Corporal Edward Griffin Stevens, Co. K, 72nd Illinois Infantry, USA

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  • March 19: Edward Griffin Stevens was born in the northern part of Devon, England to Robert and Emma Stevens. 


  • July 17: The U.S. Federal Census taken in Machias, Washington County, Maine showed 8-year-old Edward living with his parents and siblings. His father, Robert, was a carpenter. 


  • August 21: Edward’s father, Robert, died. Leaving behind his mother, Emma, to care for seven children. 


  • July 17: The U.S. Federal Census taken Galesburg, Knox County, IL showed 20-year-old Edward as a boarder, working as a druggist. 


  • July 31: Edward enlisted in the U.S. Army. He mustered into Co. K, 72nd Illinois as a private. 
  • August 2: Edward’s brother, Robert, enlisted in the United Sites Army, Co. E, 124th Illinois Infantry as a corporal. 
  • *Edward’s brother, William, enlisted in the United States Army, Co. H, 52nd Illinois Infantry as a private.


  • February 18: Edward wrote a letter home to his mother, Emma, about his brother Robert passing away. 
Head Quarters 72nd Regt. Ill. Vol.
Memphis Tenn. Feb. 18th '63
Dear Mother,
I must send you sorry, sorry news. Robert is dead. He died yesterday morning at the Adams Hospital. It makes me feel worse to think that I was not thare at the time of his death. The last time I saw him was some twelve days ago. He was then much better.
We then was removed some four miles from town, and as I was not well enough to go and see him for some days, I did not see him, but heard from him almost every day. And when I did feel well enough to go to town, our Regt. was ordered to go on an expedition and I had to go. We got home this noon and as soon as I got home I was told of his death. I started right off to his Regt. and found that he had been buried. I will find out the place tomorrow and if it is your wish I will try and send him home. His Captain said he intended doing so, but he was going away the next day and could not attend to it. Mr. Howland was with him at the time of his death. He spoke of you all. His (illegible) will be sent to you in a day or so. All he had goes to you. You had better put the amount of pay due him from the U.S. in some persons hands for collection. It may be that the Captain will promise to do it but you cannot depend on them, as they have so many such cases to attend to that they are liable to forget it. I cannot tell exactly when I will get my pay.
We are going to Vicksburg soon, perhaps next week. As it is time to go to bed I must close. Give my love to all.
Your Affectionate Son


  • November 30: Edward fought with the 72nd Illinois at the Battle of Franklin. His regiment was positioned at the center of the line on Fountain Branch Carter's property, specifically in the Carter garden.  
  • December 2:  Edward wrote home to his mother, Emma, several times speaking about the Battle of Franklin.
Dec. 2nd We have fell back as far as Nashville with the enemy close upon us. We had a desperate fight at Franklin, eighteen miles from here. Our Regt. loss is heavy. The most I regret is we lost our Battle Flag, but honorably, as we was the only Regt that stood our ground. We are expecting attack every moment so I must stop. I'm all safe as yet. Will give you a more minute description of the battle when I write again.
Love to all
Your Affect. Son

December 10: Edward wrote home again to his mother, Emma, in Illinois about Franklin.

The Battle of Franklin was almost enough to suit me. Our Regiments loss is one
hundred and fifty-eight killed and wounded. I would like to give you the particulars of the fight, but it is too cold. It is as much as I can do to hold my pencil my fingers are so cold. Thare is some cannonading on our left this morning. Well I must stop.
Love to all
Your Affectionate
Son Edward

December 23: writing home to his mother, Emma, about how he disliked the new recruits during the Battle of Franklin. 

There is one thing l like about this command. They are all old troops. I never want to get into a fight with new troops again as thare is more danger from them than from the enemy. We had a fair trial of that at Franklin. We were then with the 23rd corp in which is a number of conscripts and raw recruits. Well as it is time to get supper and I'm cooktonight I must close.
Give my love to all. Emmas or your letters have not been received yet.
Your Affectionate Son


  • August 7: Edward mustered out of the U.S. Army.


  • August 4: The U.S. Federal Census taken in Pontiac, Livingston County, IL showed 29-year-old Edward, a painter, living with his wife, Maggie. *Edward and Maggie divorced a few years later.


  • March 9: Edward married Josephine Neavitt in Muscatine, IA.  


  • June 12:  The U.S. Federal Census taken in Wilton, Muscatine County, IA showed Edward living with his wife and daughter.


  • April 16: The U.S. Federal Census taken in Wilton, Muscatine County, IA showed Edward, a painter of house signs, living with his wife and children.


February 12: Edward died and was buried in Wilton, Iowa.



***All letters from the collection of