Samuel David Sanders papers, 1861-1867

Emory University

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

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Descriptive Summary

Creator: Sanders, Samuel David
Title: Samuel David Sanders papers, 1861-1867
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 422
Extent: 1 microfilm reel (MF)
Abstract:Microfilm copy of the letters written by physician, planter and Confederate Lieutenant Samuel David Sanders of Cheraw South Carolina to his daughter, Mary, while he was serving in the 21st South Carolina 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.


Loaned for microfilming, 1964.


[after identification of item(s)], Samuel David Sanders papers, Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, Emory University.


Processed by MRD, 1964.

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Collection Description

Biographical Note

Samuel David Sanders (January 4, 1824-?) was a physician and planter of Cheraw, South Carolina. Late in 1861, he entered the Confederate Army as a 2nd Lieutenant, Company D, 21st South Carolina Infantry Regiment and in May 1864, he was apparently promoted to 1st Lieutenant. He served in South Carolina and mostly on Norris Island and James Island until May 1864, when his regiment was transferred to Virginia. He was in the fighting around Petersburg and Richmond in May-June 1864; and he apparently took part in the defense of Fort Wagner where the Federals assaulted that stronghold in July 1863; he had little other combat experience. Sanders sold his plantation in the fall of 1862 and moved to Cheraw. Both he and his wife, the former Martha J. Pegues, were well educated. They had two children, Mary and Samuel. Mary was born October 20, 1848, and Samuel about six years later. In the fall of 1861, Mary entered the Columbia Female College in South Carolina as a freshman and remained there until June 1864, and possibly until later. By August 31, 1867, Mary had married R. Lee Harper. In that same month Sanders and his wife moved to Jackson, Tennessee, where he became a teacher in a Methodist Woman's College. For additional information see Walter Rundell Jr., "'If Fortune Should Fail': Civil War Letters of Samuel David Sanders." South Carolina Historical Magazine: 1964-5 (3).

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of a microfilm copy of 59 letters written by Samuel David Sanders to his daughter, Mary, between July 24, 1861 and August 31, 1867, all but the first and last while she was in college at Columbia. There are gaps in the correspondence in the summers when she is at home and there are no letters for the period, June 14, 1864-August 31, 1867. The letters tell much of life in camp in South Carolina; principal subjects discussed are health, food and morale. They also reveal much about education on the college level, since the father writes in detail about Mary's courses, grades, and teachers. He also comments on her health and on her relations with her teachers and fellow students. Sanders was a deeply religious man and his letters throw considerable light on religious ideals and attitudes. He was an affectionate father; perhaps the greatest value of the letters is the insight that they give into parental attitudes and parent-child relations in an upper class Southern family in the mid-nineteenth century. They stress honor, industry, religion, social graces, and intellectual achievement. Also includes Sander's commission as third Lieutenant and the marriage contract executed January 26, 1848, shortly before his marriage.

Arrangement Note

Arranged in chronological order.

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