Sigourney Press Announces the Release of Revised Edition of Love & Valor

DENVER, April 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — More than 20 years after the publication of the original version of Love and Valor – Intimate Civil War Letters Between Captain Jacob and Emeline Ritner, Sigourney Press has just released a revised and updated edition Sigourney Press of the book including many more stories and actual pictures of the men, women, and children mentioned in Jacob and Emeline’s letters.

ISBN (Print): 978-1-09833-959-3 $41.99 
ISBN (eBook): 978-1-09833-960-9 – $9.99

Honors of the Original Edition. The original edition of Love and Valor, first published in 2000, received many honors, including:

  • Smithsonian – Love and Valor was the featured Civil War book by the Smithsonian in the month after 9/11
  • Newsmax – calls Love & Valor the “most moving Civil War love story ever told”
  • Georgia Public TVJacob Ritner’s letters served as a main voice of the North in their 4-part series “Georgia and the Civil War”
  • Chicago Tribune – feature article in the Tempo Section August 31, 2000
  • Pulitzer Prize Winner Studs Terkel – included two letters from Jacob in his 2001 Memorial Day broadcast on War Letters
  • Harvard University PressDaughters of the Union by Nina Silber – Emeline and the women in her family mentioned on 16 pages
  • Knopf Publishing Group published Nothing but Victory: The Army of the Tennessee, 1861-1865 by Steven E. Woodworth – Jacob mentioned on 10 pages, plus the book title comes from a quote by Jacob Ritner
  • Savannah – A Historical Portrait by Margaret Wayt DeBolt, includes Jacob Ritner’s description of Bonaventure Cemetery that he wrote in January 1865 at the end of Sherman’s March to the Sea.
  • In 2001, Studs Terkel included sections of two of Jacob’s letters in a national radio broadcast “War Letters,” which included letters from American soldiers in all wars.

Why the updated version? Over the last 20 years, Larimer found many new stories and pictures of people mentioned in the letters, including two other photo albums, one of which contained pictures of Jacob and Emeline’s children.

In addition, he continued to find fascinating stories about the people Jacob and Emeline knew, or met, that they mentioned in their letters.

In this updated version, Larimer describes many of the strange stories about how he found the letters and pictures, and how he has met several descendants of people mentioned in the letters. Most of the modern day people live in the Mt. Pleasant, Iowa area, but he has met descendants of people mentioned in the letters as far away as Savannah, Georgia.

Sigourney Press

Larimer refers to the strangest of the strange stories he describes as “ghost stories.”

With this updated version, Larimer also included sections from:

  • The diary of Reverend Thomas E. Corkhill, the Chaplain of the 25th Iowa Infantry
  • The diary of Samuel Oliver “Ol” Bereman of the 4th Iowa Cavalry and one of Emeline’s brothers, and
  • Sections of the book My Eighty Three Years of Reminiscence, written by William Browning, a corporal under Jacob’s command in Company B of the 25th Iowa Infantry

New Stories. Some of the new stories include:

  • The most important ghost story – how Emeline’s letters found Larimer (not the other way around.)
  • The ghost story of Pomp, the young escaped slave who wandered into Jacob’s Union camp in December 1862 near Helena, Arkansas and how two years after the publication of the original edition, Larimer learned Pomp’s name from the Civil War Diary of Reverend Corkhill
  • The ghost story of the Ice Merchant of Savannah, Georgia who hosted Jacob Ritner for Christmas Dinner in 1864 at the end of Sherman’s March to the Sea, and how Larimer met his great grandson
  • The story of Jacob Ritner’s aunt Mary Ritner, who ran the boarding house in Chambersburg, PA where the famous abolitionist John Brown lived while planning his raid on Harpers Ferry
  • The story of Frances “Franc” Roads, one of the founders of the national/international women’s organization P.E.O., who is mentioned in one of Emeline’s letters as a twelve-year old girl who came over one afternoon with her cousin to play with Jacob and Emeline’s daughters.
  • The story of Henry Clay Dean, a lawyer from Mt. Pleasant, Iowa who opposed Emeline’s brother Alvah Bereman in a court case, and then 20 years later had a whole chapter written about him in Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi
  • The story of Captain Romulus Hanks from Knoxville, Iowa who (non-fiction) shared a hospital room with Jacob in Rome, Georgia, and then in the 1940s had a starring role in the book The History of Rome Hanks and Kindred Matters (historical fiction) that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize
  • The strange stories of finding three different Civil War era photo albums that contained pictures of Jacob, Emeline, and their families, including their children and parents

Book Description. A tremendously moving American love story told through actual Civil War letters between Captain Jacob and Emeline Ritner. Their letters tell the story of a Union captain from Iowa and his wife, who maintained a family and farm during the war. Their letters tell of their devotion to each other, patriotism, loneliness, their anguish at the death of loved ones, and slavery, as well as their great great grandson’s strange stories of finding their letters and meeting descendants of people mentioned in the letters.

Jacob, an idealist teacher, farmer and abolitionist from Iowa travels across the South, taking with him a brother, brother-in-law, friends, and the sons of neighbors as a Captain in the Union Army. Jacob witnessed the death of family and friends, participated in a great adventure, saw new lands, and experienced changing views on the South. Emeline stayed in Iowa, raised four small children, managed the family farm, and dealt with other women in their hometown, also dealing with more serious and tragic stories of how family, friends, and neighbors cope with deaths from the war.

Originally published in 2000, this update after 20 years includes additional stories and many pictures that Jacob and Emeline’s great great grandson, Charles Larimer, has collected since the initial publication. This update also includes new and expanded descriptions of the “Ghost Stories” including the story of Pomp, the escaped slave from December 1862 at the start of the Vicksburg Campaign; the story of Alfred Haywood, the Ice Merchant of Savannah, Georgia from Christmas 1864 at the end of Sherman’s March to the Sea; finding three Ritner family photo albums, all under strange situations; and many more Ghost Stories about finding descendants of people mentioned in the letters.

This update version also includes diary sections from Reverend Thomas Corkhill of the 25th Iowa Infantry and Emeline’s brother Ol Bereman of the 4th Iowa Cavalry, where these diary sections dove-tail with Jacob’s stories and provide additional fascinating information.

A narrative documentary of the story, narrated by Brian Dennehy, appeared in many film festivals in the early 2010s.

Charles F. Larimer
Sigourney Press
3051 S. Birch Street
Denver, CO  80222
(708) 567-5491-Cell

SOURCE Sigourney Press