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A.S. Williams III Americana Collection: Civil War

Diaries and Journals

Curtis R. Burke Journal (W.0063): This collection contains a 482-typescript of Curtis R. Burke’s Civil War journal. The journal includes daily entries from October 1862 to June 1865. Notable journal entries include a description of John Hunt Morgan’s raid into Ohio in July 1863 and an account of conditions in two prison camps: Camp Morton, located in Indianapolis, and Camp Douglas, located in Chicago.

Adam H. Whetstone Diary (W.0080): Adam H. Whetstone, a member of the Fifty-third Alabama Regiment, wrote the entries in his diary between July 24, 1864, and his parole and return home on May 17, 1865. He described the regiment’s movements through Georgia and South Carolina. With the exception of a narrow escape and a skirmish near Atlanta on November 9, 1864, there are few mentions of interaction with Union forces. Instead, many of Whetstone’s diary entries describe the social excursions that he participated in with other soldiers.

Alfred Morris Diary (W.0115): Alfred Morris's diary contains entries written from October 12, 1862 to September 5, 1863. The diary of this Union soldier contains two sets of entries; the first set describes the company's movement through Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas. These entries, written between October 12, 1862 and September 5, 1863, describe the Battle of Prairie Grove, the Siege of Vicksburg, and the capture of Yazoo City, Mississippi. The second set of entries are more religious in tone, describing the prayer meetings that Morris attended between February 3 and May 21 1864.

Scrapbooks and Personal Archives

Mobile, Alabama, Confederate Newspaper Scrapbook (W.0050): Scrapbook of newspaper articles from Confederate newspapers documenting Civil War battles including the First Battle of Bull Run, the Siege of Lexington, and the Battle of Leesburg.

Benjamin Franklin Whittemore Record Book (W.0077): This collection contains a 165-page record book documenting the history of the Fifty-third Massachusetts Volunteer Militia and the post-war lives of militia members. A regimental roster lists the names, age at enlistment, and post-war occupations of members of the Fifty-third Massachusetts Companies A through K. The book also includes lists of officers, desertions, and deaths.

Edward Vernon Archive of Co. F, Seventy-eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry (W.0157): Edward S. Vernon documents the history of Co. F of the Seventy-eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, including Company demographics and rosters, obituaries, and hand-drawn maps of the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1863.

Bell I. Wiley Civil War Articles Collection (W.0160): The collection contains one article written by Bell I. Wiley, as well as a variety of reprinted and clipped articles from various journals, magazines, and newspapers. There are also bibliographical and general notes discussing the Civil War from many angles, including medical, literary, restitution, and even specific battles and generals. Several of the reprints are inscribed to him by the authors.

Memoirs

Confederate Memoirs, Volumes II and III (W.0012): The collection contains the unpublished typescript of the memoirs of twenty Confederate soldiers. The memoirs are primarily first-hand accounts of the battles these men went through, but there are a few second-hand stories as well.

Benton Bell Seat Memoirs (W.0013): The collection contains a typed copy of Benton Bell Seat’s autobiography. Seat wrote the manuscript in 1916, and it was typed and produced in 1939 by the Arkansas Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Benton Bell Seat was born in Trenton, Tennessee in 1830 and moved to California in 1849 to take part in the gold rush. He then relocated to Texas, becoming a member of Sibley’s Texas Brigade.

United Daughters of the Confederacy, Arkansas Division, Confederate Veterans’ Documents (W.0034): This collection includes twenty-two memoirs focusing on Confederate soldiers. It also includes copies of letters, diaries, and military services accounts written by Confederate veterans.

A Georgia Soldier in the Civil War, 1861-1865 (W.0083): This unbound, sixty-eight page manuscript of Robert Duncan Chapman’s Civil War memoir, A Georgia Soldier in the Civil War, 1861-1865, describes his war experiences from his enlistment in August 1861 until his discharge in 1865 as a member of the Fifty-fifth Georgia Infantry.

Columbus L. Hadaway Memoir (W.0118): Columbus L. Hadaway wrote this thirty-three page memoir in 1913. Hadaway's memoir describes his Civil War experiences beginning with his enlistment on August 10, 1861, and ending with the surrender of Confederate forces on April 26, 1865. In addition to descriptions of battle, Hadaway also discusses marching conditions and the army's lack of adequate supplies.

Misc. Manuscript Collections

Albert Taylor Goodwyn Alabama Secession Essay and Notes (W.0037): The essay and notes, comprising approximately twenty pages of handwritten text, on Alabama secession were written by Goodwyn in a ledger. The ledge also includes a few brief entries documenting Goodwyn’s personal financial accounts.

