William Taylor Correspondence - Critical Thinking Worksheet

for use with Primary Source Activity – William Taylor Correspondence

1. In what historical and environmental context is Taylor writing this particular set of letters? (time, place, environmental and human surroundings, ongoing events)

2. What type of living conditions (shelter, food, clothing) does Taylor describe in his letters?

3. What kind of hardships (physical and mental) does Taylor face? How does he cope with them?

4. How does Taylor perceive the war? What kind of opinions does he give or can you infer (with evidence) of the events going on around him?

5. Are slavery or other racial issues discussed in this set of letters? If so, how are they perceived by Taylor?

6. What does Taylor concern himself with in his letters to his wife? Why do you think he chooses to write about these things?

7. How do you imagine Jane, Taylor’s wife, might respond to her husband’s letters? How does Jane’s experience of the war differ from her husband’s?