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Letter to Rebecca Williams from Brother Ephraim Williams, Jr. On Catholicism, etc.

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In 1867, Ephraim Williams (1837-1902) was serving as first lieutenant in the United States Army in the New Mexico Territory where he protected frontier settlements against Apache attacks. In this letter to his sister, Williams, a New England Protestant, reports with disdain on the Good Friday and Easter traditions in the heavily Catholic New Mexico. He also describes the funeral procession of Captain Mc Rae, a Union officer who was killed by Confederate troops in the Battle of Valverde, five years earlier, in 1862. In this battle, Confederate troops led by General Henry Hopkins Sibley invaded the New Mexico Territory to cut off communications of Union troops at Fort Craig with those at Santa Fe. The Confederate forces succeeded in this battle only to retreat back to El Paso, Texas three months later. Williams is lonely and longs for companionship from "the States" which underscores that he sees himself residing on foreign soil.


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