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Andrew S. Parsons papers, 1864-1865

54 items

In February, 1864, Andrew S. Parsons left his farm to become a recruit in a veteran regiment, the 33rd Wisconsin Infantry for the duration of the Civil War. His letters to his wife Louisa give detailed accounts of battles and campaigns, and provide glimpses into his home life and relationships with his wife and children.

The Andrew S. Parsons papers document the life of a recruit added to the rolls of a veteran regiment of the western theatre. The 47 letters written by Andrew Parsons to his wife, Louisa, comprise the bulk of the collection, along with two letters to his children and one to a temperance society of which he was a member. In addition, there are two letters from Parsons' nephew Charles Spencer to Louisa Parsons, and one letter from a friend named Laura to Andrew Parsons. Well written and eventful, Andrew Parsons' letters have many strong points. Among the letters are detailed accounts of skirmishes in northern Mississippi, the battles of Blair's Landing, Franklin and Nashville, and Spanish Fort, as well as the Red River, Tupelo, Missouri, Franklin and Nashville and Mobile Campaigns.

Equally interesting are the glimpses that emerge through Parsons' letters of his home life and his relationships with his wife and children. His letters are laced with a fine sense of humor, and convey a sense of concern for the well being of his home and family. The occasional hint of jealousy that peers subtlely through some letters is leavened by his advice to Louisa on managing the farm, caring for the children, and seeing to the family finances. He seemingly accepts the trying circumstances of a wartime separation, and tries to make the best of the situation, all the while eager to return home.


Anthony Wayne family papers, 1681-1913

7 linear feet

The Anthony Wayne family papers contain correspondence, diaries, documents, and accounts relating to several generations of the Wayne family of Pennsylvania. Of particular note is material concerning Anthony Wayne's service in the American Revolution and the Northwest Indian War, and William Wayne's service with the 97th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment in the Civil War.

The Correspondence and Military Documents series (Volumes 1-17) contains approximately 1,450 items (3.5 linear feet), spanning 1756-1853, and arranged chronologically. The bulk of the series is correspondence, but it also contains various types of documents, including legal materials, military returns, land surveys, and lists.

Anthony Wayne

The 18th-century material in the collection (Volumes 1-10) relates primarily to the career of Anthony Wayne, including his surveying activities; acquisition and maintenance of a plantation near Savannah, Georgia, and the activities of Native Americans in its vicinity; service in the Revolutionary War; and leadership as commander-in-chief of the Legion of the United States during the Northwest Indian War. It includes incoming correspondence from numerous notable government and military officials, as well as a considerable amount of Wayne's outgoing correspondence and memoranda.

A portion of materials in the collection shed light on Wayne's activities and opinions during the American Revolutionary War, in which he served as a brigadier general. On November 22, 1777, Wayne wrote to Thomas Wharton, the "president" (i.e., governor) of Pennsylvania, on the subject of recruitment, arguing that allowing the hiring of substitutes and the paying of an "enormous bounty" would hinder efforts to attract soldiers. He also discussed the importance of uniforms to morale, arguing that they caused "a laudable pride which in a soldier is a substitute for almost every other virtue." Additionally, Wayne exchanged several letters with a friend, Colonel Sharp Delany, in which they discussed various war-related matters. On July 26, 1780, he provided a defense of his raid on Bull's Ferry, which failed and resulted in substantial American casualties. Other letters pertain to Wayne's injury from a musket-ball lodged in his thigh (November 12, 1781), his uniform (May 10, 1783), and the concerns of Savannah merchants who feared the loss of protection after the British evacuation (June 17, 1782). Also of interest is a memorandum spanning the dates June 20, 1777-October 21, 1780, in which Wayne gave his criticisms of the decisions of the Executive Council and of the Continental army in Pennsylvania, and complained of demoralization of the troops, especially the Pennsylvania Line.

A large number of letters and documents, particularly in the late 1780s, pertain to Wayne's rice plantation in the vicinity of Savannah, called Richmond and Kew, which was given to him by the state of Georgia for his wartime service there. Wayne took out large loans in order to revive the estate in 1785, two years after he left it "in a depreciating state" (June 29, 1783) to return to Pennsylvania. Wayne's letters describe his great difficulty in purchasing affordable slaves to work the land, his efforts to produce and sell rice and corn, and the scarcity of currency in Georgia, which compounded his troubles turning a profit. The papers also document Wayne's struggle to repay his loans and his dispute with his creditors, which became particularly intense in 1787, and resulted in his loss of the plantation in 1791. On that subject, he wrote, "I have been in treaty with my Persecutors" (March 1, 1791). His primary correspondents on these matters were William Penman, James Penman, Adam Tunno, Samuel Potts, Sharp Delany, and Richard Wayne.

