William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
Hussey-Wadsworth Family Papers, 1830-1945
T. Moore 1987, recataloged by Rob S. Cox 1997
Hussey-Wadsworth family papers
255 items (1.25 linear feet)
The Hussey-Wadsworth papers document the involvement of two well-to-do families in the Civil War, Spanish-American War and, less intensively, in the two World Wars.
Language: The material is in English
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown.
Hussey-Wadsworth family papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
Hussey, George Alexander, 1843-1929
Rank : Private; 1st Lieut. (1862 December 31); Capt. (1863 June 1); Private (1864 May 6)
Regiment : 83rd New York Infantry Regiment. Co. I (9th New York State Militia) (1861-1865)
(1861 July 17-1862 December 31)
103rd New York Infantry Regiment. Co. I and E (1861-1865)
(1862 December 31-1863 November 18)
165th New York Infantry Regiment. Co. A (1862-1865)
(1864 May 6-1865 September 1)
Service :1861 July 17-1865 September 1
Wadsworth, Andrew S., 1870-1945
Rank : Unknown
Regiment : 1st Nebraska Infantry Regiment (1898-1899)
George Tuttle Hussey was born February 27, 1812, the posthumous son of George Hussey II (d. 1811). When George Hussey's widow, Elisabeth Nichols Hussey, remarried to David Wheeler Tuttle, the step-father's surname was appended to the baby's as a middle name. Despite the resulting differences in names, the baby was routinely identified as "George III" and, in turn, his son George Alexander Hussey (1843-1929), was called "George IV."
In 1836, at the age of twenty-four, George Tuttle Hussey embarked on what would become a thirty-five year career at the Bank of New York in New York City. On the side, he assisting in founding the Bank and Insurance City Post in September, 1854, which changed name four years later to Hussey's Instant Special Message Post. Hussey and his employees presented drafts, notes, and checks at banks for payment or certification, and the firm employed between 25 and 40 messengers, who delivered notes, packages, and bundles to Brooklyn, Jersey City, Yorkville, Harlem, Staten Island, and other places in the metropolitan area. Besides founding the Message Post, Hussey helped establish the Church of Atonement in Brooklyn. He died July 3, 1890, aged 78, and was survived by his wife, Mary Jane Alexander, and two children, Mary Hussey Blair and George Alexander Hussey.
George Alexander Hussey was born December 23, 1843, in either Bergen, N.J., or New York City. As a young member of the economic elite of the city, Hussey took the de rigeur European tour at age seventeen, traveling across Switzerland and Bavaria, brushing up on his German and soaking up the local culture, but he had a rude awakening on returning home: political crisis. In July, 1861, three months after the Civil War began, Hussey enlisted as a private in Company I, 9th New York Militia Regiment (the New York City Guards), which was mustered into the federal service as the 83rd New York Infantry Regiment. During most of 1861, the 83rd Regiment was stationed in the ring of forts surrounding Washington, but late in the fall, they were reassigned to western Maryland and served for a time as the body guard for Gen. N.P. Banks. During the summer, they took part in the Shenandoah Campaign, and returned to the eastern part of the state, arriving to participate in the Bull Run campaign.
During the 2nd Battle of Bull Run on August 30, 1862, Hussey was wounded in the chest and spent time recuperating in Philadelphia's National Guard Hospital. After recovering, he accepted a commission as first lieutenant in Co. I of the 103rd New York Infantry, formed in part from remnants of the 3rd German Rifles. The 103rd served primarily in southeastern Virginia, and were present at Suffolk during the siege, where on May 3, 1863, Hussey was wounded in action for a second time. Just under a month later, he was promoted to Captain of Co. E, and that November, he was discharged at the expiration of his two years' obligation. He returned to military life one final time, beginning May, 1864, as a member of New York's 165th Regiment, serving through the end of the war and receiving an honorable discharge in September, 1865.
