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Davis E. Castle journals, 1864-1865

2 volumes

Davis Castle's journals provide information on his service in the Signal Corps of the Army of the Potomac.

Davis Castle's journal provides limited information on his service in the Signal Corps of the Army of the Potomac. The document is made up of brief entries, at times illegible handwriting, and empty pages. Castle tended to report second hand information rather than his own experiences.

On the first "Memoranda" page following December 31, 1865, is a list of births in Davis Castle's immediate family. The pages dated November 1, 1864 and August 25, 1865 contain coded passages.


Edmund Whitman papers, 1830-1881

73 items

The Edmund Whitman papers contain personal and military accounts and records concerning Whitman's teaching, Civil War service as chief quartermaster, and post-war work locating the graves of Union soldiers.

The Edmund Whitman papers contain 23 personal account books/diaries, 3 military account and letter books, a document, and 38 newspaper clippings. The materials span 1830-1881.

The Personal Account Books/Diaries series contains 23 volumes covering 1830-1876. They primarily contain information on Whitman's financial transactions, but also record major life events and feature occasional brief diary entries. While most of the volumes contain information on only one year, Volume I covers 1830-1855 in many brief entries, and several pages in the back of the volume note events such as his wedding to Nancy Russell, which took place "in a Hurricane at K[ingston]" (September 30, 1839), the deaths of his parents and wife, and the dates and places of his children's births and school attendance. The volumes for the years 1851 and 1853 contain only financial entries, which document the economic aspects of running the Hopkins Classical School in Cambridge. In addition to accounts, the 1855 volume contains a page of genealogical information, compiled by Whitman, which sheds light on several generations of the Whitman and Russell lines. Other volumes contain lists of publications and books that Whitman wanted to purchase (1858), and beginning in 1862, scattered military transactions mixed in with personal accounts. Tucked into the pocket of the 1865 volume is a table of the burial locations of approximately 20 Union soldiers who died in Missouri. In late July 1866, Whitman wrote a lengthy entry about cemeteries in Knoxville and Chattanooga, Tennessee. The later books in the series, 1872-1876, document Whitman's travel, interest from investments, and general transactions. The collection also contains two ongoing accounts, placed at the end: one spans 1856-1880, and records transactions related to the National Kansas Committee, and later, the schooling of Whitman's children; and another volume primarily records tuition transactions from the 1840s to the 1870s.

The Military Account Books and Letterbook series contains three items. The first account book covers May 1, 1863-December 1864 and lists payments made by Whitman, mainly to soldiers, on behalf of the United States government. The second volume contains similar records for the period of January 1, 1867-August 20, 1868, when the government undertook efforts to identify the graves of Union soldiers and rebury many of them in national cemeteries. Unlike the previous volume, this book provides information on the reason for each payment, whether "postage," "service," "hired men," "towing," or "purchase." The letterbook covers April 11, 1865-April 25, 1868, and records and summarizes the content of incoming letters to Whitman. The letters mainly contain requests for such items as fuel, clothing, and livestock, or for payments by the government for requisitioned items.

The Miscellaneous series contains a promotion document for Whitman, signed by Ulysses S. Grant (November 15, 1867), and 38 newspaper clippings from the 1850s to the 1870s, mainly pertaining to the Kansas controversy and its aftermath.

The collection also includes nine large format volumes kept by Edmund B. Whitman, containing correspondence, letter abstracts, and accounts of the office of the Assistant and Chief Quartermaster, District of Tennessee.


Helen M. Noye Hoyt papers, 1863-1925 (majority within 1863-1864)

70 items

This collection consists mainly of letters that Helen Hoyt wrote to her family and friends in Buffalo, New York, while working as a nurse in the Naval Academy Hospital during the Civil War. Her letters are about the suffering and death of the soldiers, her job, and her religious sentiments.

Of the 70 items in this collection, 57 are letters Helen Noye wrote during her 11 months as a volunteer nurse at the Naval Academy Hospital. Most of these letters are addressed to her entire family or her parents. Eleven are addressed to her siblings and one to her aunt. She also sent four letters to a ladies church group in Buffalo.

The letters from Helen are about a variety of subjects concerning her work and life as a volunteer nurse. She wrote about distributing food to the wounded soldiers, writing letters for them and finding ways to amuse them, such as organizing hymn singing. Her deep religious sentiments led her to read sermons and the Bible to her patients and she often wrote about Christian soldiers and the conversations she had about religion. She also wrote about the suffering of the wounded soldiers whom she tended, including a number of amputees. Occasionally she wrote the details of a soldier's death, often reflecting on his religious sprit just before he died.

Helen also wrote about the world around her, including descriptions of the quarters she lived in and the layout of the camp. She wrote about the places she visited including a trip to the capitol, nearby Camp Parole, College--Green--Barracks, and a visit to a Russian ship sent to fight for the Union. Helen also mentioned her clothing in the letters as she was often requesting items from home.

