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Paul collection of Civil War papers and related ephemera


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

Richard Henry Morris was born in Philadelphia in 1840 to Richard Morris and Selcy Dorrance. He was raised in Bristol, Pennsylvania, and was educated in Bucks County and Elizabeth, New Jersey. In 1884 he married Alice Vanuxem of Bristol. Morris enlisted with the Union Army during the Civil War and served in the 9th New York Infantry, which traversed areas mainly in Virginia and North Carolina. He died in Bristol in 1894.

Making up the bulk of the collection are transcriptions of Richard Henry Morris's letters, which are on fragile, onion-skin paper (Folder 2). Use photocopies of these documents have been made, and researchers are asked to consult the photocopies first (Folder 1). In his letters, Morris presented detailed and vivid accounts of his war service, though it is unclear to whom he wrote them as none of the transcriptions (which are undated) contain either salutations or signatures. In addition to the 1861-1863 letters, there is one letter dated 6 February 1865 and three letters from 1860 that appear to have been written by someone other than Morris, perhaps his wife or another family member.

Throughout his service, Morris traveled to numerous camps, including Camp Butler, Newport News, Virginia; Fort Hatteras, North Carolina; and Camp Parke, Fredericksburg, Virginia. Two of his letters from 1862 were written from vessels off the North Carolina Coast, the transport Eagle and the gunboat Shrapnel. He participated in an 1861 clash at Fort Hatteras and the 1862 Battle of Roanoke Island. He also wrote about many other minor skirmishes with Confederate troops in addition to general camp life--rations, other soldiers, using African Americans as "servants," warding off disease, and morale. He usually ended his letters asking about friends and family in Philadelphia and Bristol and frequently mentioned a place called "Oaklands."

In addition to these letters, the collection contains an 1864 memorial sermon and three-page typed biography of Ulric Dahlgren (Folder 3), who was a Bucks County native and studied law in Philadelphia before the outbreak of the Civil War. Folders 4 and 5 contain two programs from a reunion of the Hawkins' Zouaves Association and a partial document with the Philadelphia city seal, respectively. Following this is a handwritten account of Abraham Lincoln's assassination by Captain Richard S. Collum (Folder 6), who was originally from Indiana but was stationed in Philadelphia for the last six years (1891-1897) of his United States Marine Corps career and died there in 1905. Finally, Folder 7 contains a memorial from the Military Order of the Loyal Legion for Richard Henry Morris.

Gift of Henry Lafayette Collins, III, on behalf of Mr.and Mrs. James C. N. Paul, 2009.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Cary Hutto
Finding Aid Date
; 2012
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Collection Inventory

Richard Henry Morris letters [originals and photocopies], 1860, 1861-1863, 1865.
Box 1 Folder 1-2
Ulric Dahlgren - memorial, typed biography, and print "Attack of Fredericksburg by Union Cavalry", 1864, 1872, undated.
Box 1 Folder 3
Hawkins' Zouaves Association reunion program [2 copies], 1886.
Box 1 Folder 4
Partial document with Philadelphia city seal, 1869.
Box 1 Folder 5
"A Story of a Great Crime," by Richard S. Collum, 11 January 1888.
Box 1 Folder 6
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States memoriam for Richard Henry Morris, 20 December 1894.
Box 1 Folder 7

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