Ellen E. Hodges


At the outbreak of the Civil War, Winston J. T. Stephens and his wife Octavia lived on a small plantation, Rose Cottage, near Welaka on the St. Johns River. In 1861 Stephens, although a Whig and not a proponent of war, joined and was later elected lieutenant in a militia company. He was later its captain. The letters which passed between Winston and Octavia during the war years are replete with personal, social, agricultural, racial, and military observations. Portions of the Stephens letters dating from 1861 to January 1862 were earlier Stephens letters dating from 1861 to January 1862, were earlier published in the Florida Historical Quarterly (Vol. LVI, No. 1, July 1977, pp. 45-74). These earlier letters dealt with family anxieties and political conflicts during the first year of the war. The letters published below contain much more military information.