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Bomar family papers, 1862-1870

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322



Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/8z0xx

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Bomar family.
Title: Bomar family papers, 1862-1870
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 86
Extent: .25 linear ft. (1 box)
Abstract:Letters of the Benjamin F. Bomar family of Atlanta, Georgia, which document Atlanta history, particularly social history, during the Civil War and the lives of "refugees" from Atlanta during the war.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


Purchased from Frank O. Walsh, Jr. of the Yesteryear Book Shop, 1973.

Custodial History

Purchased from dealer, provenance unknown. Professor Bell I. Wiley acted as an agent in the purchase.


[after identification of item(s)], Bomar family papers, Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

Acquired by Emory history professor Bell I. Wiley as part of the Rose Library's holdings in Atlanta history.


Processed by Linda Matthews, 1973.

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Collection Description

Biographical Note

Benjamin F. Bomar was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, August 9, 1816, the son of Reverend Thomas Bomar and Elizabeth C. High Bomar. He was educated in Spartanburg and at the Medical College of South Carolina at Charleston where he took a course in 1839. In 1840, he moved to Cumming, Georgia, where he took up the practice of medicine and met and married Sarah Elizabeth Lumpkin Hayne. The Bomars settled in Atlanta in 1847, by which time Bomar had given up the practice of medicine to become a dealer in "general merchandise." Dr. Bomar was elected a member of the first Atlanta City Council in 1848, became Atlanta's second mayor in January 1849, and in 1854 became the first clerk of the Fulton County Superior Court. He was one of the original members of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta and a co-owner of the Atlanta Intelligencer, an early newspaper first published in 1851 ( Pioneer Citizens' History of Atlanta, 1833-1902, pp. 151 and 122). He died February 1, 1868, and was buried in Oakland Cemetery.

Benjamin F. and Sarah E. L. H. Bomar had three children. The oldest son, Thomas H., served in Company L, 38th Regiment of Georgia Volunteer Infantry (Lillian Henderson, Roster of the Confederate Soldiers of Georgia, IV, p. 218). A younger son, William A., "saw service as a courier with his father in Virginia." A daughter, Amaryllis, to whom most of these letters are written, became the wife of Charles H. Killian. (See T. D. Killian, "A Sketch of the Life of Dr. B. F. Bomar, Atlanta's Second Mayor," The Atlanta Historical Bulletin, I (April, 1931), pp. 5-9.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of twenty-six letters, 1862-1870, of which twenty three are of the Civil War period. Most of the letters are written to Amaryllis Bomar. The letters are informative concerning Atlanta history, particularly social history, during the Civil War and the lives of "refugees" from Atlanta during the war.

The two earliest letters (February 20 and April 5, 1862), probably written by Charles H. Killian, later husband of Amaryllis Bomar, are routine letters of a Confederate soldier to his parents. No indication of the regiment is given.

Seven letters (April 12, 1862 - July 16, 1864) are written to the Bomars by Richard Walpole, a member of Company D, 15th Mississippi Regiment of Volunteer Infantry. A brief description of major topics follows. In letters of 1862, April 12 and June 18, Walpole describes the battle of Shiloh and the effects on his regiment. A letter of November 4, 1862, gives details of the movements of his regiment after the evacuation of Corinth, Miss., describes the battle of Corinth, and reflects the feelings of the troops toward their superior officers. A letter of December 18, 1862, again describes the movements of the regiment anal the military situation in Mississippi. The expected Federal attack on Vicksburg is discussed in a letter of January 18, 1863. By May 29, 1864, Walpoles regiment is in Georgia. In a letter of July 16, Walpole discusses the situation in North Georgia, describes his shock on seeing Atlanta after the evacuation of many families, expresses confidence in Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, and relates that Lt. General Stewart is using "Ama" Bomar's grandfather's house as headquarters.

Ten letters (June 30, 1863 - February 7, 1865) are written to Amaryllis Bomar by her friend Imogene Hoyle. (For information on the Hoyle family see Piromis H. Bell, "The Calico House," The Atlanta Historical Bulletin, I (May, 1930), pp. 32-33). These letters are lively and well written, and contain information on Atlanta families, Civil War society in Georgia and "refugee" life. The Hoyles, an Atlanta family, refugeed to Sandersville in 1864, then lived in the country between Milledgeville and Sandersville during most of 1864 and the early months of 1865. The Bomars refugeed first to Dawson, then to Columbus.

One letter of Sarah E. L. H. Bomar to her daughter Amaryllis (July 14, 1864) gives local news in Dawson. Thomas H. Bomar, in a letter (July 23, 1864) to his parents from Strasburg,, Virginia, describes the movements of the 38th Georgia Infantry Regiment, Jubal Early's campaign into Maryland, and comments on General Joseph E. Johnston. In a letter of September 17, 1864, Bomar mourns the destruction of Atlanta. A letter from Benjamin F. Bomar (December 14, 1864) to his wife informs her of the capture of their son Thomas. Three post-Civil War letters contain social and family news.

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Container List

Box Folder Content
1 1 Letters, 1862-1870