There are 135 letters written by James to Augusta during the period 1854-October, 1863, and 141 letters from Augusta to him.
The content of their letters is limited to themselves and their limited social sphere. James' war letters provide little description
of relevant conditions, but do afford his reactions to the hardships.
Born c. 1834, James Alvin Bell was a farmer in Kaneville, Illinois until he enlisted in the 8th Illinois Gavalry in May, 1861
where he served until his death at Stanton Army Hospital (Washington, D.C.) in October, 1863. His long engagement to Augusta
Anna (Hallock) Elliott, a school teacher in rural New York, is the most prominent matter of this collection.
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