Records Series Finding Aids
PRELIMINARY SERIES INVENTORY
Agency: Adjutant General
Series Title: Correspondence to the Governor and Adjutant General of Ohio, 1861-1866, 1875-1876, 1898
BrowseSeries 147 correspondence abstracts!
Description: Series 0147 was transferred to the Ohio Historical Society prior to 1929. A container list is available.
This series contains 109 volumes of correspondence covering the period from 1861-1865, which amounts to approximately 45,000 letters. There is an index (Series 42) to 93 of these volumes.
The letters in each volume are grouped by time period (i.e. June-July, 1861), but are not in chronological order. Dates overlap among volumes (i.e. Volume 22 covers the period from December 1861-January 1862, and Volume 23 covers the period from November 1861-January 1862). Frequently, there are two letters on a page. Most volumes are page numbered from the bottom to the top.
Non-clear tape covers some of the text of certain letters making it impossible to read those portions. In some cases, there are very brief notations on the letters regarding the disposition by the Adjutant General or Governor. For letter responses from the Adjutant General, see Series 146.
The letters came from throughout Ohio and outside of the state, and were written by county military committees, local officials, military commanders, politicians, recruiters, etc. Taken as a whole, the letters shed considerable light on the difficulties Ohio faced in raising, equipping, and training troops, and maintaining those troops in the field. Following Abraham Lincoln's call for men after the fall of Ft. Sumter, Ohio quickly complied. However, as many of the letters illustrate, Ohio was ill-prepared to deal with the volunteers once she had them. For example, there are references in the letters to the troops being without blankets and clothing, and drilling with wooden sticks because they had no arms. If the troops had arms, they frequently had no ammunition. An examination of the letters also reveals that there was much confusion on the part of recruiters and military commanders regarding their authority and duties. The letters contain numerous requests for clarification of even the most basic of issues such as when a soldier's pay commenced. As some of the letters illustrate, recruiters and county military committees were continually plagued by states bordering Ohio recruiting and hiring substitutes in Ohio without permission.
The index (Series 42) to 93 of the volumes of correspondence contains a one-line synopsis of each letter. A comparison between the index and the letter books revealed that those synopses checked are accurate as far as they go. The synopses adequately describe many of the routine letters checked. However, more detailed descriptions are needed for the substantive letters checked.
For those letters included in the index, dates written and received are not noted. The names in the index are usually those of the correspondents, but in a few cases the names are the subject matter of the letters.
Topics covered in the 93 volumes of correspondence included in the index are many and varied. For example, there are letters pertaining to battles such as First Manassas (Bull Run), Fort Donelson, Murfreesboro (Stones River), Perryville, Pittsburg Landing (Shiloh), and Vicksburg; border defense; camps including Camp Chase, Camp Cleveland, Camp Delaware, Camp Dennison, Camp Mansfield, Camp Steubenville, and Camp Toledo; county military committees; disloyalty; the draft; ethnic companies and regiments; Morgan's Raid; the pay of soldiers; prisoners of war; promotions; recruiting; and subsistence (supplies) for the soldiers.
An examination of the 93 volumes of correspondence included in the index revealed that the volume numbers were not noted on the letters. Since the bindings of the volumes are to be cut as part of the conservation process, it was decided to record the volume number in pencil on each letter. This numbering process will ensure that the original order of the letters is maintained and preserve the usefulness of the index.
Conservation work has begun on the letter books in Series 147. After the volumes are taken apart, non-clear tape is removed, the letters are washed and deacidified, and the letters are mended and encapsulated when necessary.
Series 147 has been identified as the first Archives/Library Division collection to be scanned and converted to digital format. Preparation of a detailed description of the entire series, including a calendar for each volume of correspondence, is underway. References in the correspondence to life on the homefront and the battlefront, family life, women's history, community history, religion, ethnicity, agriculture, and economic conditions will be featured in the calendar.
Guidelines for offsite reference requests, see http://www.ohiohistory.org/refemail.html