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Aaron H. Ingraham papers, 1861-1862

12 items

This collection contains 12 letters from Union soldier Aaron Ingraham to his parents and sisters from 1861 to 1862, while he served in the 48th New York Infantry. Ingraham described his experiences at Camp Sherman in Washington D.C.; Annapolis, Maryland; Hilton Head, South Carolina; Camp Perry at Daufuskie Island, South Carolina; and Fort Pulaski, Georgia.

The Aaron H. Ingraham papers contain 12 letters from a Union soldier to his parents and sisters from 1861 to 1862, while he served in the 48th New York Infantry. In them, he provided a description of his daily activities and responsibilities, and included basic information on troop movements. As Ingraham traveled from Camp Sherman in Washington D.C. to Annapolis, Maryland, Hilton Head, South Carolina, Camp Perry at Daufuskie Island, South Carolina, and finally to Fort Pulaski, Georgia, he described each of these settings. For instance, he reported that Annapolis was "a mere nothing, the houses being of inferior size and quality. The streets narrow and running in every direction but straight and there is naut of life and activity which makes it seem like anything but a northern city." In a letter to his sister, he mentioned a conversation with a free African American woman in Annapolis about her children whom had been taken north (October 17, 1861). Later letters concern the fortifications of Hilton Head and the effectiveness of mail delivery to the forts. Though he often described the monotonous life of a soldier, and complained about poor food and his lack of money, he used his keen sense of observation to highlight interesting events in the forts. The January 20, 1862, letter provides a wonderful account of eating at the fort and his excitement about receiving ginger snaps and bread in the mail. In this letter he also mentioned a friend who drowned after walking over the side of a boat in his sleep. Letters from November 29, 1861, and February 12, 1862, both recount instances of friendly fire. Ingraham wrote the letter of March 30, 1862, from Fort Pulaski, just after the Union captured the fort. He reported a rumor that Jefferson Davis was captured by Union troops, but he believed the rumors unfounded. While he held strong anti-Confederate views, he was not an abolitionist. In the final letter in the collection, he noted that slavery should simply be allowed to die out or at least contained in current slave territories.

The letter from January 9, 1862, has a red and blue patriotic engraved image of a woman carrying an American flag.


Edwin Freeman papers, 1942-1945

35 items

This collection consists of letters written from Edwin Freeman to Prescott Barrows while serving in the United States Army in World War II. The letters are written from an army base in Greenville, Mississippi and from an army post in India.

This collection includes 26 letters written from Edwin Freeman to Prescott Barrows in 1942 from an army base in Greenville, Mississippi and an additional 9 letters written to Prescott Barrows from a posting in India in 1945. Many of the letters are written on illustrated army stationery.

The Greenville letters largely portray Freeman's dissatisfaction with army life. He describes the drills, several meals, constant homesickness, and the fact that he is ill-suited to military life. He talks of going on leave to Greenville, and includes racist remarks about the "colored girls" there, in addition to disparaging remarks about southerners in general. A pervasive theme throughout the letters is Freeman's love of classical music which forms a bond between the two men. He talks of composers and favorite classical pieces, and frequently details his efforts to hear classical music while on the base, even describing a fistfight he initiated when another man tried to turn off the radio during a classical program.

The India letters reiterate these themes, with the addition of local weather, more racist comments about the "black Indians," and a colorful description of a Hindu religious festival. Of particular interest is a letter dated 10 May 1945, in which Freeman writes of receiving news both of Germany's defeat and of Roosevelt's death, which causes widespread dismay. He has strong and racist feelings about the Japanese. In a letter of 28 July 1945, he mentions seeing film footage of a liberated Japanese concentration camp and his and the other men's rage at the state of the men and this evidence of "inhuman cruelty." On another occasion, he sees former Japanese POWs passing through on their way back to the States. Because of their condition, he feels the Japanese fully deserve the atomic bomb and other horrors besides.


