Eddie Matthews Letters

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Date: January 6, 2009

NEWS RELEASE    u.s. department of the interior

National Park Service


For Immediate Release                                                        Frank Torres 425-8025


 Finding Eddie Mathews

Presentation at CCHP


The National Park Service and Fort Union National Monument announces its’ monthly “Glimpses of the Past” presentation.  The program will be held at the Citizen’s Committee for Historic Preservation/Santa Fe Trail Interpretive Center, 116 Bridge St., in Las Vegas, Thursday January 22th at 7:00 p.m.


The program, presented by students of Tim Crofton, theatre instructor for the United World College, will illustrate the army life of Private Eddie Matthews, Eight Cavalry.  The young man enlisted in the late 1800’s and regretted it ever after. “I left my dear home and all that is dear to me in the world to associate myself with the scrapings of the world, for I do think that the Army is composed of the scrapings of Penitentiaries, Jails and everything else combined to make an Army suitable for this Government, both Officers and men. The Officers steal from the men and the men steal from each other. Everything is steal, steal, steal. Well I have only 58 months to serve yet. “


Matthews served a large portion of his term of enlistment in Company L, Eighth Cavalry, at Fort Union, where he wrote an average of one letter a week to his family. Matthews remarked on the terrible conditions of military life and declared that "every man in the Regular Army would be justifiable in deserting according to my idea."  Matthews, a man of honor, stayed with his military commitment for the entire five years service. Stationed in California, Arizona and finally Fort Union, Matthews wrote to his parents every week.  Articulate and educated, Matthews described life at the Fort through detailed, amusing and sometimes poignant prose. Copies of his correspondence were presented to Fort Union National Monument Archives in 1993.  The letters provide an excellent view of life in the post-Civil War frontier army by an enlisted man.


Design, direction and acting will be done by students from the International Baccalaureate Theatre Arts program. Crofton and his students will have two presentations based on the letters. One piece will be melodramatic, inspired by Buffalo Bill’s Wild, Wild West shows.  The other presentation will explore Matthews’ boredom of the unending routine and monotony.  Music and song will be part of the program. James Douglas, historical interpreter from Victoria, has been working with the students on this production.

The “Glimpses of the Past” series of programs are presented to the public free of charge, in cooperation with the National Park Service and the Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation (CCHP). For more information, you may contact Fort Union National Monument at (505) 425-8025, or visit the park website at www.nps.gov/foun.






09/01                                                     #####                                           January, 2009


Last updated: February 24, 2015

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