Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Andrew S. Parsons Papers, 1864-1865

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, February 1997

Summary Information
Title: Andrew S. Parsons papers
Creator: Parsons, Louisa
Inclusive dates: 1864-1865
Extent: 54 items
Abstract:
In February, 1864, Andrew S. Parsons left his farm to become a recruit in a veteran regiment, the 33rd Wisconsin Infantry for the duration of the Civil War. His letters to his wife Louisa give detailed accounts of battles and campaigns, and provide glimpses into his home life and relationships with his wife and children.

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: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1984. M-2147.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown.

Alternate Format:

Microfilm copy available.

Preferred Citation:

Andrew S. Parsons papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Biography

Parsons, Andrew S.

Rank : Corporal

Regiment : 33rd Wisconsin Infantry Regiment. Co. F (1862-1865) 11th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment (transferred July 22, 1865)

Service : 1864 February-1865 September

In February, 1864, Andrew S. Parsons left his farm to become a recruit in a veteran regiment, the 33rd Wisconsin Infantry, agreeing to serve for the duration of the war. Older than the average soldier, when he departed for the south, Parsons left behind a wife, Louisa, and three children, Minnie, Hubert, and Elmar, the last of whom was still in his infancy.

A corporal, Parsons seems to have commanded the respect of his fellow soldiers easily, possibly due to his age and possibly to his exceptionally upright and moral bearing. He joined the regiment shortly after it had been placed under the command of A.J. Smith, and took part in the Red River Campaign of 1864 and other Union attempts to destroy Confederate resistance in the southwestern theatre. Smith would later complain, half in jest, of the hardships imposed on the troops under his command by being ordered to run back and forth across the west, and Parson's experiences would seem to sustain Smith's claims. Following the close of the Red River Campaign, the regiment was ordered into duty in southern Tennessee and northern Mississippi, taking part in the Battle of Tupelo, before being order back into Missouri to contend with Price's second invasion. After only a few weeks, however, the 33rd were ordered back to Tennessee, where they were assigned to picket and fatigue duty in the trenches protecting Nashville. They took part in the Battle of Nashville, and then moved once again into northern Mississippi, where they remained for the duration of the winter. Throughout these ordeals, Parsons maintained a strict adherence to his religious principles, abstaining from drink and attending prayer meetings and religious gatherings whenever possible.

In February, 1865, the regiment continued its wandering ways, as it was ordered to report in New Orleans (via Cairo, Ill.), to become a part of the western wing of the assault force on Mobile. The 33rd took part in the capture of Spanish Fort, and after the fall of Mobile, pursued the evacuating Confederate forces into the northern part of the state. Company F was posted in Tuskegee in June, 1865, where they eagerly awaited orders to muster out and be sent home.

Because of the late date of his enlistment, Parsons, like other late recruits, was forced to continue in the service long after his regiment had disbanded. When the 33rd Wisconsin was mustered out in August, 1865, Parsons was ordered into the ranks of the 11th Wisconsin, and was not mustered out until early September. Following the war, he most probably returned to his farm in Oregon, Wisc., and presumably continued to raise corn. He was also an active member of the local lodge of the International Order of Grand Templars. Parsons died in 1924.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Andrew S. Parsons papers document the life of a recruit added to the rolls of a veteran regiment of the western theatre. The 47 letters written by Andrew Parsons to his wife, Louisa, comprise the bulk of the collection, along with two letters to his children and one to a temperance society of which he was a member. In addition, there are two letters from Parsons' nephew Charles Spencer to Louisa Parsons, and one letter from a friend named Laura to Andrew Parsons. Well written and eventful, Andrew Parsons' letters have many strong points. Among the letters are detailed accounts of skirmishes in northern Mississippi, the battles of Blair's Landing, Franklin and Nashville, and Spanish Fort, as well as the Red River, Tupelo, Missouri, Franklin and Nashville and Mobile Campaigns.

Equally interesting are the glimpses that emerge through Parsons' letters of his home life and his relationships with his wife and children. His letters are laced with a fine sense of humor, and convey a sense of concern for the well being of his home and family. The occasional hint of jealousy that peers subtlely through some letters is leavened by his advice to Louisa on managing the farm, caring for the children, and seeing to the family finances. He seemingly accepts the trying circumstances of a wartime separation, and tries to make the best of the situation, all the while eager to return home.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Campaigns.
    • United States. Army. Wisconsin Infantry Regiment, 33rd (1862-1865)
    • Franklin, Battle of, Franklin, Tenn., 1864.
    • Nashville, Battle of, Nashville, Tenn., 1864.
    • Tupelo, Battle of, Tupelo, Miss., 1864.
    • Tuskegee (Ala.)--Description and travel.
    • Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)
    • United States Christian Commission.
    • Temperance.
    Contributors:
    • Parsons, Andrew S.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Box   27 Schoff Civil War Soldiers' Letters  
    Andrew S. Parsons papers,  1864 February 08-1865 August 31 [series]:
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Schoff Civil War Collection also contains the Daniel E. Shea journal of Co. E, 33rd Wisconsin Infantry, that provides interesting information on the Mobile Campaign.

