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John and Samuel Hunt papers, 1855-1883 (majority within 1861-1865)

85 items

The John and Samuel Hunt papers consist primarily of Civil War era correspondence between the friends and family of John and Samuel Hunt with many letters between the two brothers. Also included is John Hunt's Civil War diary, which contains accounts of his service as adjutant with the 81st Ohio Infantry Regiment between January and December, 1862.

The John and Samuel Hunt papers are comprised of 78 letters, 1 receipt, 3 miscellaneous printed items, 2 photographs, and 1 diary. The collection consists primarily of Civil War era correspondence between the friends and family of John and Samuel Hunt, with many letters between the two brothers. For the most part, cousins, sisters, and friends wrote the pre-Civil War letters, addressed to John Hunt. These concern family matters, school, and local Ohio politics.

John's Civil War era letters, mainly to Samuel with a few items to other family members, focus on his relationship to his family, particularly his parents. He also described Civil War camp life in Missouri, Tennessee, and near Corinth. Early on, in a letter from December 8, 1861, he wrote about a conflict between his regiment's lieutenant colonel and captain over a battalion drill, which almost resulted in a duel. The brothers often bonded over the activities (past and present) of the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity, which they had both joined at Miami University. Samuel sent John his DKE pin, which made him popular with the ladies in St. Louis (February 23, 1862). Samuel kept John up-to-date on the fraternity's election results and activities. A few months after the war, John was working in Washington DC as a lawyer's clerk and reported that the town was "full of rebels at present seeking pardon" (September 17, 1865).

Letters from Samuel describe university life during the war and the impact that the war was having on the homefront. He included fiery political commentary and espoused bellicose sentiments, particularly in the early part of the war. In a letter to John dated May 25, 1861, Samuel wrote: "The murder of the accomplished Col-Ellsworth must and will be avenged -- those fine Zouaves will cause destruction in the enemy's camp -- they are 'spoiling for a fight' and will soon be gratified[.] " Samuel kept up his correspondence with a number of friends and Miami University alumni with whom he communicated about the school and his own academic progress.

The John Hunt's Civil War diary contains accounts of his service as adjutant with the 81st Ohio Infantry Regiment between January and December, 1862. He entered notes almost daily, except during his sick leaves in April and from August 15 through the end of 1862. During his leave, Hunt wrote a few entries in August concerning an Ohio Copperhead and his views on the draft, and recorded a short run of daily entries from November 1-22. The diary includes descriptions of travels in the north and south and is most detailed between May and August, when the 81st Ohio took part in the assault on Corinth, Mississippi, and in the late fall, when they were encamped near Corinth. Hunt's brief entries provide interesting anecdotes about life in the Union camps, soldiers' amusements, and the scene near Corinth.

The Miscellaneous series consists of two photographs (a staged family portrait and a carte-de-visite of a young well dressed man), an army pass for John R. Hunt (February 1862), and three programs concerning the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (1862-1863).


Polk family letters, 1856-1868

8 items

This collection contains letters that Horace M. Polk and his wife Ophelia wrote to Ophelia's father, Major John Houston Bills. The Polks corresponded about aspects of life in Louisiana from the mid-1850s to the late 1860s, including state and national politics, the Civil War, and Reconstruction.

This collection (8 items) contains 6 letters that Horace M. and Ophelia Polk of Bastrop, Louisiana wrote to Ophelia's father, Major John Houston Bills of Bolivar, Tennessee. The collection also contains 2 letters that Bills received from other correspondents.

Horace M. Polk's 4 letters to Bills pertain to state and national political issues such as a Louisiana legislature elections committee and related threats from "thugs" in New Orleans (January 31, 1856); the possible presidential nomination of Stephen Douglas and Polk's preference for Douglas over a "black Republican" (March 7, 1859); and the rise of African Americans in Reconstruction-era Louisiana politics and of Radical Republicans in the U.S. Congress (February 20, 1868). Polk also provided news of the health of his wife and children, commented on plantation crops such as cotton and corn, and mentioned the effects of delayed telegraph news on war excitement in Bastrop (October 11, 1861).

Ophelia Polk wrote 2 letters to her father about her children's health, her husband's political career, and the state of the family's plantation. In her letter of January 27, 1862, she commented on developments in the war, the unreliability of news sent by telegraph, the family's attempts to live frugally, and her fear of running the plantation if her husband were to go to war.

Thomas M. Peters wrote one letter to Bills, in which he reported on the recovery of "Captain Polk" and anticipated a battle between Union forces and Confederate troops in Corinth, Mississippi (April 26, 1862). Another correspondent, M. Polk, wrote to Bills about local election results, black voters, and a stabbing (August 6, 1870).


William V. Rutledge collection, 1861-1865

102 items

The William V. Rutledge collection is made up of letters that Rutledge, a surgeon, wrote while serving in the 2nd Indiana Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War.

The William V. Rutledge collection (102 items) contains correspondence and other items related to Rutledge's service in the 2nd Indiana Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War. Rutledge wrote 98 letters to his wife about his experiences. His earliest letters pertain to his time in camp in Kentucky, where he spent time with a slaveholding family. He participated in the siege of Corinth, Mississippi, in April and May of 1862 and was camped on the field of Shiloh on May 4, 1862, when he anticipated an attack that never took place. Throughout the rest of the year, the cavalry headed east, and Rutledge described the scenery in Alabama, including an interaction with "Black and yellow" slaves, all young girls, on a cotton plantation (July 10, 1862). Though his time in the army was primarily uneventful, Rutledge did discuss a brief stint as a prisoner of war (September 11, 1864) and often mentioned his health problems. He frequently inquired about Jennie's health and finances, requested more frequent letters from her, and vowed to visit home.

Also included are a photograph of Rutledge taken in St. Louis and a receipt from the Internal Revenue Service. The newspaper clippings are a reprint from the Mobile Tribune of "Asa Hartz Is Taken Prisoner," and a pair of patriotic poems, "Atlanta" and "On the Chicago Surrender."