In 1861 and 1862, while serving as an officer in the Confederate States Army en route to and on campaign in New Mexico, John Samuel Shropshire wrote a series of letters to his wife, Caroline, in Columbus, Texas. The letters were passed down to their son, Charles Tait Shropshire, then to his widow, the former Nellie Hahn, and then to her relatives. In 1973, Guy Hahn presented eight of the letters and a list of casualties to the Shropshire-Upton Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy for their museum in Columbus, the Confederate Memorial Museum. Later, two more letters written by Shropshire were presented to the museum, one by Betty Bauer the other by Beverly Hahn Carroll. Some fifty years earlier, the chapter had received a letter from one of Shropshire's former comrades-at-arms, John W. Carson, which described Shropshire's death in combat. In 1994, the entire set of letters was presented to the Nesbitt Memorial Library. The letters were published in Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, vol. 7, no. 1, January 1997, pp. 61-70. On May 16, 1998, another letter was presented to the library, this one the cover letter which originally accompanied the list of casualties at Valverde. It too was transcribed, and published with the others on the library’s website.
In February 2007, another eleven letters written by Shropshire were discovered amongst the voluminous papers that had been collected by James and Mary Elizabeth Hopkins. Ten of the letters were addressed to his wife and one to his brother, Benjamin. In addition, there was a second letter written by Carson, this one addressed to Laura Hahn, and a flyer containing a reminiscence of the Battle of Glorieta by another Confederate officer, James Murray Crosson. These documents were added to the John S. Shropshire Papers collection. The newly discovered letters were transcribed, and on April 11, 2007, published on the library’s website.
The Hopkins material also contained a Bible and a prayer book that had belonged to John Shropshire, and an 1860s-vintage photograph of a woman and a baby, presumably Shropshire’s wife, Caroline, and son, Charles (born 1861). Caroline may have had the photograph taken to send to her husband, or to present to him when he returned home. Shropshire’s letters are full of questions about his infant son, who was apparently unhealthy. Shropshire is known to have carried a photograph with him on the campaign, for the remnant of it, a metal plate with the image wiped away, was found in his pocket when his body was exhumed in the summer of 1987. That photograph was likely of his wife alone. He was originally buried on the battlefield at Glorieta, New Mexico, where he was killed on March 28, 1862. He was reburied in Kentucky in August 1990.
Click here to view transcriptions of the documents in this collection
Letters of John Samuel Shropshire, 1861-1862 (1-1 through 1-21)
Letter of John W. Carson, September 11, 1921 (1-22)
"Recollections of the Battle of Glorietta in New Mexico on 28th of March, 1862, by Maj. J. M. Crosson of 4th Texas Cavalry," printed flyer, 3 pages (1-22)