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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Collection Summary

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Series I: Letters, 1862, January 10 - December 28

Series II: Letters, 1863 January 4 -1864 January 27

Series III: Undated letters, letter fragments and envelopes, circa 1862-1864

Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the Eseck G. Wilber Civil War letters, 1862-1864



Collection Summary

Creator: Wilber, Eseck G., 1840-1864
Title: Civil War letters
Dates: 1862-1864
Abstract: A collection of letters written by Eseck G. Wilber, a Union soldier, to his family in Cairo, New York.
Identification: MS 30
Quantity: .5 cu. ft.
Language: Materials are in English
Repository: Woodson Research Center,  Fondren Library, Rice University, Houston, Texas

Biographical Sketch

Eseck G. Wilber (1840-1864) joined Company K of the 120th New York State Volunteers on August 22, 1862, leaving his father (William S. Wilber), mother (Clarissa) and two siblings (Fremont and Julia) in Cairo, New York. His military service would take him to Fredericksburg, the Second Battle of Bull Run and Gettysburg. Eseck was captured on October 10, 1863 and his letters dated January 24 and January 27 indicate he was held at the Belle Isle Confederate prison in Virginia. Belle Isle, located in the James River, was intended to hold 3,000 but would grow to more than twice that number by 1863. Prisoners were given tents to sleep in; a hospital for prisoners and an iron factory were located on the island, but no barracks were ever built for the prisoners. The enlisted men who survivied Belle Isle were later transferred to the Andersonville Prison in Sumter County, Georgia; officers were sent to Libby Prison. Wilber was transfered to Andersonville and died there on September 15, 1864. He is buried in the Andersonville Cemetary.

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Scope and Contents

This collection of letters were written by Eseck G. Wilber to his parents and family during the Civil War years, 1862-1864. The letters describe army life, pitched battles, inlcuding Fredericksburg, the Second Battle of Bull Run, and Chancellorsville. Also included in the letters are comments or mention of superior officers and other dignitaries, including George B. McClellan, Stonewall Jackson, Joseph Hooker, George Meade, and Abraham Lincoln.

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Arrangement

This collection is arranged into the following series:
Series I: Letters, 1862
Series II: Letters, 1863-1864
Series III: Undated letters, letter fragments and envelopes, circa 1862-1864

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

This material is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from the Eseck G. Wilber Civil War letters, 1962-1864 must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

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Index Terms

Names:
Wilber, Eseck G.
Organizations:
United States. Army. New York Infantry Regiment, 120th (1861-1865), Company K
Subjects:
Richmond (Va.) History Civil War, 1861-1865
Virginia History Civil War, 1861-1865 Prisoners and prisons
Fredericksburg, Battle of, Fredericksburg, Va., 1862
Gettysburg, Battle of, Gettysburg, Pa., 1863
Bull Run, 2nd Battle of, Va., 1862
Chancellorsville, Battle of, Chancellorsville, Va., 1863
Places:
Cairo (N.Y.)
Richmond (Va.)
Document Types:
Correspondence

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Related Material

See manuscript collections, U.S. Civil War and Slavery, in the Woodson Research Center

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Eseck G. Wilber Civil War letters, MS 30, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University

Provenance

Purchased in 1962,1963

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Letters written to Wilber's parents and brother with dates and locations recorded. The letters begin with Wilber's experience in a camp hospital and he later describes battles, skirmishes, pickets, marches, food and other facets of military life, including deaths in battle and from disease.

 