“The Federal Raid in Central Alabama” (W.0040): This twenty-two page manuscript is the text of a speech presented by James A. Anderson on April 3, 1935, at a meeting of the Kiwanis club of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, commemorating the seventieth anniversary of Union raids in Selma, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa. In the speech, Anderson discusses the raids of Selma and Montgomery led by General James H. Wilson and the capture of Tuscaloosa and the destruction of The University of Alabama by Brigadier General John T. Croxton.

United Confederate Veterans Camp W.J. Hardee, No. 39, Birmingham, Alabama Records (W.0048): This collection consists of two journals, one containing brief biographical sketches of the members of Birmingham United Confederate Veterans Camp W.J., and the other containing the minutes of meetings at the camp. The journal of typed and handwritten biographies includes information about individual veterans’ enlistment, engagements fought, imprisonment, battle injuries, and discharge.

Oliver T. Reilly Papers (W.0158): Oliver T. Reilly was a small boy in Keedysville, Maryland, just miles from the Battle of Antietam. The memory of the retreat of the Confederate troops and the advance of the Union armies from nearby Elk Ridge shaped his entire life. He began giving tours of the battlefield at age fifteen and continued for sixty-five years. The collection includes brochures, maps, and a calling card, as well as seven prints of various scenes of the area of the battlefield, all written and produced by Reilly.

Charles Robinson Papers (W.0161): This collection of letters and documents follow Lieutenant Charles Robinson's request for a commission in one of the African American units of the United States Army during the later years of the Civil War. There is also a carte-de-visite of Charles Robinson which has been trimmed to fit in an album.

Andrew Jackson Riddle Papers (W.0162): The letters and papers of Andrew Jackson Riddle (probably best known for his photographs of the Andersonville Prison Camp) in this collection include several lists of chemicals and papers needed to produce the photographic copies of maps for the Confederate Army. There is also a letter from Assistant Engineer A. H. Buchanan to Lieutenant J. W. Glenn requesting more copies of a particular set of maps of the Atlanta, Georgia, area. In a photocopied document, Riddle makes a case for leniency while a prisoner of war. As he was captured three times while transporting photographic supplies, it appears this statement was made during his second internment. The photographs are primarily cartes-de-visite made in his Macon, Georgia, studio. There are two larger cabinet cards made while he was in Columbus, 

Correspondence

Garner Family Letters (W.0030): This collection consists of typed transcripts of correspondence written by the extended Garner family between 1832 and 1886. It includes a sizable collection written by W.W. Garner to his wife, Henrietta Humphry Garner, and sister, Elvira Ellington, between 1861 and 1864. The letters document Garner’s experiences serving in the Tenth Regiment, a home guard unity stationed in Arkansas.

Shelby Iron Works Correspondence During the Civil War (W.0071): This collection contains correspondence, contracts, and receipts relating to the production of iron at the Shelby Iron Works from 1863-1865. Notable items include a contract filed by the Confederate government in 1863 and letters written by W.S. McElwain of the Holly Springs Iron Works.

Morris E. Boss Letters (W.0078): These thirteen letters were written between 1861 and 1865 by Morris E. Boss of Binghamton, New York, and members of his family. A member of the Sixty-first New York Infantry, Morris’ letters include brief accounts of the Battle of Seven Pines and Chancellorsville. His letters also describe camp life, including notable discussions of payroll backlogs, the draft, and the execution of deserters. 

Joseph Murrell Letterbook (W.0084): The 640-page letterbook of Joseph Murrell, a Mobile cotton broker, contains copies of Murrell’s correspondence dated from June to October 1861. Some of the letters have faded, making them difficult to read. Much of the correspondence relates to his business transactions, which includes the sale of cotton. Notable letters include Murrell’s descriptions of escalating tensions between the North and South to correspondents in London and Liverpool, England.

Townsend Heaton Letters (W.0091): This collection includes a series of thirty letters written by Dr. Townsend Heaton, a member of the 70th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Documenting Heaton’s Civil War service from his enlistment in October 1861 to his return to civilian life in December 1864, the letters provide first-hand accounts of camp life, desertions, hospital and ambulance operations, and battles.

Coleman and Truss Family Letters (W.0103): This collection contains letters written by members of the extended Coleman family. These letters date from 1860 to 1868 and relay general family news, as well as reports of military life. Letters written by William Coleman’s son, Thomas P. Coleman, describe the First Battle of Bull Run and provide detailed descriptions of camp life. Five letters written by William’s son-in-law James D. Truss describe camp conditions in the Tenth Alabama Regiment, detailing the distribution of food and clothing and medical care in the camp.

George Woodard and Gene Smith Letters (W.0112): This collection contains fifty-six letters; George Woodard wrote forty-four of them, all to his fiancee, Gene Smith. He discusses camp life and the campaigns he was involved in, including the battle of Corinth and the siege of Vicksburg. A letter written on April 26, 1863, includes a small, hand-drawn battle map of Vicksburg. Many of his letters discuss his love of the Union and his willingness to sacrifice his life for his country.

