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Civil War Cadet Life & the Battle of New Market
James L. Merritt letters
Manuscript #337

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  • November 21, 1863, written from VMI.
    Civil War cadet life. "I am very tired of this place as I don't get enough to eat very often"
  • May 16, 1864, from New Market.
    Written the day after the Battle of New Market; reports that he has been wounded in the stomach.

James Love Merritt, from Lawrenceville, Virginia, was born in September 1845. He was the son of W. H. E Merritt and Elizabeth Willis Goode. Merritt matriculated at VMI on August 6, 1863, and on May 15, 1864, he took part in the Battle of New Market as a private in Cadet Company C. He was seriously wounded in the battle and did not return to the Institute. Following the Civil War, he pursued a career in civil engineering and subsequently settled on his farm near Lawrenceville. Merritt never married; his closest relative was Howard Jeffries Merritt, a member of the VMI Class of 1868. He died at his home on March 18, 1911. The Merritt papers consist of two letters, both written to his father.