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Albert Davis papers, 1861-1874 (majority within 1861-1864)

0.25 linear feet

The Albert Davis papers contain letters written by Civil War soldier Albert Davis, of the 15th Massachusetts Regiment, Co. G. Davis described his regiment's roles in the battles of Ball’s Bluff, White Oak Swamp, Gettysburg, Bristoe Station, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg.

The Albert Davis papers consist of 97 letters written by Civil War soldier Albert Davis of the 15th Massachusetts Regiment, Co. G, 3 letters written by his friends and family, one allotment receipt, his military discharge papers, and a photo of Albert Davis.

Albert Davis wrote letters while stationed with the Union army in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, between August 1861 and June 1864. Of the letters, Davis sent 83 to his widowed mother and 14 to his teenage sister, Angeline, both living in Upton, Massachusetts. The collection also holds one letter from Albert's mother to his sister (June 30, 1864), a letter from R. W. Ellis to Angeline Leland Davis (March 5, 1864), and a letter from W. I. Scandlin to Albert Davis (July 2, 1874).

Albert's letters document his participation as a soldier in the 15th Massachusetts Regiment from the beginning of the regiment’s formation in July 1861, until its dissolution after the battle of Petersburg (June 22, 1864), when all but eight men and one officer were killed or captured. In the early letters, Davis described his initial training near Worcester, Massachusetts. At first, he enjoyed soldiering, and sent home souvenirs: a piece of wood from the Harper's Ferry Bridge (October 6, 1861), and a piece of cotton from the breastworks at Yorktown (May 24, 1862). He wrote of snowballing a barge while on picket duty (January 4, 1862), and of picking wild blackberries during the fighting at Malvern Hills (August 2, 1862). Upon seeing the Monitor anchored among other boats at Hampton, Virginia, he wrote "it dont look as though it could take a Canal boat" (April 2, 1862). Many of his letters mentioned food, either what he was eating or what he would like to receive from home (cheese, tea, molasses, catsup, preserves, baked goods, chocolate, and checkerberry extract). On August 2, 1862, he sent a recipe for pudding made from hardtack. By December 1863, his feelings about soldiering had changed and he became determined not to reenlist. He was irritated by the "bounty men" who fought for money rather than patriotism (March 9, 1863; August 6, 1863). He witnessed several military executions (September 4, 1863; April 26, 1864). Davis also described his six months spent in hospitals and convalescent camps, and his part in the battles of Antietam, Cold Harbor, Gettysburg, and Bristoe Station.

His letters describing the Battle of Gettysburg are of particular interest not just for their accounts of the battle (July 4, 17, and 27, 1863), but also for his corrections of inaccuracies in the newspaper coverage of the battle (August 13 and 21, 1863). On May 14, 1864, Davis wrote from "mud hole near Spotsylvania Court House" and stated that the battle was "the hardest fight of the War." A few weeks later, on June 6, 1864, he wrote from the battlefield at Cold Harbor that "we are about sick of making Charges [--] we are not successful in one half of them and the loss on the retreat is great...there is some wounded men that are a lying between the lines that have laid there for three days and have not had a bit of care perhaps not a drop of water."

Davis occasionally used Union stationery that included printed color images:
  • October 22, 1861
  • October 29, 1861
  • November 6, 1861
  • November 16, 1861
  • November 17, 1861
  • November 26, 1861
  • May 6, 1862
  • November 2, [1862]

Albert E. St. Germain collection, 1894-1964 (majority within 1917-1919)

0.75 linear feet

The Albert E. St. Germain collection contains correspondence, military documents, and other items relating to the St. Germain family. The bulk of the collection pertains to Albert St. Germain's service in the United States Army's press service in Europe during and just after World War I.

The Albert E. St. Germain collection (over 190 items) contains correspondence, military documents, and other items relating to the St. Germain family. The bulk of the collection pertains to Albert St. Germain's service in the United States Army's press division in Europe during and just after World War I.

