The narrative documentary Love & Valor – The Intimate Civil War Letters will be shown at Iowa Wesleyan College on Friday, April 9 at 7 p.m. The film is a moving story between a man and a woman during the American Civil War, based on the book Love and Valor – The Intimate Civil War Letters Between Captain Jacob and Emeline Ritner.
A reception with light refreshments to greet film writer/producer Charles Larimer will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. in the foyer of the Iowa Wesleyan College Chapel. The reception is open to the public and free of charge.
Tickets are to the film are $5.00 and will be available at the door. Proceeds from this showing will help support the preservation and development of the Harlan-Lincoln House at Iowa Wesleyan College.
Narrated by actor Brian Dennehy (Cocoon, First Blood, Presumed Innocent, F/X), the story is based on the actual letters between an Iowa captain during the Civil War and his wife. Although this is a local Iowa story, the book upon which the movie is based has received national attention: the Smithsonian featured it in the month after 9/11 as a testimony to the strength of the American family; Georgia Public TV used Captain Jacob Ritner’s letters as the main voice of the North for the Atlanta Campaign in its four-part series “Georgia and the Civil War” produced in 2002, and Harvard University Press made frequent reference to Emeline in its 2005 publication Daughters of the Union – Northern Women Fight the Civil War by Nina Silber.
Ritner, a Union Captain from Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, was a teacher, farmer and abolitionist before the war. The movie tells of patriotism, loneliness, slavery, anguish at the death of loved ones, and their devotion to each other. As Emeline is faced with the daunting task of raising four small children, managing the family farm and dealing with other women in town, Jacob participates in a great adventure, witnessing the death of family and friends, and seeing new lands and changing views of the South.
The proceeds of this showing will benefit the preservation and development of the Harlan-Lincoln House at Iowa Wesleyan College. The Harlan-Lincoln House was built in 1876 by U.S. Senator James Harlan. Harlan's daughter, Mary, married Robert Todd Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln. The Lincolns brought their three children to spend summers here in the late 1870's and 1880's. Later, the Robert Todd Lincolns owned the home and spent extended periods of time there. The house tells the story of the 50-year relationship between a prominent American family and this small Iowa college and community.
Many other Iowa locations are featured in the film, including the riverboat scenes filmed on the Riverboat Twilight in LeClaire, Iowa. Numerous cemetery scenes, showing graves of actual Iowa soldiers featured in the story, were filmed around the Mt. Pleasant area. These cemeteries include Forest Home Cemetery located in southern Mt. Pleasant, Jagger Cemetery near Danville, Old Baptist Pioneer Cemetery and Finley Chapel Cemetery near Wayland.