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A sketch by Cynthia Capron

A sketch by Cynthia Capron

About the Collection

Thaddeus Hurlbut Capron was born in Wisconsin on February 11, 1840. He enlisted in the 55th Illinois Infantry September 9, 1861 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant March 1, 1863. After the Civil War he joined the 9th U.S. Infantry as a second lieutenant January 22, 1867, and served in many western campaigns and at many western forts. On June 27, 1867, he married Cynthia Jane ("Jennie") Steves. He was promoted to first lieutenant November 8, 1871, and served under General Crook at the Battle of the Rosebud (June 1876). Capron retired from the army August 30, 1887, and died on December 24, 1890.

Cynthia Jane Steves Capron (1843-1923) was born near Syracuse, New York, and grew up in Durand, Illinois. She accompanied her husband to the west and experienced the life of an officer's wife at Camp Wright (California), Fort Laramie (Wyoming), and Fort Hartsuff (Nebraska), among other locations.

In 1897, after her husband's death, Cynthia Capron began copying some of his diaries and many of his letters in her own hand into copybooks. She interspersed the letters with her reminiscences of the events, and titled the volumes "Thad's and My Letters." The collection includes diaries and letters of Thaddeus Capron and reminiscences of his wife, Cynthia. Photographs and drawings are also included. Of special note are the diaries which Lieutenant Capron kept during 1876 while he was serving with General Crook's expedition which culminated in the Battle of the Rosebud.

Collection Materials Used

For all of the items listed below, both the original documents and transcripts are provided. A full inventory of the collection, as well as additional digitized material, is accessible online from:

From Thaddeus Capron in Camp Sheridan, NE, to his sister, Emma, August 29, 1875.

Thaddeus, stationed in Sioux country, misses his family and discusses the possibility of purchasing the Black Hills.

From Thaddeus in Camp Antelope Springs, to Cynthia, June 24, 1876.

Thaddeus shares the sad news of his son's death.

From Thaddeus and Cynthia in Camp Wright, CA, to Cynthia's sister, June 21 & July 1, 1868

Thaddeus and Cynthia share baby news.

From Cynthia Capron to Hazen, December 1880.

Cynthia discusses an ice skating accident, Hazenís school, and plans for Christmas.