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David N. Lilley letters

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Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

David N. Lilley (1842-1887), a Newark, Delaware, resident for most of his life, served in the Union Army during the Civil War.

Lilley was born in 1842 in Cecil County, Maryland. He was one of twelve children in a family that moved near Newark, Delaware, when he was quite young. Lilley attended school in Newark briefly but gave up his studies in order to help support the rest of the family. Initially, he worked for his father as a well digger and quarry man; later he was employed at the Dean Woolen Mills.

In 1861, at the age of 19, Lilley enlisted in the Union Army, joining Company "C," 2nd Regiment, Delaware Volunteers. After training, he was assigned to the Blue and Elk Rangers, a local unit that was involved in many significant military engagements in both Maryland and Virginia. Lilley's letters to his older sister Annie Lilley, recount these wartime experiences. After being discharged in 1864, David Lilley returned to Newark where his mother, sister Annie, and other members of his immediate family still lived.

On February 15, 1887, David Lilley was the victim of a railroad accident which later required that his foot be surgically amputated. He died on February 24, 1887, from the resulting complications of lockjaw and blood poisoning. "Accident at Newark," Every Evening Wilmington, Delaware, February 15, 1887. Second edition. "A Change for the Worse,"Every Evening Wilmington, Delaware, February 24, 1887. Second edition. "David Lilley Funeral," Every Evening Wilmington, Delaware, February 25, 1887. "Lilley's Funeral To Morrow," The Morning News Wilmington, Delaware, February 26, 1887.Scharf, J. Thomas. Index to the History of Delaware, 1609-1888. Wilmington: Historical Society of Delaware, 1976.Additional information in the biographical note is derived from material in the collection.

This collection of Civil War letters consists of thirty-seven letters written between 1861 and 1864 by David N. Lilley to his older sister, Annie Lilley, who lived in Newark, Delaware.

In these letters David Lilley frequently asks Annie to relay information to other family members, especially his brother Alfred Lilley. There is one additional letter, dated May 11, 1863, written to Lilley's mother. The letters originated from places such as Camp Brandywine, Camp Andrews in Baltimore, and Falmouth, Virginia, chronicling Lilley's experiences during the Civil War. Lilley recounted anecdotes and social events from the camps where he was stationed, described military battles (including Fair Oaks and Chancellorsville), and related the harsh conditions that soldiers endured. He also discussed the relationship between "rebel" and Union soldiers and, in the letter written to his mother, recalled a visit from Abraham Lincoln.

Lilley's letters document the soldier's state of mind: Lilley was alternately content and optimistic or depressed and uncertain of his continued survival. Because of variations in handwriting, grammar, and style, it appears that Lilley may have had other soldiers write a few of the letters on his behalf. A number of the letters are also written on patriotic stationery.

The letters are arranged in chronological order.

  1. Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes (1 inch)

Access to digitized versions of the David Lilley Letters is available at the University of Delaware Institutional Repository. Transcriptions of the letters were produced by the staff of the University of Delaware Library Digital Collections and Preservation Department.

Gift of Mr. Thomas Lilley, April 1969.

Processed by Tim Murray and Wendy Van Wyck, 1990-1991; completed January 1994 by Kelly Baum. Encoded by Asher Jackson, February 2007.

Publisher
University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2007 February 6
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, http://library.udel.edu/spec/askspec/

Collection Inventory

Letter to Annie Lilley, 1861 July 11.
Box 1 Folder F1
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From Camp Brandywine near Wilmington, Delaware. Includes a brief note to Alfred Lilley.

Physical Description

2 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1861 July 20.
Box 1 Folder F1
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From Camp Brandywine near Wilmington, Delaware.

Physical Description

1 p.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1861 August 8.
Box 1 Folder F1
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From Camp Brandywine near Wilmington, Delaware.

Physical Description

1 p.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1861 August 13.
Box 1 Folder F1
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From Camp Brandywine near Wilmington, Delaware.

Physical Description

4 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1861 October 11.
Box 1 Folder F1
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed.

Physical Description

3 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1862 January 17.
Box 1 Folder F2
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From Winter Quarters at Camp Wilkes, Accomac County, Virginia.

