Back to top

Search Constraints

Start Over You searched for: Formats Reminiscences. Remove constraint Formats: Reminiscences.
Number of results to display per page
View results as:

Search Results


Albert G. Fuller reminiscences, [1930s]

1 item

This collection consists of Clarice A. Bouton's transcriptions of the Civil War reminiscences of her grandfather, Albert G. Fuller. Fuller, a native of Reading, Michigan, served in the 78th New York Infantry Regiment, Company K, and participated in actions including the Battle of Chancellorsville, the Battle of Gettysburg, and Sherman's March to the Sea.

This collection consists of Clarice A. Bouton's transcriptions (8 pages) of the Civil War reminiscences of her grandfather, Albert G. Fuller. Fuller recounted many incidents from his time in the 78th New York Infantry Regiment, which he joined on March 20, 1862, with three friends from his hometown of Reading, Michigan: Lemuel Wisner, William Herrington, and William Green, all killed during the war. He discussed his regiment's movements and marches, his time in hospitals recuperating from bullet wounds, and his participation in battles, skirmishes, and Sherman's March to the Sea. He described wounded soldiers lying in their tents, nursed by other soldiers; the interruption of his meal immediately prior to the Battle of Peachtree Creek; the harsh treatment and execution of three deserters; and the Union Army's destructive practices while marching from Atlanta to Savannah.

Fuller noted the deaths and disappearances of his hometown friends and recalled his recuperation in hospitals in York, Pennsylvania, after the Battle of Gettysburg, and Savannah, Georgia, in 1864; while in York, he attended a political speech that was disrupted by gunfire, resulting in a panic and further injuries to his wounded leg. Fuller's account ends with his discharge on June 2, 1865, and his return to the family farm on June 20, 1865, where he resumed work immediately upon his arrival.


Cornelia Hancock papers, 1862-1937 (majority within 1862-1865)

236 items

The Cornelia Hancock papers consist primarily of the Civil War correspondence of Hancock, who served as a nurse for the Union Army in Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Virginia from 1863-1865. The collection also includes brief accounts of Hancock's experiences during the war, as well as several items of ephemera.

The Cornelia Hancock papers consist primarily of the Civil War correspondence of Cornelia Hancock (1840-1927), who served as a nurse for the Union Army from 1863 to 1865. Other items within the collection include photographs, accounts of Hancock's experiences during the war, and several items of ephemera.

The Correspondence series includes 168 dated letters, 15 undated letters and fragments, 2 military passes, and 1 fragment of cloth. The dated letters cover the period from July 31, 1862-January 12, 1866, with the undated fragments most likely from the Civil War period. Two additional letters, dated August 27, 1890, and April 25, 1892, are also included in the collection.

The great bulk of the correspondence was written by Cornelia Hancock to her mother Rachel, her sister Ellen, and her niece Sarah, during Cornelia's time serving as a nurse in Pennsylvania and Virginia; her mother and sister occasionally returned letters giving news of the family in New Jersey. Other correspondents represented in the collection include Cornelia's brother, William N. Hancock; Caroline Dod, the mother of a soldier who died during the war; and several soldiers who expressed gratitude for Hancock's work. In her letters, Cornelia discussed in some detail her work as a nurse during the war, including several accounts of specific wounds and illnesses. Slavery and the social and economic conditions of freedmen are focal points of the letters written during Hancock's time at the Contraband Hospital in Washington, D.C. Though most of the letters concentrate on wounded soldiers and military hospitals and treatments, Hancock and others often expressed political opinions, reported on developments in the war, and shared news of loved ones in the field or back home.

An early series of letters documents Hancock's experiences at the Camp Letterman Hospital after the Battle of Gettysburg, when she first noted "There are no words in the English language to express the sufferings I witnessed today…" (July 7, 1863). A few months later, in October 1863, Hancock left for Washington, D.C., where her letters document her time working with African American refugees at the Contraband Hospital. Twice, she related encounters with President Lincoln. Robert Owen, a former United States ambassador to Italy, once "read to us a speech that he read to the President one Sunday…The subject was the Pardoning power vested in the President. He said that Abraham listened with all his attention then asked him if he would give it to him and also had him promise he would not have it published for the present, said he would read and consider it well. [Lincoln] Complimented Mr. Owen, told him he had been of much service to him in many ways" (October 25, 1863). On another occasion, Hancock recounted a personal glimpse of Abraham Lincoln: "Little Meenah Breed and I went to the White House, and I told you I would encounter the President- sure enough there he stood talking to some poor woman. I did not stop him because he was in a hurry but I know him now and I shall. It is a much easier matter to see him than Stanton" (October 29, 1863). Other letters from this period pertain to the state of escaped slaves (November 15, 1863) and the state of the anti-slavery movement: "Where are the people who have been professing such strong abolition proclivity for the last 30 years[?] Certainly not in Washington laboring with these people whom they have been clamoring to have freed" [January 1864].

