Moore, William J., Letters A Guide to the William J. Moore Letters, 1862 Ms.2010.031

A Guide to the William J. Moore Letters, 1862 Ms.2010.031


Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Business Number: 540-231-6308

Josh Howard

Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech
William J. Moore Letters, 1862
0.1 Cubic Feet, 1 folder
Moore, William, d.1862
Robinson, J. R. (27th Regiment, Kentucky Infantry)
The material in the collection is in English.
The collection contains four letters written by Union Civil War soldier William Moore, Private, Company E, 27th Kentucky Infantry. Letters primarily detail Moore's desire to return home and concerns over both his and his wife's health. An additional two letters by Capt. J.R. Robinson concern Moore's poor health and his subsequent death.

Administrative Information

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Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to research.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: [identification of item], [box], [folder], William J. Moore Letters, Ms2010-031, Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

Source of Acquisition

The William J. Moore Letters were donated to Special Collections in May 2010.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the William J. Moore Letters commenced and was completed in June 2010.

Biographical Note

Moore lists himself as of the BG William "Bull" Nelson Division, Col. William B. Hazen Brigade, Col. C.D. Pennebaker Regiment, Company E. Matching this with the Civil War Soldiers system places him as a private in the 27th Kentucky Infantry. While Moore does not mention it, he likely saw combat at Shiloh shortly before he died of disease (likely dysentery).

Family records show that William Moore died on June 15, 1862, which is confirmed by Capt. Robinson's letter. Moore's wife Lydia died on July 18, 1862 according to the same family records. They were survived by their infant daughter Harriet who was born on January 23, 1861, and adopted by relatives.

Scope and Contents

During the time period of interest, Moore travels with the Army of the Ohio from around Elizabethtown, Kentucky, to around Corinth, Mississippi, with many other stops along the way. Moore's regiment participated in the Battle of Shiloh in April.

Moore writes on February 7, 1862: "…we think that it won't be long before peace will be made and I will return back to my old home Again." He notes a sermon and church attendance in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, on February 2, 1862. Despite the longing and belief that he will return home, Moore foreshadows his death as he urges his wife to attend church so they will meet in heaven if he dies. He asks if there is word from the family of William Coils (Private, 159th New York Infantry, Company E) and Chesslys Rogers (possible Chester?)

Moore claims to be feeling ill March 7. He still feels the war will end soon. "I must close my leter by saying remember your dare husband until death." In the April 1 letter to Moore insists his brother comes to see him at camp because Moore has some "very importance business" with him. This letter also contains notes to his wife to go to the doctor to get medicine; clearly Moore is aware his wife is also ill. Moore has relocated to Camp Shiloh by his April 27 letter and claims that he is no longer ill. He mostly discusses money and longing for home, as well as a mention of passing through a battlefield and seeing the dead.

Captain Robinson's letter claims Moore boarded a steamboat in Hamburg, Tennessee, bound for Kentucky but died before it left harbor. Moore was stationed at a camp near Corinth, Mississippi, from May 15 onward. Moore contracted some sort of illness, making him very weak, and was taken to a hospital with a group on June 3. For the next several weeks, Robinson was ordered to march south 25-30 miles. Because of this, he did not know of Moore's death until returning to camp and was unable to send Moore's remains home for a proper burial.

Note that if the family records are correct, Captain Robinson's notification of Moore's death never reached Moore's wife as she had already died.


The collection is organized chronologically. The first four letters were written by Moore, the last two by Captain Robinson.

Separated Material

The Son of Light Horse Harry by James Barnes is being cataloged for Special Collections.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the William J. Moore Letters by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 ( ).

Significant Persons Associated With the Collection

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Container List

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