James E. Mitchell, also known as "Ned," enlisted in Co. C of the 10th Maine Infantry Regiment on October 5, 1861 when he was 20 years old. Mitchell, of Yarmouth, was a sergeant and served until May 7, 1863. Co. C was also known as the Portland Light Guard.
Mitchell wrote to Persis Blanchard of Cumberland, often beginning his letters "Dear Sister Persis." The two were not siblings. Blanchard kept his letters tied together in a bundle.
Persis De Forrest Blanchard (1836-1870) was in ill health all her life and only left home for a short period of time under the care of a physician. She remained single, carrying on active correspondence with a number of people.