Civil War transcription tips

For the sake of consistency in the transcriptions of the Civil War diaries and letters, here are a few more guidelines and a short list of some common abbreviations and older spellings:

  • Enter line breaks to indicate sections of the letter – salutations, paragraphs, signatures, postscripts
  • Do not transcribe text that has been crossed out, and simply transcribe interpolations above or below the line as if they were part of the text without special symbols
  •  If you are unsure of a word or phrase, please use square brackets with a question mark between them, or your best guess followed by a question mark
  • Common abbreviations and their full spellings include: inst. = a date in this month (e.g. the 15th inst.); ult. = a date in the previous month (5th ult.); &c = et cetera; QM = Quarter Master; Capt. = Captain; Lieut. or Lt. = Lieutenant; Maj. = Major; Col. = Colonel; Prov.Gen. = Provost General; Adjt. = Adjutant; Regt. = Regiment; Brig. = Brigade; Cav. = Cavalry; Inf. = Infantry; Vols. = Volunteers; Col. Inf. = Colored Infantry; R.R. = railroad; HdQrs. = Head Quarters
  • Common “misspellings” and writing conventions: ware = were; thare = there; very = very; evry = every; evening = evening; perhapse = perhaps; attacted = attacked; fiew = few; greaddeal or great eal or gread eal = great deal; fs = ss (e.g. mifses = misses)

 

William T. Rigby letter, May 23, 1864 | Civil War Diaries and Letters

William T. Rigby letter, May 23, 1864 | Civil War Diaries and Letters