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John Hobart Davis papers, 1832-1920 1 Linear Foot — 400 Items

The papers of John Hobart Davis span the years 1832-1920, but the bulk of the collection is the Civil War correspondence, 1862-1865. Davis chiefly wrote the letters to his sister, Elisa E. Davis, with a few letters to other family members, such as his brother Frank. Private Davis was stationed at Camp Beaufort, Me. (1861, Dec. - 1862, Feb.); Ship Island, Miss. (1862, Mar. - 1863, Feb.); Fort Jackson, La. (1863, Feb. - Aug.); Pass Manchoc, La. (1863, Aug. -Sept.); Fort Stephens, La. (1863, Oct. - 1864, July); and Washington, D.C. (1864, Aug. - 1865, Apr.).

Topics discussed in the collection include Davis' attitude toward Blacks, especially his prejudice toward Black officers, foraging raids behind enemy lines and the Battle of Blair's Landing, (also known as Pleasant Hill Landing) as well as aspects of camp life, such as guard duty, artillery practice, drills, and practice skirmishes, pay furloughs, sutlers, camp recreation, and breaking up camp. Some letters are illustrated with maps or drawings. Included also are diaries, photographs, and miscellaneous writings.

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Working-class New England family that was involved with both the Union and the Confederacy during the American Civil War. The mother, Lois Wright was born in Northfield, Massachusetts and died in Lowell, Massachusetts. She had at least seven children with her first husband Luther Richardson. The bulk of the collection is made up of letters between Davis and her children during the Civil War. In the late 1850s two of Lois Davis' daughters moved to Mobile, Alabama and their husbands served in the Confederate Army. Two of Lois Davis' sons fought with Massachusetts regiments, Charles Henry at first with the 6th Massachusetts Infantry, and then both Charles Henry and Luther with the 26th Massachusetts Infantry. Includes letters written from Ship Island, MS (1861-1862) and New Orleans, LA (1862-1864); and material on the riots in Baltimore, MD, and battles at Manassas, Malvern Hill, Petersburg, Winchester, VA, and the Shenandoah Valley, Baton Rouge and Port Hudson, LA, Sabine Pass, TX, and along the Mississippi and Red Rivers. The letters include descriptions of living and working conditions; illnesses; deaths; and thoughts on politics, race, and religion. Also includes letters about life after the Civil War. Daughter Eunice, whose husband died while serving the Confederacy, remarried to William Smiley Connolly, an Afro-Caribbean and mixed-race ship captain. They married in Dracut, Massachusetts, and she moved with him to Grand Cayman Island. Her letters, 1870-1875, describe their life in Grand Cayman. There are additional papers relating to Charles Henry Richardson's life in Lowell, Massachusetts where he worked in a textile mill and served as an Alderman.

The bulk of the collection consists of letters written between family members during the American Civil War. These letters discuss the family's concerns about being split by the war, illnesses, deaths, politics, race, religion, and employment. There are also letters after the Civil War up until 1912. Some of these letters relate to Davis' daughter, Eunice, who married an Afro-Caribbean sea merchant and moved with him to Grand Cayman Island. There are also papers relating to Charles Henry, the only son to survive the war. Several of these letters are letters of recommendation in support of specific veterans receiving their pensions, including a letter that describes a possibly gender-fluid, gender nonconforming, and/or transgender soldier nicknamed "Lucy."