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Manuscripts of the American Civil War
Personal and Family Papers, Introduction

What follows is a list of Civil War related personal and family papers from the manuscript holdings in the Department of Special Collections, University Libraries of Notre Dame. These papers may be broadly characterized as groups of manuscripts of various types originating from individuals or families, distinguished by unity of provenance.

  • RUFUS C. BARRINGER PAPERS. 1852-1895 (bulk 1861-1865). 16 manuscripts and 5 portrait photographs and prints. Rufus Clay Barringer (1821-1895) was a native of Cabarrus County, North Carolina. After graduating from the university at Chapel Hill, he studied law and established a practice in Concord, Cabarrus County; he also served two terms in the North Carolina legislature. Following secession he raised a company of state troops, afterwards known as Co. F, 1st North Carolina Cavalry. Barringer served in the 1st North Carolina as captain (from 16 May 1861), major (28 August 1863), and lieutenant colonel (17 October 1863). He was promoted to brigadier general on 1 June 1864; for most of the rest of the war he commanded the North Carolina brigade (comprising the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th North Carolina cavalry regiments) in W. H. F. Lee's Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. Barringer was captured at Namozine Church on 3 April 1865, and—after meeting Lincoln— was held as a prisoner of war at Fort Delaware until late July, when he was paroled. The Rufus C. Barringer papers include 15 letters written by, to, or about Barringer, as well as the parole he signed on his release from Fort Delaware (24 July 1865). Thirteen of the letters date from the war or its immediate aftermath, and are evenly spaced over that span (with at least two per year from 1861 to 1865). Eight were written by Barringer: these are mostly directed to family members, and may combine news of the military situation with matters social or financial. One, written to an aunt, announces the death of Pvt. James H. Walker of Barringer's command, apparently the son or grandson of the addressee. The most notable, however, is a letter Barringer wrote from Fort Delaware on 24 June 1865 to one of his sisters, describing in some detail circumstances at the prison. There are also four wartime letters written to Barringer, all of an official nature. Among these is one in the hand of Col. (and future brigadier) James Byron Gordon (1822-1864), as commanding officer of the North Carolina cavalry brigade, announcing Barringer's promotion to major. It was Gordon's death in 1864 that led to Barringer's elevation to brigade command. Acquisition funded by Robert and Beverly O'Grady, 2007. MSN/CW 1009-1 to MSN/CW 1009-18; MSN/CW 1009-19-P to MSN/CW 1009-21-P.

  • BENNETT FAMILY PAPERS. 1854-c1905 (bulk 1861). 30 manuscripts, 1 printed item, 1 leather document file. Much of this group relates to the brief Civil War service of Henry Wallis Bennett (1838-1861), a sergeant in Company I of the 1st Vermont Infantry. Bennett was a native of Middlebury, Addison County, Vermont, and a student at Middlebury College. He was mustered into service on 8 May 1861, and saw action at Big Bethel in Virginia before falling ill with typhoid fever; he died on 26 June in the hospital at Fortress Monroe. The papers include four letters (8 May to 10 June) written by Bennett during his weeks of service; there are also five letters written to him during that time, by friends and family. Also among the papers are seven letters, and one telegram, addressed to the Bennett family on matters relating to Henry Bennett's death; these include a letter of condolence from a nurse at Fortress Monroe who attended him during his illness. Among the manuscripts unrelated to the war are a number of school compositions written by Bennett c1858, mostly on aspects of the Great Lakes. MSN/CW 1002-1 to MSN/CW 1002-31.

  • JOHN L. CAMP PAPERS. 1862-1865. 9 documents and 1 clipping. A small group of papers relating to the Confederate States military service of Col. John Lafayette Camp (1828-1891). Camp was an Alabama native who in 1849 moved to Upshur County, Texas, where he practiced law. With the onset of war he recruited, and was elected captain of, Co. E, 14th Texas Cavalry Regiment; when the regiment was reorganized, in May 1862, he was elected colonel. The most significant documents in the group are a pair of letters directed to Secretary of War James A. Seddon. In the first, dated 2 August 1863, Lt. Col. Abram Harris claims the colonelcy of the 14th Texas Cavalry. In the second (17 October 1863) Camp refutes Harris's petition point by point. Endorsements accompanying Camp's letter show that the matter was decided in his favor. Four of the remaining documents are authorizations for leaves of absence, directed to Camp. Acquisition funded by Robert and Beverly O'Grady, 2007. MSN/CW 1011-1 to MSN/CW 1011-10.

