A Collection in
Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversitySpecial Collections
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2010 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.
Processed by: Marc Brodsky, Public Services and Reference Archivist, Special Collections Staff
Collection is open for research.
Permission to publish material from the James Kirkpatrick Letters must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.
Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: James Kirkpatrick Letters, 1863-64, Ms2010-086, Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
The James Kirkpatrick Letters were donated to Special Collections in October 2010.
The processing, arrangement, and description of the James Kirkpatrick Letters was completed in November 2010.
James Kirkpatrick, age 33 at the time of the 1860 census, was born in Ohio. Described as a merchant in 1860 with an estate valued at $13,500, he lived in Clayton, IL with his wife, Elizabeth, age 31, whom he married in 1848, and four children, William, age 11; Mary, age 9; Albert H., age 7; Warren (later John W.), age 2. He entered the war as a first lieutenant with Company C of the Third Missouri Cavalry and was promoted to Captain prior to Dec. 1863. The Official Army Register of the Volunteer Force of the United States for the Years 1861, 62, 63, 64, 65, lists him among "Casualties, Resigned" with the date 12 August 1864. The regiment was organized at Palmyra and St. Louis, Missouri from 15 October 1861 to 6 March 1862 and saw duty largely in southeast Missouri and Arkansas. Following the war, Kirkpatrick returned to Illinois and is identified in the 1870 census as a farmer and miller with an estate valued at over $17,000. In addition to his wife, Elizabeth, two more children are listed, John F., age 3, and Sallie, age 5. The 1880 census adds Emma, then age 9. By 1900, Elizabeth, age 70, is shown as head of a household that includes only two lodgers, though her status is "married" rather than "widowed."
William Kirkpatrick appears in the 1870 census, a member of his parents' household, with the occupation of farmer.
The James Kirkpatrick Letters contains two letters from Captain James Kirkpatrick of Company C, Third Missouri Cavalry. The first, dated, 14 December 1863, is written from Company Headquarters in Jacksonport, Arkansas to his wife, Elizabeth, who is home in Clayton, Adams County, Illinois. The second letter, dated 21 June 1864, is written from a camp near Little Rock, Arkansas, to his eldest son, William, age approx. 15 years-old, who is serving with the 137th Regiment, Illinois Infantry near Memphis, Tennessee. While the first tells of entering Jacksonport after a brief fight, and matters of health, rations, and exchanging letters from home, the second is largely a warning from father to son to avoid the vices and temptations of camp life. The letters are accompanied by their original envelopes. Two other envelopes (only), both from apparently from James Kirkpatrick, complete the collection. These are Illinois and Mississippi Telegraph envelopes, one addressed to Mrs. E. Kirkpatrick; the other to an H. R. Matley [?] of Clayton, Illinois.
The letters are arranged in chronological order.
- Kirkpatrick, James, 1827-18[?]