Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Ira Roe Foster Papers, 1862-1865

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, May 1996, and Philip Heslip, October 2009

Summary Information
Title: Ira Roe Foster papers
Creator: Foster, Ira Roe, 1813-1885
Inclusive dates: 1862-1865
Extent: 105 items
The Ira Foster papers contain a sampling of items relating to the official business of quartermaster general of Georgia during the Civil War, including incoming and outgoing correspond between Foster and various Confederate agents concerning the purchasing, storage, and delivery of clothes, and wholesale foodstuffs.
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:

1979. M-1871.

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:

Ira Roe Foster Papers, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The Correspondence is organized chronologically with the Report of Property Received and Receipts at the end.


Foster, Ira Roe

Rank : Colonel

Regiment : Georgia. Quartermaster General

Ira Roe Foster was born on January 13, 1813, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, to Ransom and Nancy Foster. He first studied medicine and then practiced in South Carolina, and in 1841, became a licensed lawyer in Cherokee County, Georgia, where he also served as state legislator. Foster had extensive business interests in land, and in flour and saw mills, in north-central Georgia and Alabama. He remained active in state politics into the Reconstruction period.

During the Seminole Indian War in 1836, Foster served with distinction as a colonel of a mounted infantry, but was seriously wounded. He recovered and joined the Georgia militia in 1842, and became aide-de-camp for the Commander-in-Chief. George W. Crawford, governor of Georgia, made him a brigadier general in 1844. During the Civil War, Georgia Governor Joseph Brown appointed Foster quartermaster general for the state of Georgia, an office which he continued to fill after the collapse of the Confederacy. He worked tirelessly to maintain supplies and clothes for Georgia soldiers throughout the war. In 1865, Foster traveled to Virginia where he was first imprisoned by the Union Army as a member of the Confederate army, and then commissioned by the army to distribute livestock and supplies throughout Georgia.

Foster married Mildred Arthur Creighton Crooks in 1842. They had four children: Amalthea C.; Eryclina P.; Nannie C.; and Marcus L. In 1874, Foster moved to Gadsden, Alabama, where he owned farming land and a saw mill. He also became a state legislator for Alabama, a position he held until his death in 1885.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Ira Foster papers contain a sampling of items relating to the official business of quartermaster general of Georgia during the Civil War, including 102 letters, 2 receipts, and 1 official report. The collection consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence between Foster and various confederate agents, concerning the purchasing, storage, and delivery of clothes, wholesale foodstuffs (rice, flour, coffee, sugar, syrup, etc.), and liquors. Several letters include other supply items, such as candles, wire, salt, and iron. A few items relate aspects of slavery, sawmill production, small farming in Georgia, and the exemption bill. The collection provides insights into the Georgia government’s decisions on provisioning troops and on the state of the southern trade economy during the Civil War.

Subject Terms

    • Agriculture--Georgia.
    • Brown, Joseph E. (Joseph Emerson), 1821-1894.
    • Confederate States of America. Army--Recruiting, enlistment, etc.--Law and legislation.
    • Confederate States of America. Army--Supplies and stores.
    • Food industry and trade--Georgia.
    • Georgia--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Georgia--Politics and government--1861-1865.
    • Georgia. Quartermaster's Dept.
    • Liquor industry.
    • Railroads--Confederate States of America.
    • Slavery--Georgia.
    • United States. Army--Quartermaster's Dept.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Official reports.
    • Receipts (financial records)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   1  
    Correspondence [series]
    Folder   1  
     May 3-August 3, 1862
    Folder   2  
     August 5-30, 1862
    Folder   3  
     September 8-22, 1862
    Folder   4  
     October 3-16, 1862
    Folder   5  
     October 18-November 10, 1862
    Folder   6  
     November 24-December 22, 1862
    Folder   7  
     December 27, 1862-January 24, 1863
    Folder   8  
     February 14-March 3, 1863
    Folder   9  
     March 12-May 20, 1863
    Folder   10  
     May 29-June 10, 1863
    Folder   11  
     June 23-October 5, 1863
    Folder   12  
     October 8-19, 1863
    Folder   13  
     October 20-27, 1863
    Folder   14  
     October 31, 1863-January 12, 1864
    Folder   15  
     January 20-February 2, 1864
    Folder   16  
     February 5-March 1, 1864
    Folder   17  
     March 2-August 6, 1864
    Box   1  
    Report of Property Received [series]
    Folder   18  
     May 5, 1865
    Box   1  
    Receipts [series]
    Folder   19  
     May 15-August 6, 1864
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    A substantial collection of Ira Foster's personal and professional correspondence is located at the Alabama Dept. of Archives and History (NUCMC 84-449) and in the Alabama University Libraries in the Joseph Emerson Brown letters.


    Avery, Isaac Wheeler. The history of the state of Georgia from 1850 to 1881, embracing the three important epochs: the decade before the war of 1861-5; the war. New York: Brown & Derby, 1881.

    In this volume, Avery included a lengthy letter from Foster describing the "Herculean effort" in removing perishable supplies, books, furniture, and official records from Atlanta as Sherman drew near in 1864; see pp. 310-11.