In February 1864, Hancock moved again to work with the 3rd Division of the 2nd Corps at Brandy Station, Virginia. Hancock was here during the Battle of the Wilderness, the aftermath of which is represented in Hancock's accounts and in a letter of Henry Child to his wife, Ellen (née Hancock), wherein he warns, "You will hear of another terrible battle yesterday" (May 12, 1864). Soon after the Battle of the Wilderness, Hancock accompanied the Union Army during their march through Virginia. Items from this period include a description of a "rebel house…The house was visited by our Cavalry guard and found deserted, also that the the [sic] gentleman owning the house was a chief of Guerillas, consequently the house was burned to the ground" (May 3, 1864, author unknown). In June 1864, Hancock spent a few days at White House, Virginia, before eventually stopping at City Point, Virginia, where she remained until the end of the war. During this period, she reflected on what had become normal experiences in the time she spent with the army: "A shell explodes every little while, not far away. About as much account is made of it as the dropping of a pin at home. Habit is a wonderfull [sic] matter" (June 7, 1864).

At City Point, Hancock continued to work with the ill and wounded soldiers of the Union army, and in many of her letters, she described specific soldiers or wounds she treated. Among these soldiers was Charlie Dod, a New Jersey native who served with Cornelia's friend Henry Smith. Dod's August 17, 1864, letter is included in the collection, as well as two notes by Cornelia relating that "Capt. Dod is now dying in my bed" (August 27, 1864) and "Capt. Dod of Henry's company died in my bed today. His mother arrived in time to see him just one day and night…The scene was very affecting and I shall never forget it" (August 27, 1864). Charlie's mother, Caroline Dod, became an occasional correspondent after this time and continued to hold Cornelia in high regard throughout the rest of her life. Another notable item from this period is an official Union army pass allowing Cornelia to travel to and from Washington, D.C.; this is enclosed in a letter from Rachel Hancock dated October 20, 1864.

By the spring of 1865, the Union army was closing in on Richmond, and Cornelia Hancock was near the Confederate capital when it fell. On April 3, 1865, she reported, "This morning we could see the flames of Petersburg lighting the skies[. I] suppose the rebels are compelled to evacuate the place. Our troops can enter now at any time…Gen Weitzel entered Richmond this morning at 8 A.M. There is great rejoicing here of course." Even better was the feeling of release that accompanied the end of the fighting: "The situation is splendid the air so fresh and altogether it seems like getting out of prison to get away from C[ity] P[oint] we were there so long" (May 13, 1865).

The undated papers and fragments appear at the end of the collection and include eight letters and fragments written by Hancock as well as five letters from Caroline Dod. These appear to date from the Civil War period. One fragment was written on the reverse side of a table of contents from the 8th volume of Connop Thirlwall's History of Greece.

Other postwar material in the series includes the following three items:
  • A January 3, 1866, letter of reference from Robert Dale Owen, a friend of Dr. Henry Child, stating that the "bearer of this, Miss Cornelia Hancock…is about to visit the South, there to aid in the education of the children of freedmen," and giving a glowing account of Hancock's merits.
  • An August 27, 1890, letter from Caroline B. Dod, in which she reflected on the death of her son and expressed continuing gratitude for Hancock's sympathy during his final hours. The letter is accompanied by its original envelope, which was used by a later owner of the material to house Robert Owen's letter of reference for Cornelia Hancock (January 3, 1866) and an undated Swarthmore Library ticket with manuscript biographical notes on Owen.
  • An April 25, 1892, letter from S. B. Dod to Cornelia Hancock, in which he explained that his mother had left Hancock a legacy in her will as a token of "her appreciation of your great kindness to my brother Charlie."
The series includes three additional items, interfiled chronologically. These include:
  • January 8, 1864: A pass authorizing Ellen Child and one friend to travel "over Chain and Aqueduct Bridges and Alexandria Ferry, within the lines of the Fortifications"
  • January 12, 1864: A pass authorizing "Miss C. Hancock team, driver, and Contrabands to Arlington Va and return."
  • "A piece of the ornaments upon the flag of the 116th Pa. Vol." Verso: "Capt. Shoener's Regt." (Undated)
The Reminiscences and Other Writings series series includes several items:
  • A 10-page typescript with unattributed manuscript annotations. Topics include the personality of Hancock's father and an account of her time at Gettysburg, told in the first person. This text is the basis for some of the biographical information included in published editions of Hancock's letters.
  • A 10-page incomplete typescript written well after the war, with unattributed manuscript annotations. The text is a first-person account of Hancock's war experiences near the end of the war. Of particular interest is a recollection that "April 8th Abraham Lincoln visited our hospital." The typescript is the basis for much of the biographical information included in published editions of Hancock's letters.
  • A first-person manuscript fragment, written in the style of a diary and with a note on the reverse that the author, likely Cornelia Hancock, "would like this sent to mother and have her copy it." The note also says that "Soldiering now days is hard work."
  • An incomplete third-person account of Cornelia Hancock, covering the very beginning with her journey to Gettysburg "with Mrs. Elizabeth W. Farnham, who was an eminent writer," in July 1863.
  • An 8-page manuscript account of Cornelia Hancock's departure for the theater of war. The manuscript includes two slightly different copies of the same material, and a lapse into the first person suggests that Cornelia Hancock is the author.