Returning to civilian life, George served as his father's secretary from September, 1865, to October, 1866, leaving that position for a job with the Merchants' Union Express Company. However when that company merged with the American Express Company in March, 1869, George was let go. Four months later, he landed with the Fourth National Bank of New York City, where he held a number of positions. While employed at the bank, he married Carrie Elisabeth St. John on November 25, 1875. Sixteen years later, George resigned as coupon collection clerk. According to a biography of the New York Volunteers of the 103rd Regiment, he later received a job with the Treasury Department. At the time of his death in 1929, he was a resident of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Andrew S. Wadsworth was the son of John Gilbert and Sarah Ashby Wadsworth. Born in New Lebanon, N.Y., on October 2, 1870, he enlisted in the 1st Nebraska Infantry on April 27, 1898, only a few days before Admiral George Dewey moved his fleet into Manila Bay. In July, Wadsworth and the 1st Nebraska Regiment arrived in the Philippines and commenced active campaigning. On April 23, 1899, while fighting Filipino insurgents, he was shot twice in the leg, and spent the next nine months as a convalescent in Manila and San Francisco hospitals.
After returning to the States, Andrew spent much of his time trying to get his military pension increased, which, in 1901, was set at only fifteen dollars per month. It was twenty years before he saw any increase in his pension, which fluctuated wildly in value during the Depression before peaking in 1944, at a rate of sixty dollars per month. In the following year, approximately forty-six years after being wounded, he was awarded the Purple Heart.
The Husseys are related to Andrew Wadsworth only through George T. Hussey's great-grandson, George William DeBell, who married Wadsworth's niece, Jean Wadsworth Hasbrouck.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The Hussey-Wadsworth papers fall into two main categories, documenting the involvement of two well-to-do families in the Civil War, Spanish-American War and, less intensively, in the two World Wars. While military involvement forms the core of the collection, there is also interesting material relating to the social and educational lives of upper class New Yorkers, business affairs, and of particular note, the Reconstruction period in Georgia. The collection centers around three main figures: George Tuttle Hussey, his son, George Alexander Hussey, and Andrew S. Wadsworth.
Highly educated and a gifted writer, George Alexander Hussey's letters are uniformly interesting and enjoyable. One of the most remarkable of his letters is a 61 page description of his tour through Bavaria and Switzerland, written in November, 1860. With room to spare, Hussey lavished attention on the sites in Munich, Zürich, and Dachsen, where he marveled at the waterfalls, and he was captivated by everything from the sublime mountains to a cheese maker's simple house, the Freiburg Bridge, and European power politics. Hussey's appreciation of the landscape, architecture and high culture, however, did not extend to the "ignorant" masses whom he observed groveling in prayer to a statue of the Virgin Mary.
Shortly after returning from Europe, Hussey became a Union soldier and began relating his experiences to his father. A common complaint in his correspondence was his desire for a commission. Believing that influence and money purchased rank, Hussey told his father that both were necessary if he wished to become a first lieutenant and then a captain, and when his father did not respond with the alacrity which Hussey felt due, he scolded him. The delay, he insisted, had cost him one hundred dollars (67). Ambitious, young Hussey did finally achieve the rank of captain. He was discharged in November, 1863, reenlisted the following May, and again, almost immediately began his pursuit of a commission, this time, though, through the help of his friends rather than his father (81).
Tensions between George Alexander Hussey and his father extended deeper than the simple matter of assistance in obtaining a commission. The animosity may have stemmed from the length of time it took the younger Hussey to repay a debt he had incurred during his European tour. In December 1860, George IV borrowed forty dollars from K. Grossgebauer, a resident of Gotha, Germany (47, 53). George III apparently accused his son of lying about the debt, and in response, George IV complained that his father treated him like a child (53). By May, 1864, Private Hussey had paid off the debt, but the ill feelings continued to grow (80). As a result, he began directing his letters to his mother and sister.
