John and Samuel Hunt papers  1855-1883 (bulk 1861-1865)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The John and Samuel Hunt papers are comprised of 78 letters, 1 receipt, 3 miscellaneous printed items, 2 photographs, and 1 diary. The collection consists primarily of Civil War era correspondence between the friends and family of John and Samuel Hunt, with many letters between the two brothers. For the most part, cousins, sisters, and friends wrote the pre-Civil War letters, addressed to John Hunt. These concern family matters, school, and local Ohio politics.

John's Civil War era letters, mainly to Samuel with a few items to other family members, focus on his relationship to his family, particularly his parents. He also described Civil War camp life in Missouri, Tennessee, and near Corinth. Early on, in a letter from December 8, 1861, he wrote about a conflict between his regiment's lieutenant colonel and captain over a battalion drill, which almost resulted in a duel. The brothers often bonded over the activities (past and present) of the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity, which they had both joined at Miami University. Samuel sent John his DKE pin, which made him popular with the ladies in St. Louis (February 23, 1862). Samuel kept John up-to-date on the fraternity's election results and activities. A few months after the war, John was working in Washington DC as a lawyer's clerk and reported that the town was "full of rebels at present seeking pardon" (September 17, 1865).

Letters from Samuel describe university life during the war and the impact that the war was having on the homefront. He included fiery political commentary and espoused bellicose sentiments, particularly in the early part of the war. In a letter to John dated May 25, 1861, Samuel wrote: "The murder of the accomplished Col-Ellsworth must and will be avenged -- those fine Zouaves will cause destruction in the enemy's camp -- they are 'spoiling for a fight' and will soon be gratified[.] " Samuel kept up his correspondence with a number of friends and Miami University alumni with whom he communicated about the school and his own academic progress.

The John Hunt's Civil War diary contains accounts of his service as adjutant with the 81st Ohio Infantry Regiment between January and December, 1862. He entered notes almost daily, except during his sick leaves in April and from August 15 through the end of 1862. During his leave, Hunt wrote a few entries in August concerning an Ohio Copperhead and his views on the draft, and recorded a short run of daily entries from November 1-22. The diary includes descriptions of travels in the north and south and is most detailed between May and August, when the 81st Ohio took part in the assault on Corinth, Mississippi, and in the late fall, when they were encamped near Corinth. Hunt's brief entries provide interesting anecdotes about life in the Union camps, soldiers' amusements, and the scene near Corinth.

The Miscellaneous series consists of two photographs (a staged family portrait and a carte-de-visite of a young well dressed man), an army pass for John R. Hunt (February 1862), and three programs concerning the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (1862-1863).

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