The Historical Society of Pennsylvania collection of Civil War papers
Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Civil War papers is an artificial collection, which was created from several different sources over time. The span of the collection is from 1861-1902, with the bulk dating from 1861-1865. The collection has been arranged in four series: military, organizations, correspondence and miscellaneous. The folders are arranged alphabetically within each series.
Series One is a mixture of documents and records generated by several military regiments. Mostly represented are regiments from northern states, though there is one folder from a Confederate regiment from Tennessee. These materials provide a look into the routines of these regiments. The muster/enlistment lists, clothing account ledgers, and official orders contain detailed and specific information about the operation of each unit. The twelve volumes included in this series contain information from the 6th and 7th regiments of the Pennsylvania volunteers and the Matthew Hastings Independent Keystone Battery.
Series Two includes civilian organizations that were in operation during and just after the war. Much of the records come from the Office for the Relief of Families of Philadelphia Volunteers and the Philadelphia Sixth Ward Bounty Fund. The records for these two groups are incomplete within this collection, but they do serve to highlight what civilians and civilian organizations were doing during the war.
Series Three contains correspondence; of note in this series is correspondence between Major General Robert Patterson, major general of Pennsylvania volunteers and commander of the Army of the Shenandoah, and Winfield Scott, general-in-chief of the Union Army. There is also correspondence from Patterson to a Colonel E. D. Townsend.
Series Four contains everything within the collection that did not fit into the first three series. Particularly interesting here are manuscripts of the reminiscences of Louis J. Boos, a member of the 6th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Calvary, and Clara F. Jones, a civilian. Other items of interest include a cased photograph of a soldier named Edward McLaughlin and a fractional currency shield.
The Civil War papers is an artificial collection and as such it consists of materials that were acquired at different times and from different sources.
The 1871 letter from "Henry W." to "Walt" in Series 3 was purchased (accession 2010.033).
This collection was processed using guidelines set out in the "More Product, Less Process" approach to archival processing.
One folder of materials that predate the Civil War were arranged at the end of the collection (Box 6, Folder 16). These items may be separated from the collection at a later date.
One box containing materials from the Citizens' Bounty Fund Committee was removed from this collection and transferred to the Citizens' Bounty Fund Committee records (Collection 1558) at The Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
- Citizens' Bounty Fund Committee.
- John F. Reynold Monument Committee (Philadelphia, Pa).
- Office for the Relief of the Families of Philadelphia Volunteers (Philadelphia, PA).
- United States Sanitary Commission. Philadelphia Branch.
- United States. Army. (History--Civil War, 1861-1865)
- United States. Army. New York Infantry Regiment, 67th (1861-1865).
- United States. Army. Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, 72nd (1861-1865).
- United States. Army. Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, 88th (1861-1865).
- United States. Army. Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, 96th (1861-1865).
- United States. Army. Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, 98th (1861-1865).
- United States. Marine Corps.
- Historical Society of Pennsylvania
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Timothy H. Horning
- Finding Aid Date
- The Digital Center for Americana pilot project was funded by the Barra Foundation and several individual donors.
- Use Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
This series contains documents from several different divisions and regiments. The series consists of orders, muster rolls, morning reports, and clothing account ledgers. The bulk of this series are documents from a few different regiments of the Pennsylvania Volunteer Corps, but there is also some representation of regiments from Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Tennessee. These materials provide insight into the daily operations of these units. The muster rolls contain information about home town, occupation, and physical description for the men who enlisted. The order books may be of special interest because they contain the official orders that the regiments received from military command. Volume 1 consists of morning reports of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 6th Regiment. Volumes 2-6 are morning reports, guard reports, clothing account ledgers, and company orders of the 7th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers. Volumes 7-11 are from the Matthew Hastings Independent Keystone Battery and contain similar information as volumes 2-6. Flat file 1 contains one disassembled volume of the Matthew Hastings Independent Keystone Battery's company orders and also contains the Battery's morning reports of 1862 which were formerly apart of volume 10.
This series contains materials generated by various civilian organizations during and immediately after the war. The bulk of material comes from the Office for the Relief of the Families of Volunteers and the Sixth Ward Bounty Committee. There is also material from the John F. Reynolds Monument Committee, the Lincoln Monument Association, and one folder of records of financial contributions to the Sanitary Fair of 1864. These materials serve to present a picture of what civilians in the Philadelphia area were doing during the war.
This series contains correspondence from civilians and enlisted men. Of greatest interest are a group of letters between Major General Robert Patterson and General Winfield Scott, and correspondence from Patterson to a Colonel E. D. Townsend. In these letters, the men discuss and plan the taking of Harpers Ferry from Confederate control. The ultimate failure of this operation gave the Confederate Army the ability to send reinforcements during the First Battle of Bull Run. This failure led to the early honorable discharge of Patterson, and the disbanding of the Army of the Shenandoah until it was reconstituted in 1864. Also included in this series is a group of letters written by an enlisted man in the Union army named William Saunders to his wife Lizzie. There is also a fair amount of correspondence in this series from soldiers in the Confederate Army.
This series contains all the material that did not fit squarely into the three previous series, and includes reminiscences, envelopes, certificates, and one cased photograph of a soldier named Edward McLaughlin (Box 8). Of interest are the oaths of allegiance that were required of Confederate citizens who wished to gain amnesty after the Civil War (flat file 2), and the reminiscence of Louis J. Boos, a member of the Pennsylvania Calvary. The Boos reminiscence is in the form of an essay, which he submitted in a literary contest open to Civil War veterans who had lost their right arm in service. The contest not only judged literary content, but also left-handed penmanship. Also of interest is the reminiscence of Clara F. Jones, a civilian who distributed food to soldiers on Christmas day. Also included in this series is a Civil War-era fractional currency shield (flat file 3). In 1862 there was a shortage of coins, and people began using stamps as currency in lieu of change. The federal government started printing fractional paper currency to solve this problem. The shields were made by the Federal Treasury and sold to banks so that they could differentiate between real and counterfeit bills.