While not much is known about her early life, we do know that Sarah Sutherland was born March 4th, 1842 in New York. According to one source, she was adopted — her birth parents were French. By 1850 she was living with her mother and two siblings in the household of James Platt in New Haven, Connecticut.
In 1859, at 18 years of age, Sarah was married to Robert Paddock, and two years later they had their first son. Less than a year after that, Robert enlisted into the 20th Connecticut, leaving Sarah to care for her son alone during the course of the long war.
After the war, Robert and Sarah moved their growing family (they would have three more sons) to Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut. By 1900, they had moved again to Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts, where they would both spend their final days. Sarah passed away on May 14th, 1912, living six years longer than her husband, of old age.
In these letters:
- Cecil’s trip through Washington D.C. after his brief leave, during which he toured the capital building which he describes in detail.
- Cecil writes about being frustrated by the tactical gridlock, how ugly the Potomac River and Virginia state are, and how he wishes that Caroline would write more often.