Physical Description

4 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1862 March 30.
Box 1 Folder F2
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From Camp Andrews, Baltimore, Maryland.

Physical Description

4 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1862 April 6.
Box 1 Folder F2
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From Camp Andrews, Baltimore, Maryland.

Physical Description

2 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1862 May 3.
Box 1 Folder F2
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed.

Physical Description

2 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1862 May 31.
Box 1 Folder F3
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From White House, Virginia. Letter written in a different hand.

Physical Description

1 p.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1862 June 26.
Box 1 Folder F3
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From Fair Oaks [Seven Pines] Battlefield.

Physical Description

3 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1862 July 6.
Box 1 Folder F3
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From a battlefield near the James River in Virginia.

Physical Description

3 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1862 July 24.
Box 1 Folder F3
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From Harrisons Landing on the James River in Virginia.

Physical Description

3 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1862 July 25.
Box 1 Folder F4
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From Harrisons Landing on the James River in Virginia. Letter written in a different hand.

Physical Description

3 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1862 July 27.
Box 1 Folder F4
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From Harrisons Landing on the James River in Virginia.

Physical Description

1 p.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1862 October 5.
Box 1 Folder F4
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From Harpers Ferry.

Physical Description

3 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1862 November 28.
Box 1 Folder F4
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From Falmouth, Virginia.

Physical Description

3 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1863 January 4.
Box 1 Folder F5
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From a camp near Brandy Station, Virginia.

Physical Description

1 p.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1863 February 27.
Box 1 Folder F5
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From Falmouth, Virginia.

Physical Description

2 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1863 April.
Box 1 Folder F5
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From Falmouth, Virginia.

Physical Description

3 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1863 April 11.
Box 1 Folder F5
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From Falmouth, Virginia.

Physical Description

2 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1863 April 24.
Box 1 Folder F6
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From a camp near Falmouth, Virginia. Written by the hand of Corporal Rennard Allison.

Physical Description

2 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1863 April 27.
Box 1 Folder F6
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From a camp near Falmouth, Virginia.

Physical Description

2 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to mother of David N. Lilley, 1863 May 11.
Box 1 Folder F6
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From a camp near Falmouth, Virginia. Mentions a visit from President Abraham Lincoln. Includes a recounting of Lilley's experiences during the battle of Chancellorsville.

Physical Description

4 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1863 May 22.
Box 1 Folder F6
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From a camp near Falmouth, Virginia.

Physical Description

4 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1863 August 9.
Box 1 Folder F7
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From a camp near Morrisville, Virginia.

Physical Description

2 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1863 August 18.
Box 1 Folder F7
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From a camp near Morrisville, Virginia.

Physical Description

2 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1863 August 28.
Box 1 Folder F7
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From a camp near Morrisville, Virginia.

Physical Description

3 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1863 September 23.
Box 1 Folder F7
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From the Second Regiment Delaware Volunteers Headquarters camp near Rappidan Station, Virginia.

Physical Description

3 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1863 September 28.
Box 1 Folder F8
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From the Second Regiment Delaware Volunteers Headquarters camp near Rappidan Station, Virginia. Includes "a bit of our dear old flag" that David Lilley enclosed along with the letter.

Physical Description

4 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1863 November 18.
Box 1 Folder F8
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From a camp south of the Rappahannock River.

Physical Description

2 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1863 December 21.
Box 1 Folder F8
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From a camp near Brandy Station, Virginia. Letter written in a different hand.

Physical Description

2 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1864 April 28.
Box 1 Folder F8
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From a camp near Brandy Station, Virginia.

Physical Description

2 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, 1864 June 22.
Box 1 Folder F8
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From a camp near City Point, Virginia.

Physical Description

1 p.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, undated.
Box 1 Folder F9
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From Camp Brandywine near Wilmington, Delaware.

Physical Description

1 p.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, undated.
Box 1 Folder F9
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From a camp near Easton, Maryland.

Physical Description

3 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, undated.
Box 1 Folder F9
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From Camp Andrews, Baltimore, Maryland.

Physical Description

1 p.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item
Letter to Annie Lilley, undated.
Box 1 Folder F9
Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. From Harrisons Landing on the James River in Virginia.

Physical Description

4 pp.

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of item

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