Tag Archives: Civil War

Portrait of General James Johnston Pettigrew

Portrait of General James Johnston Pettigrew that hangs on an interior wall at the Southern Historical Collection

A portrait of General James Johnston Pettigrew, painted by William Garl Brown in 1866, hangs on an interior wall at the Southern Historical Collection.

Once in a while, the SHC acquires intriguing artifactual items.  Normally these artifacts are acquired during the acquisition of a greater collection of related manuscript material.  One such artifact was acquired at the time of the gift of the Pettigrew Family Papers (SHC Collection #592):  a framed portrait, in oils, of General James Johnston Pettigrew.

James Johnston Pettigrew (July 4, 1828 – July 17, 1863) was an author, lawyer, linguist, diplomat, and a Confederate general in the American Civil War. He was a major leader in the disastrous Pickett’s Charge and was killed a few days after the Battle of Gettysburg during the Confederate retreat to Virginia.

Our records indicate that the Pettigrew portrait was painted by William Garl Brown in 1866.  The portrait hangs on a wall within the SHC Curator’s office suite.  It’s just another great thing about working for the SHC – enjoying the many historical treasures that surround us as we go about our daily work.  We are pleased to offer this “behind-the-scenes” look at this portrait.

Civil War sketches of Herbert E. Valentine

Herbert Eugene Valentine (1841-1917) was a private in Company F of the 23rd Massachusetts Volunteers, who served in the United States Army between 1861 and 1864 in eastern Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

The SHC’s Herbert E. Valentine Papers contains a diary, pencil and watercolor sketches, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and maps, all contained in two manuscript volumes of Herbert E. Valentine. These volumes contain 184 sketches picturing towns, buildings, ships, bridges, fortifications, and everyday life at military bases. Valentine made birds eye view sketches of the towns in which he was stationed, as well as sketches of their principal buildings such as hospitals, churches, warehouses, and private residences that served as military command headquarters and as officers’ quarters. Locations with numerous sketches include Beaufort, Morehead City, and New Bern, N.C., and Hilton Head and Saint Helena Island, S.C. Seven color maps pertain to the operations of the 23rd Massachusetts Regiment in eastern North Carolina and Virginia.

We thought we’d share a few selections of these great Civil War sketches:

"Allison: Steamer" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

"Steamer Allison, October 13, 1862" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

"Broken Bridge: Over Broad Creek" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

"Broken Bridge: Over Broad Creek" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

"Convoy S. S." - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

"Convoy S. S." - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

"Chapel, Fort Monroe, Va., 1863" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

"Chapel, Fort Monroe, Va., 1863" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

"Pillow Fight" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

"Pillow Fight" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

What We’re Browsing: Confederate Spies!

Portion of transcription from John Y. Beall Papers (#2533-z)

Portion of court proceedings from John Y. Beall Papers (#2533-z)

Often, while clicking around in the library catalog, we stumble on these intriguing little pockets of content among the holdings of the SHC.  Sometimes it’s a matter of rediscovering what we forgot we had, or finding stuff that seems to be ‘hidden in plain sight.’ These serendipitous finds remind us of the great breadth and depth of the Collection and provide some fun topics to discuss and share.

Consider, if you will, a recent search we did on “Confederate Spies.” Here are two examples of SHC material found on this topic:

  • John Y. Beall Papers – “Two volumes, dated ca. 1865-1899 and ca. 1935-1942, documenting the trial and execution of John Yates Beall, acting master in the Confederate Navy, for espionage and breaking the laws of war.”  According to our biographical information, Beall was accused of attempting to free fellow Confederate soldiers from the confines of the prison at Johnson’s Island at Sandusky Bay, Ohio.
  • Letters concerning Sam Davis, 1863 -  “Three letters, November-December 1863, from Union soldiers in Tennessee, concerning the execution of Sam Davis at Pulaski, Tenn., on 27 November 1863, as a Confederate spy.”

The Turpentine Remedy

The turpentine, as given to patient, G.P. Milton, who died the following day (January 8, 1865)

The turpentine treatment, as given to patient, G.P. Milton, who died the following day (January 8, 1865). From collection #612-z, Southern Historical Collection.

You never know what you’re going to find in our collections. Today, while looking for something totally unrelated, I happened upon a folder with an intriguing title: “Prescription and Diet Book, circa 1800s.” I thought I might have stumbled on some sort of early new age work. So, I started thumbing through.

What I found was that it was a record book, apparently from a Civil War hospital near Greensboro, North Carolina, that listed daily treatments that were given to wounded soldiers and others convalescing during the war.