The Cornelia Hancock Obituary is a small newspaper obituary published on January 1, [1928], entitled "Civil War Nurse Dies, Closing Busy Career." The item was not part of the original accession and was discovered in a book in the Clements Library in 1985.

The Ephemera series includes eight items:
  • A 4" x 6" photograph on card stock showing a party of women and military men gathered in front of several tents. The photograph is labeled "Cornelia Hancock." [1860s]
  • A newspaper clipping "Queen of Field Nurses at Ninety in Feeble Health," recounting the decline of Florence Nightingale. [1910]
  • Five identical sheets of paper bearing the letterhead of the Association of Army Nurses of the Civil War. The letterhead includes a list of officers of the organization. One sheet is marked, "To Cornelia," and is slightly torn.
  • A book jacket from the 1937 edition of South after Gettysburg; letters of Cornelia Hancock, 1863-1868.

The following card photograph from the collection is currently housed in the graphics division:

  • "Capt. Charles Dod[,] A. A. Gen. in Gen. Hancocks staff. 2nd Corps[,] A.P." Portrait of Charles Dod, by [Frederick August] Wenderoth & [William Curtis] Taylor, Philadelphia, ca. 1864.

Davenport West collection, 1945

18 items

This collection contains reports, notes, and manuscript maps related to the actions of Task Force Poinier, a United States Army unit, between March and April 1945, as well as a narrative account of the 331st Infantry's experiences in France in January 1945. The reports provide detailed records of American military operations as Allied forces progressed eastward across Germany in the closing months of World War II.

This collection contains 3 reports, 3 pages of notes, 11 manuscript maps, and a narrative account of the 331st Infantry Regiment's experiences in France in January 1945, written by Technical Sergeant Davenport West. The reports provide detailed records of American military operations as Allied forces progressed eastward across Germany in the closing months of World War II.

The S-3 Worksheets series contains 3 typed reports on the actions of various units including Task Force Poinier (comprised of companies from the 88th Reconnaissance Squadron; the 18th Tank Battalion; the 809th Tank Destroyer Battalion; and the 7th Armored Infantry Battalion).

The first document (5 pages, incomplete) is a list of communications received from various units moving east through Germany toward the Rhine River on March 1 and 2, 1945. These communications often reported encounters with enemy troops and occasionally relayed information received from captured prisoners of war. The battalion receiving the communications was stationed in Wankum, Germany, near the country's western border.

The second report (20 pages) is comprised of daily communications compiled throughout March 1945. The typescript has occasional manuscript revisions and marginal notes. During the first part of the month, soldiers remained in camp and spent most of their time participating in training exercises, and on March 24 they began making preparations to join other troops attempting to cross the Rhine River. The orders received on March 24 pertain to several tactical considerations for the upcoming military action to establish an Allied line between Hamm and Soest, Germany. The resulting battle to capture the town of Dorsten is covered in detail between March 28 and March 31.

The third S-3 worksheet, an incomplete copy of a report entitled "Secret After Action Report" (2 pages), contains daily updates on Task Force Poinier's progress through Germany between April 1, 1945, and April 4, 1945.

The Manuscript Narrative and Notes series includes a narrative account and 3 pages of miscellaneous notes. The narrative is entitled "Travels of Too Bad: Le Havre to Herzberg," and chronicles an unidentified unit's experiences between January 5 and January 12, 1945, written by "an informal EM" (p. 1). After landing on January 5, the unit traveled through northern France, and the author described the countryside and the army's movements. Though the narrative ends near Nomény, [France], on January 12, a table of contents indicates that the full document was intended to conclude after the author's unit moved into Herzberg, Germany. The narrative is accompanied by 3 pages of notes.

Ten Manuscript Maps show various sections of Germany that the 7th Armored Infantry Battalion crossed in March and April 1945. These include detailed battle maps showing the location of various American units, as well as overlays of the battalion's route. An additional map is a sketch of the town of Dorsten, Germany.


Emanuel Levy collection, 1941-2007

2 linear feet

This collection is made up of correspondence, soldiers' newsletters, and other items related to Emanuel Levy's service in the United States Army Signal Corps during World War II and his involvement in veterans' reunions. Levy corresponded with family members and friends in Brooklyn, New York, while serving in in the United States and the Pacific Theater from 1941-1943; he later received updates from fellow veterans. The collection also includes Levy's war reminiscences, and sheet music and manuscripts of Levy's musical comedy, Hey Mister Satan (1942).

This collection is made up of correspondence, soldiers' newsletters, and other items related to Emanuel Levy's service in the United States Army Signal Corps during World War II, and to his involvement in veterans' reunions.