  • DURBIN-FURGASON PAPERS. 1863. 7 manuscripts. A group of two letters and five financial records relating to the Civil War service of James M. Furgason (1842/3-1863), a native of Edinburgh, Johnson County, Indiana who served in Co. H, 19th Indiana Infantry—one of the regiments constituting the famous Iron Brigade. The letters were written by Furgason to William Durbin of Johnson County; they relate to sums of money sent to Durbin, to be held on Furgason's behalf until his return home. Of the financial records, three are receipts signed by Durbin or Furgason; one is a statement signed by Furgason's father—whom Furgason did not trust with his pay—acknowledging his son's arrangement with Durbin; and one is a receipt in the hand of the administrator of James Furgason's estate. Furgason was killed on the first day at Gettysburg, 1 July 1863. Gift of James Christian, 1999. MSN/CW 1006-1 to MSN/CW 1006-7.

  • ROBERT S. EDWARDS PAPERS. 1861-1865. 60 manuscripts, 1 pamphlet, 1 newspaper clipping, 1 leather wallet. The items in this collection revolve around the Civil War service of Robert Sedgwick Edwards (1838-1863), a resident of Brooklyn (and great-great-grandson of the theologian Jonathan Edwards) who served in companies C, D, and E of the 48th New York Infantry ("Perry's Saints"). Edwards was commissioned 2nd lieutenant in the regiment on 21 August 1861; he was promoted to 1st lieutenant in April 1862. He saw action at Port Royal Ferry, South Carolina; Fort Pulaski, Georgia; and the siege of Charleston. He was killed on 18 July 1863 on Morris Island, South Carolina, during the failed Union assault on Fort Wagner. Fourteen of the manuscripts are letters written by Edwards, from 23 July 1861 to 17 July 1863 (the day before his death). The final three of these, all addressed to his younger sister Annie, include extended accounts of combat operations on Morris Island leading up to the assault of 18 July. An additional 22 letters were written to Robert by his older brother Ogden E. Edwards, a merchant living in the Philippines, and by Ogden's wife Helen. These letters contain family and social news, and much discussion of war-related topics (including diplomatic relations with Britain, McClellan and the Peninsula Campaign, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the wisdom of employing black troops in Federal service). Also in the collection are several items that postdate Robert's death, including a printed funeral sermon delivered by Rev. Richard S. Storrs; an elegy written on 18 July 1864 by Rev. William Allen; and a letter written to Robert's uncle by Dayton Britton, a corporal in the 48th New York who witnessed Robert's death. MSN/CW 1004-1 to MSN/CW 1004-59. [Introduction, Images & Transcriptions]

  • GRAVES FAMILY SHIPPING PAPERS. 1812-1877 (bulk 1850-1875). About 2500 manuscripts. A collection of business letters and records retained by the Graves family, sailing ship captains and shipowners of Newburyport, Essex County, Massachusetts. Most of the material relates to the shipping interests of Capt. William Graves, Jr. (1811-1877), who owned shares in and managed at least eight Newburyport merchant vessels of the 1000-ton class in the decades following his retirement from the sea in 1847. The records pertain especially to three of Graves's ships: George West (built 1855); Castilian (1849); and Joshua L. Hale (1857). These ships contracted to carry all manner of cargo, and sometimes passengers, to and from ports in North America, Great Britain, Peru, India, Burma, and other locations. The collection includes more than 300 business letters directed to Graves, mostly relating to the affairs of the above-named ships: many of these are from the ships' masters, including Graves's half-brothers Alexander and Edward Graves and other relations. There are also some 2000 business records of the three ships, including freight lists and accounts, receipts, disbursements, vouchers, customs papers, and insurance policies and charters. MSN/EA 0506-1 to MSN/EA 0506-134. [Finding Aid]

  • WILLIAM JUDSON HOWE PAPERS. 1857-1993 (bulk 1861-1865). Around 200 items, mostly manuscript. William Judson Howe (1838-1925) of Bradford County, Pennsylvania served in Co. C, 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry from 1862 to 1865. The papers include 87 letters written by Howe before and during his military service, mainly to his wife Jeanette. Also present are a few other items dating from Howe's years in the Union army: five miscellaneous manuscripts, several pieces of ephemera, and a needle book sent to Howe by his wife. There are also postwar papers relating to Howe's G.A.R. activities and to his military pension, 9 family photographs, and an array of personal and family papers extending into the 20th century. MSN/CW 1015-1 to MSN/CW 1015-109. [Finding Aid]

