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Call No.: UAV 136.112
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Title: Harvardians in the Rebellion of 1861-1865
Quantity: 1.2 cubic feet (4 scrapbooks in 4 flat boxes)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The Harvardians in the Rebellion of 1861-1865 scapbooks is comprised of four volumes into which letters, photographs, and ephemera pertaining to Harvard students and alumni serving in the Civil War have been glued. The correspondence in the first three volumes is arranged by Harvard class year, and then alphabetically by last name. The correspondence chiefly falls into two categories: letters accepting or declining the invitation to attend a commemoration ceremony held at Harvard on July 21, 1865; and correspondence containing information about Harvard veterans, including their service records, honors, remarkable wartime activities, injuries, and date of leaving service or date of death. The photographs in the final volume depict Harvard students and alumni who were killed in the Civil War.
The movement to honor Harvard soldiers who fought and died for the Union during the American War appears to have been initiated by Colonel Henry Lee (AB 1836). A meeting was called for Harvard alumni on May 12, 1865; out of this meeting were created committees that planned the Commemoration Day celebration held at Harvard on July 21, 1865, as part of Commencement activities, and eventually spearheaded the construction of Memorial Hall in 1874 as a living memorial to students and alumni who died while serving in the Union Army and Navy.According to Hamilton V. Bail in his "Harvard's Commemoration Day, July 21, 1865," published in The New England Quarterly in 1942, for the first time the entire front page of the New York Times consisted of a single news item on July 25, 1865. The news item described Harvard's ceremony held in honor of the end of the Civil War. As part of the celebration, James Russell Lowell (AB 1838) recited his "Commemoration Ode;" other speakers at the ceremony included Ralph Waldo Emerson (AB 1821), Oliver Wendell Holmes (AB1829), Julia Ward Howe, Reverend Phillips Brooks (AB 1855), and Brigadier General William F. Bartlett (AB 1862).The letters in the first three volumes of these scrapbooks "were received by the Committee of the Alumni charged with the arrangement of the so-called Commemoration in honor of persons connected with Harvard College that has served in the War of the Rebellion. Invitations were sent out by a Sub-Committee (Frances J. Child and Charles E. Guild) to all past students, graduated or not, that were then known to have taken part in the war on the national side. Most of these letters are autograph descriptions of services in the arm or navy. Perhaps there may be a few letters from friends of men who did not survive the war." (Volume 1, p. 4). The photographs in Volume 4 were presumably sent to the Committee by surviving relatives and friends; it is unclear when the photographs were assembled in this volume.The scrapbooks were given to Harvard by Professor F.J. Fairchild on May 22, 1872.
The scrapbooks are arranged as follows:
- I. Explanatory letter and letters from men who served
- II. Letters from men who served
- III. Letters from men who served, printed rosters, name index
- IV. Portraits
The Harvardians in the Rebellion of 1861-1865 scapbooks is comprised of four volumes into which letters, photographs, and ephemera pertaining to Harvard students and alumni serving in the Civil War have been glued.The correspondence in the first three volumes is arranged by Harvard class year, and then alphabetically by last name. The correspondence chiefly falls into two categories: letters accepting or declining the invitation to attend the commemoration ceremony held on July 21, 1865; and correspondence containing information about Harvard veterans, including their service records, honors, remarkable wartime activities, injuries, and date of leaving service or date of death. A copy of the notice sent to Harvard alumni requesting this information is at the beginning of Volume 3. This information was collected to compile the Roll of Students of Harvard College who have served in the Army or Navy during the War of the Rebellion, published for the Commemoration Day celebration. Copies of this publication appear in volume 3, as do two editions of the Roll of Students of Harvard University who served in the Army and Navy of the United States during the War of the Rebellion by Francis H. Brown. The photographs in the final volume depict Harvard students and alumni who were killed in the Civil War.
Noted individuals appearing in correspondence and photographs include:
- Zabdiel Boylston Adams (Vol. 1, page 59): Harvard Medical School Class of 1853, physician/surgeon, honored at Gettysburg for medical treatment of soldiers
- William Francis Bartlett (Vol. 3, page 8): Harvard College Class of 1862; enlisted as private and rose to rank of brigadier general; wounded four times
- Caspar Crowninshield (Vol. 2, page 82): Harvard College Class of 1860; roommate of Robert Gould Shaw; enlisted as private and rose to rank of brevet brigadier general
- Francis Welch Crowninshield (Vol. 4, page 104): member of the Harvard College Class of 1864; 2nd lieutenant in the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry; wounded four times, including at Antietam and Gettysburg
- Oliver Wendell Holmes (Vol. 2, page 116): Harvard College Class of 1861; officer in the 20th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (known as the "Harvard Regiment"); wounded multiple times; Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1902-1932
- Robert Todd Lincoln (Vol. 3, page 3): Harvard College Class of 1864, son of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln; served in the last weeks of the war on General Ulysses S. Grant's immediate staff
- Charles Russell Lowell (Vol. 1, page 119; Vol. 4, page 30): Class of 1854 (valedictorian), Brigadier General, killed at the Battle of Cedar Creek (October 1864); married to Josephine Shaw, sister of Robert Gould Shaw.
- Francis Winthrop Palfrey (Vol. 1, page 83): Class of 1851, Colonel during the Civil War, later awarded Brevet Brigadier General in 1866 for meritorious service during the war
- Sumner Paine (Vol. 4, page 110): Class of 1865, Second Lieutenant and Company Commander, Massachusetts 20th regiment, killed at Gettysburg, Pickett's Charge (July 1863) (youngest Harvard student killed)
- Robert Gould Shaw (Vol. 4, page 66): Class of 1860, Colonel, Massachusetts 54th regiment; killed in Second Battle of Fort Wagner, near Charleston, South Carolina (July 1863).
- Sidney Willard (Vol. 4, page 18): Class of 1852, Major, Massachusetts 35th regiment, killed in Battle of Fredericksburg (December 1862)