The Correspondence series (28 items) is made up of personal letters related to members of the St. Germain family. Sisters Clarinda (1 item) and M. Clementina (8 item) wrote French-language letters to their parents from the Convent of Mercy in Meriden, Connecticut, between 1894 and 1900. Other convent correspondents included Sister Teresa, who invited the St. Germain family to a ceremony (August 10, 1896), and Sister M. Augustine, who sent a telegram about Sister Clementina's death in November 1900. A woman named "Leontina" wrote 4 letters to Leon St. Germain from Québec in 1905.

Albert E. St. Germain wrote 6 letters to his mother and 2 letters to his brother Oscar while serving in the United States Army in France during and immediately after World War I. He described his travels in France and discussed some of his duties in the press section. In 1919, an acquaintance named J. Morgan wrote Albert St. Germain a personal letter and a letter of recommendation. Later correspondence includes a letter that one of Albert's children wrote to him in 1959, a letter about the 50 reunion of the Bulkeley High School class of 1914, and a World War II-era greeting card from the South Pacific.

The Documents series is divided into two subseries. Military Documents (97 items) are mostly comprised of news bulletins and intelligence summaries providing details about the Allied war effort in France from September 1918-November 1918, as well as 2 copies of Gerald Morgan's recollections about service as Chief Field Censor for the American Expeditionary Forces, written in February 1919. Department of Labor and Personal Documents (15 items) include intelligence tests, Albert St. Germain's employment history, a blank naturalization form, documents related to Leon St. German's estate, and documents regarding field stations during World War II.

The Photographs series (3 items) contains 2 formal card photograph portraits of an unidentified couple and of Albert E. St. Germain, as well as a photograph of Albert E. Saint Germain, in uniform, shaking hands with a French soldier. The latter photograph is enclosed with a copy of the New York newspaper that ran the photograph on August 4, 1918.

The Writings and Pencil Sketch series is comprised of 7 copies of stories that Albert E. St. Germain wrote around the World War I era. The writings include an account of his interactions with a French citizen during the war, a camping trip, and various other subjects; some of the drafts have manuscript notes. The collection has duplicate copies of 2 stories. The series includes a pencil drawing of "Le Vieux Moulin."

The Printed Items series (29 items) is divided into four subseries:
  • The Cards and Currency subseries (4 items) consists of 3 business cards of Albert E. St. Germain and a French banknote.
  • The Maps subseries (5 items) contains printed maps of the Moselle River, the Rhine River, and Bar-le-Duc, France; one of the Rhine River maps was produced for members of the army of occupation. Also included is a blueprint map of properties that Leon St. Germain owned in Waterford, Connecticut.
  • The Pamphlets subseries (6 items) has the following items: a retrospective and commencement program related to the Bulkeley School class of 1914, a cover from a copy of The Louis Allis Messenger, a page from a printed recipe book, a pamphlet about the United States flag, and a copy of the United States Constitution with additional information for use in passing the country's citizenship examination.
  • The Newspapers subseries (13 items) contains around 10 articles about World War I, the Bulkeley School, Albert E. St. Germain, and army censorship. The newspaper articles originate from papers in Connecticut and France. Three copies of The Stars and Stripes, dated 1918, are also present.

The Address Book and Fragments series (14 items) includes manuscript, typed, and printed fragments, and an address book that Albert St. Germain owned while working for the United States Department of Labor.

The Artifacts series consists of a brown leather satchel.


Alexander Robinson papers, 1809-1843 (majority within 1814-1815)

0.5 linear feet

The Alexander Robinson papers contain military records relating to Fort Greene, which Robinson commanded during the War of 1812, business records relating to international trading, as well as Robinson's personal correspondence.

The Alexander Robinson papers contain 257 documents and records related to Fort Greene, 103 business papers and documents, and 38 pieces of correspondence. The items span 1807-1843, with the bulk centered around 1814-1815.

