Benjamin Stevens letter book
Collection Scope and Content Note
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The bulk of the John T. Durang papers consists of general orders. Capt. Durang appears to have saved every one he ever received, but this collection contains only those winnowed from an immense stack of such documents. The correspondence is very slender, though it is of considerable interest. While there is virtually no war-time correspondence at all, the value of the collection lies in the series of letters written by Durang's cronies from the Vetereans Reserve Corps who were involved in both reconstructing the Union and in pushing forward the Freedmen's Bureau. The several letters written from government-run plantations in North Carolina during the early reconstruction period offer a perspective on the progress of race and labor relations there, as well as on the work of the Bureau.
There are several items in folders 27, 28, 30 and 33 relating to the performance of the National Guard during the great railroad strike of 1877, when they shot into the crowd of strikers, killing several. The collection includes an unusual three-page printed document describing the events of the shooting, as well as some printed orders and documents relating to the aftermath.