The Correspondence series (244 items) contains Emanuel Levy's incoming and outgoing correspondence from January 1941 to June 1943, and a single letter written in September 1945. "Manny" received letters from family members and friends in Brooklyn, New York, who discussed the family news and, less frequently, politics and the war. His correspondents included women named Muriel, Evelyn, Alberta, and Frances. In his letters and postcards, Levy commented on his experiences at Camp Upton, New York; Camp Shelby, Mississippi; Camp Beale, California; Camp Butner, North Carolina; other bases; and in Hawaii and the Pacific Theater, where he was stationed for most of 1942. He described his life on base immediately prior to the Pearl Harbor attack, discussed finances and allotments, and responded to news from his family's letters to him. He occasionally used stationery from the Jewish Welfare Board, USO, and various military installations.

The Military Transmissions and Communications series (8 items) consists of official communications sent during World War II, primarily related to the signal corps and the Pacific Theater. The series includes Irving Strobing's transmission reporting the surrender of Corregidor (May 4, 1942) and a separate order to stop American vessels bound for Corregidor, a communication from Franklin D. Roosevelt to the United States Army forces in the Philippines (beginning "Personal from the President to Lt Gen Wainwright…"), and an undated notice of the German surrender.

The Reunions and Postwar Papers series (94 items) includes materials related to reunions of the 303rd Signal Operation Battalion, the history of the unit, and Emanuel Levy's involvement with veterans' organizations. The 303rd Signal Operation Battalion held reunions from 1947-1993. Items include Emanuel Levy's postwar correspondence with fellow veterans, invitations, address lists, newspaper clippings, and ephemeral materials. Several incoming letters to Levy inform him of fellow veterans' postwar lives and deaths.

The Writings series (8 items) pertains to Emanuel Levy's service in the United States Army Signal Corps during World War II. Three personal reminiscences, written sometime after the war, recount his work for the 101st Signal Operation Battalion and 303rd Signal Operation Battalion in the United States, the Pacific, and Europe during and just after the war, with details about military communications operations, his movements, and specific incidents. One item is a list of the posts where Levy served between April 1941 and September 1945. The series contains an article that Levy submitted to Harper's Magazine in 1957 ("Two Ugly Beasties") and typescripts and manuscript sheet music for Levy's musical, "Hey Mister Satan," written with George H. Johnston and C. W. Erdenbrecher.

The Printed Items series (20 unique items) contains multiple copies of soldiers' newsletters. The Burpee, by the 303rd Signal Operation Battalion, related news of the battalion's activities while at Camp Crowder, Missouri, and in Sunnyvale, California (August 5, 1943-November 18, 1943). The Taylor Maid chronicled events onboard the General Harry Taylor at the close of the war in the Pacific; the series holds a marquee "War Ends" issue (August 15, 1945) and a signed souvenir issue (August 18, 1945). Other items are a copy of The Message, a professional newspaper produced in Camp Crowder, Missouri (September 9, 1943), and a published volume, 303rd Signal Operation Battalion: An Informal Unofficial History, April 17, 1943-February 25, 1946. The publication is a unit history comprised of photographs and essays by several of its members and a unit roster.

Three World War II-era newspaper clippings pertain to Emanuel Levy's promotion to master sergeant, a Women's Army Corps member's visit to her dying soldier son, and the 303rd Signal Operation Battalion's service in Europe, including participation in the Battle of the Bulge.


Fredericksburg During the Civil War, [ca. 1898]

16 pages

"Fredericksburg During the Civil War" is a typed account of a Union soldier's experiences during the Battle of Fredericksburg, Second Battle of Fredericksburg, and Battle of Salem Church. The account includes detailed descriptions of each battle and of the "Mud March" of January 1863. The writer commented on his regiment's movements, casualties, the experience of coming under heavy fire, and other subjects.

Fredericksburg During the Civil War (16 pages) is a typed account of Union soldier's experiences during the Battle of Fredericksburg, Second Battle of Fredericksburg, and Battle of Salem Church. The account begins with a description of the area around Fredericksburg, Virginia, and brief remarks about its strategic importance. The bulk of the document consists of the author's reminiscences about his experiences between December 1862 and May 1863. While crossing the Rappahannock River toward Fredericksburg, he saw a large number of playing cards discarded by soldiers who did not want to seem morally compromised in the event of their death. He described the large number of casualties between Union and Confederate lines during the Battle of Fredericksburg and recalled a heroic Confederate sergeant who took water to the wounded despite the risk of being shot; both sides ceased to fire while he tended to the wounded. After retreating to winter quarters, the author and his tent-mate built a log hut and participated in General Ambrose Burnside's aborted "Mud March" in January 1863.

The narrative resumes in May 1863, when the author's regiment joined the "disastrous" Chancellorsville campaign under General Joseph Hooker. The VI Corps approached Fredericksburg on May 1, 1863, and then engaged Confederate forces. Though the author exchanged fire with Confederate soldiers, he was unsure whether he had been directly responsible for any deaths. He discussed the capture of the Washington Battery, noted the death of a college classmate during the battle, and wondered whether the victory had justified the large number of casualties. As the Union Army continued to move toward Chancellorsville, the author became involved in the Battle of Salem Church, which he recounted in the present tense, listing multiple marching orders and providing accounts of several specific soldiers. The essay ends with the author locating his disjointed regiment and retreating back toward a previous encampment at White Oak Church.


