After 265 years a trove of personal letters seized by the British Navy during the Seven Year War have been rediscovered by Cambridge history Professor Renaud Morieux.
"I only ordered the box out of curiosity," said Morieux, whose findings were published on Tuesday in the journal "Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales".
Presented with three piles of very small letters held together by ribbon, Morieux said he "realised I was the first person to read these very personal messages since they were written".
"Their intended recipients didn't get that chance. It was very emotional," he said.
These letters have provided a rare insight into the lives of sailors and their families during a time of great turmoil during the mid 1700's.
"I could spend the night writing to you... I am your forever faithful wife," wrote Marie Dubosc to her husband Louis Chamberlain, the first lieutenant of a French warship in 1758.
"Good night, my dear friend. It is midnight. I think it is time for me to rest."
Unknown to Marie, her husband's ship, the Galatee, had been captured by the British, researchers at the University of Cambridge found.
Louis never received the letter and his wife died the following year, almost certainly before he was released by the British.