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Collection Number: 02574

Collection Title: Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906.

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 FAQ section for more information.


This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities; this finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

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Size 2.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 800 items)
Abstract Raleigh Edward Colston (1825-1896) was born in France of American parents. He was a college professor in Virginia; Confederate brigadier general; headmaster of military schools in North Carolina; on the general staff of the Egyptian Army, 1873-1878; lecturer and author; and clerk in the United States War Department, 1883-1894. The collection is primarily military correspondence of Colston concerning Confederate Army movements and organization in Virginia, and personal letters to his family during and after the war. The personal correspondence includes letters to his daughters, Lou (Colston) Byrne Ragland and Mary (Colston) Lippitt, containing fatherly advice; and discussions of his health, especially as he began to need nursing care. Also included is correspondence with Egyptian and Confederate army officers, American magazine editors, appreciative readers, and friends; a diary (10 volumes), 1874-1896, brief and irregular, describing life in the Egyptian Army and travels in Africa and Europe, as well as life in Washington, D.C., and gradually declining health; clippings of magazine articles by Colston, mainly on Confederate and Egyptian topics; and a few letters in the 1840s from his parents, Virginians living in France.
Creator Colston, Raleigh Edward, 1825-1896.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
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 Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, #2574, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Mrs. Lewis D. Pilcher of Petersburg, Va., October 1941 and March 1943.
Additional Descriptive Resources
A copy of the original finding aid for this collection is filed in folder 1a.
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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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Raleigh Edward Colston (1825-1896) was born in France of American parents. Colston was a college professor in Virginia; Confederate brigadier general; headmaster of military schools in North Carolina; on the general staff of the Egyptian Army, 1873-1878; lecturer and author; and clerk in the United States War Department, 1883-1894. He was educated at the Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Va.

Colston and his wife had two daughters, Lou Colston Byrne Ragland and Mary Colston Lippitt.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection includes military correspondence of Raleigh Edward Colston concerning Confederate Army movements and organization in Virginia, and personal letters to his family during and after the war. The personal correspondence includes letters to his daughters, Lou (Colston) Byrne Ragland and Mary (Colston) Lippitt, containing fatherly advice; and discussions of his health, especially as he began to need nursing care.

Civil War papers include personal letters from Raleigh Edward Colston to his family, especially his daughter Lou, and official military correspondence, orders, and other papers of Colston as an officer in the Confederate Army at various locations in Virginia. Among the items are a regimental report on the Battle of Chancellorsville, Va., 1863, and a letter from Robert E. Lee to Colston regarding his removal from command of a North Carolina brigade due to his being a Virginian.

Papers, 1873-1878, are chiefly related to Colston's appointment as professor of geology at the Military College of Cairo, Egypt, and as an officer in the General Staff of the Egyptian Army. Correspondence is with family members and colleagues and discusses expeditions to Northern and Central Africa and the state of Colston's health.

Letters, 1878-1896, after Colston's return to the United States from Egypt are chiefly to his daughter Lou (Colston) Byrne Ragland and pertain to his health, daily life, and happenings around Washington, D.C. There is also correspondence related to Colton's search for employment and to his writings on Africa and the Civil War.

The earliest papers, 1842-1846, are letters from Raleigh Edward Colston's parents, Virginians living in France, concerning Colston's education at the Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Va.

Also included is a diary (10 volumes), 1874-1896, brief and irregular, describing life in the Egyptian Army and travels in Africa and Europe, as well as life in Washington, D.C., and gradually declining health; clippings of magazine articles by Colston; and photographs including portraits of Raleigh Edward Colston and picture related to his time in Egypt.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906.