Joseph Zebulon Hearst Letters (W.0123): This collection contains typescript transcriptions of twenty-one letters written by Confederate soldier Joseph Zebulon Hearst. Hearst typically describes camp life in a lighthearted manner, filling his letters with reports of practical jokes and social events. While he briefly discusses war related news, describing events such as the capture of Union soldiers, his letters provide few direct descriptions of battle. 

O.T. Brown Letter (W.0140): This letter written by O. T. Brown of San Marcos, Texas, to the president of the Texas Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, is more of a treatise on how no one had yet been able to adequately describe for the next generations the emotional part of the Civil War rather than describing any actual engagements he had seen. He mentions that he spent a significant portion of the war as a prisoner of war in a prison on an island in one of the Great Lakes near the Canadian border.

C.S. Philips Letter (W.0143): C. S. Phillips of the Ninety-fourth Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment wrote this letter on April 18, 1865, from Spanish Fort, Alabama, to his friend Will H. Hay. Phillips details the movements of his company toward and around Mobile, Alabama, and ends saying, "We live in hopes. We are looking for good news from Genl Shermans Army! since the surrender of Gen; Lee. How glorious."

C.I.B. DeLage Letter (W.0156): This letter from C. I. B. DeLage, a Mobile, Alabama, commission agent, written after the end of the Civil War, details the financial ruin of businesses and businessmen in Mobile due to the devaluation of the Confederate currency and the surrender of the city to Union forces at the end of the war. 

Histories

Confederate Military History of Alabama (W.0056): This 642-page typescript of General Joseph Wheeler’s Confederate Military History of Alabama includes histories of infantry regiments, cavalry regiments, and battalions. Wheeler’s handwritten corrections are included in the margins.

James J. White Regimental History of the Liberty Hall Volunteers (W.0111): This notebook contains a handwritten roster and regimental history documenting the service of Company I of the Fourth Virginia Volunteer Infantry. Also known as the "Liberty Hall Volunteers," this regiment consisted of a group of students from Washington College (later Washington and Lee University) in Virginia. 

“Valor on the Eastern Shore” Typescript (W.0132): The collection contains a typescript of an unpublished manuscript of B. L. Roberson's "Valor on the Eastern Shore: The Mobile Campaign of 1865," written in 1965 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Civil War. It examines the land campaign that lead to the capture of the city of Mobile, Alabama. 

Ledgers and Logs

Confederate Stores Ledger for Snyder’s Bluff, Mississippi (W.0014): A handwritten ledger documenting the collection and distribution of foraged and purchased materials by Confederate officers at Snyder’s Bluff, Mississippi from 1862 to 1864.

State of Louisiana Troop Expenses Ledger (W.0067): The ledger records the expenses of Louisiana state troops from 1862 to 1863. In addition to payroll entries, the ledger also includes a description of additional purchases, including clothing, weapons, and materials used for city defenses.

USS Winnebago Medical Log (W.0108): This collection contains the medical log of the USS Winnebago, a Union river monitor stationed at Mobile Bay from 1864 to 1865. Most of the entries, written by the ship’s surgeon, Joseph Bell, describe the illnesses and medical treatment of sailors. A few entries describe living conditions on the ship and events that affected the naval fleet. A notable series of entries on December 8, 1864, describe the explosion of the USS Narcissus, a Union steamer that struck a torpedo. 

Small Civil War Manuscript Collections

Eleven small collections and individual items relating to the Civil War (Small Civil War Manuscript Collections, W.0150). 

  • Turner Ashby requisition
  • Walter White letter [photocopy]
  • Miscellaneous documents
  • Masonry in Time of War handbill Smith, William B.
  • War Between the States Centennial Commemoration, Eufaula, Alabama, program
  • "Great Ordinance of Freedom" letter
  • The First White House Association of Montgomery, Alabama, pamphlet
  • Southern Prisoners' Relief Fund broadside
  • Newspaper articles on Confederate artifacts
  • Notes from History of the Confederate States Navy
  • Francis Bartow Belvill papers

Civil War Albums

Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War (second edition: 1866) (VAULT 0025 and 0026): A two-volume set of photographer Alexander Gardner’s album of the Civil War, which contains 100 photographic plates and sold for $150 on publication. One hundred copies of each edition (1865 and 1866) were printed. According to some estimates, fewer than 20 complete sets exist today. The Williams Collection edition was owned by Lieutenant General Philip Henry Sheridan.

Captain William C. Margedant Album (1863-1864): This personal archive contains over 100 pages of photographs (both large-format and carte de visite), maps, and original drawings completed during the Civil War. There is extensive photographic coverage of scenes from the war and its aftermath in Chattanooga, as well as examples of military maps made by Margedant using a process that he developed himself.

