The Mary Louise Pearre Hamilton Papers consist of typescripts of her diary, 1863-64, and of letters written to her by her fiance, John Hall Hamilton, 1861-63. Their son, Joshua Pearre Hamilton, transcribed the diary and letters sometime in the early 20th century and added commentary to the diary entries. There is also a family history by J.P. Hamilton, a brief second-hand account of John Hall Hamilton's experience as a Confederate soldier in the Civil War, a photocopy of a handwritten family lineage and a typescript of a military report.
The diary entries contain Mary's comments on life in Middle Tennessee during the Civil War, and her analysis of political and military events. Pearre's comments reflect her support of the Confederacy. Hamilton's letters to Mary describe conditions in military camps, battles fought with the Federals, and terrain that Hamilton's unit marched through. His letters also express his feelings of love and affection for Mary or "Mollie," as he called her.
The Mary Louise Pearre Hamilton collection was donated to the Archives of Appalachia on June 23, 1982 by Janie Stout, Hamilton's great-granddaughter.
Existence and Location of Originals
The Hamilton family retained possession of the original materials. In 2010, the Mary Louise Pearre Hamilton diary (1863-1864) was loaned to the Tennessee State Library and Archives by James Gordon Hamilton for microfilming as a consequence of the Looking Back at the Civil War in Tennessee digitization project. In March 2017, the family donated the original diary to the TSLA which also holds a transcription of the diary (accession number 2005-020) and some family photographs.
J Shelton completed processing and the collection was open for research in November, 1986. The finding aid was revised by Marie Tedesco in 1993