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Collection Number: 05095-z

Collection Title: William A. Collins Papers, 1862-1865 (bulk 1862)

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


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Size About 40 items
Abstract Private William A. Collins of Statesville, N.C., served in Company C of the 48th North Carolina Infantry Regiment from March 1862 until his death in December 1862. The collection is chiefly letters that William A. Collins sent to his family in Statesville, Iredell County, N.C. Collins's letters discuss camp life; the Regiment's first combat action against Union gun boats at City Point on the James River near Petersburg, Va., 16 June 1862; and actions in northern Virginia and Maryland in the course of which he was wounded and captured at the Battle of Antietam on 17 September 1862. After being paroled, Collins was confined to Chimborazo Hospital No. 4 in Richmond, Va., where he died. There are also a few messages from others, including the unit's captain, and later materials, among them a poem that appears to have been written by Collins's sister in 1865.
Creator Collins, William A., 1841-1862.
Language English.
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the William A. Collins Papers #5095-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy (filmed June 2005) available.
  • Reel 1: Folders 1-5
Provenance
Received from Hannah Hearne of Albemarle, N.C., in May 2002 (Acc. 99252).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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William A. Collins of Statesville, N.C., was born into a family of farmers on 21 August 1841. Although little is known about his education beyond the fact that he pursued a course of religious studies with his friend and pastor, Reverend J. M. Smith of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, it is worth noting that Collins had fine handwriting.

Like many of the young men from Iredell County, Collins enlisted on 26 February 1862 and his term of service parallels the early and, indeed, even the pre-history of North Carolina's 48th Infantry Regiment. While serving in Company C, he participated in a series of engagements in and around northern Virginia. He was wounded in the leg and captured by Union forces at the Battle of Antietam on 17 September 1862. After being paroled, he was confined to Chimborazo Hospital No. 4 in Richmond, Va., where he died of gangrene on 14 December 1862.

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The bulk of this collection is comprised of the letters that Private William A. Collins, Company C of the 48th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, sent back home to his family in Statesville, Iredell County, N.C., during his term of Civil War service, which began in March 1862 and ended with his death in December 1862. Collins's letters provide a generally good-spirited, if critical, assessment of Company C's camp life replete with complaints about the uncertainty of their orders, the quality and quantity of the food and water, the lack of tents, the piney green fire wood, and the high cost of provisions such as fresh foodstuffs and soap. He also gave a brief description of the 48th Regiment's first combat action against Union gun boats at City Point on the James River near Petersburg, Va., on 16 June 1862. The letters go on to mention his unit's actions in northern Virginia and Maryland in the course of which he was wounded and captured at the Battle of Antietam on 17 September 1862. After being paroled, he was confined to Chimborazo Hospital No. 4 in Richmond, Va. While in the hospital, Collins wrote of having suffered thefts, demanded a lengthy list of provisions from home, and eventually even begged for someone to come get him.

Within this series of letters, Collins's uncle, Jesse Lippard (d. December 1862) of the same unit, occasionally wrote a brief note home. Other letters are from Company C's captain, Arthur Walker, who wrote to warn the family of Collins's dire medical state and need of rescue from Chimborazo Hospital, and a letter from the hospital detailing Collins's final days accompanied by his death certificate. Also in April 1863, Sergeant William Cascaddon (d. December 1863), a possible relation, wrote to the Collins family about their son's effects and the monies he was owed.

Also included are a series of excepts from Collins's letters, prayers, and a poem that appear to have been written by one of Collins's sisters in 1865.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Papers, 1862-1865.

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