Several items during this period also refer to the ongoing conflict between white settlers in Georgia and Native Americans there. One letter to Wayne from Benjamin Fishbourn concerns a Creek uprising in Georgia, during which the natives burned homes and absconded with corn and rice ([October 1786]). Although Wayne claimed that "the Indian depredations in this State have been so much exaggerated as to deter any purchasers" (February 20, 1788), he nonetheless kept track of many strife-filled incidents. On October 7, 1788, he wrote, "We are all confusion here on account of the Indians and Spaniards - the first carrying off our Negroes and other property - the latter Countenancing and protecting them!" He also described the imprisonment of his tenants by Native Americans (October 7, 1788), the abandonment of plantations by white settlers out of fear of "depredations" by natives (December 5, 1788), and the arrival of troops in the south to challenge the Creeks (December 5, 1791). On October 21, 1789, he wrote that he and his neighbors expected an "Indian war" at any time. After Wayne left the south permanently, he continued to receive periodic reports on conflicts between natives and white settlers, including an attack on Creeks at "Buzzard Town," during which whites killed and imprisoned many natives, as described in letters dated October 26 and December 17, 1793. Also of interest is a list of settlements in the Upper and Lower Creek Nation, including towns and villages called "The Buzzard Rost," "New Youga," "Swagelas," and "Cowetaws" (July 2, 1793).

The collection also documents several aspects of Anthony Wayne's political career, and includes his notes on the Constitutional Convention, including his assertion that "The Constitution is a Dangerous Machine in the hands of designing men" (filed at the end of 1788). Also of note are his several letters to President George Washington, requesting favors for himself and his friends, and a letter describing Washington's visit to Savannah, during which Wayne escorted him around the city (May 18, 1791). Well-represented is the conflict between Wayne and James Jackson over the election of 1791 for a seat in the 2nd United States Congress to represent the 1st District of Georgia.

A large portion of the collection concerns Wayne's prosecution of the Northwest Indian War as commander-in-chief of the newly created Legion of the United States between 1792 and 1796. Early letters and documents record the Legion's travel across Pennsylvania, gathering recruits en route (June 8, 1792); the smallpox inoculations for the soldiers (July 6, 1792); the arrangement of men into sublegions (July 13, 1792); Secretary of War Henry Knox's decision to delay operations until after the winter (August 7, 1792; August 10, 1792); and the foundation of Legionville, Pennsylvania, the first formal military basic training facility in the United States (November 23, 1792). Numerous letters concern military administration, including provisioning, appointments and promotions, furloughs, and other routine matters. Discipline of the troops was also a frequent concern, and Wayne and his correspondents frequently made references to desertion, disciplinary measures, the distribution of whiskey as a reward for successful target practice, and courts martial. Examples of the latter include the court martial of Captain William Preston, whom Wayne called "a very young Officer-with rather too high an idea of Equality" (June 25, 1795); the case of a private, Timothy Haley, who was convicted but released under pressure from the civil courts (July 1, 1795); and the proceedings against Lieutenant Peter Marks for "ungentleman and unofficer-like conduct" (July 20-21, 1794). A booklet covering July 19-August 2, 1793, contains a number of court martial proceedings, for such offenses as drunkenness while on guard duty and use of abusive language.

The correspondence and documents created during this period also shed some light on various Native American tribes in the Midwest and their encounters with Wayne's forces. In a letter to Wayne, Henry Knox frets over the yet-unknown fate of Colonel John Hardin, who died in an ambush by the Shawnee (August 7, 1792).

Also addressed are the following conflicts:
  • Attack on Fort Jefferson by a Potawatomi force (September 9, 1792)
  • Attack on a forage convoy near Fort Hamilton by Native Americans (September 23, 1792)
  • Attack on Fort Washington, resulting in the capture of three prisoners by native forces (October 2, 1792)
  • Attack on Fort St. Clair by 250 Native Americans under Little Turtle (November 6, 1792)
  • Skirmishes with Native Americans in southern Ohio (October 22, 1793) in which "the Indians killed & carried off about 70 officers leaving the waggons & stores standing"

Also of interest is a description by Israel Chapin of a Six Nations council at "Buffaloe Creek," which lists some of the attendants: "the Farmer's Brother, Red Jacket and Capt Billy of the Senkas; the Fish Carrier, head Chief of the Cayugas,; Great Sky head chief of the Onondagas; and Capt Brandt of the Mohawks; and great numbers of inferior Chiefs" (December 11, 1793). On January 21, 1794, Wayne voiced his suspicions concerning peace overtures from "Delaware, Shawanoes and Miami tribes" and accused them of buying time in order to "secure their provisions, and to remove their women and children from pending distruction." Jean-Francois (sometimes known as John Francis) Hamtramck, commandant of Fort Wayne, wrote very informative letters to Wayne, discussing the Native American traders in the area and the possibility of starting a trading house at Fort Wayne (February 3, 1795), the arrival of Potawatomi at the Fort (March 5, 1795), and a meeting with the Le Gris, chief of the Miamis, whom he called a "sensible old fellow, in no ways ignorant of the Cause of the war, for which he Blames the Americans, saying that they were too extravagant in their Demands in their first treaties" (March 27, 1795).

The Battle of Fallen Timbers receives only minor attention in the collection in the form of letters, expressing praise for Wayne's victory, from army paymaster Caleb Swan (October 19, 1794) and Francis Vigo (February 22, 1795). However, efforts to end hostilities are well documented with such items as a copy of the Treaty of Greenville (August 3, 1795), Wayne's account of the signing and its impact on various tribes and their leaders (August 14, 1795), and letters from several civilians requesting help in locating family members captured by Native Americans (June 1, 1795; July 27, 1795).

