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Collection Number: 01856

Collection Title: Charles H. Olmstead Papers, 1860-1865.

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 120 items
Abstract Charles H. Olmstead (1837-1926), was a Confederate Army officer and member of the 1st Georgia Infantry Regiment. The collection contains military papers including orders, circulars, communications and telegrams, reports, and some correspondence about military matters, sent and received by Charles H. Olmstead at Fort Pulaski, Ga., from 1861 until its surrender in 1862; at Morris Island and Fort Johnson on James Island, S.C., in 1863; and in the vicinity of Savannah and Atlanta and elsewhere in Georgia in 1864-1865. Olmstead was imprisoned at Fort Columbus after the surrender of Fort Pulaski and wrote a letter, 10 June 1862, to United States Secretary of War Stanton complaining about the treatment of the Confederate sick and wounded in a manner in violation of the surrender terms. In addition, there are twenty-four letters, 1861-1864, from Olmstead to his wife at Savannah and Milledgeville, Ga., describing camp life; military activities at various locations, including, in addition to places previously mentioned, Tybee Island, Ga., and Hilton Head, S.C.; his estimation of the military situation; and speculation about the future.
Creator Olmstead, Charles H.
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 Charles H. Olmstead Papers, #1856, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Florence Olmstead of Savannah, Ga., May 1951.
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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Charles Hart Olmstead (1837-1926), of Savannah, Ga., was a Confederate Army officer and member of the 1st Georgia Infantry Regiment. Olmstead was adjutant of the 1st Georgia Volunteer Regiment and, under the command of Colonel A. R. Lawton, took part in the occupation of Fort Pulaski, Ga., at the mouth of the Savannah River. When Colonel Lawton was sent to Virginia as general, Olmstead was made colonel of the 1st Georgia Regiment and remained at Fort Pulaski until he was forced to surrender. Olmstead was imprisoned at Fort Columbus, N.Y., after the surrender of Fort Pulaski. In 1863 he was at Fort Johnson on James Island, S.C., and in 1864-1865 was with troops in North Georgia.

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The collection contains military papers including orders, circulars, communications and telegrams, reports, and some correspondence about military matters, sent and received by Charles H. Olmstead at Fort Pulaski, Ga., from 1861 until its surrender in 1862; at Morris Island and Fort Johnson on James Island, S.C., in 1863; and in the vicinity of Savannah and Atlanta and elsewhere in Georgia in 1864-1865. Olmstead was imprisoned at Fort Columbus after the surrender of Fort Pulaski and wrote a letter, 10 June 1862, to United States Secretary of War Stanton complaining about the treatment of the Confederate sick and wounded in a manner in violation of the surrender terms. In addition, there are twenty-four letters, 1861-1864, from Olmstead to his wife at Savannah and Milledgeville, Ga., describing camp life; military activities at various locations, including, in addition to places previously mentioned, Tybee Island, Ga., and Hilton Head, S.C.; his estimation of the military situation; and speculation about the future.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Charles H. Olmstead Papers, 1860-1865 and undated.

Folder 1a

Original finding aid #01856, Series: "Charles H. Olmstead Papers, 1860-1865 and undated." Folder 1a

Folder 1

1860-1861 #01856, Series: "Charles H. Olmstead Papers, 1860-1865 and undated." Folder 1

Includes letters from Charles H. Olmstead to his wife giving detailed accounts of activities at Fort Pulaski, and at Tybee Island, Ga., including a description of the Confederate position there. Some letters also mention federal occupation of Hilton Head, S.C., and Tybee Island, Ga., and describe a visit from Robert E. Lee, A. R. Lawton, Joseph E. Brown, and other important persons. Military papers include communications regarding commissions, ordnance, transfer of personnel, extra pay for soldiers doing day-labor details on the fortifications, reports and orders; there are many communications from neighboring defense post in the Savannah, Ga., coastal region.

Folder 2

1862 #01856, Series: "Charles H. Olmstead Papers, 1860-1865 and undated." Folder 2

Includes a letter to United States Secretary of War Stanton, written from Fort Columbus, about the Confederate sick and wounded prisoners held illegally following the surrender of Fort Pulaski, and another item concerning the United States's non-compliance with the surrender terms.

Folder 3

1863 #01856, Series: "Charles H. Olmstead Papers, 1860-1865 and undated." Folder 3

Includes orders, circulars, and other communications from H. W. Mercer, Edward C. Anderson, and William B. Taliaferro, among others, mostly related to the Charleston and Morris Island, S.C., assignment and preparations in that area to withstand the enemy.

Folder 4

January-16 April 1864 #01856, Series: "Charles H. Olmstead Papers, 1860-1865 and undated." Folder 4

Folder 5

20 April-December 1864 #01856, Series: "Charles H. Olmstead Papers, 1860-1865 and undated." Folder 5

Letters from Charles H. Olmstead in North Georgia to his wife discuss skirmishes, comment on foreign companies in the regiments, the desperate Confederate position, and his fears for the future. Also included is Olmstead's official report on the part taken by Mercer's Brigade in the fighting of 31 August and 1 September 1864.

Folder 6

1865 and undated #01856, Series: "Charles H. Olmstead Papers, 1860-1865 and undated." Folder 6

Includes orders and memoranda concerning the disposition of Confederate horses, arms, and other assets, and the suspension of hostilities.

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Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, February 2010; Kate Stratton and Jodi Berkowitz, July 2010

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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