Gilbert Edwin Dunbar diary and reminiscences, 1864 and after April 1865

2 volumes

This collection contains a diary and a volume of reminiscences by Gilbert Edwin Dunbar, who served with the 13th Michigan Infantry Regiment from 1862 to 1865. The diary relates to his service as assistant quartermaster in Chattanooga, Tennessee, between January and August 1864. The reminiscences cover his experiences between late 1861 and March 1862, including copied diary entries originally made between February 13, 1862, and March 6, 1862.

This collection contains a diary and a volume of reminiscences by Gilbert Edwin Dunbar, who served with the 13th Michigan Infantry Regiment from 1862 to 1865.

The Diary (about 86 pages) commences on January 1, 1864, and chronicles Dunbar's time as an assistant quartermaster at Chattanooga, Tennessee. In brief daily entries, he wrote about loading and unloading supply ships and trains that stopped in the city, and mentioned other regiments passing through Chattanooga. He also commented on his social life, which included a visit from his father and social calls with local women. After April, he occasionally mentioned news of the war, including developments around Atlanta and related battles; he also shared his favorable opinion of General Ulysses S. Grant. Dunbar mentioned seeing a parade of African American troops on May 1, and on June 30 described a dispute with Colonel Easton, who had charged Dunbar with disobedience and neglect of duty. The final entry is dated August 31, 1864.

The Reminiscences (49 pages), written after the war, begin with a brief introduction indicating Dunbar's intent to publish his memoirs, followed by "Chapter II," which recounts the 13th Michigan Infantry Regiment's training at Camp Douglas in Kalamazoo. Dunbar described his experiences in camp and included a list of the regiment's officers (pp.5-8); after mentioning the unit's departure for Tennessee (p. 12), he copied entries from his diary, commencing on February 13, 1862, as the unit boarded railroad cars bound south through Indiana. Dunbar wrote about the rainy weather and its effect on the soldiers' marches and described the scenery in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. He sought out a battlefield near Munfordville, Kentucky, where he saw the bodies of horses that had been shot during the action (p. 26). The regiment stayed in Bowling Green, Kentucky, between March 2 and 11 (pp. 29-34), and arrived in Nashville on March 13 (p. 37). The volume concludes with an entry dated April 6, 1862, as Dunbar's regiment headed toward Savannah, Tennessee.


Hamilton-Schuyler family papers, 1820-1924 (majority within 1820-1877)

0.5 linear feet

The Hamilton-Schuyler family papers contain correspondence, a diary, and documents related to the family of James Alexander Hamilton, including his daughter, Eliza Hamilton Schuyler; son-in-law, George Lee Schuyler; and granddaughter, Louisa Lee Schuyler. The material pertains to upper-class life in New York during much of the 19th century.

The Hamilton-Schuyler family papers (approximately 110 items) contain material related to the family of James Alexander Hamilton, including his daughter, Eliza Hamilton Schuyler; son-in-law, George Lee Schuyler; and granddaughter, Louisa Lee Schuyler. The papers provide insight into upper-class life in New York throughout much of the 19th century.

The Correspondence series (78 items) makes up the bulk of the collection. George Lee Schuyler composed much of the earliest correspondence in the collection, informing his brother William of his experiences while away at school in Bloomingdale, New York; one of these is written in Spanish. Other early material in the collection describes Hamilton family vacations, including several letters by James A. Hamilton written while he toured Europe in 1836 and 1837. These letters are notable not only for their descriptions of 19th-century Europe, but also for Hamilton's opinions on the financial crisis that developed in the United States during the Panic of 1837. Later correspondence includes letters written to Louisa Lee Schuyler concerning her charitable work, particularly focusing on her advocacy of humane care for the mentally ill. In addition to loose correspondence, the collection includes a letterbook outlining the contents of "Correspondence between Mrs. G. L. Schuyler (Eliza Hamilton) & Rev. Orville Dewey" (1848-1863). Many of these letters are represented by excerpts, and include Schuyler's reactions to the Civil War.

Louisa Lee Schuyler composed the collection's Diary from January 1-June 3, 1861, about the opening stages of the Civil War. She witnessed sermons by Henry Bellows and Henry Ward Beecher, and attended several theater performances by Edwin Booth.

The Documents and Photograph series (4 items) includes a military commission signed by Lewis Cass (June 30, 1832), a detailed household inventory for the Schuyler family farm (1848), a marriage certificate (March 1, 1856), and a photograph of Julia Boggs Livingston (Undated).

The School Papers series (15 items) is made up of two subseries, both related to the education of George Schuyler. The first subseries, Marks and Rewards of Merit (4 items), contains accolades for high performance. School Exercises (11 items) in language and mathematics comprise the second subseries, reflecting work in French and trigonometry.

