Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
John and Samuel Hunt Papers, 1855-1883

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Clements Staff and Philip Heslip, December 2009

Summary Information
Title: John and Samuel Hunt papers
Creator: Hunt, John R., 1842-1889 and Hunt, Samuel, 1844-1907
Inclusive dates: 1855-1883
Bulk dates: 1861-1865
Extent: 85 items
The John and Samuel Hunt papers consist primarily of Civil War era correspondence between the friends and family of John and Samuel Hunt with many letters between the two brothers. Also included is John Hunt's Civil War diary, which contains accounts of his service as adjutant with the 81st Ohio Infantry Regiment between January and December, 1862.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1977, 1996. M-1808, M-3293.1.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation:

John and Samuel Hunt Papers, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


This collection is organized into three series:

  • Series I: Correspondence
  • Series II: John R. Hunt diary
  • Series III: Miscellaneous

The Correspondence series is ordered chronologically with the undated items at the end.


Hunt, John Randolph

Rank : Adj.

Regiment : 81st Ohio Infantry Regiment, Co. B (1861-1865)

Service : 1861 April 19-1864 September 20

John Randolph Hunt was born in Springfield, Ohio, in 1842 to Dr. John Randolph Hunt, Sr. (1800-1863) and Amanda Baird Hunt (1811-c.1896). He was one of five children in a wealthy and well-educated family. Hunt graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and moved to Cincinnati shortly thereafter. Hunt enlisted in Co. B of the 20th Ohio Infantry on April 19, 1861. After three months of service he became an adjutant in the 81st Ohio Infantry. Hunt is listed as having been commissioned as adjutant to the 81st "from civilian life" on September 9, 1862, however between January and March, 1862, he accompanied the 81st Regiment to Missouri as it headed south to take part in the Shiloh and Corinth campaigns. In late April, Hunt received a furlough to go home for a few days, but after returning to the regiment, left again in June for an extended sick-leave, and did not return until November. John was in poor health for most of the war and he was granted another sick-leave in July 1864. On September 20, 1864, he was allowed to resign his commission to return home to care for his ailing mother and settle the estate of his father, who had died the previous year. After the war, Hunt resided in Trenton, New Jersey, where he died on February 3, 1889, after suffering from paralysis.

Samuel Furman Hunt, John R. Hunt's younger brother, was born in Springfield, Ohio, in 1844. During the war, Samuel attended Miami University and completed his degree in 1864 at Union College in Schenectady, New York. Though he never fought in the Civil War, he ministered to the wounded and dying at Shiloh and helped organize the Ohio 83rd Regiment. Samuel graduated from Cincinnati Law School in 1867 and was admitted to the bar in the same year. Samuel spent the next two years traveling through Sicily, Greece, Egypt, and the Holy Land. Upon return, he served one term in the Ohio State Senate in 1870-1871 and ran for lieutenant governor in 1871. Over the next two decades, Samuel held various judgeships. He was a trustee of Miami University in 1872 and a dean of Cincinnati University from 1880-1890. Like his brother, Samuel never married; he died in Glendale, Ohio, in 1907.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The John and Samuel Hunt papers are comprised of 78 letters, 1 receipt, 3 miscellaneous printed items, 2 photographs, and 1 diary. The collection consists primarily of Civil War era correspondence between the friends and family of John and Samuel Hunt, with many letters between the two brothers. For the most part, cousins, sisters, and friends wrote the pre-Civil War letters, addressed to John Hunt. These concern family matters, school, and local Ohio politics.

John's Civil War era letters, mainly to Samuel with a few items to other family members, focus on his relationship to his family, particularly his parents. He also described Civil War camp life in Missouri, Tennessee, and near Corinth. Early on, in a letter from December 8, 1861, he wrote about a conflict between his regiment's lieutenant colonel and captain over a battalion drill, which almost resulted in a duel. The brothers often bonded over the activities (past and present) of the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity, which they had both joined at Miami University. Samuel sent John his DKE pin, which made him popular with the ladies in St. Louis (February 23, 1862). Samuel kept John up-to-date on the fraternity's election results and activities. A few months after the war, John was working in Washington DC as a lawyer's clerk and reported that the town was "full of rebels at present seeking pardon" (September 17, 1865).

Letters from Samuel describe university life during the war and the impact that the war was having on the homefront. He included fiery political commentary and espoused bellicose sentiments, particularly in the early part of the war. In a letter to John dated May 25, 1861, Samuel wrote: "The murder of the accomplished Col-Ellsworth must and will be avenged -- those fine Zouaves will cause destruction in the enemy's camp -- they are 'spoiling for a fight' and will soon be gratified[.] " Samuel kept up his correspondence with a number of friends and Miami University alumni with whom he communicated about the school and his own academic progress.

