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George Roden Civil War Letters to His Family


Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. 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

Roden, George, b. 1841.

The son of English immigrants who settled in Newark, N.J., George Roden enlisted at age twenty-one as a 1st Sergeant in Company K, 2nd New Jersey Infantry, a regiment in Gen. Phillip Kearny's 1st Brigade. Stationed in northern Virginia during its active service in the Civil War, the 2nd New Jersey infantry was involved in several important engagements, including the Union defeat at Blackburn's Ford in June 1861, and as a reserve regiment in the First Battle of Bull Run (or Manasas) on 21 July 1861, which was the first major land battle of the war. Roden left the service on 21 June 1864.

The collection consists of twenty-eight letters by George Roden, Jr., addressed to his family in Newark, N.J., dating from 28 August 1861 to 13 May 1864 and posted from different camps or battlegrounds in Virginia where his company in the 2nd New Jersey Infantry was stationed, such as Fair Oaks and Fairfax. The letters provide a valuable record of military life during the American Civil War by a soldier in the Union Army. George Roden, namesake of his father, addresses his parents as "Dear folks at home"; other letters are specifically addressed to his mother, to his brother, Hugh, or to his sisters, Lizzie, Rachel, and Agnes. In addition to providing detailed accounts about the movements of the "Rebels," Roden writes about battles he participated in, his superiors in the army, namely Gen. George B. McClellan, Gen. Phillip Kearney, and Capt. John Taylor; and about the scenery in different areas where he was stationed. He also writes about sending or receiving items or money from his family. A letter dated 26 January 1863 includes a small pen-and-ink drawing by Roden.

The letters are arranged chronologically.

Gift of Samuel Cohn in July 1950 (AM14100).

This collection was processed by Dina Britain on August 24, 2007. Finding aid written by Traci Ballou-Broadnax on November 14, 2007. Folder Inventory added by Hilde Creager (2015) in 2012.

No appraisal information is available.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Collection Inventory

Letters from George Roden to parents, sister, 1861 August-September. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

15 Letters from George Roden to various "folks at home", 1862. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

10 Letters to various "folks at home", 1863. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Letter to "folks at home", 1864 May 13. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

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