  • GEORGE M. JONES PAPERS. 1861-1891 (bulk 1862-1863). 42 manuscripts. George Martin Jones was born in 1836 in Shelby County, Tennessee. In 1857 he moved west to Missouri, engaging in the general merchandising and forwarding and commission businesses in Greene and Phelps Counties. With the onset of war he chose to fight for the South, joining a company of the Missouri State Guard led by L. C. "Dick" Campbell (whose widow Jones would marry in 1868). In mid-1862 Jones followed Campbell into the Confederate army, initially serving as a private in what was soon designated Co. A, 3rd Regiment Missouri Cavalry. On 3 January 1863 Jones was appointed assistant quartermaster of the regiment, with the grade of captain (to rank from 13 November 1862). He served in this capacity until chronic illness led to his resignation, effective 24 October 1863. For much of his tenure as quartermaster the 3rd Missouri was attached to Colton Greene's Brigade, Cavalry (Marmaduke's) Division, District of Arkansas, Trans-Mississippi Department. Thirty-three of the documents in the group are of war date, mostly from Jones's time as quartermaster. These include a number of Jones's personal military papers, including his appointment as quartermaster, (signed by Confederate Secretary of War James A. Seddon); a special orders granting Jones 60 days disability leave; and a special orders confirming Jones's resignation. There are also ten different receipts—some in triplicate—dating from February to June 1863, indicating the transfer of government funds from Jones to other quartermasters in Marmaduke's Division. Jones died in Springfield, Missouri, in 1916. Acquisition funded by Robert and Beverly O'Grady, 2006. MSN/CW 1008-1 to MSN/CW 1008-25.

  • LEONARD FAMILY PAPERS. 1862-65. 14 manuscripts, 1 tintype portrait, 1 newspaper clipping. The papers pertain to the Civil War service of four brothers: Martin A. Leonard, Robert R. Leonard, and Joseph S. Leonard, all of Company C, 48th North Carolina Infantry, and H. G. Leonard of the 47th North Carolina. All were residents of Iredell County, North Carolina. Included are five morning reports, covering October 1864 to March 1865, for Company C of the 48th North Carolina. Also included are brief wartime chronicles by three of the brothers, recounting details of their service; three rosters of the 48th North Carolina's Company C; a letter by Martin Leonard (8 October 1862); and H. G. Leonard's oath of allegiance to the United States. MSN/CW 1000-1 to MSN/CW 1000-10; MSN/CW 1000-11-F2 to MSN/CW 1000-15-F2; MSN/CW 1000-16-P. [Finding Aid]

  • JAMES Z. MCCHESNEY PAPERS. 1862-1906. 15 manuscripts. James Z. McChesney (1843-1922) was a native of Rockbridge County, Virginia. In January 1862 he entered the Virginia Military Institute, but left the following June to enlist in the Confederate army. Most of the manuscripts in the group relate to McChesney's time in Co. C, 14th Virginia Cavalry, a regiment he joined as a private in August 1863. His service in the field effectively ended when he contracted typhus in October 1864. During his period of service, the 14th Virginia was attached to Jenkins' (1863-64) and McCausland's (1864-65) brigades, in the variously named departments incorporating western Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. The papers include eight wartime letters written by James McChesney: one to his mother (10 June 1862), making an ardent case for joining the army, and seven to his future wife, Lucy Johnson, of Rockbridge County. Two of these latter, from September 1863, are courtship letters; the others (April to November 1864) are largely given over to news from the field. Other war-date manuscripts include two letters from early 1865 relating to McChesney's illness, and a letter to McChesney from one of his sisters (March 1865). There is, in addition, a nine-page memoir, undated but probably written long after the war, in which McChesney recalls events of late July and August 1864, including the second Chambersburg (Pa.) raid and an engagement with Union cavalry at Moorefield, West Virginia (7 August 1864). Acquisition funded by Robert and Beverly O'Grady, 2006. MSN/CW 1007-1 to MSN/CW 1007-16.

