A Civil War Valentine

On January 30, 1863, George Deal, a Union Army soldier in Company K of the 20th Ohio Regiment, sent his wife, Sarah, a letter and a valentine (pictured here). Very likely illiterate, Deal dictated his letters to fellow soldiers, some of whom introduce themselves to Sarah in the letters.

"I will send you this valentine just because I thought it was nice," the letter reads. "I know you will keep it till (sic) I come home if I am so permitted. I would be glad to see you all, even the cat, but I must close as I have told you about all I can think of at this time."

The following year, Deal died during the Battle of Atlanta; almost 10 years later, Sarah perished in a house fire in Sidney, Ohio.

This valentine is part of the Newberry's George Deal Papers, consisting of 55 letters and letter fragments from George to Sarah, as well as photographs of the couple, copies of army records, a few Confederate bills, and some notes made by Deal's grandson.