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Collection Number: 05338-z

Collection Title: William Porter Letters, 1861

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Size 9 items
Abstract William Porter of Swannanoa, N.C., was a soldier in the 1st North Carolina Infantry Regiment (North Carolina Volunteers) in the Confederate Army. The collection is nine letters, May-August 1861, the majority of which were written by William Porter from Raleigh, N.C., and Yorktown, Va., to his brother John Porter in Swannanoa, describing the early days of the Civil War. Letters discuss mutual friends; troop numbers and weapons; a rumor of drunkenness in the regiment in Raleigh (5 June 1861); a skirmish outside Yorktown; the Battle of Rich Mountain (Laurel Hill) and the 1st Battle of Bull Run (Manassas Gap); rumors of fighting in Wisconsin and great Confederate victories there; sickness in the camp, including measles and fever. A letter of 27 June 1861 from John Porter in Swannanoa to William Porter discusses the harvest in great detail.
Creator Porter, William, fl. 1861.
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 Porter Letters #5338-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from the Presbyterian Historical Society of Montreat, N.C., in 2007 (Acc. 100699).
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 Porter of Swannanoa, N.C., was as a soldier in the 1st North Carolina Infantry Regiment (North Carolina Volunteers) during the Civil War.

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The collection is nine letters, May-August 1861, chiefly from William Porter, serving with the 1st North Carolina Infantry Regiment (North Carolina Volunteers) during the Civil War, to his brother John Porter in Swannanoa, N.C. Of the nine letters, seven were written by Porter to his brother in Swannanoa, N.C. One letter was written by Porter to a friend, and one was written by John Porter to William Porter. Porter was stationed in Raleigh, N.C., at the time of the first two letters, both written in May 1861. The remainder of the letters by William Porter are written from Yorktown, Va., with the exception of one written from Bethel Church, Va.

Many letters discuss mutual friends and their health. Porter mentioned troop numbers and weapons several times. He denied a rumor of drunkenness among his regiment in Raleigh in the 5 June 1861 letter. Three letters from Porter discuss fighting: the 9 June 1861 letter details a skirmish that occurred outside Yorktown in which he fought; the 21 July 1861 letter discusses the Battle of Rich Mountain (Laurel Hill) and the 1st Battle of Bull Run (Manassas Gap) at length, although this letter may be misdated, since the battle of Manassas Gap occurred several days after 21 July 1861. Porter gave his view of why the Confederacy lost at Laurel Hill and mentioned the generals involved in the battle. The 26 July 1861 letter to a friend again mentions the battle of Manassas Gap, discussing the rumored number of troops killed and captured on both sides. The 22 August 1861 letter briefly mentions rumors of fighting in Wisconsin and great Confederate victories there.

Sickness and death among the troops are frequent topics of Porter's last three letters, written July-August 1861. On 21 July 1861, he talked about sickness in the camp, including measles and fever. On 26 July 1861, he discussed one of the first deaths in the company due to sickness. On 22 August 1861, he reported that half the company was sick and unable to report for duty, and that a great many were dying. The 27 June 1861 letter from John Porter in Swannanoa, N.C., to William Porter discusses the harvest in great detail.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Letters, 4 May 1861-22 August 1861.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Joyce Chapman, October 2007

Encoded by: Joyce Chapman, October 2007

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