George Alexander's letters also reflect some of the problems facing Union officers. In June, 1862, he wrote that ten officers of the 83rd Regiment had resigned in two months and that many more would have done the same had their resignations been accepted. Apparently, the officers did not get along well with the regiment's colonel, who was said to be "a perfect idol of gold and silver" (37). In March, 1863, eight more officers tendered their resignations, followed by seven more in June. This tumult in the officers' ranks was matched by ill discipline, and arrests were not uncommon. In July, 1863, for example, eight officers were under arrest, and in July, 1865, after some "unknown" soldiers "played a Yankee trick" on a general at Morris Island, the entire 165th Regiment was disarmed and sent as prisoners to Fort Sumter. Even the officers were placed under arrest, though according to Hussey, they had done nothing wrong (121).
Although the 165th Regiment was said to have a good reputation, in Hussey's opinion, it was a poor organization. While traveling on the Victor, the soldiers threw food valued at $1,000 overboard, some men were known thieves while in the service, and more than one hundred of the regiment's soldiers served time in correctional institutions, with about the same number listed as deserters (85). While at Hart's Island, two soldiers even tried to escape in a general's boat (80).
In addition to a fine description of the activities of the 165th Regiment, the Hussey-Wadsworth Papers includes a number of references to white opinions of African American civilians and soldiers and the general rise in racial tensions during early Reconstruction. In June, 1865, for example, Hussey reported that Black civilians were in control of the South Carolina rice plantations and he was impressed with their industriousness. Nevertheless, Black and white soldiers were involved in a number of altercations in Charleston, including one particularly violent incident in which African Americans were accused of using brickbats on the whites (121). Some white soldiers who refused to mount guard with Black soldiers were imprisoned at Fort Pulaski (121).
When not fighting or quarreling with each other, the Union soldiers spent some of their time battling Confederates. Hussey's letters include accounts of several skirmishes, most notably of the Siege of Suffolk in May, 1863, which left forty Union privates and four officers wounded, including Hussey (61). Among Hussey's other duties was escorting Confederate prisoners to camps and forts. In September, 1864, he accompanied 150 prisoners to Camp Chase, Ohio. Along the way, Confederate sympathizers tried to give the prisoners money, food, and clothing (92), and given the strength of this sentiment, it is not surprising that a month later, when leading 200 Confederate officers to Fort Delaware, Hussey wrote that they were all "secessionists to the backbone" (93).
During the presidential election in 1864, Hussey appears to have been in the minority of his regiment in supporting Lincoln. Four-fifths of the 165th Regiment, he wrote, favored McClellan (94), though all of the soldiers of the 165th mourned the president's death (112).
Andrew S. Wadsworth's letters also provide valuable documentation of military experience, focused on the period of the American intervention in the Philippines. His letters provide several accounts of skirmishes with Filipino insurgents, including a vivid description of the skirmish in which he was wounded and a quartermaster sergeant was killed. The letters are equally important in documenting an average soldier's attitudes toward the enemy in one of America's first imperial wars. Wadsworth had few kind words for the insurgents, whom he frequently referred to by racial epithets, and commented not only on their primitive weapons -- mostly bows, arrows and shields, but also on their tactics. By Wadsworth's reckoning, the insurgents battled American soldiers two or three times a week, and were known to jump out of trees in ambush (173).
In other letters, Wadsworth turned his eye to the battered Spanish gunboats in Manila Bay (158), the American victory at Manila (160), Filipino civilians (158, 159, 160), and Chinese laborers engaged in the novelty trade (160, 161), and whom the Filipinos hated (161). Referring to Manila, Andrew wrote that it was "behind the times," but that it had the finest electric lighting he had ever seen. He asserted, however, that the Filipinos were not concerned with cleanliness: people suffering from either smallpox or leprosy walked the streets of Cavite openly, and Filipino civilians removed the clothes of dead Spanish soldiers and resold them. Andrew himself bought a pair of pants and a shirt.