In this record book are listings for some run of the mill treatments and remedies that were ordered on patients of the hospital such as, “light diet,” “light dressing applied to wound,” or “beef soup.” But then I started seeing some more, shall we say, experimental treatments listed. The regimen given to one particular patient named G. P. Milton was especially striking (see image shown here).

Sunday’s entry: “Rx…Whiskey and Turpentine every 3 hours”

Monday’s entry: “Died Jan. 8, 1865″

I guess turpentine isn’t always good for what ails you. Anyone know if this was once a common treatment? And if so, for which ailment was it usually prescribed? Was it ever successful?

[The item described comes from collection #612-z from the Southern Historical Collection.]

October 13,… 1863

Letter: 13 October 1863, from Rhoda Casey to her husband.

Letter: 13 October 1863, from Rhoda Casey to her husband.

Here is a portion of a letter that was written 145 years ago today (October 13, 1863).  Due to time constraints, we provide here only a partial transcript. We welcome you to visit us in order to read the entire letter in person. The letter comes from our collection of “Confederate Papers”, from Unit #23 and is labeled as “Letter, 13 October 1863, from Rhoda Casey in Pendleton, S.C., to her husband noting a wagon accident and other news.”

[Note: Punctuation and capitalization have been added for the sake of the reader. Other mistakes appear here as they occur in the original letter.]

Pendleton So. Ca.

Oct. the 13th. 1863

Dear Rowland,

I’ve again seat myself to write you a few lines but then I can not say that we are all well. Walter has got his foot hurt very bad. He was at Mrs. Burnes’[?] last Thursday and Friday a helping to haul in corn and just [?] as he was going in with a load, the oxins scard and turned and threw the wagon againts a tree and his foot was smash up betwixt the tree and wagon and was hurt right bad. He has not walked after since – only on chruches. But it is a great deal better now and I think he will be walking again soon.

Then I have had no letter this week. I must know. There come one last night but it has bin raining all day so that I could not go to the office and daddy went to Pickens last Sunday and has not come back yet I think maby he will come by the time I git done writing and if he does he will will come by the office.

Then I went to Anderson last Saturday and took some things and left with Mr. Dobbins for Capt. Moore to take to you. I did not take so much for I could not git them ready. I took your one shirt and pair of drawers and two pairs of socks and some thread and two twist of tobackco and then I sent your old yellow vest that you sent home. I thought it would do you a little good maby. I did not think of sending it till a few minits before I started or I would have washed it. Then I don’t know that the clothes will suit. The drawers are very coarse, I did not make it for that, but I thout it would be very warm and would last a little while. I intend to make you some more clothes just as soon as I can. [...]

New Collections (21 May 2008)

Mahlon D. Cushman Diary (#5379-z)

Mahlon D. Cushman, a Union soldier during the Civil War, served as a private in Company I of the 16th Connecticut Infantry Regiment, 1862-1864. As part of the Union garrison at Plymouth, N.C., the 16th Connecticut, with the 18th Army Corps, defended against a Confederate land and naval attack, 17-20 April 1864. On 20 April 1864, the Union garrison at Plymouth surrended, and Cushman was sent to the Andersonville Prison at Camp Sumter, Ga. He was paroled in November 1864 and discharged with disability in June 1865. The collection consists of the 1864 pocket diary of Civil War soldier Mahlon D. Cushman. The diary documents Cushman’s capture by Confederate soldiers at the Battle of Plymouth and subsequent imprisonment in Andersonville Prison. Daily entries are typically brief, generally indicating weather conditions and occasionally diet. Entries of note include the 20 April 1864 surrender at Plymouth, the journey southward, and 2 May 1864 arrival at Andersonville Prison. Brief entries tell of many hundreds of prisoners coming into the prison and the deaths of prisoners. On 26 November 1864, Cushman recorded his parole and, on 5 December 1864, his arrival in Annapolis, Md.

Charles Louis Schlom Papers (#5313-z)

Born to a family of Jewish craftspeople near Riga, Latvia, Charles Louis Schlom emigrated to America to avoid religious persecution, and, in 1908, settled in Greenville, Miss., where he operated a jewelry store. The collection includes documents related to the Schlom family in Latvia; legal and financial papers, including the naturalization papers, property deed and loan papers, and last will and testament of Charles Louis Schlom; letters and materials sent to Schlom and newspaper clippings related to the purchase and operation of his Greenville, Miss., jewelry store; photographs of Charles Louis Schlom, family members, and the store; a biographical sketch of Charles Louis Schlom by his oldest daughter, Zelda Schlom Sachs; and other materials.