Folder 1a

Original finding aid #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 1a

Folder 1

1842-1846 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 1

Folder 2-4

Folder 2

Folder 3

Folder 4

1861-1869 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 2-4

Folder 5-6

Folder 5

Folder 6

1870-1874 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 5-6

Folder 7

1875 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 7

Folder 8

1876-1878 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 8

Folder 9

1879-1882 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 9

Folder 10

1883-1884 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 10

Folder 11

1885 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 11

Folder 12

1886 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 12

Folder 13

1887 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 13

Folder 14

1888 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 14

Folder 15

1889 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 15

Folder 16

1890 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 16

Folder 17

1891 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 17

Folder 18

1892 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 18

Folder 19

1893 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 19

Folder 20

1894 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 20

Folder 21

1895 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 21

Folder 22-24

Folder 22

Folder 23

Folder 24

1896-1906 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 22-24

Folder 25

Undated #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 25

Folder 26

Belles lettres #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 26

Folder 27

Letter copy book, 1869-1875 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 27

Folder 28

Egyptian newsletters, 1873-1874 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 28

Folder 29

Egyptian General Staff and publications, 1875-1876 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 29

Folder 30

Biographical notes #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 30

Folder 31

Fragments and miscellaneous items #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 31

Folder 32-35

Folder 32

Folder 33

Folder 34

Folder 35

Writings #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 32-35

Folder 36

Maps #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 36

Folder 37

Drawings #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 37

Folder 38

Clippings #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 38

Folder 39

Volume 1: Diary, Raleigh Edward Colston as member of Egyptian General Staff, 1874 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 39

Folder 40

Volume 2: Diary, Raleigh Edward Colston as member of Egyptian General Staff, 1875 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 40

Folder 41

Volume 3: Travel diary, Richard E. Colston, 1876-1877 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 41

Includes descriptions of travel in France, Italy, and Switzerland, and life in Egypt.

Folder 42

Volume 4: Scrapbook, 1879-1880 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 42

Includes newspaper articles concerning Confederate officers in Egypt and interviews with Raleigh Edward Colston about Egyptian affairs; articles on Egyptian politics in general, explorations in Africa and the Suez Canal.

Folder 43

Volume 5: Diary, Raleigh Edward Colston, 1879, 1886-1887 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 43

Folder 44

Volume 6: Diary, Raleigh Edward Colston, 1889 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 44

Folder 45

Volume 7: Diary, Raleigh Edward Colston, 1892-1893 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 45

Folder 46

Volume 8: Diary, Raleigh Edward Colston, 1893 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 46

Folder 47

Volume 9: Diary, Raleigh Edward Colston, 1894 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 47

Folder 48

Volume 10: Diary, Raleigh Edward Colston, 1895-1896 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 48

Folder 49

Volume 11: Diary, Raleigh Edward Colston, 1896 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." Folder 49

Image P-2574/1

Raleigh Edward Colston, salt print, circa 1855-1860 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." P-2574/1

Image P-2574/2

Raleigh Edward Colston, cabinet card, circa 1875-1885 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." P-2574/2

Photographer: Anderson, Richmond, Va.

Image P-2574/3

Raleigh Edward Colston in Confederate uniform, photographic reproduction, circa 1860-1870 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." P-2574/3

Image P-2574/4

Achimet-al-Arabi Pasha, albumen print, circa 1873-1878 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." P-2574/4

Image P-2574/5-6

P-2574/5

P-2574/6

Drawings of Egyptians and a camel-bourne litter, reproductions of lithographs, circa 1873-1880 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." P-2574/5-6

Image P-2574/7

Ruins of a mosque in Cairo, Egypt, photograph, circa 1873-1878 #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." P-2574/7

Image P-2574/8

"Arabi Pasha's house, Colombo, Ceylon," reproduction of engraving #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." P-2574/8

Image P-2574/9

Drawing of tombstone with various quotations, signed by Durham & Elliott, Raleigh, N.C. #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." P-2574/9

Image P-2574/10

Monument to the Confederate dead, Wilmington, N.C., stereoview #02574, Series: "Raleigh Edward Colston Papers, 1842-1906." P-2574/10

Photographer: Rufus Morgan, Wilmington, N.C.

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Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Updated by: Kate Stratton and Jodi Berkowitz, November 2009

This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

Diacritics and other special characters have been omitted from this finding aid to facilitate keyword searching in web browsers.

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