Lauderdale’s observations are keen and critical. He writes about fellow officers, his army superiors, the civilians and American Indians he encountered, life on officers’ row, and the day-to-day functioning of the army medical service. Particularly valuable are his insights into military interactions with local communities of Mormons, American Indians, and Hispanos.
Eddie’s letters record a vivid chronicle of day-to-day life in the frontier regulars. Included are operational details in his company, candid observations of people and places, intimate views of frontier society, and personal opinions that probably would have been forgotten or moderated had he recorded his experiences later in life. More subtle are his valuable references to the state of transportation and communication in the Southwest during the early 1870s. Matthews probably did not realize until later years that he was not only a witness to the nation’s rapid westward expansion, but was himself a tiny cog in the machinery that made it possible.