1863: Edward H. Wells to James Nims

Edward H. Wells (1842-1864) was 19 years old from Bridgeport, Iowa, when he enlisted on 14 September 1861 in Co. I, 12th Iowa Infantry. He was severely wounded at the Battle of Nashville on 16 December 1864, taking a bullet in the knee which resulted in the amputation of his leg. He died of his wounds, however, on 21 December 1864.

In his letter, Wells refers to an expedition and a hard fight in July. I believe this is a reference to expedition sent out from Jackson, Mississippi, led by by Colonel Geddes of the 8th Iowa, sent to the Pearl River. It seems apparent that though the 12th Iowa participated on this expedition, Wells was too sick to participate himself.

Edward wrote the letter to his friend, James “Nott” Nims (1846-1923), the son of Amasa Nims (1810-1894) and Adeline Goodnow (1813-1893) of Maquoketa, Jackson county, Iowa.  Edward mentions Nim’s brother, Creon Lycortez (“Con”) Nims (1844-1935) in his letter. Creon’s brother, Owen Weed Nims (1842-1929), also served in the same company & regiment as Wells. In 2018, I transcribed one of Weed Nims’ letters describing the Battle of Shiloh; see 1862: Owen Weed Nims to Parents.

Screen Shot 2020-01-19 at 12.43.55 PM
This is a tintype of “Weed” Nims, the brother of the letter’s recipient, “Nott” Nims. Weed also served in Co. I, 12th Iowa with Edward Wells but had been discharged by the time this letter was written.


Camp of the 12th Iowa [near Vicksburg, Mis.]
July the 28th [1863]

Friend James Nims,

I now take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well at present and hope that these few lines may find you the same. There was an expedition went out and got in a fight and had a hard one.

I am not very well now. I have wrote once and have not got an answer for it yet. I want to know how [your brother] Creon and Netty Springer get along. I want to know how Weed gets along with his boat. I want to know why Sam Grant don’t write. Tell him to write to me.

We have not got any pay for some time. Tell your father to be patient and as soon as we draw our pay, I will send him some money. I can’t think of much to write this time so I will close this.

From Edward H. Wells

to James Nims

Write soon. Goodbye.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s