Seeley Jayne Civil War Letters
1861-1862 and 1889
Manuscript & Rare Books Division
Indiana State Library
Finding Aid by: Nikki Stoddard Schofield
Seely Jayne was a farmer who lived near North Vernon, Jennings County, Indiana. His first name is variously spelled Selah and Seeley. The 1860 federal census lists the Jayne Family in Geneva, Jennings County, with father Sely, age 45, wife Mary Ann, age 30, and seven children: Stephen (19), Morris S. (16), Oliver (13), Eunice S. (11), Levi S. (9), Milow (6), and Timothy (2). His letter of October 2, 1861, says to “tell my old father and mother that I have not forgotten them… I want to see Timmy about as bad as any body.” Timmy would be his youngest brother. This same letter mentions Ida, his daughter. The May 6, 1862 letter from Corinth, Mississippi, says, “Stephen is very sick though not dangerous I think.” Perhaps this was his brother.
His letter dated October 27, 1861 is addressed to Leottie Jayne and little Ide. The Dec. 29, 1861 letter said “give Idia a kiss and tell her that pa sent it to her.” Ida M. Jayne married John L. Weaver on February 4, 1880 in Indiana. The January 26, 1889 letter from the War Department is addressed to Mrs. J. L. Weaver, so apparently Seely’s daughter Ida Weaver wrote to the War Department to obtain information about her father. The letter said he died December 31, 1862 at Stone River.
He served in Company B, 6th Indiana Infantry Volunteers, in Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi in 1861 and 1862. He was killed at the Battle of Stones River, Tennessee and is buried there in the National Cemetery, where their records give his first name as Scoley.
One tintype of Seely Jayne, negative #3565A; two printed song sheets for “Hail, Columbia! Happy Land!” and “Hurra for the Union”; 12 small envelopes addressed to Leottie Jayne; and 23 hand-written letters by Seely Jayne . 20 of the letters are to his wife. One letter (dated Dec. 14, 1862) is to his uncle and aunt, and one letter (dated Nov. 30, 1862) is to “sister and parents” but not written by Seely. It is signed “your brother and Seely,” then another entry dated December 5 is in pencil and signed “your affectionate aunt Maria Mahan.” The last letter is from the War Department dated Jan. 26, 1889.
On Christmas Day 1861, Seely said eleven sick men are going home, with Lieutenant McKeehan accompanying them. His March 22, 1862 letter from Columbia, Tennessee says that he is building a railroad bridge on the Duck River. His letter from the “Battlefield South of Savanna” on April 9, 1862 states that 10 were killed and 62 wounded, but none of his company got a scratch.
His December 27, 1861 letter states: “I have great hopes that I shall live to see the sunshine of brighter days. I will live in hope if I die in despair.”
On April 17, 1862, from Shiloh Battlefield, he wrote: “I want to see this work completed before I return and I am in hopes that the war is about over.” In the same letter, concerning the Battle of Shiloh, he wrote: “you may think that the papers tell a big tale but if you could have viewed the scene you would think that the half had not been told.”
His letter of April 24, 1862 from Shiloh says that he had his miniature (photo) taken yesterday.
April 27, 1862, from Camp Shiloh, Seeley stated that he is sending a locket for his daughter Ida and a laurel ring, made from a laurel root, for his wife. He carried the ring since he made it at Cave City, Kentucky.
With the tintype was a note labeled “Look within,” which stated: “if by any accident, these directions should be found of you please direct this miniature to Mrs. Leottie Jayne, North Vernon, Jennings Co. Ind.”
On January 26, 1889, the War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, Washington, wrote to Mrs. J. L. Weaver, stating that Seely Jayne was killed in action at Stone River on December 31, 1862.
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1861-1862 20 letters to his wife Lottie Jayne
Nov. 30, 1862 Letter to sister and parents
Dec. 14, 1862 Letter to uncle and aunt
1861-1862 12 envelopes
1861-1862 2 song sheets
1862 1 tintype
Size of Collection: 1 folder
Collection Dates: 1861-1862 and 1889
Provenance: Mrs. L. W. Gardner on May 24, 1960
Access : The collection is open for research use
Reproduction Rights: Permission to reproduce, exhibit, or publish material in this collection must be obtained from the Manuscript and Rare Books Division, Indiana State Library.
Language: Materials are entirely in English
Alternate Formats: None
Related Holdings: None