More than 300 letters written by a University of Mississippi student who left the campus in 1861 to help Confederate forces fight the Civil War are the basis of a recent book by Jennifer Ford, The Hour of our Nation's Agony.
Ford is an associate professor and director of archives and special collection in the university's J.D. Williams Library. She was inspired to write the book as she processed the letters when they were donated to the library in 2002.
The book follows Holly Springs native Lt. William Cowper Nelson as he is transformed from an idealistic young soldier into a battle-hardened veteran.