Huntington family papers, 1845-1886

88 Items

The Huntington family papers are a collection of letters from the children of Cyrus Huntington of Watertown, New York, between 1845 and 1886. The collection contains 7 Civil War era letters, written by Hiram Huntington of Co. G of the 94th New York Regiment, in which he discussed his experiences in Washington and Virginia and expressed his opinions on the state of the war.

The Huntington family papers contain 83 letters, written between 1845 and 1886, mainly by the children of Cyrus Huntington, and 4 undated newspaper clippings. The earliest item is a document assigning Cyrus T. Huntington, the marshal of election in district no. 2 in Watertown, New York, the responsibility of taking the "census or enumeration of the inhabitants" of the town in 1845. The next six letters are from Charles S. Huntington in Lee Center, Illinois, addressed to his parents and sister Eliza. He writes of his health and his work on his family farm, and news of mutual family, friends, and acquaintances. Hiram's letters begin in 1855, when he left home to attend the Fairfield Seminary in Fairfield, New York. Hiram's 10 pre-war letters to family and friends largely concern family news and his life at school.

Several other pre-war letters are from Eliza to her brothers, and from John, who lives in Black River, New York, a small town close to Watertown, to his parents and friends. One notable item is a constitution of the Fairfield Union Guards, organized in May 11, 1861. No Huntington names, however, appear on the list.

The collection holds 7 Civil War era letters from Hiram, writing from Co. G of the 94th New York Regiment, including 2 undated letters. In these he described his war experiences in Washington and Virginia, and shared his opinions on the state of the war. On July 24, 1862, Hiram wrote "I think that placing Gen. Pope in his position was the very best thing that could be done, McDowell's imbecility or intended Backwardness has been a serious drawback upon the war." In his letter from November 14, 1862, he mentioned that General Tower was wounded at Bull Run and lamented that

"Gen McClellan took his leave of us. I think that if there had been any one to start the thing the whole corps would have lain down their arms. As it was the thing was Much talked of[.] little Mack as McClellan is called is the Man we want to fight under. & no one who has not been in on a battle can estimate the advantage of giving Men a leader in whom they can have confidence. In McL that Confidence was unbounded."

Hiram's final letter is dated November 22, 1862.

The remainder of the collection consists of letters written to family members still residing in Watertown, New York, between 1862 and 1886. These include 5 letters from John, who by 1878 is living in Mexico, New York; three letters addressed to John; three letters from Charles, who is living in Liverpool, New York; and one letter from brother Henry.

The collection also contains 4 undated newspaper clippings including a Watertown obituary for Dr. Isaac Munson and poems entitled "Come," "Railroad Matters," and Dash Down the Wine Cup."

The Huntington family papers have two items with illustrations: a letter from September 28, 1855, contains a large letterhead engraving depicting a pastoral view of Fairfield Seminary, and a letter from July 13, 1862, contains a patriotic letterhead in red and blue depicting an eagle raising a flag with the inscription "Not a Star Must Fall."


William G. Henderson papers, 1862-1863

10 items

The William G. Henderson papers consist of letters from a young soldier in the Civil War to his family in Connecticut. Henderson described camp and hospital life, and discussed his views on the war and incompetent Union leadership.

The William G. Henderson papers consist of letters from a young soldier in the Civil War to his family in Connecticut. Henderson described camp and hospital life, and discussed his views on the war and the incompetent Union leadership. On January 20, 1863, Henderson wrote:

"But it is rather vexing to men that left their business and came here in order to end the war to be kept month after month scouring brass, washing white gloves, carrying knapsacks, and the like. We are doing fancy soldiering, that is all while the Rebs don't stop to see whether a man's gloves are perfectly white or not if he can only fight."

In his letter of Jan. 22, 1863, Henderson stated that he was not fighting for racial equality, but did believe that the cause of the war was right. He constantly voiced his disapproval of Union general's management of the war. By February 22, Henderson had landed in the Fort Worth military hospital with ear aches and ear discharge. He remained in the hospital for the remainder of the next three months, and in his last letters stated that he was getting better. The collection's final item is an unattributed poem commemorating Henderson's death (May 4, 1863).