Skip to main content

George Deal Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Deal

Scope and Content of the Collection

Fifty-five letters and fragments of letters from George Deal to his wife Sarah Cole Deal, written for apparently illiterate Deal by several individuals.

Written from Camp Dennison, Ohio, Lake Providence, La., Memphis, Tenn., Vicksburg, Miss., and Atlanta, Ga., the letters briefly describe camp life, the scenery as his regiment moves south, his health and his concerns about army pay and his family's welfare. He frequently sent home advice to his wife on how to feed herself and her children while struggling to pay for lodging. The letters show the low level of literacy among those Deal depended on to write for him. Some lettersheets contain printed vignettes and many are accompanied by envelopes. Also, portrait photographs of Sarah and George Deal, photocopies of army service records requested in 1975 by Deal's grandson, James L. Young in 1975, three Confederate bills and few genealogical notes regarding the Young family. See the information file for letter transcriptions, available in Special Collections.


  • Creation: 1862-1975
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1862 - 1864



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The George Deal Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 5 folders at a time maximum (Priority II).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The George Deal Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of George Deal

Ohio farmer and Civil War soldier.

According to a copy of his volunteer enlistment form, in October, 1862, George Deal was thirty-eight when he went into the Union army in Sidney, Ohio. However, since Deal was illiterate, signing the enlistment form with his "mark," it is possible he was younger than he stated. He joined Company K, 20th Regiment Ohio Infantry as a private, and served until he was killed at the Battle of Atlanta in 1864. Deal's regiment was stationed at Camp Dennison, Ohio, Lake Providence, La., Memphis, Tenn., Vicksburg, Miss, and Atlanta, Ga.

George Deal was born in Pennsylvania, but lived as a farmer in Ohio. His letters to his wife, Sarah Cole Deal, are addressed to the town of Montra, Shelby County, some miles southwest of Toledo. He had several children, one of whom was Emaline Deal (Young).

The government casualty sheet states "missing in action" July 22, 1864 near Atlanta, Georgia.


0.2 Linear Feet (1 box)


Fifty-five letters and fragments of letters from George Deal, Ohio Union soldier in the Civil War, to his wife Sarah Cole Deal. Also, photographs of Sarah and George Deal, photocopies of army service records, three Confederate bills, and a few genealogical notes made by Deal's grandson.


The papers are arranged in the following order: correspondence, photographs, army records, Confederate bills, genealogical notes.

Collection Stack Location

1 41 2


Gift of Carolyn Young, 2004.

Processed by

Virginia H. Smith, 2005.

Inventory of the George Deal Papers, 1862-1975, bulk 1862-1864
Virginia H. Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States