Civil War letters survive six generations

SaddleBrooke resident and author Richard Hamilton recently became the recipient of the courtship and Civil War letters of his great, great grandparents George Thomas Patten and Lydia Ann Denton-Patten. Surviving six generations the letters, along with several old tintype photos, were given to him in December 2015, by his cousin Louise Patten-Walma. Richard spent hours studying the fragile and faded letters with a magnifying glass and ultimately transcribed them through January and February 2016. Knowing that family members, friends and Civil War history enthusiasts would have an interest in the content of the letters, he decided to publish them, and his book Dearest Lydia was recently published in April 2016. It is available on in paperback and Kindle eBook.

Dearest Lydia is a collection of heartfelt and poignant family letters written from 1856 to 1864. George and Lydia wrote affectionately during their courtship and after their marriage during his service in the Civil War with the sixth Michigan Cavalry Regiment. Following President Lincoln’s appeal for additional recruits, George and many of his friends enlisted in the volunteer cavalry on September 6, 1862 with patriotic zeal to save the Union, the Constitution and Old Glory flag. They left Grand Rapids, Michigan, for war on December 10, 1862. Their letters and those of family members presented a vivid picture of life under the stress of prolonged separation and loss while a loved one was off to war.

The letters are a treasure trove of personal commentary of a cavalryman’s life away from home and of historical events and personalities of the Civil War period, and Richard has included endnotes to acquaint the reader with historical events and personalities of the period.