The Correspondence series comprises primarily personal correspondence, including letters from family members and friends, both incoming and outgoing. Alexander Robinson wrote many of the early letters to his wife Hetty, during his sea voyages, expressing his affection, providing news, and speculating on when he would return. Between 1818 and 1841, William Hicks, a native of Cork, Ireland, wrote approximately 15 letters to Robinson, requesting information about a brother in New York, and providing increasingly grim descriptions of the political and financial situation in Ireland. His letter of November 15, 1821, gives an account of murders and floggings occurring in Cork. Two of the Robinsons' children, Maria Louisa and George, wrote several additional letters, dating from the 1830s and concerning family news.

The Business Papers series spans 1807-1821 and concerns ships that Robinson commanded during those years. Documents are organized by ship, with a few miscellaneous business papers at the end. The series contains records for the Alexander (1809-1813), the Clarendon (1815), the Catherine Ray (1812), the Fulley (1807-1808), the Independence (1815), the Isabella (1813), the Moses Brown (1812-1821), the Nichola (1809-1810), the Quebec (1812-1813), and the Urbana (1812). The items document such information as rolls of crews and their salaries, trading partners and items traded, financial transactions, and repairs made to ships.

The Fort Greene series contains items relating to Fort Greene, 1814-1815. The gunners' reports and morning and evening reports consist of information about which men were present, absent, sick, and at liberty in October and November of 1814. Provision returns, a requisition log, and a receipt book track the purchase and transfer of ordnance and goods. Also present are orders for Fort Greene and Fort Gansevoort, an orderly book for October 19, 1814, to January 11, 1815, and a 26-page journal kept at Fort Greene by Peter H. Schuyler, which described weather conditions, visitors to the fort, general happenings, and how its residents were employed. On December 10, 1814, he recounted a controversy surrounding the smoking of cigars and pipes inside the fort, and several days later reported a dispute between Alexander Robinson and William Cranston and Cranston's subsequent arrest.


Alexander Thompson papers, 1793-1932

1.5 linear feet

The Alexander Thompson papers consist of the papers of three generations of Thompsons: Captain Alexander Thompson (1759-1809), Colonel Alexander Ramsey Thompson (1793-1837), and Reverend Alexander Ramsey Thompson (1822-1895). These papers document the military service of Captain Thompson in United States army (1793-1809); Colonel Thompson's military service (1819-1837); attempts by Colonel Thompson's widow Mary Thompson to secure a military pension (1838-1849); and the career of Reverend Thompson, a Union Army chaplain and Presbyterian minister, along with his family letters (1850-1932).

The Alexander Thompson papers (653 items) consist of the papers of three generations of Thompsons: Captain Alexander Thompson (1759-1809), Colonel Alexander Ramsey Thompson (1793-1837), and Reverend Alexander Ramsey Thompson (1822-1895). The collection is comprised of 494 letters and documents, 1 diary, 25 photographs, 103 religious writings and hymns, and 30 items of printed material. These papers document the military service of Captain Thompson in the United States Army (1793-1809); Colonel Thompson's military service (1819-1837); attempts by Colonel Thompson's widow, Mary Thompson, to secure a military pension (1838-1849); and the career of Reverend Thompson, Union Army chaplain and Presbyterian minister, along with his family letters (1850-1932).

The Correspondence and Documents series (494 items) is made up of three subseries, one for each Alexander Thompson represented in the collection.

The Captain Alexander Thompson subseries (255 items) consists of letters and documents related to Thompson's army career, including 37 military records (pay rolls, musters, and accounts) and 14 provisional returns. The bulk of the letters are to and from the war office in Philadelphia and from fellow army officers. These provide administrative documentation for the fledgling American military, as well as specific details on Thompson's assignments at Governor's Island, West Point, Fort Niagara, and Detroit. Topics covered include his efforts to provision and pay his troops, fortify his outposts, and recruit soldiers.

