List of Letters in Database
Jasper N. Bertram family letters, 1861-1865 (Jasper N. Bertram papers. Accession No. 4215-1)
This collection consists of letters written by and to Jasper N. Bertram; several are written by Jasper's brothers, cousins, and/or friends. Most letters from friends and relatives to Jasper Bertram originate from Glasgow, Barren Co., Kentucky. Kentucky was a border state, which meant that, although part of the Union, there was considerable Confederate sympathy among its residents. Both pro-Union and pro-Confederacy sentiments are evident throughout the collection.
Crittenden family letters, 1864 (Crittenden family papers. Accession No. 256-1)
Churchill Crittenden served with the Confederate Army, Company C, 1st Maryland Cavalry. He was captured by a party of Union soldiers under the command of Colonel Powell on Oct. 4, 1864 when he and another soldier named Hartigan were returning from a provisions run near Richmond, Virginia. Powell ordered both men taken to a ravine to be executed without trial of any kind, in retaliation for some of his men being shot while burning homes. Powell had issued orders declaring that for every Union soldier shot by bushwackers, he would hang or shoot two Confederate soldiers held by him as prisoners. In several of the letters, Churchill's brother James describes how observers reported that Churchill met his death in a notably gallant fashion - he refused to run when ordered to do so, told his captors, "If you intend to shoot me, just do it," and then calmly seated himself on a rock to await his fate.
This collection includes letters home from Churchill, as well as the reactions of various family members following his death. Of note in this latter category are letters written by Churchill's father, Alexander Parker Crittenden, who refused to take the oath of allegiance to the Union following his son's death. He subsequently moved to Virginia City in the Territory of Nevada to practice law.
Correspondence of Riley Hoskinson to his wife, Martha Hoskinson of Rushville, Illinois, 1863. (Riley Hoskinson papers. Accession No. 4759-1)
This letter, dated Oct. 27, 1863, from Chattanooga, Tennessee, describes first-hand the Battle of Chickamauga, the horrors of a Civil War field hospital, and most surprisingly, the capture, escape and survival of Riley Hoskinson and his young son Stuart, who enlisted with him. Hoskinson's journal of these adventures captures both the harsh conditions of this mountainous region as well as the more gruesome realities of war (as provisions master, he was often called upon to help the field hospital's surgeons).
Editing marks and a postscript indicate that Hoskinson might have allowed his story to be published in his hometown newspaper; it is not known if his accounts were in fact published there. Both Riley and Stuart Hoskinson survived the war - Stuart later opened a photography business in Illinois, while Hoskinson moved to Puget Sound, became a weather observer on Bainbridge Island and was one of the first white settlers to record earthquake activity in the region.
Mary Custis Lee letter to Union General Sanford, 1861 (Mary Custis Lee papers. Accession No. 80-1)
Mary Custis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee, was born in 1806, and died in 1873. This Civil War letter to General Sanford, written on May 30, 1861, describes her distress at the occupation of her home, Arlington House, by Northern troops.
Correspondence between Captain James A. Sayles and Miss Florence Lee, 1864 (Florence Lee of Rock Island, Ill. papers. Accession No. 4675-1)
This small collection consists of the 1864 correspondence between a young captain, James A. Sayles, and his intended, Miss Florence Lee of Rock Island, Illinois. Sayles enlists with the Horse Battery D, Second U.S. Artillery, Army of the Potomac, and over the course of six months his letters describe his initial romantic view of army life.
Back at home, Florence Lee describes spending more and more time with Sayle's family in Moline, attending social events, and her plans to broach the subject of their secret engagement to her father. As the war rages on, rumors of other suitors threaten the young couple's happiness and Sayles's letters home become increasingly more homesick. In his last letter, Sayles describes a skirmish near White Oak Swamp, Virginia, and requests Florence to write more often as he is quite keen to hear from her. The final set of letters describe what little is known of the captain's fate, offering condolences from the men who fought alongside him.
Letters from Samuel D. Lougheed to his wife, 1862-1863. (Samuel D. Lougheed papers. Accession No.1611-1)
Love letters written by Samuel D. Lougheed, chaplain in the Union Volunteer Army, to his wife Jane ("Jennie") Lougheed from April 20, 1862 to July 12, 1863 from the Western Theater: Memphis, and Pittsburg Landing (Shiloh), Tenn., Arkansas, and Vicksburg, Miss.
Ruth (Dupray) Morgan letters, 1861-1865. (Ruth (Dupray) Morgan papers. Accession No. 899-1)
Civil War letters written home to Iowa between October 27, 1861 and finished April 15, 1863. Four of the letters are written to his sister Ruth (Dupray) Morgan in Dubuque County, Iowa from family members William and James S. Dupray. James Dupray was a soldier in the Iowa Volunteers, 12th Regiment. Upon returning home in August of 1865, he finds his wife deceased and children sent to live elsewhere.
