In April 1861, Dick and Tally Simpson, sons of South Carolina Congressman Richard F. Simpson, enlisted in Company A of the Third South Carolina Volunteers of the Confederate army. Their letters home - published here for the first time - read like a historical novel, complete with plot, romance, character, suspense, and tragedy. Well-educated, intelligent, and thoughtful young men, Dick and Tally Simpson cared deeply for their country, their family, and their comrades-in-arms and wrote frequently to their loved ones in Pendleton, South Carolina, offering firsthand accounts of dramatic events from the battle of First Manassas (Bull Run) in July 1861 to the battle of Chickamauga in September 1863. Yet the value of these letters lies not so much in the detailed information they provide as in the overall picture they convey - a picture of how one Southern family, for better or for worse, at home and at the front, coped with the experience of war. These are not wartime reminiscences, but wartime letters, written from the camp, the battlefield, the hospital bed, the picket line - wherever the boys happened to be when they found time to write home. Together these letters offer a poignant picture of war as it was actually experienced in the South as the Civil War unfolded.