Skip to main content

Charles W. Gallentine Letters

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Gallentine

Scope and Content of the Collection

Ten letters by Charles W. Gallentine to his sister and “Friend Charlie” written during the Civil War from 1861-1863, together with a partial typed transcription of all the letters.

Gallentine wrote mainly to his sister back home to assure his family that he and his brother were still alive and well. He also described camp life, commented on the weather, gave details on skirmishes fought and prisoners caught, as well as reflections on the countryside, a soldier’s funeral, black freedom, copperheads, and the draft. There are also comments on Colonel Robert C. Murphy, who was later court-martialed. His letters were sent from Springfield, Illinois; Corinth and Jacinto, Mississippi; Courtland, Alabama; and Bolivar LaGrange, and Memphis, Tennessee.


  • Creation: 1861-1863



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Charles W. Gallentine Letters are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 5 folders at a time maximum, and items in each folder will be counted before and after delivery to the patron (Priority I).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Charles W. Gallentine Letters 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 Charles W. Gallentine

Corporal in the 7th Illinois Cavalry, Company D, 1861-1864.

Charles W. Gallentine and his younger brother, William, enlisted together as privates on August 10, 1861, and were mustered in September 7, 1861. Together, they left their farm in Farmington, Illinois, to travel with the 7th Illinois Cavalry from camp in Springfield, Illinois, through Corinth and Jacinto, Mississippi; Courtland, Alabama; and Bolivar, LaGrange, and Memphis, Tennessee. They moved quickly from parading to active service, fighting in multiple skirmishes near Corinth and Coffeeville. Although Charles was soon tired of soldiering, he was committed to the cause and served until he was wounded, probably around Feb. 22, 1864, at Okolona, Mississippi. He died March 20, 1864, of gunshot wounds at the Washington General Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and was buried with a government headstone at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Farmington, Illinois. The U.S. Census lists his age as 20 in 1860.

William Gallentine survived his brother, and was mustered out of service on October 15, 1864.


0.2 Linear Feet (1 box)


Letters home, 1862-1863, by Charles W. Gallentine of the 7th Illinois Cavalry, from Camp Butler, Springfield, Ill., Jacinto and Corinth, Miss., Memphis and LaGrange, Tenn., and Lawrence Co., Ala., regarding camp life, skirmishes, men killed and wounded, Southern guerillas, northern Copperheads and the draft, Southern plantations and slave attitudes, Union and Confederate prisoners, etc.


Letters arranged chronologically, followed by transcription.

Collection Stack Location

1 19 2


Charles Apfelbaum, purchase, 1994.

Processed by

Jane Venanzi, 2009.

Inventory of the Charles W. Gallentine Letters, 1861-1863
Jane Venanzi
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