The Hussey-Wadsworth Papers also provide a brief but interesting description of trenches and bombing during the First World War (210), and there is brief commentary on censorship, the German retreat, and the determination of American soldiers (208, 210). One letter refers to the bombing of London during Word War II (232) and to war rationing in both the United States and Great Britain (231, 232).
According to Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, George Tuttle Hussey sold stamps to collectors and issued bronze pennies. Examples of these stamps and coins, dated 1863, are housed in the Postal History Collection.
- Bull Run, 1st Battle of, Va., 1861.
- Finance, Personal.
- Military camps.
- Military deserters.
- Military discharge.
- Military pensions--United States--Spanish-American War, 1898.
- Money--Confederate States of America.
- United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
- United States. Army.
- United States. Army--Nebraska Infantry Regiment, 1st.
- United States. Army--New York Infantry Regiment, 83rd (1861-1864)
- United States. Army--New York Infantry Regiment, 103rd.
- United States. Army--New York Infantry Regiment, 165th.
- Spanish-American War, 1898.
- Account books.
- Estate records.
| Container / Location
Hussey-Wadsworth family papers, 1830 January 29-1945 March 21 [series]:
Correspondence, 1833-1863 July
Correspondence, 1863 August -1868
Account books, 1846-1849, 1850, 1898
Hussey, DeBell, Denslow genealogy
Ninth Regiment of New York--Veterans, 1871-1925
Wadsworth, Andrew Silas--Death and estate, 1945-46
Wadsworth, Andrew Silas--Pension, 1900-1946
Wadsworth family: genealogy, estates, wills
George A. Hussey, Mary Hussey Blair: Wills, estates, maps
Photographs (Family portraits; Spanish-American War)
Photographs (Family portraits; Spanish-American War)
Photographs (Family portraits; Spanish-American War)
Photographs (Spanish-American War)
Additional Descriptive Data
The Hussey-Wadsworth photographs are housed in the Photographs Division, located in boxes C.5.3; C.8.4; and F.11.30-31.
Hussey, George A. and Todd, William. History of the Ninth Regiment N.Y.S.M.-N.G.S.N.Y. (Eighty-Third N.Y. Volunteers) (N.Y., 1889)
Reilly, Margaret Inglehart. "Andrew Wadsworth, a Nebraska Soldier in the Philippines, 1898-1899."Nebraska History 68, 4 (1987), 183-199
African Americans--Social conditionsAfrican Americans--Social conditions--GeorgiaAfrican Americans--Social conditions--South CarolinaAfrican Americans--South CarolinaAfrican Americans--VirginiaAgricultural machineryAgricultureArthur, Chester Alan, 1830-1886Banks, Nathaniel Prentiss, 1816-1894BaseballBathing
- see also under United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865 and Spanish-American War, 1898
Bombardment--PhilippinesBull Run, 1st Battle of, Va., 1861Bull Run, 2nd Battle of, Va., 1862California--Description and travelCamouflage (Military Science)Camps (Military)--CaliforniaCamps (Military)--District of ColumbiaCamps (Military)--MarylandCamps (Military)--Nebraska
- 28, 38, 72, 85, 95, 111, 154, 163
Camps (Military)--PhilippinesCamps (Military)--South CarolinaCamps (Military)--VirginiaCatholic Church--SwitzerlandCavite (Philippines)--Description and travelCemeteriesCensorshipCentennial Exhibition (1876 : Philadelphia, Pa.)Charleston (S.C.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865Charlestown (W.Va.)--Description and travelChinatown (San Francisco, Calif.)Chinese--PhilippinesChristmasCivilians--Maryland--Civil War, 1861-1865Civilians--Philippines--War of 1898Civilians--Virginia--Civil War, 1861-1865
- 153, 154, 155, 162, 163, 165, 168, 175, 176
CoffeeConfederate States of America. Army--ArtilleryConfederate States of America. Army--UniformsConfederate States of America. NavyContraband of warCoolidge, Calvin, 1872-1933Corcoran, Michael, 1827-1863CounterinsurgencyCourts-martial and courts of inquiryDairy farmsDakota Indians
