Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Francis Crayton Sturtevant Papers, 1861-1913

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, June 1993

Summary Information
Title: Francis Crayton Sturtevant papers
Creator: Sturtevant family
Inclusive dates: 1861-1913
Bulk dates: 1861-1890
Extent: 70 items
Abstract:
The Sturtevant papers are made up of letters written by Francis Crayton Sturtevant, a musician in the 5th Connecticut Infantry Regiment, to his family during and following the Civil War. The collection also includes Francis' incoming correspondence after the war.

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:

1991, 1994. M-2662a21, M-3099.1.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Francis Crayton Sturtevant papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Biography

Sturtevant, Francis Crayton

Rank : Musician

Regiment : 5th Connecticut Infantry Regiment (1861-1865)

Service: 1861 July 23-1862 August 16

Francis Crayton Sturtevant was born into a large family in Hartland, Vermont, in about 1840. At the outbreak of the Civil War, most of his brothers and sisters -- there were at least six of them -- were living in eastern Vermont, though one of Crayton's brothers had moved to Hartford, Connecticut, and a sister, Caroline, had married a man from Macon, Georgia, and after May, 1861, was cut off from all communication. Caroline eventually managed to return safely to Vermont in 1864.

Early in the summer of 1861, Crayton joined his brother, Robert, in Hartford, but found it difficult to make a living wage or even full-time employment. "[A]shamed of walking up street every day" in front of his many friends, he enlisted as a clarinetist in the band of the 5th Connecticut Infantry on July 23rd, much against the wishes of his mother. Within two weeks, the regiment was rushed to western Maryland, and ordered into defensive positions overlooking Harpers' Ferry. After participating in a small skirmish at Point of Rocks, Maryland, in late December, 1861, the regiment was drawn into its first major engagement in January, 1862, when Confederate forces under Stonewall Jackson launched an attack on Union emplacements at Hancock, Maryland. According to Sturtevant, only the stern defiance of Frederick West Lander enabled the federal forces to hold out against superior numbers and preserve the city.

During the spring and summer of 1862, the 5th Connecticut played an important role in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, seeing action at Kernstown, Winchester, and Cedar Mountain. Throughout his enlistment, Sturtevant showed himself to be a highly motivated, occasionally avid, soldier. While he thought highly of the colonel of his regiment, Orris S. Ferry, and of the other staff officers, Crayton was openly contemptuous of his immediate commanding officer, Lt. Thomas Worsley, whom he considered to be both a laggard and bully. Regardless of his commitment to the cause, Sturtevant clearly wished to leave the service, and when military bands were discharged by Congressional order on August 16th, 1862, shortly before Cedar Mountain, Sturtevant returned home to Vermont.

In about 1863, Sturtevant entered the coffee, tea, and spice trade in Hartford, Connecticut. Following a brief partnership with his brother, Albert, he entered into a partnership with Brigham Payne that lasted until at least 1877. Thereafter, Sturtevant is listed in Hartford city directories as working with other tea and coffee firms, as managing his own firm, or, in the late 1880's, as being employed in "egg food." When seeking to establish himself in his career, Sturtevant traveled continuously through New England on business, most frequently to Vermont. During this period, he met and courted Hattie Ellis (d. 1905), of Hartford, despite the strong opposition of Hattie's parents, who apparently considered Sturtevant to be "beneath" Hattie and of insufficient means. Although Mrs. Ellis advised Hattie against the marriage, and stated that the couple's future would be "a life of trouble with a loss of freedom and of all rights and privileges" for Hattie (1869 September 19), the couple married in November, 1869. They had at least four children, Harry C. (1870-1890), Francis R., Albert Morey and a daughter, Florence M., all of whom appear to have been brilliant. Harry died as he was preparing to enter Trinity College, Hartford, for his freshman year, while Albert was salutatorian at Trinity with the class of 1898 before receiving his A.M. (1901) and Ph.D. (1905) at Harvard. He was an instructor in German at Harvard, 1903-1907. Francis Raymond received degrees at Trinity (1901) and Harvard (1902), and a Bachelor of Divinity at Harvard (1906). He was installed as minister at the Unitarian Channing Church in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1906, and at the First Congregational Society in Taunton in 1911. A newspaper clipping in the collection indicates that Florence was "prominent in Hartford musical circles."


