Local historians who had hoped to purchase a letter written by a black Civil War soldier from Madison will host a reception Sunday to thank those who made pledges toward the March auction.

The reception will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library. The public is invited.

The letter, written in December 1864, sold at auction at Swann Auction Galleries in New York City last month. The buyer, who was identified only as a collector, paid about $38,000 after auction fees.

During Sunday's event, local residents who organized the effort to purchase the letter will return all checks to supporters. In total, the group raised about $20,000 in pledges.

The group used the discovery of the letter to learn more about Morgan W. Carter and his family.

Carter's father, John Carter, was a grocer who was a well-known abolitionist instrumental in the local Underground Railroad movement.

Morgan W. Carter was mustered out of the Army in Corpus Christi, Texas. He returned to Madison but the trail ends here.

More information on the Carters and Madison's role in the Underground Railroad will be on display at the library during the event.