Isaac and William Wayne

After Anthony Wayne's death in December 1796, the focus of the series shifts to his son, Isaac Wayne, and then to Wayne's great-grandson, William Wayne (née William Wayne Evans); the activities of the two men occupy much of the material in Volumes 11-16. Early letters mainly pertain to the family matters and finances of Isaac Wayne, including the ongoing settlement of his father's estate and various claims against it. Several items relate to his career, including an acceptance of the resignation of a soldier from Erie Light Infantry Company during the War of 1812 (March 27, 1813), and a circular letter urging support for his candidacy for governor of Pennsylvania (October 3, 1814), which was ultimately unsuccessful. Other topics include his refusal of a nomination to Congress (February 1824); requests for information about his father by historians and biographers; the August 1828 death of his son Charles, who served in the navy; and other political and family matters discussed by Wayne. His primary correspondents include William Richardson Atlee, Charles Miner, Callender Irvine, Samuel Hayman, and various members of Evans family, to whom he was related through his sister Margaretta.

The bulk of the letters postdating 1850 relate to William Wayne. Early correspondence concerns his courtship with his future wife, Hannah Zook, in 1852, the death of Isaac Wayne on October 25, 1852, and various social visits and family concerns. On March 14 and 15, 1860, Wayne wrote to his wife about travel through Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Erie to Meadville, Pennsylvania. Though he stayed in the prominent Monongahela House, he described Pittsburgh as a "dirty village," and unfavorably compared the "Western Penitentiary" to its counterpart in Philadelphia, "the Castle on Cherry Hill." He noted that Cleveland "is said to be the handsomest City in the Union," but reserved his opinion on this point.

The collection also contains six letters written by Wayne during his Civil War service with the 97th Pennsylvania Infantry. On June 27, 1862, he wrote to his wife from James Island, South Carolina, concerning his regiment's role in building fortifications and mounting guns. He also commented on General George McClellan and his cautious strategy. Wayne wrote the remainder of the letters from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. On October 13, 1862, three days after the Confederate raid on Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Wayne wrote about rumors concerning "the movements of 'secesh' along our border" in what he suspected was an attempt to interfere with the election of 1862. In another letter, he expressed disappointment that he had arrived at camp too late to accompany a group of new recruits to Washington (November 3, 1862). Of interest are four letters from Wayne's friend, Joseph Lewis, which relate to Wayne's attempt to resign from the army, as well as five items relating to General Galusha Pennypacker. The Pennypacker correspondence includes a sketch of his service, written by Edward R. Eisenbeis (December 24, 1865), and letters concerning his recovery from severe wounds received at the Second Battle of Fort Fisher in 1865. Also of interest are several postwar letters to and from General George A. McCall concerning his meetings with Wayne.

The Manuscripts Division has created a list of the names of the letter-writers in the collection: Wayne Family Papers Contributor List.

The Letter Books series contains three volumes of Anthony Wayne's outgoing military correspondence. The periods covered are June 4, 1792-October 5, 1793 (Volume 30), April 12, 1792-June 21, 1794 (Volume 31), and October 23, 1793-September 20, 1794 (Volume 32). The letters are official and semi-official in nature and pertain to army administration, encounters with Native Americans, troop movements, provisioning, and other topics.

The Land Documents series (Volume 17) contains land indentures, surveys, and deeds relating to several generations of the Wayne family, 1681-1879. This includes numerous documents relating to the Waynesborough estate and illustrating its possession by various family members. The surveys pertain to such matters as the line between Easttown and Willistown in Pennsylvania, several surveys performed for James Claypool in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and a drawing (including several trees) of the land of James Rice. Also included is a vellum land indenture dated October 3, 1732, between Anthony Wayne's father, Isaac, and a widow named Mary Hutton.

For other land documents, see the following surveys by Anthony Wayne in the Correspondence and Documents series:
  • Land in Tredyffrin Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania (December 15, 1764)
  • Wayne property in Easttown and Willistown, Pennsylvania (January 12, 1767)
  • Newtown, Chester County, Pennsylvania (January 12, 1767)
  • Waynesborough, Chester County, Pennsylvania ([ca. 1784])
  • Survey notes on a tract of land reserved by Wayne on the Little Setilla River, Georgia (July 23, 1786)

The Other Legal Documents series (Volume 17) spans 1686-1868 and contains wills, inventories, certificates, financial agreements, and other document types. Included are several documents related to the death of Samuel K. Zook, brother-in-law of William Wayne, at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 2, 1863; certificates related to the Ancient York Masons, Pennsylvania Society of the Cincinnati, and the American Philosophical Society; and several articles of agreement concerning financial transactions between various members of the Wayne family. Also of note are the wills of Anthony Wayne, Mary (Penrose) Wayne, Elizabeth Wayne, William Richardson, and others.

The Diaries and Notebooks series (Volumes 17-20) contains 19 diaries and notebooks written by various members of the Wayne family between 1815 and 1913. Of these, Charles Wayne wrote one volume, an unknown author wrote one, William Wayne wrote ten, and William Wayne, Jr., wrote seven. The books have been assigned letters and arranged in chronological order. The Charles Wayne notebook, labeled "A," covers 1815-1816 and contains algebraic equations and notes from Charles' lessons at Norristown Academy in Pennsylvania. Volume "B," written by an unknown author, dates to about 1820 and contains a number of medicinal cures for ailments such as cholera, snakebite, consumption, jaundice, and dysentery, as well as notes on the weather and references to agriculture and a few daily events.

William Wayne, the great-grandson of Anthony Wayne, wrote volumes "C" through "L," documenting the years 1858 to 1872, with a gap from November 11, 1861-August 13, 1862. The volumes record Wayne's pre-Civil War agricultural pursuits, his service with the 97th Pennsylvania Infantry, and his postwar activities. Of particular interest are the entries that Wayne wrote while posted on Hilton Head Island in August 1862, as well as his brief descriptions of the arrival and processing of recruits at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in October of the same year. He also referenced Pennsylvania politics, the elections of 1863 and 1864, and the reaction of Philadelphians to the news of Lincoln's assassination. Also worth noting are Wayne's accounts of the Confederate cavalry raids on Chambersburg in November 1862, the Gettysburg campaign, and Wayne's attempts to recover the body of his brother-in-law after Gettysburg. Postwar, Wayne wrote on such topics as Reconstruction (August 14, 1866), a cholera outbreak in New York (November 4, 1865), and election fraud and rioting in Philadelphia (October 14, 1868).

William Wayne, Jr., wrote diaries "M" through "S," 1883-1913, with a gap between September 30, 1902, and April 19, 1911. These contain near-daily brief entries on weather, family life, health, and Wayne's interest in politics. Included is a description of an unveiling of a Sons of the Revolution monument (June 19, 1893), the illness of his wife, Mary (Fox) Wayne (February 28, 1884), and Wayne's work during an election (February 19, 1884).

The Account Books series contains 24 volumes, spanning 1769-1856. The earliest volume ("A") covers approximately 1769 to 1780, and contains accounts for unknown transactions, as well as scattered memoranda concerning travel between Ireland and North America and several references to schooling. Volume "B" is Anthony Wayne's military account book for 1793-1794, which lists monthly pay to various members of the Legion of the United States. Volumes "C" through "S" encompass a large amount of financial information for Anthony Wayne's son, Isaac, for the years 1794-1823. Volumes "T" through "X" are overlapping financial account books for William Wayne, covering 1854 through 1877. Also included is an account book recording tannery transactions and activities of the Wayne family in the 18th century (Volume 29), and a book of register warrants drawn by Anthony Wayne on the paymaster general in 1796 (Volume 34)

The Anthony Wayne Portait and Miscellaneous series contains an undated engraved portrait of Wayne by E. Prud'homme from a drawing by James Herring. Also included are various newspaper clippings, genealogical material, and printed matter representing the 19th and 20th centuries.


Aplin family papers, 1859-1960 (majority within 1862-1865)

270 items (1 linear foot)

The Aplin family papers consists mostly of letters to and from the three Aplin sons during their service in the Civil War.

The Aplin papers are most valuable not as a record of military service, for the news of battle and camp is meager and often second-hand, but as an expression of life on the home front, largely from a woman's point of view. Most of the letters (78) are from mother Elvira Aplin to son George. They are lengthy, colorful, and highly opinionated statements of her views on southerners, Copperheads, Union officers, the economic and political scene at home, the draft, war strategy, religion, and -- above all -- the behavior of her sons. On June 11, 1863 she writes, "I feel as tho I could bear any other trouble better than to hear my children have lost their good names," and admonishes George that "[y]our patriotism is all right, but you are apt to be a little tardy, and do not always render that obedience to superior officers that your oath requires." Of his journalistic efforts, she remarked that it was not proper to write "how many die there every week, and how the dead are buried after battle. I don't doubt the both of them, but it does no good to tell it, and it makes the friends of the sick and of those who die in battle feel very bad to read such accounts, while they cannot do anything to make it better." (1863 March 16) Elvira found fault with Tommy and George for not saving any of their money, as Tip did, and provoked her youngest son's fiery temper with such criticism.

Mrs. Aplin's disapproval focused on larger targets as well; as the war dragged on, she lost all patience with Union officers and developed a simmering hatred of Confederate leaders and sympathizers. A letter of March 28, 1865 tells of her fervent wish to hear that "the officers of the Southern empire army and navy have been suspended from the trees. Hunt the gurillas like wolves till the land is rid of them. Then I want the soldiers to come home and punish the northern Copperheads till they will never dare to sympathize with the south again." Southern culture also failed to impress; Elvira remarked of a magazine George had sent home "[i]f that is a specimen of southern literature I think almost any of our northern blockheads could write for periodicals in that country. ... They need a little more larnin as bad as I do." Behind Elvira's ornery criticisms lay a deep sadness and unease as she yearned for "this butchering of human beings be done away ... while there is a few left alive." She came to see herself and Sarah as perpetual wanderers who would "spend the rest of our lives alone, in this dreary world alone, without home or friend."

14 letters from Sarah Aplin to George also offer commentary on the home front, but are less detailed and expressive. School-teacher Sarah was clearly of milder temperament than her mother, but did indulge in good-natured teasing about her brother's southern girlfriends. Two brief comments in letters of her mother and of friend Ellen Johnson refer to Sarah being left a "grass widder." Since there are no references to a child being born, presumably this means she had been spurned by a suitor -- another of the many trials she and Elvira had to bear during these years.

Sister Helen [Aplin] Wheeler's 7 letters to George offer a contrast to Sarah's articulate and grammatical writing, revealing her prejudices and lack of education. Expressing the opinion that blacks are better off enslaved, she asks whether her brother went to war "to liberate them paltry slaves or for the constitution..." Helen teasingly requests that he send her "some collard girl that knows how to work," carefully noting that she prefers "a darkey girl ... that was quite good looking not one of the real black ones..." (1863 February 9, March 16)

An interesting subset of correspondence consists of 20 letters to George from Ellen Johnson, whom he later married. Some of the letters feature coy references to their courtship, while others remark on more substantive matters. "There is to be another draft and I hope they will take all the cowards and runaways that is in the country. And those that have gone to Canada have got to be branded so that we will know them in after days if they ever return," she writes on February 15, 1863. As the war drags on Ellen bitterly remarks that "some of our nigger loving friends say that the war will be ended in two months. I don't see what reason they have for thinking so." (1863 March 23)

23 letters to George and Sarah from brothers Tip and Tommy include some information on their war experiences and attitudes. Tommy's letters are particularly revealing, as he expresses resentment of his mother's criticisms, chafes with impatience to get back in the fighting, boasts that he does not fear death and has had a premonition of dying, and shows his disregard for military rules and regulations. On August 1, 1862 he writes of his dislike for guard duty: "I tell you this kind of guarding goes against the grain with me & when I am guarding a secesh orchard or cornfield I never see anything that is a going on if I can help it I never see any of the boys till they get their haversacks full & they always outrun me I never catched one yet..."

The collection contains just 8 wartime letters by George Aplin, who shows his journalistic bent in a long July 5, 1862 missive to "James" which chronicles his regiment's journey south and initial war experiences around Corinth, Mississippi, including colorful opinions on the people, houses, and landscape. One of 4 letters from George to Sarah Aplin includes a description and pencil sketch of Iuka, Mississippi, a watering place with mineral springs. (1862 July 27)

Although the bulk of the Aplin Family Papers date from the Civil War years, there is enough post-war material to round out the family saga. Tip fared reasonably well in business and politics, while George struggled. Elvira had a home once more, with George's family, but must have shared in the hardships. Post-war correspondence with lawyers, creditors, the War Dept., and Tip offers a sad picture of George's financial difficulties and failures, as he lost his farm and had to rely on his brother for money and help in getting work. His war experience was to be the highlight of George Aplin's life. The collection includes a photograph of him in military uniform at the age of 77, reliving past glories.


Benjamin C. Lincoln papers, 1861-1865

437 items (1.25 linear feet)

A fervent patriot and devout Christian, Benjamin Lincoln's strong abolitionist beliefs led him to take a commission with the 2nd U.S. Infantry (Colored). His papers contain 437 letters written by and to him through the course of the Civil War, revealing the effects of war on the relationships of friends, relatives, and lovers.

A fervent patriot and devout Christian, Benjamin C. Lincoln was also a remarkably regular correspondent. The Lincoln papers contain 437 letters written by and to Benjamin Lincoln between 1861 and 1865, including letters to and from his fiancée, later wife, Dora, letters from his brothers, Sam, Alfred, Irving, Ernest and Eugene, and from friends, Fred Gage, H.O. Walker, Charles H. Mann, Sam Hall, Amy Halliday, and Rev. Samuel Winkley, among others. The high literary quality of much of Lincoln's writing is matched by the quality of his friends' writing. Ideologically, temperamentally, and literarily they are a well matched set. There is a gap in letters written by Lincoln between November, 1863 and October, 1864, caused in part by his visits home. This period, however, is represented by letters to Lincoln, through which some of his activities can be reconstructed. The correspondence ends shortly after Ben's death at the Battle of Natural Bridge in March, 1865.

The collection is a valuable resource for examining the effect that the war had in shaping the relationships of friends, relatives and lovers. Throughout the separations imposed by military service, Lincoln remained in close contact with his fellow members of the Pine Street Chapel Association (many of whom served with him in the 39th Massachusetts Infantry), and his relationship with his brothers remained intimate. The early letters between Lincoln and his then-fiancée Dora provide a depiction of the pain of separation and the psychological hardships placed on these devout and devoted people, and the entire correspondence provides a fascinating portrait of the vicissitudes in their relationship up to and following their marriage in November, 1864. Lincoln and Dora discussed their relationship almost obsessively, whether it was going well or poorly, and the frequency of their letters makes for an unusually dense coverage of the course of one war-time love match. Dora's tendency toward depression was a problem throughout their relationship, and culminated in what appears to have been a mental breakdown early in 1865, probably over the stress of renewed separation from her husband. The collection also includes a wrenching letter from Julia M. (1864 November 21), mourning the loss her fiancé, Sam Lincoln, and several letters from Amy E. Halliday (see especially 1864 November 25) coping with the loss of her fiancé, James Schneider, an officer in the 2nd U.S.C.T.

The military content in the Lincoln papers includes far more on camp life than combat, with a few notable exceptions. During Lincoln's time with the 39th Massachusetts, the regiment was stationed in a comparatively calm part of Maryland or in Washington, D.C., and thus lacks first hand descriptions of skirmishes or battles. Lincoln's letters contain speculation on his own religious convictions, as well as on the spiritual and moral condition of his fellow soldiers, and there are comments on the hostile local citizenry, on his duties as a clerk, and occasionally on the war and the military itself. Once Lincoln receives his commission in the 2nd U.S.C.T. in September, 1863, however, the letters contain more of general interest. The collection is a significant resource for studying the attitudes and activities of a white officer in a "colored" regiment, particularly during the six weeks during which the regiment was filling up at Camp Casey, and during the period in which they were stationed at calm Key West. Lincoln was not always immediately forthcoming in his letters with descriptions of his experiences with his African American troops, partly for fear that Dora would think that he was ignoring her if he discussed anything other than their relationship. Lincoln does, however, provide good descriptions of racial tension surrounding the regiment as it was forming, and some spirited accounts of religious attitudes among the troops, along with several good accounts of their Methodist-style worship. In all, Lincoln's correspondence provides an excellent portrait of the motivations of a white soldier for seeking a commission in a colored regiment, his racial attitudes, and his experiences in camp and, to a lesser degree, in the field.

Equally valuable from the military point of view are the numerous letters from friends and relatives in the service, including those from Ben's brother Sam, a private in the 23rd Massachusetts Infantry and later as a civilian employee of the Quartermaster's Department in New Bern, N.C., and from a friend, Samuel Hall, of Co. G, 39th Massachusetts. Sam Lincoln's letters are filled with information about his regiment, and about life in the garrisoned town of New Bern. His position as a former soldier become civilian makes for an unusual perspective on Union-occupied North Carolina. Letters from Lincoln's other brothers create an impression, somewhat less fleshed-out, of the stresses endured by the members of the Lincoln family during the war, the losses they incurred, and their attempts to cope. The 15 letters from Charlie Brown, initially also a member of the 39th Massachusetts Infantry, but later an officer in the 7th U.S.C.T, are particularly noteworthy. Brown was one of Ben's closest personal friends, as was his wife Ellen, and his writing ability combined with his candor make his letters a particularly important resource for the study of one of the most active "colored" regiments in the Union army. Brown provides a description of the rout at the Battle of Olustee, of engagements near Jacksonville, Fla., and the Battle of New Market Heights, and comments throughout on life in the 7th U.S.C.T.

The 22 letters from Lincoln's civilian friend and fellow Bostonian, H.O. Walker, are also uniformly lively and interesting. A fiery abolitionist and an early advocate of arming African Americans, Walker was a man with strong opinions on the war who seldom demurred from expressing himself. Included among his best letters are a long discussion of electoral politics, radical Republicans, Frémont, Lincoln, and Johnson (1864 June 24 and September 8) and a detailed description of a public meeting held at Cambridge on the subject of conscription (1864 July 26). "We must have black troops," he wrote, "and a limitless number of them too -- paid and treated like their white brothers" (1863 September 5). The four letters from Rev. Samuel Winkley provide an interesting insight both into the powerful force that religious convictions held for some soldiers, but also the bonds of friendship and mutual assistance that tied Winkley and his former Chapel Associates, even across the separations of war. Winkley's letter of September 5, 1863, includes a fine discussion of the duties of a Christian chaplain, written with regard to the African American soldier.


Clement Abner Boughton papers, 1839-1906 (majority within 1861-1864)

145 items (0.5 linear feet)

The Clement Boughton papers consist of letters written home during Clement's service in the 12th Wisconsin Infantry as part of the occupying forces in Tennessee and Mississippi. The collection also contains other family correspondence and letters regarding Boughton's death.

The Clement Boughton papers include 86 letters from Clement Boughton to his mother, brothers and sister, 85 of which were written during his service in the 12th Wisconsin Infantry. The remaining 59 items in the collection include five documents relating to Boughton's service, four letters from a cousin, Mariette Bent, to Clement while he was in the service, a letter from an officer in the 12th Wisconsin relating news of Clement's death and several letters of bereavement from relatives and acquaintances. The balance of the collection is comprised of letters form other members of the Boughton family, both pre-War and post, most addressed to Clement's mother.

Boughton's Civil War letters form the heart of the collection and provide a complete account of the military service of an upright young farmer. While Boughton considered himself to be religious and while he held high standards of conduct for himself and his comrades, he was not prone to moralizing or quick condemnation. He was instead an avid, well-intentioned soldier doing his duty far from home, who felt pangs of guilt at being away during the harvest, and who continued to provide support, encouragement and advice to his mother, younger brother and sister on running the farm and leading their lives. His letters to his younger siblings Augustus and Anna are very affectionate and indicate how important he must have been in raising the children. His relationship with his twin, Clarence, is more difficult to ascertain. Clarence appears to have been an unusually poor correspondent and while Clement's tone in the one letter that survives between them seems strained, it is not clear whether there was actual tension between the two.

Among the more interesting letters in the Boughton are the series describing their duties in Kansas and Natchez. Devoid of any real action, they nevertheless paint an interesting portrait of military life away from the front, and include some good descriptions of Union-occupied territory. Boughton's letters written during the Vicksburg siege are also excellent, and include an interesting account of McPherson's attempt to tunnel under the Confederate fortifications as well as a fine sense of the tense, but at the same time boring life in the rifle pits awaiting the capitulation. Finally, Boughton's journal-like letter of the failed expedition from Memphis into northern Mississippi in December, 1862, to January, 1863, graphically details the hardships of field service in the deep south, the exhausting marches, mud, cold and hunger the soldiers faced, and the swings in morale that resulted when the objectives could not be attained.

Among the related materials, there is an interesting letter from members of the Baptist congregation at Chester, Conn., to Eliza Boughton, sending a small amount of money to help support her and her children after the death of her husband, Newell. A typescript of most of the Civil War letters was prepared by a descendant and is available upon request.


Farquhar Macrae diary, 1832

48 pages (1 volume)

Farquhar Macrae, a Scottish traveler, wrote this 48-page journal featuring descriptions of his time in Connecticut between August 11 and September 10, 1832. He provided frequently acerbic and disdainful remarks on the landscape, people, social and political climates, Andrew Jackson, military and navy wages, soldiers' appearance, conceit, inhospitality, wealth, poverty, hypocrisy, and more. He made comparisons between the customs observed in different parts of the United States and Great Britain and Europe.

Farquhar Macrae, a Scottish traveler, wrote this 48-page journal featuring descriptions of his time in Connecticut between August 11 and September 10, 1832. He provided remarks on the landscape, people, social and political climates, Andrew Jackson, military and navy wages, conceit, inhospitality, wealth, poverty, hypocrisy, and more. He made comparisons between the customs observed in different parts of the United States and Great Britain and Europe. Between August and September, Macrae spent time in New Haven, Hartford, Stafford Springs, Vernon, and Norwich. At the end of the journal, Macrae outlined his plans to travel to Savannah and then to Florida to visit his sister.

The marbled cover of the journal and the title on the first page indicate that this is the seventh journal Macrae wrote during his travels. This journal features descriptions of parties hosted in New Haven (despite the cholera outbreak); militia "training day" with mandatory participation for all who could not afford to pay the $15 annual fine; differences in treatment and pay of Navy soldiers versus those serving on land; his various relationships included a potentially romantic one with a woman named Mary Benjamin; and other topics. In one case, he remarked on his tiresome two-day stay at the Washington Hotel, a health resort at Stafford Springs. Near the end of the journal Macrae made his feelings towards American culture very clear. He discussed the lack of a "national mark of character" that leads to "bad copying of foreign tastes." In a candid expression of his views on the people of the United States, he wrote:

"I contemn the nation for their concealed fondness for aristocracy, and outward dislike towards it. I dislike their consummate vanity and overweening self-conceit. I abhor their Jacobin creed and despise the impudent freedom of their lower classes. I pity their cupidity and jealousy, and feel vexed at their obstinate eulogy. Their country is magnificent and has incredibly advanced in prosperity & improvement, and will be no doubt the greatest of nations if it holds together, but at present it is a mere child" (September 4, 1832)


Francis Brown papers, 1864-1865

26 items

The Francis Brown papers describe Brown's experience as a cook for the 1st New Hampshire Heavy Artillery Regiment stationed outside of Washington, D.C. during the Civil War.

The Francis Brown papers consist of twenty-six letters, twenty-three of which were written by Brown to his wife and son while in the service of the 1st New Hampshire Heavy Artillery in the defenses of Washington. Brown describes his duties as cook, the menu for the troops, and his methods of supplementing the army diet, such as fishing and collecting fifty cents from each man to purchase fruits and vegetables. He also discusses a side line he had developed to earn extra income: selling grease from the cookhouse. In addition to bits of everyday camp life, Brown discusses reforms in system of draft substitution, absentee voting by soldiers, and the problems caused by drunkenness and prostitutes. In writing to Frank, Brown urges him to help his mother and to practice his writing so that he can write to his father.

The collection also contains one letter from Mary to Brown and two from Jonathon Sleeper to Brown. Nearly every letter is accompanied by an envelope pre-printed with Mary's name and address, an oddity for a private soldier.


George H. B. Young letters, 1864

7 items

This collection is made up of 7 letters that Private George H. B. Young wrote to his family while serving with the 26th Ohio Independent Light Artillery Battery in Vicksburg, Mississippi, between April 24, 1864, and September 16, 1864.

This collection is made up of 7 letters that Private George H. B. Young wrote to his family, while serving with the 26th Ohio Independent Light Artillery Battery in Vicksburg, Mississippi, between April 24, 1864, and September 16, 1864.

Young addressed his letters to his parents, George H. and Rebecca Young, and to his brother, Jacob B. Young. He occasionally signed his letters "Hardesty." He described his experiences at Vicksburg during the Union occupation, and recorded his impressions of African Americans and captured Confederate soldiers (April 24, 1864). Young expressed fondness for military life, which he preferred to farm work, and provided details about camp life and the size of his battery. In one letter, he suggested that his brother Jacob ride to Vicksburg to collect his pay, though he anticipated difficulties along the route, such as possible capture by Confederate forces (April 24, 1864). He drew a picture of a person carrying a letter (May 2, 1864), and wrote 3 letters on stationery from the United States Christian Commission.


Henry Grimes Marshall papers, 1862-1865

212 items (0.5 linear feet)

The Henry Grimes Marshall papers consist of letters written by Marshall to his family while serving with the Union Army, including time spent as an officer in the 29th Connecticut Infantry Regiment (Colored). Marshall's letters describe the events taking place around him as well as his thoughts about African American regiments, women's roles in war, and his reactions to the war.

Henry Marshall is among those writers whose letters provide insight into the workings of the mind, but also the workings of the heart. As a result, his surviving correspondence ranks among the outstanding collections in the Schoff Civil War Collections, providing a sensitive and deeply introspective view into the experience of a white officer in a "colored" regiment. An exquisite writer, Marshall was also among the most punctual of correspondents, rarely allowing a week to pass without sending something to his family at home. As a result of this fidelity and his meticulous eye for detail, it is possible to reconstruct nearly every day of Marshall's life under arms, the swings in his emotions, and the sudden changes in fortune that marked his career.

The high point of the collection is a remarkable series of letters written while Marshall was captain of Co. E, 29th Connecticut Infantry (Colored). Unlike the vast majority of white Americans, Marshall saw African-Americans as capable soldiers, brave and willing, and though afflicted with an unrelenting paternalism and sense of his own racial superiority, he generally refrained from swinging to the romantic extremes of many white abolitionists or the vicious extremes of his more racist compatriots. Marshall provides good accounts of daily life in camp, the inevitable rumors circulating among the soldiers, and opinions of officers. Of particular value are the ruminations on African American troops and their officers, living conditions while on duty guarding plantations in South Carolina or in the trenches before Petersburg, and the heavy labor while working at construction of the Dutch Gap Canal.

Among the military engagements described by Marshall are Fredericksburg, the sieges of Suffolk and Petersburg (particularly the battles of New Market, Darbytown Road and the Darbytown and New Market Roads), and the capture of Richmond. Furthermore, Marshall was involved in a number of minor skirmishes, many of which are exceptionally well documented. Overall, the best accounts are those for New Market Heights, where African American troops again distinguished themselves, and for a smaller, but significant skirmish during the Petersburg Campaign on October 12 and 13, 1864.

Marshall's letters are made more valuable in that his observational scope extends beyond the military, to report on such things as contraband children's schools (April 30, 1863), "shouts" and religious services (1864 July 5), and the local civilianry. An educated man with a keen interest in botany, he frequently sent home lengthy descriptions of southern flowers, often enclosing samples and seeds, and he left a rare record of the reading material available to a soldier. Marshall was also a keen observer of the religious life in his regiment, writing scathing attacks on his regiment's chaplain, whom Marshall felt was suspect of character.


Hugh and George Roden papers, 1861-1898 (majority within 1861-1864)

68 items

George and Hugh Roden, sons of English immigrants, enlisted in the 2nd and 7th New Jersey Infantry regiments respectively during the Civil War. This collection contains 62 letters from Hugh and five letters from George, which offer an excellent look at the ordinary soldier's view of politics, the army, and its commanders.

The Roden brothers collection represents only a portion of a much larger body of material. There are five letters written by George Roden, Jr., all between June 17th and August 19th, 1861, and one letter written to him by a fellow veteran in 1898. The remainder of the collection consists of letters from Hugh Roden, who was described by the original cataloguer of this collection as "a charmingly precocious drummer boy."

Like those of many of his fellow soldiers, Hugh Roden's letters contain frequent references to food, both that issued by the commissary and that sent from home. His best letters, though, offer an excellent look at the ordinary soldier's view of politics, the army, and its commanders. Probably younger than his 21 year old brother, Hugh's early letters are strongly optimistic and reflect a confidence in his leaders. He is occasionally introspective, giving thought to the toll exacted on its participants and the families of soldiers on both sides, and can muster a little humor at times. A Lincoln supporter, Roden is nevertheless incensed at the Emancipation Proclamation, which he predicts will turn the army against the President, and further predicts that passage of the Proclamation will result in racial equality, in theory and fact.

The best series of letters are Hugh's six letters from the Peninsular Campaign, in which he describes the positions before Yorktown, the battlefield at Fair Oaks, removing bodies from the field after Williamsburg, and the aftermath of the battle of Seven Days' Battles. His diary-like account of Chancellorsville is also worthwhile. Unfortunately lacking from the collection are the brothers' letters from Fredericksburg, Mine Run, and the battles between the Wilderness and Cold Harbor.