Samuel Proal Hatfield Civil War Photograph Album (1861-1865): Samuel ProaI Hatfield enlisted as private, 4th Conn. Infantry in 1861, served as First Lieutenant, 1st Conn. Heavy Artillery from 1862-64, and later served as major of the same unit. This album of the 4th Connecticut Volunteers, Company G (later renamed the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery) is a collection of well-known and historically significant photographs, maps and drawings of battles, forts, geographic locations, and people divided into eight sections. Locations photographed are primarily in Virginia, including Yorktown, Fredericksburg, Petersburg, Broadway Landing, the Peninsular Campaign, and the Bermuda Hundred area. There are also photographs from Fort Fisher, North Carolina.

Cartes de visite and tintype albums from the Civil War era: The Williams Collection owns a number of cloth or leather-bound family albums from the Civil War era, many of which intermix a variety of photographic subjects, including personal family photographs, images of prominent figures in the war effort, and photographic reproductions of popular artworks.

Civil War Prints

The Hanging of the Lincoln Assassination Conspirators (1865) (VAULT 0029): Seven small photographs of the execution of the four accomplices of John Wilkes Booth in the execution of Abraham Lincoln. Alexander Gardner was the only photographer who was permitted to document the scene. The hanging marked the first execution ever of a woman, Mary Surratt, by the United States government.

Assorted card and glass prints by well-known photographers of the Civil War, including Matthew Brady and Alexander Gardner.

Andrew Jackson Riddle Collection (W.0162): Riddle was a commercial photographer employed in 1864 as "Chief Photographer" of the Confederate Army of Tennessee. During this time, he produced what would become the only surviving images of a Confederate military prison, as he documented the Andersonville Prison in Georgia, one of the largest Confederate prisons. The Williams Collection owns a binder of original portrait images from his commercial practice in Macon, Georgia, mounted prints of the Andersonville photos from the 1880s, and smaller copies of these same photographs from an earlier date.

Jefferson Shields Ambrotypes: Two ambrotypes (without backing) of Jefferson Shields after the Civil War. Shield was an African American who served in the Confederate army as a cook for the 27th Virginia Infantry Stonewall Brigade, and after the war participated in Confederate veterans’ events.

Civil War Era Cartes de Visite, Tintypes, and Daguerreotypes: The Williams Collection owns an extensive number of photographic images of civilians, soldiers, and prominent Civil War figures in a variety of formats.

Other Published Material

Confederate Imprints: The Williams Collection holds approximately 500 Confederate imprints, that is, publications printed in Confederate territory between 1861 and 1865. The Confederate imprints include federal, state, and county government documents, political campaign literature, military documents (such as orders, instructional manuals, passes to leave camp, etc.), fiction (including some written by women), grammar and spelling books, medical books, almanacs, periodicals, newspapers, broadsides, and sheet music. The collection also contains several books printed or bound in wallpaper that reflect how southern printers improvised when faced with wartime shortages.

Civil War Pamphlets: The Williams Collection contains approximately 350 published pamphlets about the Civil War. These include poems, philosophical treatises, speeches, letters, short autobiographies, and reports of annual meetings.

Civil War Maps: The extensive Civil War map collection includes some rare maps printed in the Confederacy as well as numerous battle maps, geological maps, and topographical maps. The collection also holds an original set of the rare Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion.

Confederate Veteran (SER 0001-0647): The Williams Collection holds a full run of the original Confederate Veteran from 1893 to 1932. The magazine became the official publication of the United Confederate Veterans, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the Confederate Southern Memorial Society. The copies within the Williams Collection also list their previous owners, allowing researchers to track recipients of the magazine.

Regimental Histories: The Williams Collection is home to a substantial number of Civil War regimental histories. Written by both Federal and Confederate veterans, these histories describe the mustering of individual regiments, the battles they fought in, and daily life at war.

Uniform and Dress of the Army of the Confederate States (three editions: 1861, 1862, and 1862) (CONF 0327): Illustrated volumes showing a variety of soldiers’ uniforms. The second edition includes 15 colored lithographs.

Battlefield of Chattanooga with the Operation of the National Forces under the Command of Maj. Gen. U.S. Grant During the Battles of Nov. 23, 24, and 25, 1863: Captain Margedant’s personal signed copy of a colored lithograph map. Produced under the direction of Brigadier-General William F. Smith, Ulysses S. Grant’s chief engineer during this campaign.

Fourteen Hundred and 91 Days in the Confederate Army (Marshall, Texas: 1876) (VAULT 0050): W.W. Heartsill hand-printed one hundred copies of this volume, which document daily life in his regiment, the Second Texas Cavalry. The book includes pasted-in albumen photographs of sixty-one members of his unit. Fewer than twenty copies survive intact.

Engravings: The Williams Collection possesses a small collection of Civil War engravings by John W. Evans, W.H. Overend, and others. The engravings depict battles, ships, and other iconic scenes from the Civil War.