These letters, written between 1863-1868, by a girl in her twenties, were turned over to Henrietta Jaquette, granddaughter of a cousin, for safe keeping, and today are as fresh and lively as when they were received by her mother, sister, and other relatives. In these days, when primary source material on the Civil War alone adds new facets to a many times told tale, Cornelia Hancock's letters from front line hospitals, from the center which cared for the ""contraband"" (escaped slaves) in Washington, and later from South Carolina, where she started the Laing School in Mount Pleasant under the sometimes dubious aegis of the Freeman's Bureau, and the support of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends, combine to give a closeup of a courageous young woman's experiences. It was a far cry from the quiet corner of South Jersey where she had been raised -- and almost unbelievably aggressive on the part of a girl who won her chance through indomitable courage and determination. Her letters give graphic pictures of the misery in the ill-equipped field hospitals back of Gettysburg; of the improved conditions in the established hospital at City Point; of the ingenuity required in the behind-the-lines, under fire hospitals of the Battle of the Wilderness and the Second Corps Hospital until Richmond was taken....In the postwar letters from South Carolina one senses the insuperable barriers against giving the freed people a fair start but the fact remains that the school she started survives today. There is no particular pretense of literary quality in the writing; its chief value lies in the sense of immediacy and singlemindedness of purpose, the on-the-scene character of the shared experience.