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Collection Number: 04794

Collection Title: Harriet R. McIntosh Papers, 1861-1874

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.


Funding from the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., supported the encoding of this finding aid and microfilming of this collection.

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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 100 items)
Abstract Harriet R. McIntosh ("Hattie") lived with her uncle, Alexander McIntosh, in Martindale, Mecklenburg County, N.C. She and her family received letters from friends and family throughout the Civil War. Her correspondents included Benjamin Brown, a friend and possibly a former classmate, and a private in the 56th North Carolina Infantry Regiment; Thomas Milton Kerr, a friend; Isaac McIntosh, an uncle and a private in the 28th North Carolina Infantry Regiment; William McIntosh, an uncle; James Martin, a family friend and a private in the 56th North Carolina Infantry Regiment; William M. Martin, possibly Hattie's former teacher and a private in the 56th North Carolina Infantry Regiment; Daniel M. Sifford, an uncle; and Robert S. Sifford, an uncle and a private in the 52nd North Carolina Infantry Regiment, who settled in Tennessee after the war. The collection consists primarily of letters received by Hattie McIntosh from friends and relatives during the Civil War. Most wrote from locations in North Carolina or Virginia. The letters describe camp life and conditions as well as several battles and skirmishes. William Martin described the battle of Cold Harbor; Isaac McIntosh told of the beginning of the battle of Chancellorsville; and Thomas Kerr noted the fall of Fort Fisher, N.C. Several of the soldiers were sick and/or wounded and wrote from Confederate or Union hospitals. Several were captured by the Union Army: Isaac McIntosh wrote of being captured and paroled near Richmond, Va.; and Robert Sifford wrote letters from the prison hospital at Point Lookout, Md. There are also a few postbellum letters from Robert S. Sifford from his home in Tennessee.
Creator McIntosh, Harriet R., b. 1846.
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 Hattie McIntosh Papers #4794, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy (filmed May 2005) available.
  • Reel 1: Entire collection
Acquisitions Information
Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum, Watchtung, N.J., in March 1996 (Acc. 96021).
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

Harriet R. McIntosh ("Hattie") lived with her uncle, Alexander McIntosh, in Martindale, Mecklenburg County, N.C. She and her family received letters from friends and family throughout the Civil War.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection consists primarily of letters received by Harriet R. McIntosh ("Hattie") of Martindale, Mecklenburg County, N.C., from friends and relatives during the Civil War. Her correspondents included Benjamin Brown, a friend and possibly a former classmate, and a private in the 56th North Carolina Infantry Regiment; Thomas Milton Kerr, a friend; Isaac McIntosh, an uncle and a private in the 28th North Carolina Infantry Regiment; William McIntosh, an uncle; James Martin, a family friend and a private in the 56th North Carolina Infantry Regiment; William M. Martin, possibly Hattie's former teacher and a private in the 56th North Carolina Infantry Regiment; Daniel M. Sifford, an uncle; and Robert S. Sifford, an uncle and a private in the 52nd North Carolina Infantry Regiment, who settled in Tennessee after the war. Most wrote from locations in North Carolina or Virginia. The letters describe military life and conditions as well as several battles and skirmishes. William Martin described the battle of Cold Harbor; Isaac McIntosh told of the beginning of the battle of Chancellorsville; and Thomas Kerr noted the fall of Fort Fisher, N.C. Several of the soldiers were sick and/or wounded and wrote from Confederate or Union hospitals. Several were captured by the Union Army: Isaac McIntosh wrote of being captured and paroled near Richmond, Va.; and Robert Sifford wrote letters from the prison hospital at Point Lookout, Md. There are also a few postbellum letters of Sifford from his new home in Tennessee.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Papers, 1861-1874.

91 items.

Arrangement: alphabetical by correspondent.

Folder 1

Brown, Benjamin, 1863-1865 #04794, Series: "Papers, 1861-1874." Folder 1

Benjamin Brown served as a private in the 56th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. He lost his left arm in Richmond, Va., in September 1864. In 1863, Brown wrote to Hattie McIntosh from camps near Kinston, N.C., Drury, Va., and Randolph City, Va.; in 1864, from camps near Weldon, N.C., and Gaston, N.C.; and in 1865, from Petersburg, Va. He described camp conditions, being hungry and sick with measles, as well as battle conditions and casualties.

Folder 2

Kerr, Thomas Milton, 1864-1865 #04794, Series: "Papers, 1861-1874." Folder 2

Thomas Milton Kerr wrote most of his letters to Hattie McIntosh from camp near Weldon, N.C., with some letters also from Camp Lane near Raleigh, N.C., and one from Duplin Crossroads. In a letter dated 19 January 1864, he mentioned the fall of Fort Fisher and his worries about Wilmington, N.C.; a 10 July 1864 letter mentions slaves running off; a 27 November 1864 letter discusses sickness in camp. His 14 February 1865 letter is a love poem for Hattie.