- 27, 28, 29, 35, 36, 38, 88, 92
Davis, Jefferson, 1808-1889DeBell familyDeedsDenslow familyDeserters, Military
- see also under United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865 and United States--History--War of 1898
Dewey, George, 1837-1917Dismal Swamp (Va.)--Description and travelDismal Swamp, Va., Skirmish at, 1863DraftDraft Riot, New York, N.Y., 1863Draft:--SubstitutionDrill and minor tacticsDrowningEnemy relationsEpiscopal Churches--New York (State)--BrooklynEstates (Law)Executions and executionersFessenden, James Deering, 1833-1882FilipinosFinance, Personal
- 11, 12, 17, 31, 80, 85, 108, 111
- 33, 36, 38, 47, 52, 53, 58, 78, 79, 80
FootballForaging--VirginiaFort Delaware Military PrisonFortification, FieldFoster, John Gray, 1823-1874Fredericksburg (Va.)--Description and travelFront Royal (Va.)--Description and travelFugitive slavesFuneral rites and ceremoniesGenealogyGeorge V, King of England, 1865-1936Germany--Description and travelGettysburg Address, 1863Gettysburg National Military Park (Pa.)Gillmore, Quincy Adams, 1825-1888Grant, Ulysses Simpson, 1822-1888Great Britain--Description and travelGuard dutyGuerrillas--Philippines
- 10, 27, 28, 31, 57, 63, 85, 88, 95, 102, 104, 105, 117, 168, 172, 175, 176, 181, 185
Guerrillas--VirginiaHarding, Warren Gamaliel, 1865-1923Harper's Ferry (W.Va.)--Description and travelHayes, Rutherford Birchard, 1822-1893Hooker, Joseph, 1814-1879Hussey familyIdaho--Frontier and pioneer lifeJackson, Stonewall, 1824-1863Keyes, Erasmus Darwin, 1810-1895Lee, William Henry Fitzhugh, 1837-1891Leprosy--PhilippinesLetters of recommendationLiceLincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865--Death and burialLincoln, Mary Todd, 1818-1882Livestock--BreedingLizards as foodLongstreet, James, 1821-1904Louis Napoleon, 1808-1871MalariaMalolos (Philippines)--Description and travelManassas (Va.)--Description and travelManila (Philippines)--Description and travelMarches--MarylandMarches--VirginiaMcClellan, George Brinton, 1826-1885McDowell, Irvin, 1818-1885Migration, InternalMilitary discharge
- 157, 159, 165, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 179, 180, 181
Military dischargeMilitary prisons--DelawareMiller, Frances (Mrs. William Henry Seward)Mines and mining--IdahoMobile (Ala.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865Money--Confederate States of AmericaMonkeysMonroe, James, 1758-1831MoraleMorgan, Edwin Denison, 1811-1883Mosby, John Singleton, 1833-1916NewspapersNorfolk (Va.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865Ord, Edward Otho Cresap, 1818-1883OrdnancePaddock, Algernon Sidney, 1830-1897Pensions, Military--United States--War of 1898
- 31, 79, 115, 118, 119, 122, 123, 222
Philadelphia (Pa.)--Description and travelPhilippines--History--Insurrection, 1896-1898
- 200, 201, 202, 214, 215, 216, 244, 246
- See Andrew Wadsworth letters
Phillips, Benjamin T.Picket dutyPlantations--LouisianaPortsmouth (Va.)--Description and travelPresidents--United States--Election--1864Prisoners of war--Confederate States of AmericaProtestant Episcopal Church (Brooklyn, N.Y.)Race relations--Pennsylvania--PhiladelphiaRace relations--South CarolinaRailroads--AccidentsRailroads--IdahoRappahannock River, Va., Skirmish at, 1862Rationing--United StatesReconstructionReconstruction--GeorgiaReconstruction--South CarolinaRed Bluff (Calif.)--Description and travelRed CrossRobberyRosecrans, William Starke, 1819-1898SabotageSaint George's Episcopal Church (Brooklyn, N.Y.)Sampson, William Thomas, 1840-1902San Francisco (Calif.)--Description and travelSanta Mesa (Philippines)--Description and travelSavannah (Ga.)--History--ReconstructionScott, Winfield, 1786-1866ScurvyShenandoah River, Va, Skirmish at, 1862Shenandoah Valley Campaign, 1862Shenandoah Valley Campaign, 1864 August-NovemberSheridan, Philip Henry, 1831-1888Shields, James, 1806-1879SkirmishesSkirmishes--PhilippinesSmallpoxSoldiers--Alcohol useSoldiers--Recreation
