William Dalzell letters, 1862-1863

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322



Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/8z65h

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Dalzell, William, d. 1863.
Title: William Dalzell letters, 1862-1863
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 79
Extent: .25 linear ft. (1 box)
Abstract:Family correspondence of William Dalzell of Ogensburg, New York, who served in Company C and Company G of the 142nd New York Infantry Regiment during the Civil War.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Additional Physical Form

Typescript copies are available.


Gift, 1972.


[after identification of item(s)], William Dalzell letters, Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, Emory University.


Processed by RMB, March 27, 1972.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

William Dalzell ([1825] - August 24, 1863) enrolled at Ogensburg, New York, on August 29, 1862, to serve three years in the New York State Volunteers. He mustered in as a First Lieutenant, 142nd New York Infantry Regiment, Company C, on September 29, 1862, and retained that rank until his death of disease at Folly Island, South Carolina, on August 24, 1863. During the summer of 1863, he served briefly with Company G of the 142nd New York Infantry Regiment.

His regiment, left New York on October 6, 1862, and served in defense of Washington, D. C., from October 1862, until April 1863; took part in the siege of Suffolk, Virginia (April 16-May 4, 1863); the siege of Battery Wagner, South Carolina (August 9-September 4, 1863); and the bombardment of Fort Sumter (August 17-23, 1863).

Dalzell's wife Lizzie and their three children, William, Ella, and Frankie, lived in Waddington, St. Lawrence County, New York, during the Civil War. A history of the regiment and a brief war-time biographical sketch of Dalzell can be found in Frederick Phisterer's New York in the War of Rebellion 1861 to 1865. 3rd edition, Albany, J. B. Lyon Co., 1912, Vol. V, pp. 3642-3656. Additional information on the regiment can be found in Frederick H. Dyer's, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, 1908, pp. 1458-1459.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of 52 letters written by William Dalzell to his wife Lizzie from October 8, 1862-August 19, 1863. Dalzell's letters begin with his departure from New York State in October 1862. His regiment served in the area of Washington, D. C., and was stationed at fortifications at Suffolk, West Point, Yorktown, White House, Warrenton Junction, and Newport News, Virginia, and Folly Island, near Charleston, South Carolina.

He describes camp life, pickets, hard marches, drills, inspections, raids on Southern farms for food, and confiscation of whiskey; he also recounted skirmishes with rebel forces, the capture of prisoners, and gunboat activity. He advises his wife on the management of their farm in his absence and sent money to pay debts, even though he was paid irregularly. He debates whether to stay in the army a month longer and then muster out (July 31, 1863), or to take a furlough of twenty days and stay through the winter. Shortly thereafter, he contracted typho-malarial fever (August 9, 1863); however, he made the trip on the America with his company from Newport News to Charleston, South Carolina. In his last letter, he mentions that he is very sick and has put in for a discharge (August 19, 1863); J. D. Ransom, Captain of his company, notified Dalzell's wife of his death in an addition to this letter, dated August 24, 1863.

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Container List

Box Folder Content
1 1 1862 October 8 - December 27
1 2 1863 January 1 - March 27
1 3 1863 April 3 - 28
1 4 1863 May 2-30
1 5 1863 June 8 - July 31
1 6 1863 August 9 - 24
1 7 Transcripts: 1862 October 8 - August 24, 1863