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Michael H. Leary letters, 1861 October 27

 Item — Box: 1, Folder: 14


  • Creation: 1861 October 27

Scope and Content Note

From the Collection:

This collection of forty-six letters, dated from July 1861 through August 1862, is addressed from Michael H. Leary to Ellen (Nellie) Desmond. Also included within the collection are several envelopes addressed to Nellie. One postmark is dated 1863, indicating Leary continued to correspond with Nellie beyond the context of this small collection.

Leary’s correspondence primarily relates the activities of the 9th Regiment including preparation to march, scouting expeditions, engagement with the Confederates, military reviews before General McClellan and President Abraham Lincoln, and picket duty. Leary offers, in response to Nellie’s questions, commentary on the Trent Affair. The majority of the letters were penned from Miner’s Hill, Virginia. Other letters were addressed from Washington, DC, and Yorktown and Richmond, Virginia. The other significant subject of Leary’s letters focus on his relationship with Nellie. Leary expresses continued desire for the war to end that he might return to her. He speaks of their material exchanges – a photograph, money, clothing – as well as the possibility of Nellie moving to New York with the family she works for. The final letters Leary penned from a hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Most of the letters were written on Union stationery.


Access Note

Collection is open for research; also available digitally.


From the Collection: .25 Linear Feet (1 container)

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States