Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the James F. Grimes Letters, 1863-1864 MS 105

creator Grimes, James F.
Title: James F. Grimes Letters
Dates: 1863-1864
Abstract: 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.
Identification: MS 105
Quantity: 0.1 linear ft.27 letters
Repository: Woodson Research Center

Biographical Note

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.

Scope and Contents

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.

Arrangement of the Papers

This collection is arranged in chronological order.


Restrictions on Access

This material is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from the James F. Grimes Letters must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Grimes, James F.
Jones, Sara A.
Subjects (Organizations)
United States. Army of the Potomac.
United States. Army. 17th Infantry.
United States. Army. Brigade, 3rd.
United States

Related Materials

See also other Civil War era collections in the Woodson Research Center.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

James F. Grimes Letters, 1863-1864, MS105, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University


The James F. Grimes Letters were purchased in 1962.

Detailed Description of the Collection

1863 Letters

1 1863 January 5; Catletts Station, Virginia
1863 August 2 ; Ogdensburgh, New York
1863 September 22; Alexandria, Va.
1863 September 23; Culpepper, Va.
1863 September 27; Culpepper, Va.
1863 October 1; Culpepper, Va.
1863 October 3; Culpepper, Va.
1863 October 21; New Baltimore, Va
1863 October 25; On march between New Baltimore and Bristow Station
1863 October 29; Auburn, Va.
1863 November 5; Catletts Station, Va.
1863 December 14 Bealton Station, Va.

1864 Letters

1 1864 January 13; Catletts Station, Va.
1864 January 17; Catletts Station, Va.
1864 January 27; Catletts Station, Va.
1864 March 13; Washington, D.C.
1864 March 14; Washington, D.C.
1864 March 21; Nokesville, Va.
1864 March 23; Nokesville, Va.
1864 March 29; Nokesville, Va.
1864 April 2; Nokesville, Va.
1864 April 4; Nokesville, Va.
1864 April 8; Nokesville, Va.
1864 April 20; Nokesville, Va.
1864 April 26
1864 June 12; near Bottom's Bridge, Va.
1864 June 15; Harrison's Landing, Va.