Items of note include:
  • April 19, May 7 and 24, and June 20, 1795: Letters from Thompson to New York Governor George Clinton, concerning the French navy and the fort at Governor's Island
  • July 9, 15, and 18, 1795: Letters between Colonel Louis de Tousard and Thompson concerning prisoners, troops, and musicians at Governor's Island
  • December 5, 1795: Letter fromThompson to Alexander Hamilton concerning a lawsuit involving Thompson's professional conduct at Governor's Island
  • March 29, 1796: Letter to Thompson warning of a mutiny on Governor's Island
  • September 14, 1800: Letter from Thompson to John Jacob Ulrich Rivardi concerning small pox at Detroit
  • February 17, 1801: Letter from Thompson to Major Moses Porter, concerning filling the United States officer corps with Americans instead of foreign commanders
  • January 20, 1803: May 1 and August 24, 1807: Letters and bills to and from Thompson and Secretary of War Henry Dearborn concerning payments for travel
  • October 15, 1804: Instructions from Thompson to Doctor Frances La Barons concerning trading for pelts at Michilimackinac
  • September 1807: News from a friend in St. Louis describing army activities there

The Colonel Alexander R. Thompson subseries (137 items) documents his post-War of 1812 military career, and his wife's efforts to secure a pension after his death. These include letters from fellow officers and friends, a few retained copies of Thompson's letters, and 55 letters to and from Mary Thompson and various prominent government officials concerning military pensions. In many of Mary's letters she described episodes in her husband's military career, including wounds and sicknesses suffered while on duty.

Items of note include:
  • November 27, 1816: Captain Kearny at Sackets Harbor to Thompson concerning securing pay to Mrs. Niblock for washing clothes for the army
  • January 12, 1817: Major W.J. Worth at Sackets Harbor to Thompson describing a celebration at the newly build Madison Barracks
  • May 13, 1833: George Brooke at Fort Howard (Green Bay) to Thompson describing his journey across Lake Huron
  • August 28, 1833: Benjamin F. Larneal to Thompson concerning shipping a piano to Michigan
  • April 28, 1836: Thompson to his nephew Alexander Thompson, describing the encampment and fortifications at Camp Sabine, Louisiana, and the lawless state of Texas - "the country is consequently infested with robbers and pirates
  • February 21, 1837: Mary Thompson to General Winfield Scott seeking a promotion for her sick husband
  • March 6, 1840: Mary to her brother-in-law William Thompson, relating her difficulties securing a pension
  • 1842-1845: Letters to and from Mary Thompson to New York Governor Hamilton Fish and members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, including John Jordan Crittenden and Thomas Hart Benton
  • October 8, 1847: E. Backay at San Juan to Mary Thompson containing a description of the Mexican-American War
  • March 13, 1853: Department of the Interior to Mary Thompson concerning her request for a land bounty

The Reverend Alexander R. Thompson subseries (102 items) contains Thompson's letters and 25 of his children's letters. Of note are the items documenting his Civil War service as chaplain of the 17th Regiment of Connecticut Volunteers and at the Roosevelt Hospital. These include many letters from solders and former parishioners serving throughout the country. Also present are letters discussing Thompson and his family's travels around New York and New England, and to the Canary Islands, Quebec, and San Francisco. The post-1872 letters largely concern Thompson's children.

The subseries includes:
  • November 28, 1861: Albion Brooks to Thompson describing the soldier's Thanksgiving dinner at Burnside Camp, Annapolis, Maryland
  • January 16, 1862: Leonard Woolsey Bacon to Thompson concerning chaplains' aids
  • July 2, 1863: A small diagram of the Union fleet on the Mississippi River in front of Vicksburg
  • June 4, 1864: Moses Smith of the 8th Connecticut Regiment to Thompson describing the battle at Cold Harbor
  • September 25, 1865: E.A. Russell to Thompson describing hearing Julia Ward Howe's "Battle Hymn of the Republic" on board a steam ship: "I feel like after hearing it sung like one inspired for the work. I do think it is very near Gods work."
  • September 27, 1865: Five verses of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" copied on board the Steamship United States
  • September 23, 1871: Gin Bon, secretary of the Chinese Young Men's Christian Society of San Francisco, to Thompson concerning his support of the group and enclosing four photographs of members

