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M-347: Civil War Letters of James Bradley

Repository: St. Louis Mercantile Library Special Collections

Title: M-347: Civil War Letters of James Bradley

Date [inclusive]: 1863-1864

Extent: 0.1 Linear feet 1 folder

Language: English

Abstract: This collection is a bound volume of photocopies and transcriptions of
letters written by James Bradley (James McCullough), a soldier in both the Confederate and Union armies during the Civil War.

Biographical/Historical Note: James Bradley was the son of Catherine and Patrick McCullough Bradley, both natives of Strabane, Ireland. Patrick and Catherine emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1850 and after eight years traveled further west to St. Louis and Doniphan County, Kansas, where they purchased a farm near Atchison.
James left the family farm in 1858 at the age of twenty and traveled to Memphis where he saved $600, and eventually was persuaded to enlist in the Confederate Army. He became disillusioned with the Confederate vision of the dissolution of the Union, and defected to the Union Army, where he enlisted under the name of James McCullough, so as not to be identified as a deserter in case of capture. James served as a member of Company K, 146th regiment. Later he was transferred to Company Q, known as the rebel deserters, at Fort Snelling.
After the war James worked as a stage driver in Minnesota and lived on the Maple River in Dakota Territory, working under contract to provide animals and lodging to mail riders. He also sold hay and offered board and lodging to travelers. He had a wife of 1/2 Indian, 1/2 French dissent and three children. He died in 1887, at the age of 49.

Scope and Contents:  The collection has been bound and arranged by date of the original, with transcriptions preceding the photocopies of the original letters. In cases where good copies could not be made, the creator of the collection only included the transcriptions. The date range of the letters are from 1863 - 1864, with a letter from 1869, and transcripts from the journal of Charles Bradley, 1869 - 1871, included at the end.
The bulk of the collection describes in detail James's life as a Union soldier, but also contains references to his disillusionment with and eventual desertion from the Confederate Army. The bulk of the letters were written by another soldier who James had dictated to; it was only later in life that he became able to read and write himself.

Publication Information: St. Louis Mercantile Library Special Collections

Access Restrictions: Some of the material in Special Collection M-331 may be photocopied, digitally scanned or photographed, subject to condition.

Copyright Information: The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Existence and Location of Originals note: The original copies of these letters were donated to the Missouri History Museum.