Series I: Letters, 1862, January 10 - December 28

In this series of letters, Wilbur begins with two letters from a hospital (January, 1862). His next letter, dated September 3, 1862, speaks of an "awful fight," likely referring to the Second Battle of Bull Run waged in August, 1862. His letter of December 21 describes the fighting at Fredericksburg.
Folder
1 1862 January 10, Camp near Falmouth, Virginia
1862 January 16, Camp near Falmouth, Virginia
1862 September 3, near Arlington
1862 September 5, Chain Bridge, Potomac River
1862 September 9, Alexandria, Virginia
1862 September 10, camp near Alexandria, Virginia
1862 September 16, near Alexandria, Virginia
1862 September 20, Shooters Hill, Alexandria, Virginia
1862 September 23, Shooters Hill, Alexandria, Virginia
1862 October 8, Alexandria, Virginia
1862 October 13, Upton Hill
1862 October 19, Shooters Hill, Alexandria, Virginia
1862 October 21, Shooters Hill, Alexandria, Virginia
1862 October 29, Alexandria, Virginia
1862 November 1, Alexandria, Virginia
1862 November 9, Manassas Junction, on march
1862 November 10, On march (includes a map of the area around Alexandria, Bull Run Bridge and Bristo Station, Virginia)
1862 November 12, Manassas Junction
1862 November 17, Manassas Junction
1862, November 24, Camp near Fairfax Station, Virginia
1862 November 30, Camp near Falmouth, Virginia
1862 December 7, Camp near Fredericksburg
1862 December 8, Camp near Fredericksburg and the Rappahannock River
1862 December 21, Camp near Falmouth, Virginia
1862 December 28, Camp near Falmouth, Virginia

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Series II: Letters, 1863 January 4 -1864 January 27

In this series of letters Wilber descibes a review by General Hooker and Abraham Lincoln (April 10, 1863), the Battle of Chancellorsville, General Hooker and the death of General Berry (May 7, 1863), the Battle of Gettysburg (July 28, 1863) and in the last five letters, Wilber writes as a prisoner of war in Virginia. A few of the letters do not contain a location; Wilber was usually in the area of Falmouth, Virginia, an area occupied by Union forces in 1862 and 1863 or on march.
Folder
2 1863 January 4, Camp near Falmouth, Virginia
1863 January 22, Camp near Falmouth, Virginia
1863 January 30, Camp near Falmouth, Virginia
1863 January 31, Camp near Falmouth, Virgnia
1863 February 6, Camp near Falmouth, Virginia
1863 February 11, Camp near Falmouth, Virginia
1863 February 19-20, Camp near Falmouth, Virginia
1863 February 28, Camp near Falmouth, Virginia
1863 March 8, Camp near Falmouth, Virginia
1863 March 12, Camp near Falmouth, Virginia
1863 March 20, Camp near Falmouth, Virginia
1863 March 26, Falmouth, Virginia
1863 April 2, Falmouth, Virginia
1863 April 10, Falmouth, Virginia
1863 April 14, Falmouth, Virginia
1863 April 17, Falmouth, Virginia
1863 April 24, Falmouth, Virginia
1863 May 6, Falmouth, Virginia
1863 May 7, Falmouth, Virginia
1863 May 17, Falmouth, VIrginia
1863 May 21, Falmouth, Virginia
1863 May 22, Falmouth, Virginia
1863 July 14, On march, near Williamsport, Maryland
1863 July 15, On march, heading toward Harper's Ferry, West Virginia
1863 July 28, Camp near Washington City, Virginia
1863 August 2, Camp near Beveless? Ford, Virginia
1863 August 7, Camp near Rappahannock Station
1863 August 16, Camp near Rappahannock Station
1863 August 20, Camp near Rappahannock Station
1863 August 24,Camp near Rappahannock Station
1863 August 30, Camp near Rappahannock Station
1863 September 6, Camp near Rappahannock Station
1863 September 13, Camp near Rappahannock Station
1863 September 20, Camp near Culpepper, Virginia
1863 September 24, Culpepper, Virginia
1863 September 27, Culpepper, Virginia
1863 October 4, Culpepper, Virginia
1863 October 24, Prisoner of war, Richmond, Virginia
1863 November 20, Prisoner of war, Richmond, Virginia
1864 January 9, Prisoner of war, Pemberton Prison, Richmond, Virginia
1864 January 24, Prisoner of war, Belle Isle Prison, Richmond, Virginia
1864 January 27, Prisoner of war, Belle Isle Prison, Richmond, Virginia

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Series III: Undated letters, letter fragments and envelopes, circa 1862-1864

Folder
3 Letter fragments, envlelopes addressed to William Wilber, and a song, "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp," (lyrics are of sitting in a prison cell and thinking of home), circa 1862-1864

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