The Writings series consists of 4 political essays by various authors, with occasional comments by George Schuyler; 5 typed memoirs and reminiscences, including an outline for an autobiographical sketch by Eliza Hamilton Schuyler; a typed copy of a poem by Washington Irving (to Rebecca McLane, beginning "There's a certain young lady"); an acrostic poem entitled "The Heron to the Ibis, with the Compliments of the Season: A Key to Egyptian Hieroglyphics" (1868); and a notebook containing genealogical and correspondence information, 1830-1863.


James H. Baker collection, 1861-1956 (majority within 1861-1863)

29 items

The James H. Baker collection contains items related to his Civil War career in Company C of the First Regiment of United States Sharpshooters. The collection includes photographs, ribbons, newspaper clippings, and a scrapbook, among other items.

The James H. Baker collection contains items related to his Civil War career in Company C of the First Regiment of United States Sharp Shooters. The collection includes photographs, ribbons, newspaper clippings, and a scrapbook, among other items. A small, leather-bound Notebook lists members of Company C of Hiram Berdan's 1st United States Sharpshooters Regiment, including their dates of resignation or death. The book also contains a short history of the company and an extensive list of engagements at which the company was present. The notebook also includes a short note regarding the history of a "Stars and Bars" banner acquired by James H. Baker, with accompanying song lyrics. A short newspaper clipping entitled "Eli Perkins Gets a Good Story from Gen. Sherman" and a number of pressed leaves are also included among the notebook's contents.

Four Photographs include three Civil War-era portraits and as well as a later, black and white portrait. At least one of the older items is of James H. Baker.

The collection's 15 Ribbons include the following items:
  • Berdan's U. S. Sharp Shooters [Reunion] (1891)
  • Berdan's U. S. Sharp Shooters [Reunion] (1894)
  • The Governor's Guard of Memphis, Tenn. (1894)
  • "I Will March for Sound Money" (1896)
  • Large American flag, Berdan's U. S. Sharp Shooters [Reunion] (1896)
  • 17th Reunion Co. B. 2nd U. S. Sharp Shooters (1897)
  • 7th Annual Reunion Berdan's Sharp Shooters (1897)
  • 1st Michigan Sharp Shooters Association 25th reunion (1908)
  • U. S. Berdan S[harp] S[hooters] (1908, 3 items)
  • Small ribbon with American flag decoration (undated)
  • Large yellow ribbon reading, "Marshal" (undated)
  • Lansing Republicans (undated, 2 items)
Printed Items and Ephemera include the following items:
  • A card certifying Clarence O. Skinner's membership in the Civil War Book Club
  • A photograph of University of Michigan swimmer James Skinner, taken from Michigan: Champions of the West
  • Printed program from the "First Reunion of Co. K Berdan's Sharpshooters," 1889
  • Printed "Address of Comrade Judge Charles J. Buchanan" at a reunion of Berdan's Sharp-Shooters' Association, 1908

Newspapers and Clippings include an item describing the presentation of a ceremonial sword to James H. Baker, a photographic portrait of Baker printed just after his death, and a copy of the New York Herald from August 1, 1863.

Essays and Reminiscences include a rewritten copy of "Grandfather's Best Story of the War," detailing the involvement of a man nicknamed "California Joe" during the early years of the Civil War, and two copies of a typed biography of James H. Baker that focuses on his Civil War service.

A Scrapbook compiled in the 20th century contains a number of items related to James H. Baker's Civil War service. Items within the scrapbook include numerous letters written by Baker to his parents, wife, and sister, documents, and newspaper clippings. Many of the newspaper clippings date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and detail reunions of Berdan's regiments. The scrapbook also encloses a copy of the Philadelphia Inquirer (September 26, 1861), and includes a photograph of Clarence O. Skinner taken in Ringen, Germany, in 1919.


John E. Boos collection, 1860-1988, 2005

Approximately 1,200 manuscripts (3.25 linear feet)

The John E. Boos collection consists of over 1,200 personal manuscript recollections or brief notes by persons who met or saw Abraham Lincoln and by persons who experienced the Civil War. John Boos, of Albany, New York, solicited and compiled most of these reminiscences in the early 20th century.

The John E. Boos collection consists of over 1,200 personal manuscript recollections or brief notes by persons who met or saw Abraham Lincoln and by persons who experienced the Civil War. John Boos solicited and compiled most of these reminiscences in the early 20th century. The collection is arranged in four series: Bound Volumes (compiled by and bound for John Boos), Unbound Volumes (binders apparently compiled by John Boos, but never bound), Loose Items, and one Book.

Boos collected autographs and reminiscences on uniquely sized 6.5'' by 9'' paper, and he instructed those he was soliciting to leave a wide 1.5'' left margin for binding. All but one volume in Series I are bound collections of this Boos-standard paper and most contributors in Series II and III contributed a note or autograph on the same size paper.