William T. Patterson Diary, 1864-1865. (William T. Patterson papers. Accession No. 709-1)
William T. Patterson, originally of Athens County, Ohio, served as a Quarter Master Sergeant with the 116th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry. This tan leather diary covers the time period from November 7, 1864 to April 9, 1865. Incidentally, Patterson's diary ends the same day that Lee surrenders at Appomattox Court House and while he is aware that the war might soon be ending, he appears not to know yet that a treaty has been signed.
Excerpted highlights from this account include Patterson's approving comments on Lincoln's re-election and remarkably succinct inauguration speech, as well as observations (at a distance) of the Fall of Petersburg. Patterson also remarks - in the vernacular of his day - on the attitudes of the runaway/soon-to-be-freed slaves his regiment encounters while moving across Virginia.
Some of Patterson's written reactions to the deliberate destruction of Southern land by Union troops have been quoted by military historian Mark Grimsley of Ohio State University. The journal cited by Grimley is in the collection of the Ohio State Historical Society and covers June 21-Nov. 6, 1864, immediately preceding the events of this journal held by the University of Washington Special Collections
M. Adelaide Smith letter, 1865. (M. Adelaide Smith papers. Accession No. 4898-1)
Letter written by a Union soldier of the First Michigan Volunteer Infantry "on the glorious field" describing his account of the surrender of General Robert Lee at Appomattox, April 9, 1865.
Correspondence of Watson Squire to his mother and father in 1861 regarding his political views of the war, 1861. (Watson C. Squire papers. Accession No. 4004-1)
Watson C. Squire was born 1838, died 1926. He grew up in New York state, graduated from Wesleyan University in 1859. He fought in the Civil War as a Union soldier in the New York Volunteer Infantry, and following his graduation from Cleveland Law School in 1862 as captain of a company of Ohio Sharpshooters. Included is a farewell note to his mother on the eve of battle.
Correspondence from Hazard Stevens to his parents, 1861-1865. (Hazard Stevens papers. Accession No. 4909-1)
Reminences from his service with the Union Army, 1st Regiment of Loyal Virginians (1863-65). Hazard Stevens was born in 1842, the son of Isaac I. Stevens, first governor of Washington Territory. The letters are written from Virginia offering his opinions on the political and military directions of the Civil War and describes the ravaged conditions of the countryside and an encounter with rebel troops. One in particular relates the surrender of Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army to Union forces led by Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.
Condolence letter & resolution to Margaret Hazard Stevens, wife of Isaac I. Stevens, upon the death of her husband. Written by the employees and officers of the Coast Survey Office, 1862. (Isaac Ingalls Stevens papers. Accession No. 111-1)
Isaac Stevens was born in Andover, Massachusetts in 1818. He graduated from West Point in 1839 and was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He married Margaret Hazard in 1841. He served under General Winfield Scott in the Mexican War in 1847. President Franklin Pierce, in return for campaign support during his presidential campaign, appointed Isaac Stevens as the first governor of Washington Territory (1853-1857). During the Civil War, Stevens served under General Thomas W. Sherman. He was killed during the Battle of Chantilly on September 1, 1862.
Letters from Lyman Whitney Strong and Ruth Maria Strong to their son, Arthur Tappan Strong, 1861-1862 (Strong family papers. Accession No. 958-4)
Letters from Lyman Whitney Strong and Ruth Maria Strong to their eldest son, Arthur Tappan Strong, a soldier in the 42nd Ohio Regiment during the Civil War from September 7, 1861 to December 25, 1862. Arthur enlisted in the Army against their wishes and died of "camp dysentery" in a Union army hospital at Ashland, Kentucky February 28, 1862. One of the letters is written by Arthur and is addressed to President Lincoln. Also included is a diary kept by Arthur Strong; the last few entries are written in another hand re: Strong's last days.
Philip Van Buskirk diary as a Confederate infantryman and deserter during the Civil War, 1863-1866. (Philip C. Van Buskirk papers. Accession No. 3621-001)
This diary chronicles events from 1863 to the later part of 1865 during the American Civil War. Van Buskirk served as a Confederate infantryman and later deserted. An earlier volume detailing events from 1861 to 1862 was taken from him when he was captured by Union forces. Some attempts were made by him to reconstruct those years when he transcribed his smaller journals into this larger format in the 1890s.
Van Buskirk enlisted in the 13th Virginia Infantry in June of 1861 and was stationed at Camp Walker near Manassas, Virginia. He deserted in 1862 and wrote in his diary that he had made an "escape from his regiment" most likely because he failed to gain a commission. Captured shortly thereafter by Union forces he was sent to Camp Chase military prison in Ohio. Released during a prisoner exchange later that year he wandered northward chronicling the everyday life of civilians caught in the warfare that surrounded them. In particular he documents the wartime activities and struggle for survival in the region of the upper Shenandoah Valley. Throughout this period he describes the conditions of the towns and countryside, his own attempts at employment and records the sentiments of the people he encounters. After the Civil War ended in 1865, Van Buskirk, despondent and often unemployed, returned to Washington D.C. to reenlist in the U.S. Marine Corps. In one of his last entries in this journal for 1865 he exclaims "1865 is gone. My God! What memories crowd it! It has passed over me like an ugly dream".