The Diary series (1 item, 372 pages) is the personal journal of Reverend Alexander Ramsey Thompson for 1861. The diary is deeply personal and includes Thompson's thoughts on personal, spiritual, and political matters, as well as his thoughts on the outbreak of the Civil War and his decision to join the army as a chaplain. In the back of the diary are 5 newspaper clippings concerning New York University commencements.

Notable entries include:
  • April 13 and 16, 1861: Thoughts on the siege and bombardment at Fort Sumter
  • July 22 and 24, 1861: Thoughts on First Bull Run
  • August 31, 1861: Discussion of seeing a hippopotamus at Barnum's Museum

The Photographs series (25 items) contains undated family pictures, images of houses and landscapes, and commercial photographs of buildings in Europe.

Four additional photographs are located with the letter of September 23, 1871. These are portraits of Chinese Americans, one taken by Chinese photographer Lai Yong of San Francisco, and one of letter writer Gin Bon, secretary of the Chinese Young Men's Christian Society. Gin Bon's portrait contains watercolored highlights. The hymn book for the Roosevelt Hospital in the Printed Materials series contains family photographs, including a group picture in which many of the sitters are holding tennis rackets.

The Religious Writings series is composed of two subseries: Sermons and Ecclesiastical History Notes, and Hymns. Though largely undated and unattributed, these writings were all likely created by Reverend Thompson. The Sermons and Ecclesiastical History notes subseries (61 items) contains 58 sermon notes that Thompson wrote in the 1890s, much of which was written on Roosevelt Hospital stationery. Some of these are outlines while others are fully formed sermons. He also wrote notes on ecclesiastical history in two notebooks dated 1881 (232 pages), and on the Hebrew language in an undated notebook (58 pages). The Hymns subseries (42 items) contains 9 manuscript hymns, 16 printed hymns, and 17 volumes of manuscript hymns. They consist of transcribed and translated hymns, Bible quotations, and ballad lyrics. Two of the printed hymns, both Christmas carols, include music for four voices.

The Printed Material series (30 items) is comprised of 18 newspaper clippings and 12 miscellaneous printed items. The newspaper clippings are an essay by Reverend Thompson entitled "The Burial of Moses," and an address from Thompson delivered at the unveiling of a Gettysburg monument for the 17th Connecticut Volunteers. The Miscellaneous Printed Items subseries contains 12 items, including ephemera related to New York University commencements; an engraving of author, nurse, and charity organizer Isabella Graham; an annual report for the Brooklyn Nursery (1888); and a Roosevelt Hospital hymnal in which someone has inserted photograph clippings of Reverend Thompson, his wife, and others.


Alexandre Maurice Blanc de Lanautte, Comte d'Hauterive collection, 1809

14 items

This collection consists of 13 letters and copies of letters that Alexandre Maurice Blanc de Lanautte, Comte d'Hauterive, wrote in 1809 concerning the deterioration of Anglo-American relations, as well as a list of officials involved in Franco-American relations around the turn of the 19th century.

This collection consists of 13 letters and copies of letters that Alexandre Maurice Blanc de Lanautte, Comte d'Hauterive, wrote in 1809 concerning the deterioration in Anglo-American relations, as well as a list of officials involved in Franco-American relations around the turn of the 19th century.

Hauterive addressed 10 letters to Jean-Baptiste Nompère de Champagny, the French minister of foreign relations, reporting discoveries and insights from his correspondence with John Armstrong, Jr., the United States minister to France. Hauterive also discussed issues in British politics, such as the Embargo Act of 1807 and Great Britain's diplomatic relationship with the United States, which he thought was strained. He further elaborated on those issues he believed would lead the countries into armed conflict. Hauterive also commented on the Jefferson administration and its role in international affairs. The remaining 3 letters consist of Hauterive's outgoing correspondence with other diplomatic and official personnel.