  • THOMAS F. MCGRATH PAPERS. 1863-1920s. 93 manuscripts, 30-40 ephemeral printed items, 12 veterans badges, 4 photographs, 60-70 newspaper sheets and clippings. Thomas Francis McGrath (1839-1922) was an Irish immigrant who served in Companies B, C, and D of the 69th New York Infantry from 1861 to 1865, rising from private to 1st lieutenant. The 69th New York was perhaps the most renowned of the regiments constituting the "Irish Brigade" of the 1st Division, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac. McGrath fought in many of the Eastern theater's major actions; he was wounded at Gettysburg and again at Spotsylvania, and captured before Petersburg. After the war he was employed as a clerk in the Quartermaster's Department, and was active in veterans affairs and in a number of Irish-American patriotic and benevolent associations. Among the 20 documents in the collection dating from the war years are orders and other army records pertaining to McGrath (including his discharges and commissions), as well as several records of Company B of the 69th New York (including muster rolls for May/June, 1864 and March/April, 1865, and a muster-out roll). There is also one personal letter written by McGrath, dated 20 January 1863. The postwar manuscripts include: McGrath's pension papers and GAR record of service; a nine-page draft, in McGrath's hand, entitled "Synopsis of Matters & events concerning the 2nd Brigade 1st Division 2nd Army Corps;" and notes and drafts for a pamphlet published by McGrath in 1908, entitled "John Barry: 'Father of the American Navy.'" There are also 20-30 pieces of correspondence. The printed matter in the collection dates mostly from the 1890s and after; much of the ephemera relates to veterans affairs, and many of the newspaper clippings relate to the 69th New York and to the Irish Brigade. Gift of Mary Powers, 1958. MSN/CW 1001-1 to MSN/CW 1001-48; MSN/CW 1001-49-F1 to MSN/CW 1001-54-F1; MSN/CW 1001-55-F2 to MSN/CW 1001-56-F2; MSN/CW 1001-57-F3 to MSN/CW 1001-58-F3; MSN/CW 1001-59-Oversize to MSN/CW 1001-61-Oversize; MSN/CW 1001-62-P to MSN/CW 1001-65-P.

  • ELHANAN W. MOBERLY PAPERS. 1846-1866 (bulk 1861-1862). 107 manuscripts. Elhanan Winchester Moberly (1826-1862) was a Kentucky native and Mexican War veteran who served as 1st Sergeant in Co. C, 6th Indiana Infantry from September 1861 to December 1862. Immediately prior to his enlistment Moberly was working as a tanner in Bartholomew County, Indiana. The papers include 54 letters written by Moberly during his period of service, mostly to his wife, Mary Jane Barlow Moberly (1837-1908), in Bartholomew County. By his own account, Moberly intended these letters to function as a comprehensive record of his service, and they are written accordingly, much in the manner of a journal. The result is a near-continuous narrative of considerable descriptive detail, and much anecdote besides, covering the period from August 1861 to August 1862. The months from August to December 1862 are covered by 17 individual diary leaves, similar to the letters in content but with no epistolary apparatus. From October 1861, the 6th Indiana was attached to the commands of Alexander McCook, in what came to be called the Army of the Ohio. Moberly served with the regiment at a number of posts in Kentucky, along the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, until in March 1862 he fell sick, just as the regiment was moving toward Shiloh. After recovering, he served with several convalescent units, at Munfordville, Kentucky and around Nashville, until rejoining the regiment at Corinth, Mississippi in early June. He remained in the field (and frequently on the march, through northern Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky) until October, when he was sent home to Indiana to recruit. He again fell sick that winter, and died before he could rejoin the regiment (26 December 1862). In addition to Moberly's letters and diary leaves, the collection includes nine pre-war manuscripts (mostly letters received by Moberly) and 17 manuscripts postdating Moberly's death (mostly letters received by Mary Jane Moberly). Almost all the letters in the collection are accompanied by their original covers, many of which bear patriotic cachets. MSN/CW 1005-1 to MSN/CW 1005-106.

