A Guide to the John S. McBeth Collection, 1863-1868
Private John S. McBeth, a farmer born in Clark County, Ohio, served in Company K, 20th Regiment, of the Indiana Volunteers. On February 20, 1864, at age 32, he re-enlisted in the Union Army. He was wounded on May 6th; shortly after, he wrote to his wife, Mary McBeth, from a Confederate hospital in Lynchburg, Virginia.
McBeth subsequently was moved to the Confederate prison in Andersonville, Georgia, a site notorious for overcrowding and disease. Of the 45,000 Union prisoners held in Andersonville Prison, more than 12,000 died at the site. At the cession of the Civil War, nurse Clara Barton established a Missing Soldiers Office to help identify the deceased using captured hospital records and other accessible information. Her office received more than 60,000 letters. In 1866, Barton informed Mary McBeth that a "J.C. McBeth" died in Andersonville Prison on Oct. 30, 1864. An 1868 letter from John R. Robertson, who served with McBeth, confirms this date of death.
"Clara Barton and Andersonville," National Park Service, https://www.nps.gov/ande/learn/historyculture/clara_barton.htm (accessed Sept. 7, 2016).
The John S. McBeth Collection comprises correspondence and images related to a Union soldier who died in a Confederate prison in Andersonville, Georgia, in 1864.
Correspondence with Mary McBeth includes John S. McBeth's 1864 letter from a Lynchville, Virginia, hospital; Clara Barton's 1866 letter from Missing Men of the United States Army; and an 1868 letter from John R. Robertson, confirming McBeth's death. Also included are McBeth's 1863 furlough pass and 1864 discharge papers indicating his re-enlistment.
The collection includes two cased images of Mary Baum McBeth and John S. McBeth.
This collection is open for research use.
John S. McBeth Collection, 1863-1868, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Colleen Hobbs, Sept. 2016.
Detailed Description of the Papers