Special Collections of the ODU Libraries

Samuel J. Major Papers, 1861-1865 | Special Collections and University Archives

By Special Collections Staff

Collection Overview

Title: Samuel J. Major Papers, 1861-1865

ID: 00/MG 43

Primary Creator: Major, Samuel J. (1815-1881)

Extent: 0.2 Linear Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The materials in this collection are arranged chronologically.

Date Acquired: 01/03/1980

Subjects: French, Wm. H. (William Henry), 1815-1881, Union Army of the Potomac, United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

Languages: English

Abstract

Documents the activities of the Left Wing, Army of the Potomac, in November and December, 1863 during the Civil War. Includes correspondence, orders, dispatches, and operation reports.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The material in this collection is dated from 1861 to 1865, and centers primarily on General William French and the activities of the Union Army of the Potomac in November and December 1863. The material consists mainly of correspondence and orders to the Union Army of the Potomac.

Collection Historical Note

The Union Army during the Civil War was essentially a volunteer army. To become an Officer of Volunteers, one only needed to raise a company. Often prominent and wealthy citizens used their money and influence to sign up a hundred men or so to make up their company. At the beginning of the war, this was fairly easy to do, as the enthusiasm for fighting for the Union was high.

The Union Army of the Potomac was itself a largely volunteer army. In August of 1861 the Union Army of the Potomac formed by merging commands in Washington, Northern Virginia, and the Shenandoah. In Virginia, the primary battles took place between the Union Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of the Potomac (later renamed the Army of Northern Virginia in 1862). The two forces fought at the battles of Antietam, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, Seven Days, The Wilderness, Bull Run, and Gettysburg. The Union Army of the Potomac was led during these times by such generals, as George McClellan, Ambrose Burnside, and George G. Meade.

Born in 1815, William Henry French was a veteran of the Mexican wars. He was appointed a Major General during the Civil War in November 1862. He commanded troops at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Manassas Gap, Auburn, Kelly's Ford, Brandy Station, and in the Mine Run operation. Meade considered French personally responsible for the failure at Mine Run. When the Army of the Potomac reorganized that winter, French was displaced and saw no further field service. He continued in the regular army until 1880 when he retired as Colonel 4th Artillery. He died in 1881.

Subject/Index Terms

French, Wm. H. (William Henry), 1815-1881
Union Army of the Potomac
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections and University Archives

Alternate Extent Statement: 1 Hollinger document case

Access Restrictions: Open to researchers without restrictions.

Use Restrictions: Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Acquisition Source: Mary E. Jonitz Major

Acquisition Method: Gift. Accession #A80-1

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], Box [insert number], Folder [insert number and title], Samuel J. Major Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Patricia W. and J. Douglas Perry Library, Old Dominion University Libraries, Norfolk, VA 23529.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[All]

Box 1
Folder 1: Letter of Appointment of B. General William H. French, September 28, 1861
Folder 2A: Orders and Dispatches During the Operations of the Left Wing Army of the Potomac Between November 6 and 9, 1863 Cover
Folder 2B: Orders and Dispatches During the Operations of the Left Wing Army of the Potomac Between November 6 and 9, 1863
Folder 3: Copy of Order Issued by Abraham Lincoln, November 10, 1863
Folder 4: List of Confederate Prisoners, December 3, 1863
Folder 5: General Henry Prince's Operations Report, December 6, 1863
Folder 6: Letter from John W. Horn, Coloner 6 Rgt. Maryland to General French, March 27, 1864
Folder 7: Correspondence: Charles H.T. Collis to General French, July 8, 1864
Folder 8: Correspondence: Charles H.T. Collis to General French, July 9, 1865

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