The John Hunt's Civil War diary contains accounts of his service as adjutant with the 81st Ohio Infantry Regiment between January and December, 1862. He entered notes almost daily, except during his sick leaves in April and from August 15 through the end of 1862. During his leave, Hunt wrote a few entries in August concerning an Ohio Copperhead and his views on the draft, and recorded a short run of daily entries from November 1-22. The diary includes descriptions of travels in the north and south and is most detailed between May and August, when the 81st Ohio took part in the assault on Corinth, Mississippi, and in the late fall, when they were encamped near Corinth. Hunt's brief entries provide interesting anecdotes about life in the Union camps, soldiers' amusements, and the scene near Corinth.

The Miscellaneous series consists of two photographs (a staged family portrait and a carte-de-visite of a young well dressed man), an army pass for John R. Hunt (February 1862), and three programs concerning the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (1862-1863).

Subject Terms

    • African American entertainers.
    • Copperhead movement.
    • Corinth, Battle of, Corinth, Miss., 1862.
    • Corinth (Miss.)--Description and travel.
    • Corinth (Miss.)--History--Siege, 1862.
    • Delta Kappa Epsilon.
    • Education, Higher--Ohio.
    • Families--Ohio.
    • Grant, Ulysses S., 1822-1885.
    • Greek letter societies--United States.
    • Hamilton County (Ohio)--Social life and customs.
    • McClellan, George Brinton, 1826-1885.
    • Miami University (Oxford, Ohio)
    • Military camps--Mississippi.
    • Military camps--Missouri.
    • Military camps--Tennessee.
    • Ohio--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Ohio--Politics and government--1787-1865.
    • Shiloh, Battle of, Tenn., 1862.
    • Soldiers--Ohio.
    • Soldiers--Recreation.
    • Soldiers--Religious life.
    • Students--Ohio.
    • United States. Army--Military life.
    • United States. Army. Ohio Infantry Regiment, 81st (1861-1865)
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Prisoners and prisons.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Scouts and scouting.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Social aspects.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Songs and music.
    • Washington (D.C.)--Social life and customs.
    Genre Terms:
    • Diaries.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Photographs.
    • Programs (documents)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   90, Schoff Civil War Collection  
    Correspondence [series]
    Folder   1  
     May 19, 1855-March 30, 1860
    Folder   2  
     September 20, 1860-June 4, 1861
    Folder   3  
     November 28, 1861-October 4, 1862
    Folder   4  
     October 8, 1862-March 29, 1863
    Folder   5  
     March 29, 1863-October 21, 1863
    Folder   6  
     October 22, 1863-October 15, 1864
    Folder   7  
     November 5, 1864-January 16, 1883
    Folder   8  
    Box   90, Schoff Civil War Collection  
    John R. Hunt diary [series]
    Folder   9  
     January 1862-December 1862
    Box   90, Schoff Civil War Collection  
    Miscellaneous [series]
    Folder   10  
    Photographs, Receipt, and Programs
    Additional Descriptive Data

    Index for John R. Hunt, Jr., Journal

    • January 1862:

      • Political sympathies
      • Hotels
      • Travels
      • Church
      • Foraging
      • Peach brandy
      • Teasing southern women
      • Society for mind improvement
      • Smallpox
    • February 1862:

      • Recreation
      • Capture of firearms
      • Scouting expedition
      • Prisoners
      • Tracking a black man
      • Description of St. Louis
      • Confederate money
      • Washington's birthday
      • Dress parade
      • Home of "the Hermit"
      • Incident of the horse
      • Predictions for Union victory
    • March 1862:

      • Entertainments
      • Prisoners and parole
      • Orders to leave Missouri
      • Journey south
      • Tennessee patriotism (Union)
      • Pittsburg Landing battleground
      • Missing soldier
    • April 1862:

      • Dress parade under Grant
    • May 1862:

      • Trip north to Cincinnati
      • Quinine as medicine
      • Skirmishes
      • Advance on Corinth
      • Description of Corinth
    • June 1862:

      • Fall of Corinth
      • Strained tempers
      • Prisoners
      • Trip to Ohio
    • August 1862:

      • Ohio Copperhead
      • Draft
    • November 1862:

      • Corinth battlefield
      • Corinth fortifications
      • Dances
      • Brass band serenade
      • Cemetery
      • Card playing
      • Generals Grant and McClellan
      • Camp diversions
      • Field practice
      • Blacks "entertain" troops
      • Preparations for a siege
    • December 1862:

      • Christmas Day horse race
    Related Materials

    John Hunt's 1865 diary is held at the Ohio Historical Society in the John R. Hunt papers.


    For a more detailed biographical sketch, see Hunt, S. Furman, and Wilson, C.D. Orations and historical addresses.