Students in Shepaug Valley Middle School's eighth grade have published a book, "Life Through Letters: Samuel Jay's Story."

The book commemorates

Civil War soldier Samuel Jay Nettleton, a Washington resident, of the 8th Connecticut Regiment.

The book is part of the national award-winning annual history project with the Gunn Historical Museum in Washington, a program in its sixth year that teaches history to students using local primary source documents from the museum.

Eighty-six eighth-grade social studies students transcribed 40 letters by the soldier and researched his life.

Their research included family genealogy, an oral history interview with Nettleton's 103-year-old granddaughter, Edith Nettleton, as well as a field trip to the Washington Cemetery and the Nettleton family homestead.

In the book, the students share their transcriptions of the Civil War letters, as well as their original research and interpretation, consisting of poems, essays and illustrations.

For more information or to purchase a copy of the book, call teacher Brandi Dougherty at 860-868-6207, ext. 5501, or email