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    Civil War Love Letters

    Explore our collection of the James E. Love Papers. When his regiment left St. Louis in June 1861, James started writing letters home to his fiancée, Eliza Mary “Molly” Wilson. James continued to write these letters throughout his entire Civil War service. Our online magazine, History Happens Here, posts these letters 150 years to the day after they were originally written.


    Civil War Love Letters

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    Oct. 31, 1863: In this telegram, Molly’s brother R.B.M. Wilson, in Washington, Illinois, informs his friend in nearby Peoria, Dr. Murphy, that James was wounded and a prisoner, but all right. historyhappensher...

    Civil War Love Letters: October 31, 1863

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    Oct. 24, 1863: James arrived at this prison in Richmond, Virginia. He writes to Molly, "I have thought daily & hourly of you." "Libby" From Lanier, Robert S., ed. The Photographic History of the Civil War in Ten Volumes, Vol. 7. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911. Missouri History Museum.

    Civil War Love Letters: October 24, 1863

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    Oct. 10, 1863: After several days in a field hospital, James was transported to Atlanta, Georgia. He writes to Molly, "Here I am a prisoner & wounded in the leg twice. I am doing well — and will be as good as new — if I live to see you." Pictured: "View of Atlanta, Georgia," Harper's Weekly, November 26, 1864. Missouri History Museum.

    Civil War Love Letters: October 10, 1863

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    Sept. 23, 1863: James’s division, led by Major General Jefferson C. Davis, marched across the La Fayette road and fought the Confederate forces on the other side. The thick blue arrow with Davis’s name, in the center of this map, shows the movement. “Map of the Battle of Chickamauga, early afternoon September 19, 1863” Map by Hal Jespersen, www.posix.com/CW, December 11, 2008.

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    Sept. 19, 1863: When James wrote this letter, he was camped near Crawfish Spring, in the lower left corner of this map, with the rest of his division, commanded by Maj Gen Jefferson C. Davis. James marched north to the 2nd location for Davis’s division, in the center of the map, facing the enemy. "Map of the Battle-field of Chickamauga, September 19th 1863." Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1891–1895.

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    Sept. 15, 1863: James marched up and down Lookout Mountain, shown here in a drawing of a later fight. "Lookout Mountain - Sketched by Theodore R. Davis from Our Works on Chattanooga Creek - The Rebels Sheilling Our Camps." Harper's Weekly, November 14, 1863. Missouri History Museum. Read his letter to Molly: historyhappensher...

    Civil War Love Letters: September 15, 1863

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    Sept. 15, 1863: James writes to Molly, "How I long for some of your sweet words... If we get to Chattanooga then we will have good communication again and I shall hear of you often again — only to think I have passed nearly a month without a word from you — but it is no fault of yours. So as the mail closes just now I bid you good bye — enclose a kiss & best wishes to you & all." Read his entire letter: historyhappensher...

    Civil War Love Letters: September 15, 1863

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    Sept. 12, 1863: James continued to write about his movements during the Chickamauga Campaign. Gen. William S. Rosecrans’s Army of the Cumberland was spread out between Chattanooga and Alpine, while Gen. Braxton Bragg concentrated his forces at Lafayette, Georgia. Section of map of Alabama. From Colton, George W. Colton's Atlas of the World Illustrating Physical and Political Geography. New York: J.H. Colton and Company, 1856. Missouri History Museum. historyhappensher...

    Civil War Love Letters: September 12, 1863

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    Sept. 6–7, 1863: James wrote about his movements in the mountains south of Chattanooga during the Chickamauga Campaign. This map shows the topography in the region, where James marched from the crest of Sand Mountain into Will’s Valley, and south to Valley Head, Alabama, approximately near the “B” in Alabama. Detail from "The Chickamauga Campaign." Plate 48 from Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1891–1895.

    Civil War Love Letters: September 6–7, 1863

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    Aug. 30, 1863: James wrote about rejoining his regiment in time for the beginning of the Chickamauga Campaign. He was in the lead boat crossing the Tennessee River, with the enemy on the other side. Detail from "Map Showing the Army Movements around Chattanooga, Tenn." Plate 97 from Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1891-1895. www.historyhappen...

    Civil War Love Letters: August 30, 1863

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