Folder 3-4

Folder 3

Folder 4

McIntosh, Isaac L., 1861-1865 #04794, Series: "Papers, 1861-1874." Folder 3-4

Isaac L. McIntosh was a private in the 28th North Carolina Infantry. Letters, 1861-1862, were directed to his brother, Alexander McIntosh and family. Isaac was first stationed near High Point, N.C.; then moved with his regiment to Fort Fisher, near Wilmington, N.C.; and later went into Virginia to defend Richmond. In several 1861 letters, McIntosh requested clothing and complained about the "nigro shoes" he had been issued (19 Aug. 1861). He discussed a measles outbreak in camp and the move to Fort Fisher to protect Wilmington. On 12 January 1862, McIntosh wrote Robert Sifford and mentioned that William Martin was sick. He wrote of being very ill and obtaining leave to see his family (2 March 1862). He returned to action in Virginia and was involved in the defense of Richmond. He discussed skirmishes with Yankee pickets (3 July 1862) and talked of the Siffords. In his 22 December 1862 letter, he informed the family that he had been captured near Richmond and paroled. He mentioned that Daniel Sifford was captured as well. Starting in 1863, McIntosh primarily directed his letters to his niece, Hattie, though a few went to other family members and two were written by another uncle, M. L. Sifford, who was stationed in South Carolina. Isaac's 2 May 1863 letter discusses fighting at the beginning of the battle of Chancellorsville and the numbers of dead and wounded; later that month (25 May), he wrote that he was too ill to fight. His letter of 13 June discusses a conflict lasting seven days. Isaac was wounded and captured at Gettysburg. There is a break in the letters until 31 March 1864. Several of McIntosh's letters end in code. On 20 October 1864, he wrote that he was being sent to the hospital in Richmond with a sore foot; on 3 November, he wrote from the hospital. His final letters were written from a hospital in Charlotte, N.C.

Folder 5

McIntosh, William, 1864-1865 #04794, Series: "Papers, 1861-1874." Folder 5

William McIntosh wrote to his niece, Hattie, about skirmishes near the Rappahanock River in Virginia and enemy movements around Petersburg, Va. In his 6 April 1864 letter he told of a 15-inch snowfall on 27 March. His final letters relate his desire to return to North Carolina and the suffering in camp. Note: 19 January 1864 letter is misdated as 1844.

Folder 6

Martin, James, 1863 #04794, Series: "Papers, 1861-1874." Folder 6

James Martin served as a private in the 56th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. He died of disease on 14 June 1863. He wrote to Hattie, discussing the Siffords and camp life, from Rocky Mount, N.C., near Wilmington, N.C., and Kinston, N.C. One letter discusses fighting near New Bern, N.C., and being hungry.

Folder 7

Martin, William M., 1863-1865 #04794, Series: "Papers, 1861-1874." Folder 7

William M. Martin served as a private in the 56th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. He was captured near Petersburg, Va., in March of 1865. Martin wrote to Hattie, calling her one of his most worthy scholars. His letters are very literate and highly descriptive of camp life, conditions, and troop movements. He told of being involved in hard marching and heavy fighting at the battle of Cold Harbor near Chickahominy, Va. (7 June 1864). In the same letter, he noted that General Lee's army was near by and that he had heard cannon every day since 13 May. Martin also described the poor rations, mentioning that the only meat available was mostly rotten bacon. Martin's letter of 23 August 1864 stated that he was entrenched near Petersburg, Va. He also related that Benjamin Brown had been wounded in the hand. The same letter comments on short rations and lists the high prices for food. In his last letter, Martin told Hattie that he expected to be involved in a heavy engagement near Petersburg.

Folder 8

Sifford, Daniel M., 1862-1864 #04794, Series: "Papers, 1861-1874." Folder 8

Daniel M. Sifford wrote to his niece Hattie from hospitals and camps in South Carolina and Virginia. His first letter was from a South Carolina hospital where he was a patient with a swollen ankle. He noted that his brother Robert had a severe fever. Other letters discuss troop movements and battles in Virginia. One letter, 23 March 1864, talks of a great snow fall while at Camp Liberty Mills. Sifford also reported that his brother Franklin had died of disease.

Folder 9

Sifford, Robert S., 1862-1874 #04794, Series: "Papers, 1861-1874." Folder 9

Robert S. Sifford served as a private in the 52nd North Carolina Infantry Regiment. He was captured at Gettysburg. Sifford wrote to his niece Hattie and to others with information about family members in service, including J. F. Sifford, who was in critical condition (6 July 1862). Sifford's letter of 9 Oct. 1862 informed the family that he was in the hospital and very weak. He talked of wounded men losing limbs, troop movements, and casualties. Sifford gave a detailed account of a battle at Richmond in his 10 May 1863 letter. He wrote from a camp near Charleston, Va. (now W.Va.), on 23 June 1863. As a prisoner of war, he wrote from Hammond General Hospital at Point Lookout, Md., on 27 January 1864. On 16 March 1864, Sifford wrote that he had recovered from his wound and was helping in the hospital. He noted the death of his brother, J. F. Sifford (Franklin?), who was also a prisoner. After the war, Sifford attended Rutherford Seminary in North Carolina and traveled in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana. In 1872, he wrote from western Tennessee, saying that he was building a house near the border with Kentucky. In 1873, he informed the McIntosh family that he had settled into the mercantile business in Gleason, Tenn.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Tim Pyatt, March 1996

Encoded by: Nancy Kaiser, April 2005

Funding from the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., supported the encoding of this finding aid and microfilming of this collection.

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