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Coleman and Truss family letters

Identifier: W-0103

Scope and Contents

This collection contains letters written by members of the extended Coleman family. These letters date from 1860 to 1868 and relay general family news, as well as reports of military life. The collection includes correspondence written by two generations of this St. Clair County, Alabama, family. Three letters written by or addressed to brothers William A. Coleman and James L. Coleman describe daily life in St. Clair, describing the sale of materials and cotton planting conditions. One letter written by James Coleman offers condolences to William after the death of his son. The collection also includes letters written by the sons and son-in-law of William and James: William S. Coleman, Thomas P. Coleman, and James D. Truss. Letters written by William's son Thomas P. Coleman describe the First Battle of Bull Run (identified as the Battle of Manassas) and battles near Richmond, Virginia, in 1862 and provide detailed descriptions of camp life. Five letters written by William's son-in-law James D. Truss describe camp conditions in the Tenth Alabama Regiment, detailing the distribution of food and clothing and medical care in the camp. This collection of letters also includes a letter written by the officers of the 10th Alabama asking an unknown officer to resign his post and detailing the company's grievances against him.


  • 1860 - 1868


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Biographical / Historical

Philip Grundy Coleman was born on June 28, 1776, in South Carolina. In approximately 1822, Coleman moved to St. Clair County, Alabama. He married Martha G. Merryman, and the couple had seven children: William A. (1807-1873), Julia A. S. H. (1811-1853), James L. (1813-1887), Cinthia Catherine (1815-1854), Sarah E. F. I. (1817-1836), Thomas P. (1820-1834), and Martha A. A. (1824-1876). Coleman died on July 18, 1846, in Pickensville, Alabama.

James L. Coleman married Eliza Francis Collins on September 7, 1837; the couple had thirteen children, including William Sinclair Coleman and Thomas P. Coleman. In 1861, William Coleman enlisted in Company C of the Twenty-fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment. William was captured on March 15, 1865, in Bentonville, North Carolina, and imprisoned at Point Lookout, Maryland, until the end of the war. Thomas Coleman enlisted in the Tenth Alabama Infantry Regiment.

William A. Coleman married Maranna Roberson on February 5, 1829; the couple had five children: Sidney L., Martha, Thomas P., James K. P., and Luann F. Sidney L. Coleman enlisted as a member of the Company F of the Tenth Alabama Infantry Regiment and was killed in action on December 20, 1861, at Drainville, Virginia. Thomas Coleman was also a member of Company F and died at Winchester, Virginia, on September 19, 1864. William A. Coleman's daughter married Martha married James D. Truss, who served as a Major in the Tenth Alabama.


0.15 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Contains letters written before, during, and after the Civil War by the Coleman family of St. Clair, Alabama

Physical Location

The A. S. Williams III Americana Collection, Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library, The University of Alabama


Gift of A. S. Williams III, 2010


Title on Spine: Coleman-Truss Letters

Processed by

Haley Aaron, 2013
Guide to the Coleman and Truss family letters
December 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266