Josiah Robert Peele Ellis Papers

Manuscript Collection #566
Johnston, Hugh Buckner; Ellis, Josiah Robert Peele
Physical description
0.055 Cubic Feet, 51 photocopy pages, consisting of transcribed letters, supplementary information, and genealogy.
Preferred Citation
Josiah Robert Peele Ellis Papers (#566), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers include photocopies of transcriptions of correspondence (1863-1864) written by Josiah Robert Peele Ellis of Wilson Co., North Carolina, to his wife Elizabeth Grimes Ellis while he was serving in Company C of the 43rd N.C. Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. The letters were transcribed in 1977 by Hugh Buckner Johnston who also provided supplementary information. Also included are genealogy records for the Ellis and Hill families of Eastern North Carolina.

Biographical/historical information

Josiah Robert Peele Ellis of Wilson County, N.C., was drafted to serve in the Confederate Army in the last months of 1863. He joined Company C of the 43rd N.C. Infantry Regiment, leaving behind his wife and eleven children.

Scope and arrangement

The transcribed letters and the introduction to the letters prepared in 1977 by Hugh Buckner Johnston of Wilson, N.C., trace the movement and engagements of the 43rd Regiment from November 26, 1863, to November 22, 1864. Johnston also provides eight pages of footnotes identifying the names of people and places mentioned in the letters.

All of the letters were written by Ellis to his wife Elizabeth Grimes Ellis. He tells of the cold, hunger, and exhaustion experienced in camp and on marches. He describes battles at Batchelor's Creek (near New Bern) and Plymouth, North Carolina, as well as fighting in Virginia around Richmond and at "Modern Ford." He mentions the hanging of seven deserters at Kinston and gives a casualty report on the regiment after a battle in the Richmond area.

Most of the letters contain instructions to his wife on managing the farm and financial affairs, with frequent cautions to be sparing with supplies, especially corn. Encouraging comments to his children are also included from time to time. Ellis mentions that he could be released from service if he had legal assistance but sees no hope of this happening.

In his last letter Ellis describes himself as "broken down" by the hardships of the continuing war. The final letter in the collection is from the regiment's surgeon telling Mrs. Ellis of her husband's almost certain death.

Additional material in the collection includes genealogy records for the Hill and Ellis families of Eastern North Carolina.

Administrative information
Custodial History

December 12, 1988, 51 pages, photocopies; Typescript of Civil War letters of Wilson County, N.C., resident (1863-1864) and genealogy. Gift of Mrs. Martha Edwards Croom, Stantonsburg, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Martha Edwards Croom

Processing information

Processed by L. Yoder, February 1989

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Related material

The Confederate letters of Josiah Robert Peele Ellis of Wilson County, North Carolina, Joyner Library, North Carolina Collection, Joyner NC Stacks, E605 .E4X

Key terms
Personal Names
Ellis, Elizabeth Grimes
Ellis, Josiah Robert Peele
Soldiers--North Carolina--Correspondence
North Carolina--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives
Wilson (Wilson County, N.C.)--Social life and customs--19th century