The James F. Grimes Letters consist of 27 letters hand-written in ink and pencil, dating from January 5, 1862 to June 15, 1864, all written to Miss Sarah A. Jones of Hillsboro, New Hampshire. In addition to the personal and affectionate material addressed to his correspondent, the letters include comments about army camp life, weather and conditions while on march and during times of battle, and observations about the Virginia countryside and the condition of civilians in regions heavily damaged by the war.
Permission to publish from the James F. Grimes Letters must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.
Little is known about James F. Grimes, a Union soldier of the 17th U.S. Infantry during the Civil War (1861-1865), other than comments found in his letters. He was apparently from Hillsboro, New Hampshire, and joined the army prior to January 1863, assigned to a regiment stationed in Virginia in which he held officer’s rank as Captain and was involved for a time in the Recruitment Service. He was later promoted to second in command of his regiment as Acting Lt. Colonel and mentions serving on Court Martial cases. In early 1864 he returned to Hillsboro on leave for three weeks, apparently spending much time with Sarah Jones (his correspondent) and her family. In March 1864, the Army of the Potomac was reorganized and Grimes’s brigade became the 3rd Brigade 1st Division of the 3rd Corps, commanded by General Warren. Grimes was promoted to Field Officer shortly afterward (for which he notes he was given a horse to ride), and was frequently in charge of his regiment in the absence of the commanding officer. By the date of his last letter (June 15, 1864), he and Sarah Jones were evidently planning to be married upon his return.
Letters of James F. Grimes, a Union soldier of the 17th U.S. Infantry during the Civil War (1861-1865), written to Sarah A. Jones while Grimes was stationed mainly in Virginia near Warrenton and Culpepper, mentioning camp life and current events, but primarily of a more personal and affectionate nature.
The James F. Grimes Letters were purchased in 1962.
Portions of this collection are available online at https://scholarship.rice.edu/handle/1911/21717