 and joined the Company G of the 14th Connecticut Infantry on August 20, 1862. He was promoted to corporal on October 1, 1863 and mustered out on May 31, 1865. He remained a farmer in Connecticut and married Jane M. Brown.
Charles (1839-1912) enlisted with the 27th Connecticut Infantry on September 9, 1862 . He served initially as sergeant and acting orderly and was promoted to a 2nd lieutenant on May 11, 1863. He resigned on June 4, 1863. He married Mary G. Darling and they lived in Columbus Ohio, where Charles was a teacher for the deaf (circa 1870). The family then moved to Frederick City, MD, where Charles served as the Principal and Superintendent of the Maryland Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb (c. 1880-1910).