- See Andrew Wadsworth letters
Soldiers--TransportSouth Carolina--Description and travelSpiesSpinola, Francis Barretto, 1821-1891StealingStevenson, John Dunlap, 1821-1897Suffolk (Va.)--History--Siege, 1863Switzerland--Description and travelThanksgiving dayTobacco habitUnited States--History--1919-1933United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--African Americans
- See also Baseball, Football
- 162, 168
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--BlockadesUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Casualties (Statistics, etc.)
- 23, 24, 25, 27, 31, 53, 58, 63, 66, 105, 108, 117, 119, 120, 121
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Health aspectsUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--HospitalsUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Medical careUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--MonumentsUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Participation, GermanUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Participation, IndianUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--PeaceUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Post-war plans
- 21, 38, 39, 43, 58, 59, 61, 70
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Postal serviceUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Prisoners and prisons
- 113, 114, 115, 117, 118, 124, 125
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--RailroadsUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Songs and musicUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--VeteransUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--WomenUnited States--History--War of 1898--BlacksUnited States--History--War of 1898--Casualties (Statistics, etc.)
- 27, 35, 58, 60, 90-93, 112-117
United States--History--War of 1898--Health aspectsUnited States--History--War of 1898--HospitalsUnited States--History--War of 1898--Medical care
- 163, 172, 173, 175, 178, 179, 180, 181
United States--History--War of 1898--Participation, IndianUnited States--History--War of 1898--Public opinionUnited States--History--War of 1898--Songs and musicUnited States--History--War of 1898--Spanish troopsUnited States--History--War of 1898--VeteransUnited States--History--War of 1898--Women
- 39, 179, 180, 190-193a, 195, 197
United States. Army--Barracks and quartersUnited States. Army--ChaplainsUnited States. Army--Corrupt practicesUnited States. Army--Enlistment
- 153, 155, 160, 163, 168, 180
United States. Army--Nebraska Infantry Regiment, 1st (1898-1899)United States. Army--New York Infantry Regiment, 83rd (1861-1865)United States. Army--New York Infantry Regiment, 103rd (1861-1865)United States. Army--New York Infantry Regiment, 165th (1862-1865)United States. Army--OfficersUnited States. Army--Officers--ResignationUnited States. Army--Pay, allowances, etc.United States. Army--Promotions
- 45, 46, 69, 77, 92, 164, 165, 171
United States. Army--ReenlistmentUnited States. Army--SurgeonsUnited States. Army--UniformsVaccinationWadsworth familyWagesWar crimesWar woundsWarrenton (Va.)--Description and travelWarships
- 28, 34, 37, 38, 45, 48, 65, 67, 71, 75, 81, 99, 100, 117
Warships--SpainWashington (D.C.)--Description and travelWeapons--PhilippinesWilliamsburg (Va.)--Description and travelWinchester (Va.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865Wives--IdahoWomenWomen--Confederate States of AmericaWomen--PhilippinesWorld War, 1914-1918World War, 1939-1945Wounded soldiersYellow feverYorktown (Va.)Young Men Christian AssociationZouaves
- 35, 48, 50, 59, 72, 85, 100