NEW! A quilt book with a love story to share: inspired by the Civil War

An old-fashioned love story comes alive in quilts inspired by authentic Civil War letters in Quilts of Love and Valor.

Quilts of Love and Valor

Touched by the real-life letters of Jacob and Emeline Ritner, a husband and wife separated by the Civil War, author Becky A. Wright shares quilt patterns based on captivating stories the couple shared. Tales of the battlefield, news from the homefront, and love maintained through nearly four years of separation are captured in 11 antique-style designs, perfect for reproduction fabrics.

From Quilts of Love and Valor

Excerpts from Jacob and Emeline’s letters—the only complete set of Civil War letters known to exist—shed light on the inspiration behind each quilt, giving you a sense of what life was like for everyday people during the Civil War.

Emeline and Jacob Ritner
Emeline and Jacob Ritner

We’re happy to have Becky as a guest writer today to tell you more about Quilts of Love and Valor.

Becky A. WrightMy book follows the lives of Captain Jacob and Emeline Ritner during the four years of the Civil War. The Ritners were a well-known and highly respected family in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Jacob enlisted into the 1st Iowa Infantry Volunteers for a 100-day term, returned home for a short time, and then enlisted as a 1st Lieutenant of Company B in the 25th Iowa Infantry Volunteers, where he served for the duration of the war.

Jacob left behind his wife and four children, one a yet-to-be-named baby girl. During their separation, Jacob and Emeline kept up a faithful correspondence. This collection of letters is believed to be the only complete set of Civil War letters still existing today.

Jacob's Cot Quilt
Jacob’s Cot Quilt. Women throughout the North made cot-sized quilts to help support the war effort.

Jacob was eventually promoted to Captain of Company B of the 25th Iowa. He wrote of his training, marches, battles, and the brave men who served with him. The 25th Iowa served valiantly throughout the war, taking part in most of the major battles, most notably in Sherman’s March to the Sea.

Union Encampment quilt
Union Encampment. Jacob’s correspondence indicates that the soldiers made camp whenever necessary and not always in desirable locations or conditions. The triangular blocks in Union Encampment represent the rows of tents often set up in haste and taken down just as quickly as Northern troops moved under fire by Confederate forces.

Jacob’s thoughts were always with his family. He wrote often, seeking to know how they were faring, giving Emeline advice on the garden, the livestock, bills, and caring for their children. Emeline sent news of Mt. Pleasant, family, and friends. She was ever fearful of Jacob being injured or getting sick, pleading with him to come home.

Of the 1136 men who enrolled in the 25th Iowa, 39 were killed, 187 were wounded, 24 died from their wounds, 201 died of disease, 164 were discharged due to wounds or disease, and 18 were captured. The 25th Iowa proudly marched in the Grand Review in Washington DC after the war, before returning home to Iowa.

My quilts were inspired by the stories found in the Ritner letters. I hope you will enjoy the story of the Ritners, and the quilts that were inspired by them.

Quilts of Love and ValorWe have a copy of Quilts and Love and Valor to give away today! To enter your name in the random drawing, tell us in the comments:

What draws you to quilts from the Civil War era: the prints, the colors, the history?

We’ll choose a winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And if you’re ready to be whisked away by this Civil War love story, you can purchase Quilts of Love and Valor at our website and we’ll send you a link to download the eBook version for free.


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