Bits ‘n Pieces

by Fred Ray on June 24, 2008 · 0 comments

Louisiana State University has a digital collection of documents on line, some of which are about the Civil War. Of particular interest is a photograph album covering the years 1862-1900, in which are many Confederate portraits, such as this one of Captain B. R. Chinn of the 9th Louisiana Battalion.

Captain B. R. Chinn

There’s another collection of period lantern slides (John Langdon Ward Magic Lantern Slides) that has images like this one of the soldiers of the Tenth Regiment, Corps D’Afrique, as well as many photographs from the siege of Port Hudson.

Corps D'Afrique

And, in Maryland, an extensive collection of virtually very kind of document found in the attic of a plantation family who apparently never threw anything away. The letters, documents, and records go from the 1660s through the mid 1940s. A researcher’s dream come true.

Perhaps most strikingly, letters tell of a family’s torn allegiances during the Civil War. The Emorys lived on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, across Chesapeake Bay from Baltimore, where the plantation economy of the South ended and the abolitionist industrial North began.

It was a conflict the Emorys catalogued, anti-slavery petitions stacked alongside records of slaves sent to Natchez, Miss., and a packet of letters, still tied in silk ribbon, titled, “Correspondence with W.H. Emory and wife in regard to his resignation from U.S. Army, 1861.”

The Emorys owned slaves, but some signed an 1832 petition to the Maryland legislature calling for the gradual eradication of slavery.

One family member, William H. Emory, was a colonel in the U.S. Army when the Civil War began. He wrote out a resignation of his post, then changed his mind and fought for the Union.

Two sons also fought in the Civil War – one for the Union, one for the Confederacy. Bundles of letters from all family members detail their divided feelings. The family kept not just personal letters, but political posters about the conflict.

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