A printed chart of French military personnel lists their positions, terms of service, and the amount of money paid to them. Ten officers are listed, followed by a drum major, a drum master sergeant, 8 musicians, and 4 laborers.


American Red Cross, 91st Division death reports, 1917-1931 (majority within 1919)

41 items

Colin V. Dyment, Lt. A.R.C., 91st Div. wrote these American Red Cross, 91st Division (World War I) death reports for the benefit of bereaved family members. Written in 1919 and with varying degrees of detail, they describe the circumstances of the deaths of men in the 91st Division - almost exclusively during the Meuse-Argonne and Belgian offensives, September-November, 1918.

The American Red Cross 91st Division death reports consist of 29 reports, each of which documents the deaths within a particular company or companies, battalion, or detachment within the 91st. Every page bearing an American Red Cross letterhead, the documents begin with a list of deceased soldiers' names and emergency contacts and are followed by a description of each man's death. The reports comprise 332 pages and relate the wartime deaths of 781 men.

The author of the reports, Colin V. Dyment, Lieutenant A.R.C, was a "searcher" within the 91st Division. His reports each proceed in a chronological fashion, beginning in the first phase of the Meuse-Argonne offensive and ending variously - as the final deaths suffered by each unit occurred at different times. Some of the units lost their last man in the second phase of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, and others not until their service in Belgium.

With as much detail as he was able, Dyment related the military context, troop movements, geographical surroundings, and precise events that led to the death of the soldiers. The descriptions are at times narrative, sometimes including last words, final dialogues with other men, physical descriptions of the men, and exact burial locations (when known). Where he did not bear witness, he attempted to include the contact information of officers or soldiers who had, so that bereaved family members might query them for information about their loved ones. The individual reports often read like stories, telling of the same battles with a focus on different companies, battalions, and detachments.

One report of non-combat casualties describes a train wreck near Bonnieres, France, in which a French freight train crashed into the rear of a military troop train. The 91st suffered the loss of 30 men from the Machine Gun Company and Medical Detachment of the 362nd Infantry unit.

This collection arrived at the Clements Library with twelve additional items: typescript copies of nine letters and two postal cards from Harry B. Critchlow of the 363rd Ambulance Company, 316th Sanitary Train, 91st Division and one typescript document entitled "Who Won the War," written by William H. Johnston in collaboration with General John J. Pershing. These additional materials relate directly to the 91st Division, but their relationship, if any, to the death reports is unclear.

Harry B. Critchlow of Portland, Oregon, sent these letters to his parents and to his brother Walter, mainly in August 1917, while at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, and Fort Riley, Kansas. In them, he described life in military camp and the activities of his fellow soldiers. In a letter dated June 19, 1918, from Camp Lewis, Washington, he anticipated his deployment overseas. Following the War, he sent two postal cards from France, assuring his family that he was still alive.

William Johnston's typescript copy "Who Won the War" is made up of transcripts of letters between himself and General John J. Pershing, regarding the accuracy of Pershing's portrayal of the 91st Division in his memoir of the war.


Amos Beebe Eaton collection, 1822-1867 (majority within 1822-1836)

59 items

This collection contains letters that United States Army lieutenant (and later general) Amos Beebe Eaton wrote while training at the United States Military Academy and traveling in New York, Connecticut, Ohio, and Michigan. His early letters reflect the daily life of cadets at West Point in the mid-1820s, and his later letters to his wife provide family news, as well as information about the Army and contemporary politics.

This collection (59 items) contains letters that United States Army lieutenant (and later general) Amos Beebe Eaton wrote to his grandmother, Tryphena Cady of Canaan, New York, and to his wife, Elizabeth Selden Eaton.

