A Civil War Captain and His Lady: Love, Courtship, and Combat from Fort Donelson through the Vicksburg Campaign, by Gene Barr, is one of those rare collections of Civil War correspondence that includes both sides of the conversation. Typically letters from the home front to soldiers in the field are lost if due only to the hardships of keeping them intact while on campaign. However this new publication from Savas Beatie includes the letters of both Captain Josiah Moore of the 17th Illinois Infantry and those of his sweetheart Jennie Lindsay of Peoria.
The correspondence is interesting in and of itself as it reflects on the mechanics of courtship via post during a hectic and trying time. It also serves as a framework for providing a history of the 17th Illinois and the action in the Western Theater, including Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Vicksburg, and the Meridian Campaign.
Gene Barr is a board member and former chair of the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA.