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Adam H. Pickel papers, 1862-1863

13 items

The Pickel papers contain nine letters written by Adam H. Pickel to his parents in Phoenixville and one written to a sister during his enlistment in the 68th Pennsylvania Infantry during the Civil War. His letters provide interesting commentary on the war; in particular, he strongly refuted the rumor that General Joseph Hooker was drunk at the battle of Chancellorville.

The Pickel papers contain nine letters written by Adam H. Pickel to his parents in Phoenixville and one written to a sister. This correspondence suggests that Pickel had received a good education and had more than a minor talent as a writer. It is clear, however, that there are numerous letters no longer present with collection, including, apparently, the letters in which Pickel described his experiences in battle.

Pickel's surviving letters nevertheless provide some interesting commentary on the war. In particular, his letters regarding Chancellorsville, even though they lack a thorough description of the battle, provide a strong feeling of the horror of that engagement. Further, he argues vehemently that, rumors aside, Joe Hooker was not drunk at Chancellorsville. Pickel claims to have seen the General perhaps 20 times during the battle, and that he exhibited no obvious signs of inebriation. He admitted, however, to Hooker's well-known fondness for whiskey. Also worth noting is Pickel's critical response in support of a Dr. Oberholzer, who wrote a letter to hometown newspaper, the Daily Phoenix, pointing out how poorly run the Army was.


Arthur Richard Roussin correspondence, 1943-1946 (majority within 1944-1946)

1 linear foot

This collection contains 212 letters, postcards, greeting cards, and telegrams that Second Lieutenant Arthur Richard Roussin ("Dick") of Durand, Michigan, sent to and received from his parents during his service in the United States Army, February 1944-August 1946. Roussin wrote about life at Fort Benning, Georgia; Camp Stewart, Georgia; and Camp Robinson, Arkansas, from February 1944-April 1945, and about his experiences traveling to and serving in Yokohama, Japan, from October 1945-August 1946. His parents shared personal and local news and discussed their store in Durand.

This collection contains 212 letters, postcards, greeting cards, and telegrams that Second Lieutenant Arthur Richard Roussin ("Dick") of Durand, Michigan, and his parents exchanged during his service in the United States Army from February 1944-August 1946. Roussin wrote about life at Fort Benning, Georgia; Camp Stewart, Georgia; and Camp Robinson, Arkansas, from February 1944-April 1945, and about his experiences traveling to and serving in Yokohama, Japan, from October 1945-August 1946. His parents shared personal and local news and discussed their store in Durand. Roussin also received a few letters from other acquaintances.

The first letter, from Durand's high school, pertains to his academic affairs (May 21, 1943), and the remaining correspondence relates to his time in the military. The bulk of the collection falls within two time periods: February 19, 1944-April 25, 1945 (120 items), and October 12, 1945-January 31, 1946 (98 items); 6 additional items are dated February 4, 1946-August 24, 1946. Roussin wrote 122 letters to his parents, received 90 letters from his parents, and received 13 letters from other correspondents. Some envelopes contain multiple items or letters written over the course of several days, and some letters enclose newspaper clippings.

Roussin's earliest letters home concern training exercises at Fort Benning, Georgia; Camp Stewart, Georgia; and Camp Robinson, Arkansas, where he was stationed from February 1944-April 1945. He described specific tasks, such as his work with machine guns, and the everyday occurrences of camp life during infantry training. He sent his parents 3 picture postcards of sights in and near Camp Stewart, Georgia, in the summer of 1944, and commented regularly on his training experiences until mid-March 1945. Between March and April 1945, Roussin's parents wrote almost daily about their lives in Durand, Michigan. Their letters include updates on their son "Gene," war news, descriptions of social activities, and discussions about their store. On March 20, 1945, a friend sent Arthur R. Roussin a postcard depicting the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

The Roussins resumed their correspondence in October 1945, when Arthur, then a second lieutenant with "Infantry Company B, 4th Platoon" (his mail traveled through the 194th Quartermaster Detachment APO), anticipated his deployment to Japan. He mentioned his duties as his unit prepared to sail from California, and described his journey from the United States to Japan onboard the USS General George M. Randall. After his arrival in Tokyo on November 1, 1945, he traveled to the Naval Air Facility Atsugi and to Yokohama, where he was stationed until the following August. While in Yokohama, Roussin wrote to his parents about his daily activities, such as bookkeeping duties for a post exchange (PX) store, visits to Tokyo, and his social life. He sometimes reported on his drinking habits and explained the army's rationing system for alcohol, which divided drinks into several classes before distribution. During this period, he occasionally received letters from his mother and father, who continued to discuss their daily lives and local news, including the possibility of labor strikes. On December 29, 1945, Roussin mentioned a fire in the PX warehouse, and on February 4, 1946, reassured his parents that he had not been seriously injured in a recent car crash, though a friend had been killed. He also sent postcards of Mount Shasta (California) and of a Japanese building. His final communications are three telegrams from late August 1946, in which he shared his expectation of an imminent journey home.

Arthur Richard Roussin often wrote on decorated U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, American Red Cross, or personal stationery. One letter has a humorous printed illustration of a family of birds (June 15, 1944), and Roussin drew a picture of a cyclone in his letter of October 22, 1945.


Binney family papers, 1809-1894

57 items

The Binney family papers, compiled by Boston real estate agent Amos Binney in the late 1800s, contain correspondence, documents, newspapers, and photographs related to his ancestors John Binney, Amos Binney, and Horace Binney, Jr. John and Amos Binney served in the War of 1812, and Horace was a lawyer in Philadelphia. The collection also includes a published copy of Genealogy of the Binney Family in the United States, with manuscript annotations and enclosures.

Amos Binney, a Boston real estate agent, compiled the Binney papers (57 items) in the late 1800s. They include correspondence, documents, newspapers, and photographs related to his ancestors John Binney, Amos Binney, and Horace Binney, Jr.

The Correspondence and Documents series, originally housed in a red leather file folder, consists of several thematically distinct groups of material. The first is a series of six letters that Captain John Binney wrote to his brother Amos between 1809 and 1811, about his military service near Wiscasset, Maine. He defended his honor against recent defamations, discussed supplies for the forts under his command, and commented on the international tension immediately preceding the War of 1812. This group also includes an indenture for land Binney purchased in Plymouth County, Massachusetts (October 18, 1813).

The next group of items is a pair of legal documents concerning Horace Binney, Jr., and a transaction involving land in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The documents list payments made between 1844 and 1852. The third group is a set of three letters between the younger Amos Binney and the United States auditor of the treasury concerning the Binney family genealogy. Binney requested information about Amos and John, his ancestors (particularly their military service), and received responses from Samuel Blackwell (August 18, 1894) and F. M. Ramsay (September 5, 1894). The series also holds an undated letter written by John A. Binney and a map showing property bordered by North, East, Bridge, and Short Streets in an unknown town.

The Newspapers series consists of the following items, each related to the elder Amos Binney:
  • Nonconsecutive issues of the Boston Castigator, bound together (August 7, 1822-October 2, 1822)
  • The Independent Bostonian (October 5, 1822)
  • American Statesman and Evening Advertiser, with several additional clippings pertaining to Amos Binney's service as navy agent in Boston (November 18, 1822)
  • Bostonian & Mechanics' Journal (November 23, 1822)
  • Boston Patriot & Daily Mercantile Advertiser (November 25, 1824)

The third series is a printed, annotated copy of Genealogy of the Binney Family in the United States , which includes enclosures compiled by the younger Amos Binney in the 1890s. Several entries, such as those on Amos and John Binney, have margin notes. The annotations and loose items provide additional information on the family's history, and include family trees, letters between the younger Amos Binney and his uncle, and photographs of Binney family residences and graves.


David Holtz company book, 1814-1815

1 volume

The David Holtz company book (274 pages) contains personal information for every service member of the 17th Regiment Infantry from 1814-1815, as well as a ledger of materials and supplies held by the company.

The David Holtz company book (274 pages) contains personal information for every service member of the 17th Regiment Infantry in 1814 and 1815, and includes the company’s ledger of materials and supplies. The volume opens with a table of contents that lists each soldier in the regiment. The register of company members includes the following information: name, rank, joining date, where furloughed, deserted, died, sick, and other absences. The register also provides payment information, details on trade or occupation, and a physical description of each service member with notes on height, age, birthplace, eye color, hair color, and complexion (light, fair, brown, dark). The ledger of materials and supplies details each individual's issuances of clothing, arms, and accoutrements.

See the Additional Descriptive Data section for a complete list of the men named in the roster.


David McKinney papers, 1776-1921 (majority within 1863-1865)

82 items

The David McKinney papers consist primarily of letters written by McKinney while serving as a quartermaster during the Civil War and include detailed descriptions of his work.

The bulk of the McKinney papers, 57 items, consists of letters written by David McKinney to his sister, Jeanette, and other siblings between June 25, 1863, and December 9, 1865, covering most of the period of his military service. As quartermaster, McKinney had little combat experience, though his descriptions of conditions during the siege of Vicksburg (13) and the battles of Sabine Cross Roads and Pleasant Hill (30) are detailed and colorful. He comments frequently and forthrightly about generals, generalship, and Copperheads and often alludes to the French presence in Mexico. McKinney's letters are perhaps most noteworthy for the interesting and unusual glimpse they offer into the workings of the Quartermaster's Department. Particularly in his letters from Mouth of White River (47-63), McKinney provides detailed discussions of his responsibilities and his brushes with the ubiquitous profiteers. In a later letter (66), he describes his personal role in the reconstruction of the South -- the hiring of a former Rebel colonel as a teamster.

The remainder of the collection, 24 items, consists of miscellaneous materials relating to various members of McKinney's family. Among these items are two Revolutionary-War-era letters (1, 2), a will from 1796 (3), and a series of five letters of recommendation written for David McKinney by his professors at Jefferson College (5). In the post-war period, three items relating to Abraham Smith McKinney's involvement with the Ingleside Plantation are noteworthy (70-72), as are three short letters written by David McKinney just prior to his death (78). Genealogical charts and material regarding the provenance of the papers are located in the last folder of the collection (82).

The most important of these family letters is one written in December, 1859, that includes a discussion of the role of Chambersburg, Pa., as headquarters for John Brown's forces prior to the raid on Harper's Ferry, and an account of the fate of some of the insurrectionists (11).


E. C. Tillotson papers, 1862-1908

80 letters, 1 diary

E. C. Tillotson enlisted in the 14th Ohio Infantry during the Civil War, but was unable to serve on active duty because of frequent ill health. Among his papers are 29 letters to his daughter Mary and one each to his wife Angeline and son Charles, which describe the fate of Union dead at Chickamauga, the fortifications at Chattanooga, and other topics. His diary covers a one month period during the summer of 1863 and includes a description of the engagement at Hoover's Gap, Tennessee in June. A series of documents collected during his service include ordnance stores reports and surgeons' evaluations of Tillotson. The collection is completed by letters concerning Tillotson's death and the dispute between Angeline and Mary over his estate.

The Tillotson papers appear to be only a portion of his war-time correspondence, with only one letter present prior to 1863. Among the 80 letters, 29 were written by Lt. Tillotson to his daughter, Mary, and one each to his wife and son. The collection includes three letters from Benjamin St. James Fry and two from Lt. Van Meter concerning Tillotson's death and the dispute between Angeline and Mary over his estate. Finally, there are a series of documents collected by Tillotson during his service, including ordnance stores reports and seven surgeons' evaluations of Tillotson as unfit for duty.

As might be expected from a man so often removed from action, the collection is slight on military news. The diary, which covers only a one month period during the summer of 1863, includes a good description of the engagement at Hoover's Gap, Tenn., in June, 1863. Two letters mention the fortifications at Chattanooga, and one interesting letter discusses three soldiers in the 111th Pennsylvania Regiment and two servants, who froze to death while being transported by rail to Bridgeport, Ala. The best letter by far, however, is a grisly description of the supposed fate of Union dead at Chickamauga. Tillotson charges that Braxton Bragg refused to allow the Union to reclaim their bodies, and that the Confederate Army dismembered bodies, exposed them for hogs to devour, placed skulls on stumps, and took bones to carve into rings and other souvenirs for Southern ladies. An unusual printed poem "On Picket Guard at Stones River" is also noteworthy. On the home front, one letter mentions a gang of escaped prisoners from Johnson's Island who were terrorizing the neighborhood of Cedar Point.

The Tillotson papers will most likely be of interest as an unusual record of a soldier who spends much of his service sitting at home convalescing. Tillotson's mood swings and occasional dark thoughts during his long battle with "neuralgia" and other complaints, and his equally obvious inability either to serve or to secure a discharge are very interesting. The strained relations in his family are also of considerable interest, particularly after they develop into open hostility between mother and daughter over Tillotson's estate.


Elliot N. and Henry M. Bush papers, 1863-1864

6 items

Elliot and Henry Bush, brothers who served in the 95th Illinois Infantry, wrote several letters home regarding the operations of the regiment in Mississippi and Tennessee.

The six Bush letters in the collection represent a small part of their correspondence to relatives at home, relating to the operations of the 95th Illinois in Mississippi and Tennessee. Both brothers are exceptionally well written and reflective, and there must originally have been a far greater number of letters. Each of Elliot Bush's four letters, in particular, is a gem, from his first, in which he writes about tough conditions on the march in Mississippi, about parrying with Van Dorn's cavalry near Holly Springs, and the desire of soldiers in his company for destroying and pillaging rebel property and his duty, as an officer, to prevent them; to his last, in which he describes the effect of Union occupation on the women and men of Natchez, Miss.

Perhaps the best letter in this small collection is the one in which Elliot describes the fortifications at Vicksburg, the thoughts that run through his mind during battle, conditions inside the town, and an armistice during which Confederate and Union soldiers mingled, sharing canteens and locating relatives and neighbours in the opposing army.


Hacker Brothers papers, 1861-1988 (majority within 1861-1880)

0.75 linear feet

This collection consists primarily of letters that Rohloff and Philip Hacker wrote to their parents and siblings while serving in the 2nd and 5th Michigan Infantry Regiments during the Civil War. Also included are two of Rohloff Hacker's diaries, letters by additional Michigan soldiers and a female aid worker, and letters that William Hacker received from his brother Karl in Neustrelitz, Germany, from 1877-1880.

This collection consists of letters that Rohloff and Philip Hacker wrote while serving in the 2nd and 5th Michigan Infantry Regiments during the Civil War. The collection also includes two of Rohloff Hacker's diaries, letters by additional Michigan soldiers and a female aid worker, and letters that William Hacker received from his brother Karl in Neustrelitz, Germany, from 1877-1880.

Among the most valuable letters in the collection are Rohloff's written during the summer of 1861. These provide an excellent sense of life in the camps defending Washington, going beyond descriptions of the routine of camp life to discussions of morale, officers, and the preparedness of soldiers on both sides. Rohloff describes the equipment and uniforms issued to his Regiment -- late and in poor condition -- in great detail, and their involvement in skirmishes and in the 1st Battle of Bull Run. He displayed an unusual zeal in soldiering, remarking that he did not hesitate in firing at Confederate soldiers, even the first time, and making a number of caustic remarks about Confederate soldiers. The amusing rivalry he and Philip carried on through their correspondence with home over their regiments and relations with friends and women decreased after the First Battle of Bull Run, and seems to have ended altogether after the Peninsular Campaign, when both their moods turned darker and more serious. The brothers both wrote informative letters during the Peninsular Campaign, particularly during the siege of Yorktown, the Battle of Williamsburg, and the Seven Days' Battles. The letters describing the Battle of Fredericksburg are also absorbing, particularly Philip's account of his own wounding. Somehow, through their experiences, which included a number of disastrous defeats at the hand of the enemy, both brothers unwaveringly maintained their faith in their country and their religion.

Rohloff and Philip wrote clearly and succinctly, and both were sensitive to the larger issues of the conflict and to the effect of war on the participants and civilians. Both commented occasionally on strategy and the leadership of the Union Army. Philip's letters are somewhat more polished than Rohloff's. The majority of the brothers' letters were written to family members, with most addressed to their father and mother, William and Barbara Woll Hacker, their younger siblings, Serena and Theodore, or their sister and brother-in-law Augusta and Alpheus Macomber in various combinations. Rohloff also wrote more than 30 letters to his former employers, E.F. Albright and C. Thomson, or Mrs. Albright.

The collection contains letters of several other Michigan soldiers, most of who served with the Hackers, or were friends of the Hacker family from Brighton. Among these are four letters from Peter Smith (Co. G, 2nd Michigan), reminiscing about his friendship with Rohloff and describing visits to his grave; five from Newton J. Kirk (Co. E, 26th Michigan Infantry); four from Capt. John C. Boughton (Co. G, 2nd Michigan), two letters of Edward R. Bliss (4th Michigan Infantry), and six letters written in February and March, 1863, by W. H. Pratt, a Sergeant in the hospital in which Philip Hacker was dying (probably William H. Pratt, Co. E, 26th Michigan Infantry). Another group of additional correspondence consists of 16 letters that Julia Susan Wheelock wrote about her work for the Michigan Soldiers' Relief Association in Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia between 1863 and 1866. Wheelock is also mentioned in several of the soldier's letters. In 1870, Wheelock published a memoir of her war-time experiences, The Boys in White; the Experience of a Hospital Agent in and around Washington.

The collection also contains a group of 5 letters that Karl Hacker wrote to William Hacker, his brother, from Neustrelitz, Germany, between September 16, 1877, and February 12, 1880. The letters are written in German schrift. Hacker's correspondence concerns local news and events, including several festivals; changes in Neustrelitz and Germany since William left for the United States; and his work as a construction supervisor. He provided updates about his health, and also discussed news of family members and friends in the United States and Germany.

The collection also contains The Congregational Psalmist: A Collection of Psalm Tunes, three soldier's bibles, two belonging Rohloff C. Hacker and one from Alexander Reuben that also has Philip W. Hacker's name in it, a leather wallet with Philip Hacker and William A. Ferguson's name on it, and a sewn cloth case. Miscellaneous items such as newspaper clippings, stamps, hunting licenses, currency, 4 photographs, and photographic negatives are also included. A small selection of 20th century family correspondence about the Hacker brothers supplement the collection.


Henry Burbeck papers, 1735, 1775-1866 (majority within 1802-1813)

3 linear feet

The Henry Burbeck papers consist of military and personal correspondence of Brigadier General Henry Burbeck, a career artillery officer in the United States Army (1775-1784, 1786-1815). The papers include Burbeck's incoming correspondence; drafts of outgoing letters; and returns, muster rolls, and other items submitted to Burbeck by officers under his command. The collection is particularly strong in its documentation of the administration and development of the artillery branch of the United States Army in the decade leading up to the War of 1812.

The Henry Burbeck papers (approximately 2,300 items) consist of military and personal correspondence of Brigadier General Henry Burbeck, a career artillery officer in the United States army (1775-1784, 1786-1815). The papers include Burbeck's incoming correspondence (approx. 1,350 items), drafts of outgoing letters (approx. 360 items), returns and muster rolls submitted to Burbeck by officers under his command (approx. 190 items), an orderly book, manuscript maps (10 items), and other financial and military papers. The collection is particularly strong in documenting the administration and development of the artillery branch of the United States Army in the decade leading up to the outbreak of the War of 1812.

The Correspondence and Documents series (approximately 2,220 items) contains Burbeck’s incoming and outgoing correspondence with military officers, army contractors, politicians, and other officials. Frequent correspondents represented in the collection include Secretary of War Henry Dearborn; as well as artillery officers Amos Stoddard, Moses Porter, Richard Whiley, George Armistead, James House, Nehemiah Freeman; and many others. Over seventy incoming letters are addressed to Secretary of War Henry Dearborn, which were then forwarded to Burbeck. The series includes returns, muster rolls, inventories, receipts, General Orders, instructions, memorandums, courts-martial documents, contracts, oaths of allegiance, and other miscellaneous items.

The bulk of the manuscripts in this series reveal practical day to day concerns of U.S. Army artillery officers, such as recruitment of men, desertions, provisions, payments, and exercises and drills. A frequent topic of concern was the recruitment and provisioning of musicians. Over 10 letters and documents, for example, relate to Francesco Masi, an Italian musician who served under Captain Nehemiah Freeman at Fort Independence in Boston harbor. Additional regular subjects include the planning and construction of artillery and shot, and the construction of coastal and internal fortifications. Henry Burbeck and other officers provided detailed reports on the forts occupied and constructed by American troops. Examples include: Fort Hale (October 24, 1811), Fort Trumbull (Oct 25, 1811), Fort Eustis (September 11, 1810), Castle Williams (October 1810), Fort Independence (October 5, 1811), Fort Niagara (September 29, 1808), Fort Detroit (November 5, 1808), Fort Mifflin (November 17, 1811), Newport, Rhode Island (October 25, 1811), Fort Norfolk and Fort Nelson (November 4, 1811), and Fort Powhatan (December 14, 1811).

Many letters are concerned with the design and testing of guns, shot, and gun-carriages. These subjects are especially prevalent in correspondence between Burbeck and contractors Jacob Eustis and Henry Foxall; and correspondence between Burbeck, Lieutenant Samuel Perkins, and Captain George Bomford, head of the United States Arsenal at New York. The collection's correspondence is focused almost exclusively on military affairs, with only a small number of letters related to Burbeck’s personal affairs. One example is twelve letters between Burbeck and Elisha Sigourney, an associate in Boston, concerning financial matters.

Selected items of note include:
  • Marriage certificate dated February 27, 1790, for Henry Burbeck and Abigail Webb for their wedding on February 25, 1790.
  • Magret Dowland ALS dated March 2, 1803. An enlisted man’s wife asked for back pay owed to her for working as Matron of the Hospital.
  • A copy of instructions given by Burbeck to Captain John Whistler dated July 13, 1803, in which he gave Whistler instructions to establish Fort Dearborn.
  • Simon Levy ALS dated April 12, 1805. Levy, the first Jewish and second ever graduate of West Point, asked to be transferred for health reasons.
  • Return J. Meigs, Sr. ALS dated January 1, 1807. Meigs wrote concerning settler and Native American relations in Tennessee.
  • Samuel Dyson ALS dated August 10, 1807. Dyson wrote that he had received news of an imminent Native American attack on Detroit.
  • Draft from Henry Burbeck dated November 1808. Burbeck wrote to John Walbach complaining of being sent to Detroit.
  • Satterlee Clark ALS dated November 2, 1811. Clark gave a detailed description (5 pages) of a fight between a sergeant and an artificer on the wharf in Annapolis.
  • Draft from Henry Burbeck dated February 8-9, 1812. On the back of this draft, Burbeck wrote to an unnamed correspondent giving his feelings on how women should sit for their portrait.

The Revolutionary War Reminiscences series (11 items) contains draft copies of letters written by Burbeck in the later years of his life, in which he described his service in the American Revolution. He focused particularly on his memories of the evacuation of New York in September 1776. Of particular note is one draft (December 24, 1847) in which Burbeck wrote in detail about the changes in uniform and appearance of American officers after the arrival of Baron Von Steuben. At least one of the drafts was intended for Charles Davies of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati.

The Orderly Book series (1 item) contains a 114-page bound volume dating from January 2, 1784, to May 16, 1784. This volume respects day to day activities of the First American Regiment, a unit of the Continental Army organized at West Point in the months following the ratification of the Treaty of Paris (1783). Most of the entries regard daily duty assignments, courts-martial proceedings, and promotions. The orderly book concludes weeks before the disbandment of the regiment.

The Maps series (10 items) is made up primarily of manuscript maps of fortifications dating from 1790 to 1811. One item of note is the 1790 map of Fort St. Tammany given to Burbeck by Surgeon's Mate Nathan Hayward. Burbeck personally oversaw the construction of Fort St. Tammany, and this item contains a detailed depiction of the garrison, complete with an American flag. Please see the "Separated Items" section of the finding aid below for a complete list of the maps present in the Henry Burbeck papers.

The Printed Materials series (58 items) is comprised of printed circulars issued by the United States Government and Army, blank enlistment forms, and personal materials collected by and about Henry Burbeck (including newspaper articles and other published items). A copy of the Second Congress's 1791Act for Making Further and More Effectual Provision for the Protection of the Frontier of the United States is housed in the Oversize Printed Materials folder. A small number of bound items include a copy of Andre; a Tragedy in Five Acts (1798), and 19th century booklets on military and artillery tactics. Two copies of an engraved portrait of Henry Burbeck, by Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin are also present.

In addition to this finding aid, the Clements Library has created three other research aids:


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.