Eaton wrote 6 letters to his grandmother between September 14, 1822, and March 26, 1826, while attending the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He described cadets' daily lives at the academy, including their physical regimen, and discussed the possibility of remaining in the military after graduation. Though he considered applying for the marine corps or becoming a doctor, he stayed with the army, and wrote 3 letters to his grandmother between April 16, 1828, and October 21, 1830, while he served at the Hancock Barracks near Houlton, Maine. A group of 5 letters, written to his sister and grandmother from Fort Niagara, New York, between February 21, 1831, and November 8, 1833, concern his movements with the army and his family life, including news of his new wife and young daughters. He also described Fort Niagara and shared some of his opinions on enlisted men. He wrote to his grandmother from Fort Gratiot, Michigan Territory, on July 7, 1834, commenting on his distrust of the pursuit of recognition.

Between 1832 and 1836, Eaton wrote to his wife Elizabeth ("Betsy") while he traveled in New York, Connecticut, Ohio, and Michigan, on military and personal business. He often mentioned family members, religious sentiments, and general details of his daily life. Two letters were written from Detroit during the Black Hawk War, in which he briefly mentioned ill soldiers, his opinion about the mistreatment of Native Americans, and the military's pursuit of Black Hawk (July 24 and 30, 1832). In another he discussed foreign relations with France as well as abolitionism (February 12, 1836). The collection also contains 2 letters that Eaton wrote while serving as Commissary General of Subsistence in 1867.

Several letters are addressed to Amos Eaton. One, written by "Gordon" on August 10, 1832, comments on the public reaction to and possible consequences of a recently published letter of Amos's, wherein he attributes the cholera outbreak in the military during the Black Hawk War to the mistreatment of Native Americans. Also included is a letter that Amos Beebe Eaton's father wrote to his son with extracts of his communication with New York Senators about the motivations behind Eaton's statements, a partial copy of the offending letter, and the impact it had on his military career (September 21, 1838). Other material includes one letter addressed to Elizabeth Eaton from a sibling (July 3, 1836) and a copied document signed by several recruits, stating that they had recently received pay (June 9, 1835).


Bert C. Whitney diary, 1918-1919

1 volume

This 132-page diary chronicles the experiences of Bert C. Whitney, of Washington, Michigan, who served with the 304th Sanitary Train in France during World War I. Whitney described his transatlantic voyages, his experiences near the front line at Verdun in late 1918, and his travels around France after the armistice.

This 132-page diary chronicles the experiences of Bert C. Whitney, of Washington, Michigan, who served with the 304th Sanitary Train in France during World War I. Whitney described both of his transatlantic voyages, his experiences near the front line at Verdun in late 1918, and his travels around France after the armistice. The journal is housed in a leather wallet, and has a drawing of a flag on its inside cover.

Whitney began his account in early July 1918, while en route to Brooklyn, New York, where his regiment embarked for France on July 10. During his time at sea, he described the ships in his convoy, submarine scares, and daily life onboard the transport ship Lutetia. Shortly after their arrival at Brest on July 21, Whitney recounted his movements in France until mid-September, when he reached the front lines. Though he did not participate directly in active combat, he described life behind the lines and witnessed artillery barrages, gas attacks, and aerial battles. Near the end of the war, he remarked about the destruction of the area around Verdun and anticipated an armistice, particularly after he saw a German delegation on their way to meet with General John J. Pershing. On November 11, 1918, Whitney counted down the final minutes of active combat, noting the ferocity of the fire until the stroke of 11:00 a.m. After the armistice, he recorded his travels around France and his negative opinions of French soldiers. He embarked for the United States in the spring of 1919 and wrote his final entry on May 30, 1919, as the ship approached the United States. Enclosures include poppies taken from a battlefield (pressed into the volume around October 22, 1918), 2 military documents related to his promotion to sergeant, and a poem entitled "Romeo to Verdun," printed in the Romeo Observer.