John Boos's interviewees related an almost uniform admiration or reverence to the President and his memory. Within the first binder of Series II, for example, William Strover (who was not a Civil War veteran, and who never met Lincoln) remarked: "I consider him the greatest man that has come upon the earth since Jesus Christ, and surely the greatest American that lived." Such high praise is featured throughout the entire collection. One example expressing disdain for Abraham Lincoln is a November 24, 1930, letter by Confederate and Presbyterian minister Milton B. Lambdin, who was skeptical about Boos' intent in contacting him. He suspected that Boos made the connection on account of a multi-issue article Lambdin produced for the Confederate Veteran (1929) titled "A Boy of the Old Dominion..."

Series I: Bound Volumes, 1931-1970

Eight of the nine volumes contained in this series are letters and reminiscences compiled by Boos. The volumes revolve around individual persons or themes, including the Lincoln-Douglas debates; Lincoln's assassination; Lincoln's guards; General George H. Thomas, a leading figure in the Western theater of the Civil War who retired to Troy, New York; Johnson Brigham, a fellow Lincoln enthusiast who met the President on several occasions; and the story of Confederate General George Pickett as told by his wife, La Salle Corbell Pickett; and a selection of "Mr. Lincoln's Soldiers."

Boos interspersed the manuscript and typed accounts with ephemeral items and his own narratives of relevant events. He frequently provided an overall account of the volume's theme (usually with lengthy quotations from his correspondents) before presenting the reminiscences and a brief biography of each contributor. In his introductions to these personal accounts, Boos sometimes included a narrative of how he had met and interviewed the individual or linked the person's memories of Lincoln to similar ones. Most of the volumes include a title page, dedication, illustrations, and an index.

The accounts in these bound volumes differ in length, tone, and detail, but they provide insight into how a variety of individuals remembered the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln more than a half-century after the fact. Many of his contributors were Union Army veterans, but he also tracked down individuals who witnessed the Lincoln-Douglas debates as children, Mrs. M. O. Smith who saw Lincoln at Gettysburg,a Confederate soldier, several of Lincoln's personal guards, an actress who had performed in Our American Cousin the night Lincoln was shot (Jeannie Gourley), a man who was in the same Ford's Theater box as Lincoln and who was stabbed by John Wilkes Booth (Henry Rathbone), and the man who recorded the testimony of witnesses to the assassination (James Tanner). The accounts address subjects ranging from the President's dress and style of speaking to the contributors' reflections on his legacy and greatness.

One bound volume, inscribed to John E. Boos by its creator Bernhardt Wall, contains etchings of locations in New York State visited by Lincoln. Three letters from Wall to Boos are enclosed in this 1938 volume.

Series II: Unbound Volumes (extracted from binders), 1905-1941

Series II includes the contents of 13 binders, arranged roughly into thematic categories, apparently by Boos himself (likely with the intention of binding them as he did with the letters in Series I). The order of pages within the binders has been maintained in its present housing.

Boos placed each incoming letter, reminiscence, or autograph into a top-loading page protector with related materials. In some volumes, for example, Boos matched each manuscript with his own typed or handwritten notes, which variously included the veteran's name, where they saw Lincoln, regimental information, where Boos met the veteran, and Boos's impressions of the individual. Boos wrote many of these notes on the back of scrap paper, such as advertising mail received by Boos or sample primary election ballots (some of the scrap paper contains illustrated letterheads).

Binders 1-3: Lincoln's Soldiers (3 binders, 1905-1927). Lincoln's Soldiers largely consists of letters sent to Boos, many with their envelopes still attached. Most contributors utilized Boos-provided paper, though some utilized their own stationery. Despite its title, "Lincoln's Soldiers" is comprised of letters by civilians and soldiers alike. Many contributors had met President Lincoln, and Boos collected as much information as possible about those encounters. Others were unable to meet Lincoln, but shared vivid memories of their times in Andersonville Prison, or interactions with other famous leaders, such as General Sherman (W. H. Jennings) and General Grant (J. E. Parmelee). Some documented their efforts to preserve Lincoln's memory or their involvement in Veteran's organizations.

Binders 4-7: I Saw Lincoln (4 binders, 1911-1928). The bulk of the contributors to I Saw Lincoln met or saw Lincoln during his presidency; a smaller portion interacted with him prior to the presidency; and others saw him while lying in state or en route to Illinois in 1865. The I Saw Lincoln group includes Boos's incoming correspondence and autographs he personally collected while traveling. Glowing praise of Lincoln continues throughout these binders, including an anecdote by Daniel Webster (of Salem, Oregon), in which he described how he was "near being mobbed" in Arkansas in 1871 for calling Lincoln "the brightest star in the galaxy of American statesmen and patriots."

Binder 8: Antietam (1 binder, 1912-1937). The soldiers represented in Antietam were present at the battle; some provided descriptions of the confrontation, though the writers do not all focus on the event. Antietam is notable for having the longest continuous example (in the unbound portion of the collection) of prose by Boos, in which he described the battle and his meetings with the veterans.

Binders 9-11: Lincoln's Soldiers and Where They Saw Him (3 binders, 1911-1933). contains accounts from soldiers who saw Lincoln and soldiers who did not. This group includes a significant number of contributions by soldiers who guarded the President's remains.

