Hillyer (Elisha K.) Papers, 1861, 1863, 2 Items

Administrative Information


Access: Unrestricted

Copyright: The copyright of these letters is held by Navarro College Archives, Navarro College, 3200 W. 7th Ave., Corsicana, Texas. Internet: archives@navarrocollege.edu.

Cite As:Elisha K. Hillyer Papers, 1861, 1863, Pearce Civil War Collection, Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas

Forms Part of: Pearce Civil War Collection

Location: 1-S2

Transcription(s): Yes

Scanned Copies on File: No

Accession Number: 2004.439

Processed by: Julie Holcomb, October 2005

Reproductions of original materials and transcriptions may be available. Please contact the archivist for further information.

Abstract: Two letters (August 11, 1861; February 8, 1863) document the military career of Elisha K. Hillyer, a second lieutenant in the 15th Mississippi Infantry, Co. I, also known as the Choctaw Guard. Hillyer’s letters detail his interest in a woman named Mollie and his loneliness for her and his homesickness for his hometown of Choctaw, Mississippi. His letters contain descriptions of Yankee desertions, the taking of prisoners, and Hillyer’s thoughts about fighting in Vicksburg.

Biographical/Historical Sketch

Elisha K. Hillyer was a second lieutenant in Company I, 15th Mississippi Infantry. Muster rolls indicate that Hillyer was 21 when he enlisted. Hillyer’s birthplace and life dates are unknown. Most likely he was from Choctaw, Mississippi.

Scope and Content Note

Two letters (August 11, 1861; February 8, 1863) document the military career of Elisha K. Hillyer, a second lieutenant in the 15th Mississippi Infantry, Co. I, also known as the Choctaw Guard. Hillyer’s letters detail his interest in a woman named Mollie and his loneliness for her and his homesickness for his hometown of Choctaw, Mississippi. His letters contain descriptions of Yankee desertions, the taking of prisoners, and Hillyer’s thoughts about fighting in Vicksburg. The first letter (August 11, 1861; 4 pages) reveals a soldier who is homesick and lonely: “I never wanted to be anywhere as bad as I want to [go] back to Choctaw.” Still he reminds himself and Miss Mollie, to whom he is writing, that he “is . . . struggling for those whom I dearly love and esteem more than I do my own self if possible.” It is clear that Mollie and Elisha’s relationship is still new because he stated in his letter his relief that Mollie is not engaged as he previously believed. This letter is most likely incomplete as it ends abruptly and lacks a signature. The second letter (February 8, 1863; 4 pages) is also addressed to Miss Mollie. Hillyer noted a number of Yankee deserters who have come into Port Hudson, Mississippi. He also reported his regiment’s location as “four miles from Jackson, south-west”; however, Hillyer feared the regiment would soon receive orders to march to Vicksburg. As he wrote, “I dislike the roar of those bombs and we are not in much danger here, times are very quiet here.” Apparently, Mollie and Elisha’s relationship had grown closer since the earlier letter as he signed this letter “I ever remain your true lover.”

The collection also includes a postwar shotgun most likely owned by Hillyer.

Archivist Note

Collection donated by Martha Weempe.


The copyright of these materials is managed by the Navarro College Archives on behalf of the Navarro College Foundation, 3100 W. Collin St., Corsicana, Texas 75110. Phone: 903-875-7438. Internet: archives@navarrocollege.edu.