  • JOSEPH H. PRIME PAPERS. 1858-1881 (bulk 1863-1865). 126 letters, 3 diaries, and 24 documents and other manuscripts. Joseph H. Prime (1841-1911) was a native of Dover, Strafford County, New Hampshire, the son of Joseph Prime and Mahala Vickery. During the Civil War he served as corporal in Co. F, 13th New Hampshire Infantry (September 1862 to October 1863), and as 1st lieutenant and captain in G and F companies, 7th Regiment Infantry, United States Colored Troops (November 1863 to May 1865). The majority of the letters in the collection were written by Prime to his wife, Hannah Snell Prime, in Center Barnstead, Belknap County, New Hampshire. Twenty-four of these letters date from his time with the 13th New Hampshire; 80 date from his subsequent service with the 7th USCT. The latter regiment spent the winter of 1863-64 in camp at Benedict, Maryland, before being shipped south for service around Jacksonville, Florida (March to July 1864); Hilton Head, South Carolina (July 1864); and Jacksonville again (July to August 1864). They were then attached to the all-black 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, X Corps, Army of the James, campaigning around Petersburg. Prime was wounded in the shoulder at Chaffin's Farm (29 September 1864), and spent most of the next six months in various Virginia hospitals, due to the wound and a subsequent case of rheumatism. On 16 March 1865 Captain Prime was appointed provost marshall of the division (now 2nd Division, XXV Corps), in which capacity he served for the duration of his service. The epistolary accounts of Prime's war are supplemented by several diaries, with entries of varying length running from the beginning of 1864 to 1866. The collection also includes more than 20 records, mostly relating to Prime's service in the USCT and to his pension. MSN/CW 1012-1 to MSN/CW 1012-154.

  • GEORGE T. WATTS PAPERS. 1862-1864. 3 letters and 1 document. George Troup Watts (b. c1828) was a physician from Floyd County, Georgia who served the Confederacy as an officer in the 1st Regiment Georgia Cavalry, ultimately rising to regimental command. His three letters, dated 3-4 June 1862 (from Big Creek Gap in the Cumberland Mountains), 10 November 1862 (from Sparta, Tennessee) and 22 June 1863 (from Knoxville), were written when Watts was an officer in Co. C, and the regiment was serving in the Department of East Tennessee. The group also includes a document written and signed by Watts as lieutenant colonel commanding the 1st Georgia Cavalry, detailing several appointments within the regiment. Acquisition funded by Robert and Beverly O'Grady, 2006-09. MSN/CW 1010-1 to MSN/CW 1010-4.

  • JAMES C. WOODWORTH COLLECTION. 1861-1900 (bulk 1861-1865). 1 diary (6 vols.) and 9 additional manuscripts; 8 pieces of printed ephemera; 1 photograph album and 8 additional photographs; 23 pieces of realia. James C. Woodworth (1839-1900) was a native of Worcester, Massachusetts, who during the Civil War served in Co. H, 25th Massachusetts Infantry, rising to 1st lieutenant. The collection consists of wartime papers, photographs and realia preserved by Woodworth. Most notable is a six-volume, 800-page diary that comprehensively chronicles Woodworth's military service, with entries running from September 1861 to May 1865. The volumes are illustrated with more than 25 carefully rendered maps, plans and other drawings. Also present is a photo album containing gem-size wartime tintype portraits of 67 different members of Co. H, 25th Massachusetts Infantry. MSN/CW 1014-1 to MSN/CW 1014-32. [Finding Aid]

  • WILLIAM D. YOUNG PAPERS. 1857-1866. 240 manuscripts; 1 printed item. More than 200 of the manuscripts in this group are letters addressed to or retained by William D. Young (b. c1836), a lawyer and native of Georgetown, Brown County, Ohio. Most of these date from the Civil War and its immediate aftermath, to August 1866. The greater number relate to Young's legal practice, in Georgetown, in Cincinnati, and finally in Ripley, Brown County, where from late 1863 he was junior partner in the law firm of Baird and Young. Some of the letters concern debt collection, land speculation, and other matters fundamentally unrelated to the war; some concern cases involving army personnel and other war-related legal business like widows' military pensions and the procurement of draft substitutes. In addition to this legal correspondence, the collection includes sequences of letters relating to: 1) Young's tenure as printer-editor-publisher of the Georgetown Republican, a pro-Lincoln campaign newspaper (1860); 2) his efforts to obtain a suitable military commission (1861); and 3) his interest in obtaining a government clerkship or other political post (1863). Sixteen letters from Young's law partner, former Ohio state senator Chambers Baird (1811-1887), dispense legal advice and speak of Baird's military work as Army paymaster in Louisville, Washington, and Leavenworth, Kansas. These and letters from other business acquaintances frequently touch on war politics in general, and Ohio war politics in particular. The collection also includes a small number of family letters, as well as retained copies of twelve letters written by Young himself. There are also 20 non-epistolary manuscripts, mostly legal documents relating to Young's cases. MSN/CW 1003-1 to MSN/CW 1003-236.

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