Binder 12: Autographs of Abe Lincoln's Soldiers (1 binder, 1910-1917). This binder contains signatures of soldiers, with very brief notes on each veteran. Boos apparently revisited the binder at a later dated and added death dates.

[Unnumbered Binder]: [Additional Lincoln's Soldiers] (1 binder, 1911-1937). This binder includes accounts similar to those found in binders 9-11.

Series III: Loose Items, 1904-1949

This series is comprised of nearly 200 loose letters, disbound book pages, and notes. Many of these items were either part of one of the Clements Library's pre-2015 accessions, or were included with the Dow collection in unarranged binders. The bulk of the series is letters to Boos containing memories of Lincoln. The accounts provided by these eye witnesses include memories of the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln's assassination, hospital visits by the President, his 1860 Cooper Union speech, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, and general memories of the Civil War period. The contributors include veterans, Ford's Theater attendees on the night Lincoln was shot, the daughter of Mary Todd Lincoln's personal nurse (Ealine Fay), and a woman who sang in the choir for the ceremony at which Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address (M. O. Smith). This series contains letters by Jennie Gourlay Struthers and James Tanner, who are also represented in the Then a Nation Stood Still volume in Series I.

The series includes writings and other materials that shed light on John E. Boos's collecting practices and editing processes and a 1924 letter from Congregational minister William E. Barton to Walt Whitman expert Emory Holloway, with comments on the growing cult of memory surrounding Lincoln.

A folder of manuscripts and photocopies pertain to Grace Bedell, who is credited with convincing Lincoln to grow his whiskers. These items include photocopies of letters Bedell exchanged with Boos, original letters between Boos and Bedell's heirs, and letters between Boos and Congressman George Dondero, who at one point owned Bedell's original letter to Lincoln.

The Loose Items series also contains correspondence of Donald P. Dow, photocopies of Boos materials offered for sale, and photocopies of letters not present in the Clements Library's collection.

Series IV: Book. A publication containing 103 John Boos letters has been added to the collection: Rare Personal Accounts of Abraham Lincoln, ed. By William R. Feeheley and Bill Snack (Cadillac, Mich.: Rail Splitter Pub., 2005).

In addition to this finding aid, the Clements Library has created a comprehensive writer index, which identifies each contributor to the collection: John E. Boos Collection Writer Index.


John Otto typescript, [ca. 1902]

646 pages

This typescript contains John Henry Otto's detailed recollections about his service in the 21st Wisconsin Infantry Regiment, Company D, during the Civil War.

This typescript (646 pages) contains John Henry Otto's detailed recollections about his service in the 21st Wisconsin Infantry Regiment, Company D, during the Civil War. The narrative is divided into an introduction and 52 chapters, with outlines provided at the beginning of each chapter. Otto made two longhand copies of his reminiscences around 1902 and presented them to his sons August and George; Vincent R. R. Carboneau, Otto's grandson, created another longhand copy in early 1943. This typescript, completed by Carboneau's daughter, Phyllis McGrath, in 1977, is a typed version of Carboneau's manuscript, with original spelling, grammar, and punctuation intact.

The typescript, based on Otto's original war diaries, concerns the entirety of his Civil War service, from his initial enlistment in August 1862 to his final discharge in June 1865. An early chapter contains brief notes about his previous military experiences in the Prussian army, with which he served in wars against Denmark (1848) and Austria (1850-1851), and he occasionally referred to his wife and children in Wisconsin. He discussed Wisconsin residents' response to the war and the renewed call to arms in late 1862 and shared stories of his interactions with civilians and military personnel throughout his time in the South, including other German-American soldiers and both Union and Confederate sympathizers. Otto encountered runaway slaves and freedmen and occasionally referred to the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1864, he expressed his negative opinion of George McClellan and McClellan's nomination for the presidency.

Most of Otto's reminiscences concern his daily experiences, and some parts of the narrative are structured like a diary. Otto described camp life, winter quarters, drilling, equipment, and the areas he passed through and visited in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. In September and October 1864, he visited Wisconsin on furlough. The typescript includes his detailed recollections of the Tullahoma Campaign, the Atlanta Campaign, Sherman's March to the Sea, and the Carolinas Campaign; numerous skirmishes; and major engagements such as the Battle of Perryville, Battle of Stones River, Battle of Hoover's Gap, Battle of Chickamauga, Battle of Resaca, Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Battle of Peachtree Creek, Siege of Atlanta, and the Battle of Averasboro. He recounted in-battle movements, the experience of coming under fire, and deaths. Otto witnessed a few executions, including that of at least one deserter, and wrote about the capture of Confederate prisoners and equipment. While in the Carolinas near the end of the war, he befriended a young mulatto boy, "Joe Hooker," who returned with him to Wisconsin in 1865. After the 21st Wisconsin Infantry Regiment participated in the Grand Review of the Armies in May 1865, Otto remained in Washington, D.C., where he did some sightseeing. The final pages of the typescript include a copy of Sherman's farewell address to the army.