The collection consists of copies of letters and journals of Samuel Rankin Latta of Dyersburg, Tennessee. Most of the letters were written during the first years of the Civil War (1860-1862) and are from Latta to his wife Mary and to other members of his family. The letters tell of his participation in the war and discuss family matters. The journals (1848-1857), written by Latta, describe his social, religious, and college activities, teaching experiences, and travels, and give his opinions on events of the time. There are also genealogical notes about the Latta family as well as the "Life of Mary Neely."