    Partial Subject Index
    Banks, Nathaniel Prentiss, 1816-1894.
    • 1864 May 23
    Blairs Landing (La.), Battle of, 1864.
    • 1864 May 23
    Civilians--Alabama--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • 1865 June 4
    • 1865 June 11
    Finance, Personal.
    • 1864 June 12
    • 1864 July 4
    • 1864 August 12
    Food.
    • 1864 February 20
    • 1864 March 19
    • 1864 March 26
    • 1864 October 6
    • 1864 December 28
    • 1865 January 26
    Forrest, Nathan Bedford, 1821-1877.
    • 1864 June 26
    • 1864 June 30
    • 1864 December 28
    Fort de Russy (La.)--Capture, 1864.
    • 1864 March 19
    Fortifications.
    • 1864 August 12
    Fourth of July celebrations.
    • 1865 July 17
    Franklin (Tenn.), Battle of, 1864.
    • 1864 November 30
    • 1864 December 3
    Franklin and Nashville Campaign, 1864.
    • 1864 November 30
    • 1864 December 3
    • 1864 December 16
    • 1864 December 23
    Green, Thomas, 1814-1864.
    • 1864 May 23
    Guerrillas--Mississippi.
    • 1865 February 2
    Home.
    • 1864 June 15
    Hood, John Bell , 1831-1879.
    • 1864 November 30
    • 1864 December 3
    • 1864 December 28
    Husband and wife.
    • 1864 February 8
    • 1864 June 12
    • 1864 June 30
    • 1864 July 4
    • 1864 August 2
    • 1865 January 22
    Lincoln, Abraham 1809-1865--Assassination.
    • n.d.
    Maps--Tennessee.
    • 1864 August 1
    Marches--Mississippi.
    • 1865 January 25
    Marches--Missouri.
    • 1864 October 6
    Memphis (Tenn.)--Description and travel.
    • 1864 June 7
    • 1864 June 15
    Military discharge.
    • 1865 July 17-August 31
    Missouri--Description and travel.
    • 1864 October 6
    • 1864 October 10
    Mobile Campaign, 1865.
    • 1865 March 13
    • 1865 April 10
    Montgomery (Ala.)--Description and travel.
    • 1865 June 17
    Mower, Joseph Anthony, 1827-1870.
    • 1864 June 30
    • 1864 October 6
    Nashville, Battle of, 1864.
    • 1864 December 23
    New Orleans (La.)--Description and travel.
    • 1865 March 13
    Packages from home.
    • 1865 June 27
    Pleasant Hill, Battle of, 1864.
    • 1864 May 23
    Price's Raid in Missouri, 1864.
    • 1864 October 10
    • 1864 October 16
    • 1864 October 18
    Price, Sterling 1809-1867.
    • 1864 October 10
    Prisoners of War.
    • 1864 May 31
    • 1864 December 28
    Reconstruction--Alabama.
    • 1865 June 4
    • 1865 June 11
    • 1865 June 17
    • 1865 June 23
    • 1865 July 9
    Red River Campaign, 1864.
    • 1864 May 23
    Religious gatherings.
    • 1864 June 7
    • 1865 February 14
    • 1865 June 4
    Rosecrans, William Starke, 1819-1898.
    • 1864 October 18
    Schofield, John McAllister, 1831-1906.
    • 1864 December 3
    Shelby, Joseph O., 1830-1897.
    • 1864 October 18
    Smith, Andrew Jackson, 1815-1897.
    • 1864 May 23
    • 1864 June 26
    • 1864 June 30
    • 1864 August 1
    • 1865 January 15
    Smith, Edmund Kirby, 1824-1893.
    • 1865 June 11
    Soldiers--Alcohol use.
    • 1864 July 2
    • 1864 July 4
    Soldiers--Books and reading.
    • 1864 March 26
    Spanish Fort (Ala.)--Capture, 1865.
    • 1865 April 10
    Stealing.
    • 1864 November 30
    Steamboat travel--Mississippi River.
    • 1865 February 10
    • 1865 March 13
    Steamboats--Accidents.
    • 1865 August 31
    Steele, Frederick, 1819-1868.
    • 1864 October 18
    Strategy.
    • 1864 December 3
    Sturgis, Samuel Davis, 1822-1889.
    • 1864 June 26
    Temperance.
    • 1864 July 2
    • 1864 July 4
    • 1864 August 2
    • 1864 August 12
    • 1865 February 10
    Tupelo, Battle of, 1864.
    • 1864 August 1
    Tuskegee (Ala.)--Description and travel.
    • 1865 June 4-July17
    United States Christian Commission.
    • 1864 June 7
    • 1865 February 14
    • 1865 June 23
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Casualties (Statistics , etc.)
    • 1864 December 23
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Hospitals.
    • 1864 March 26
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Participation, Juvenile.
    • 1864 June 15
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Railroads.
    • 1864 June 26
    • 1864 August 1
    • 1864 October 18
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Scouts and scouting.
    • 1865 February 2
    United States. Army--Barracks and quarters.
    • 1865 January 26
    United States. Army--Chaplains.
    • 1864 June 22
    United States. Army--Officers.
    • 1864 June 7
    United States. Army--Officers--Alcohol use.
    • 1864 July 2
    • 1864 July 4
    United States. Army--Pay, allowances, etc.
    • 1864 May 31
    Valentines.
    • 1865 February 14
    Women--Conduct of life.
    • 1865 June 27