Descriptions of food show up in many of Helen's letters, some contain recipes. She sent notes to her church society about how the food they sent was appreciated and what they should send more of. After being put in charge of food for her section in March, her letters are filled with descriptions of what she made and served the soldiers, comments on full and half diet, and problems that arose in the kitchen.

Helen also made general comments on African--Americans she encountered while at the hospital, noting that there was a separate building for black soldiers and the different levels of education they have. Helen also wrote about former slave women and children who followed the Union Army.

In one letter sent to her church group, Helen included a thank you note written by an anonymous soldier.

Two later letters are also with the collection; one letter dated 3/18/1872 is to Helen from her father, the other dated 8/15/1875 is to Helen from her husband Birney Hoyt describing iron processing at Elk Rapids, Michigan.

Four photographs in the collection are pictures of the hospital supplies tent, with Dr. Vanderkeift, Chaplain Sloane, and Helen in front of it; a row of tents with a number of solider and women standing in front of them; and portraits of Dr. Vanderkeift and his wife taken in 1864.

There is a three page "sketch" by Helen about her experience as an army nurse summarizing her time there and mentioning a few specific events. There is also a receipt and an envelope both from 1925 on the back of which Helen jotted down notes about her time at the Naval Academy Hospital.

Miscellaneous items include two permission slips given to Helen while she was at the Hospital. One is from 5/6/1864 and is for "Helen M. Noye and party to go across the Severn river in a small boat." The other is a travel pass from 7/6/1864, verifying Helen's loyalty. One short newspaper clipping that was written by a former patient of the Annapolis General Hospital on how well he was treated there. And a detailed lithograph of the "U.S. General Hospital Div. No.1"


Lucius W. Chapman journal, 1864

180 pages

The Lucius Chapman journal is a closely-written account of a man's two month service as Chaplain of the 110th Ohio Infantry Regiment.

The Lucius Chapman diary is a closely-written account of a man's two months in the service. An educated and sensitive man, his constant themes are loneliness, the impoverished moral condition of the army, and religious services.


Lyman Gardner papers, 1864-1865; 1882-1901

27 items

The Lyman Gardner papers contain the Civil War correspondence of Mr. Gardner, who served in the 26th Ohio Infantry Regiment, and a later account book which documents his work in the Ohio lumber industry.

The bulk of Lyman Gardner's collection consists of a series of letters to his parents in Ohio, including two letters to his brother and sister. The collection also contains a few brief articles announcing births, deaths, and marriages in the Gardner family. A ledger of his personal accounts and of his lumber business can be found in this collection as well.

Gardner's letters center around food, clothing, and money. He does not possess much understanding of why he is participating in the war. He views his service as a dutiful obligation, though he neither explains why he is dedicated to the Union, nor what he believes the Union cause to be. Gardner's letters reveal a strong religious background.

Gardner's letters serve as an account for his action in the Atlanta Campaign, and his regiment's assignments in Chattanooga, Tenn., Huntsville, Ala., Nashville, Tenn., New Orleans, La., and Irwin, Tex. He goes into some detail of his skirmishes, but the majority of his letters are filled with requests for supplies and money. Overall, Gardner seems to enjoy his involvement in the army and does not express a particularly strong desire to return from it.


William Ellis Jones diary, 1862

1 volume

The diary of William Ellis Jones documents nine months of service in the Crenshaw Battery, Virginia Light Artillery, by a 24-year old private. Jones describes the mustering of Crenshaw’s Battery on March 14, 1862, participation in several battles, including the Battle of Gaines’ Mill and the Second Battle of Bull Run, and meeting Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.

The diary of William Ellis Jones is contained in a single volume and covers the period of Jones’ service in the Confederate States Army between March 14 and December 31, 1862. Jones apparently found the mostly-blank book on the battlefield at the Gaines’ Mill; it had previously belonged to a Union Soldier named William Daugherty. Jones tore out most of the used pages and transcribed a narrative he had been keeping into the book, but Daugherty’s signature and a few of his notes remain.

Jones’ record begins when he was mustered into service in Crenshaw’s Battery, Virginia Light Artillery, and contains brief but extremely rich daily entries describing morale among Confederates, the intensity of battle, and frequent illnesses and deaths. Jones also described receiving medical treatment for several health problems (June 14: “Feel much better this morning, the calomel acting with talismanic effect on my liver”), the execution of deserters (August 19: “…the prisoners were marched up to their graves, preceded by the band playing the dead march and their company with loaded muskets”) and meeting Stonewall Jackson (August 11: “He… looks on the ground as if he lost something; altogether he presents more the appearance of a well-to-do farmer than a military chieftain.”).

In a particularly long entry on June 27, Jones described participating in the Battle of Gaines’ Mill, covering his psychological state, the “terrifically hot” enemy fire, and the battle’s casualties. Jones’ diary is a literate and observant record of nine months of service in Crenshaw’s Battery.