Charles D. Merriman papers, 1862-1864

67 items

The Charles Merriman papers consist of military forms and letters dating principally from Merriman's captaincy of Company F, 1st U.S. Sharpshooters.

Unlike most set of soldiers' letters, the Charles Merriman papers do not consist of personal correspondence, but rather of military forms and letters dating principally from Merriman's captaincy of Co. F, 1st U.S. Sharpshooters. The collection is valuable for gaining an appreciation of the paperwork required of a unit in the field, and of the close accounting practices required of officers to track military property and stores issued to their care. The last item in the collection, chronologically (folder 7), is dated at Merriman's home in New Hampshire, suggesting that nearly three months after mustering out, Merriman was still filing reports and forms to help the government track down some missing tents.


Charles-Eugène-Gabriel, maréchal de Castries papers, 1722-1814

86 items (0.5 linear feet)

The Castries papers include four major areas of interest: The civil and military administration of French Caribbean colonies; French participation in the American Revolution; the 1784 trial to fix blame for the defeat of the French Navy at the Battle of Saints Passage, 1782; and Royalist conspiracies against the French Republic during the 1790s.

The Castries papers represents only a small portion of the original "archives" of the Maréchal. The core of the Castries Papers includes four major areas of interest:

1. The civil and military administration of French Caribbean colonies;

2. French participation in the American Revolution;

3. The 1784 trial to fix blame for the devastating defeat of the French Navy and the capture of Admiral de Grasse at the Battle of Saints Passage, 1782, and;

4. Royalist conspiracies against the French Republic during the 1790s.

The materials relating to French Caribbean colonies were collected by Castries in his capacity as Ministre de la Marine, a position that gave him some oversight of colonial affairs. Though undated, many of these documents appear to have been prepared in about 1783, and are perhaps related to negotiations at the Treaty of Paris or to the immediate outcome of that treaty. These documents include detailed descriptions of the French colonies in the Isles du Vent and Isles sous le Vent, with notes on administration, police, religious advancement, agriculture, trade, and defense.

Among the items from the period of the American revolution is an important document titled "Memoire en forme de Plan de la Campagne en Amerique dans l'année 1783 redigée par la Compte d'Estaing..." in which the author lays out a plan for global imperial conquest, beginning with the defeat of the British in North America. Also of great interest is the "Order à prendre du Roi, relativement à l'amérique Septentrionale," which contains an analysis of French military strategy in the Americas following Yorktown. A "Projet d'Arrêt du Conseil" of January, 1782, relates to reparations to the residents of Saint Eustatius for depredations committed there during its capture by British forces. Also present is the 1782 appointment of François Barbé de Marbois as consul in the United States.

The de Grasse trial materials contain an extensive body of records of the Conseil de Guerre Extraordinaire held at L'Orient, France, in 1784. These include a minute-by-minute reconstruction of the action at the Battle of Saints Passage (including manuscript maps, housed in the Map Division), interviews with French naval officers, manuscript and printed version of the findings of the Conseil with judgments against the naval officers (most were acquitted of any misconduct), and defenses written by the baron d'Arros d'Argelos and Pontèves-Gien to justify their conduct. All together, these comprise a thorough, though not quite complete documentation of the official inquiry into a major French naval defeat.

The 14 items relating to counterrevolutionary activity in the 1790s present a somewhat less complete picture than that for the de Grasse trial, but serve to indicate the breadth and depth of Castries' involvement in Royalist circles. These include letters from Royalists seeking assistance, documents outlining plans for a proposed invasion of the west coast of France, discussions of the possibility of Royalist forces capturing the colony of Saint Domingue and reestablishing it as a monarchy under Louis XVIII, and analyses of the potential for support among other European powers. Perhaps the most intriguing item in this part of the collection is a lengthy report from a British spy containing information on influential members of the French Directory with notes on whether they can be made useful to the Royalist cause.

The Castries papers are arranged chronologically. Eight maps entered as evidence at the Conseil de Guerre held at L'Orient have been transferred to the Maps Division.