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William R. Lowes letters

 Collection — Folder: S0856
Identifier: S0856

Scope and Contents

There are 26 items in this collection, all letters with the exception of one small envelope addressed to: “Mrs. Rhoda A. Lowes, Acton, Marion County, Ind.” Joe E. Lowes wrote to his brother on September 23, 1861 and said he was gratified to be an uncle of a girl, although his favorite name was Eveline. He tells about a muddy march, but does not say where.

D. H. Stoops wrote to Lieutenant Lowes from the City General Hospital in Indianapolis, on July 20, 1864, saying that he and the boys will not be ready for duty for two months or “some never.” He said they are bound for the ”Condemned Corp.” Company G is well represented with ten members in the hospital. They had a fine time while home on furlough. He is sorry to hear that Company G was so badly cut to pieces, and suffer worse than other companies. He says that he likes to hear of the boys’ bravery but fears they are too brave for their own good.

J. W. Peggs wrote to “Dear Friend” on note paper imprinted: Medical Purveyor’s Office, Department of the Cumberland, Nashville. This letter is dated August 31, 1864, and mentions hearing the news that General George McClellan has been nominated by the Democratic National Convention as the presidential candidate to oppose Lincoln. They had some excitement the last two days in regard to General Wheeler. Mr. Peggs has been detailed to General Thomas.

The 23 letters to his wife Rhoda, called Rody, are separated into two archival envelopes: 12 letters written in 1862, and 10 letters written in 1864. 1 letter was written in 1863. He writes about Old Rosy (General Rosecrans) and General Burnside making the Rebels under General Bragg “skedaddle in a hurry.” In his letter of November 12, 1862, he wrote that Col. Harrison got off his horse to let sick men ride. His letter of November 18 also praises Colonel Benjamin Harrison, and list many names of men in his unit. William's May 21, 1864 letter lists men killed. He frequently mentions Lizzie (Elizabeth) Lowes as "little pet", along with his wife Rody (Rhoda).

Some of the major subjects covered in Lowe's letters to his wife are his thoughts of home and family life, military engagements and assignments of the 70th Indiana, the actions of his commanding officers, and his opinions about politics at the time.


  • 1861-1864


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

William R. Lowes was a resident of Acton, Marion County, Indiana, and served as a private in Company G, 70th Indiana Regiment in Tennessee and Georgia from 1862 to 1865. The collection includes letters to his wife Rhoda, called “Rody,” and letters by other soldiers to William Lowes.

The 70th was mustered into service on August 12, 1862, in Indianapolis with Colonel Benjamin Harrison in command. The regiment primarily served in the western theater of the Civil War, primarily in Kentucky and Tennessee until 1863 then in the Atlanta Campaign and General William T. Sherman's march to Savannah, Georgia in 1864.

The 1880 federal census listed William R. Lowes, age 40, living with his wife Scytha I. Lowes, age 25, and two children: Jessee E., age 13, and James M., 10 months. He was a farmer in Perry, Marion County, Indiana. In 1920, William is listed as 79, with his wife Scytha J., age 64, and Rhoda M. Hughey, age 84. Rhoda M. Hughey applied for a pension as the widow of James A. Hughey.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation.


No further additions are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions of the William R. Lowes Civil War letters are available electronically in Indiana Memory:

Processing Information

Collection processing and finding aid completed during March 2012 by Nikki Stoddard Schofield.
William R. Lowes letters
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.