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Sturtevant papers contain 29 Civil War-date letters written by Francis Crayton Sturtevant to his mother (Mrs. C.F. Sturtevant), his sisters Ann or Eveline, or generally to his family. The collection also contains 9 post-war letters written to Hattie Ellis, Crayton's fiancé/wife; 5 letters from Hattie to Crayton; 8 letters from members of the Sturtevant family to Crayton; and 10 miscellaneous items relating to Sturtevant's sons, Harry, Albert, and Francis.

The Civil War letters reflect Sturtevant's perceptiveness and talent as a writer, as well as his strong ideological commitment to the war. Although his reasons for enlistment are somewhat obscure and his early departure from the war stands out, Sturtevant never displayed any doubt that his service was his patriotic duty. His letters are valuable for reconstructing life in the defenses of Harpers' Ferry in the fall and winter months of 1861-62, as well as the events of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862. His letters are of added value in being written from the unusual perspective of a musician, and are filled with depictions of the lives of musicians, who were not always subject to the same level of hardship or the same rigors of average soldiers. Sturtevant's letters provide several descriptions of practicing, playing, working on musical formations, and competing with other bands, and they also give an idea of the effect that the music had on his audience of soldiers and civilians.

Sturtevant was also a soldier, and his letters contain fine descriptions of hard marches and battles, particularly leading up and during the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862. The accounts of Jackson's assault on Hancock, and of the battles of Kernstown and Winchester stand out as among the best letters in the collection.

The post-war material includes an eloquent letter addressed to Sturtevant's future mother-in-law, in which he defends his impending marriage to Hattie against his in-laws' opposition. Sturtevant argued that there can be no loss to Hattie or her family by the union, but only gain due to the genuineness of their love for each other. Also included is a powerful letter, grieving over the loss of his mother, who had died in his arms (1874 September 22).

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Jackson, Stonewall, 1824-1863.
    • Musicians--Correspondence.
    • Musicians--United States.
    • Shenandoah Valley Campaign, 1862.
    • United States. Army--Songs and music.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Songs and music.
    Genre Terms:
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Box   46 Schoff Civil War Soldiers Letters  
    Francis Crayton Sturtevant papers,  1861 June 04-1913 [series]:
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Bibliography

    Marvin, Edwin E. The Fifth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers. (Hartford, 1889).

    Partial Subject Index
    African American cooks
    • 1862 April 29
    Ashby, Turner, 1828-1862
    • 1862 March 26
    Banks, Nathaniel Prentiss, 1816-1894
    • 1861 August 8-9
    • 1862 May 26
    Brown, John, 1800-1859
    • 1861 August 8-9
    Camps (Military)--Maryland
    • 1862 January 26
    Capitols--Vermont
    • 1869 May 22
    Cemeteries--Confederate States of America
    • 1862 July 25
    Civilians--Maryland--Civil War, 1861-1865
    • 1862 June 3
    Civilians--Virginia--Civil War, 1861-1865
    • 1862 February 6
    • 1862 March 15
    • 1862 April 29
    • 1862 June 3
    • 1862 July 9
    • 1862 July 10
    Coffee merchants--Connecticut
    • [ca.1913]
    Culpeper C.H. (Va.)
    • 1862 July 25
    Davis, Jefferson, 1808-1889
    • [1864] December 18
    Dead
    • 1861 November 6
    • 1862 March 26
    Deserters, Military--Confederate States of America
    • 1861 December 20
    Draft--Connecticut
    • 1862 January 29
    Ferry, Orris Sanford, 1823-1875
    • 1862 February 6
    • 1862 April 8
    Floods--Connecticut--Hartford
    • 1869 April 24
    Food
    • 1862 April 29
    Foraging--Virginia
    • 1862 July 9
    • 1862 July 10
    Friendship
    • 1861 August 14
    Hagerstown (Md.)
    • 1861 [i.e. 1862] January 3
    • 1862 June 3
    Hancock (Md.), Battle of, 1862
    • 1862 January 11
    Harpers' Ferry (W.Va.)
    • 1861 August 8-9
    Hartland (Vt.)
    • [1913]
    Home
    • 1861 July 4
    Infants
    • [1864] December 18
    Jackson, Stonewall, 1824-1863
    • 1862 March 15
    • 1862 March 26
    • 1862 March 28
    Kernstown, Battle of, 1862
    • 1862 March 26
    • 1862 March 28
    Kernstown (Va.) Battlefield
    • 1862 March 26
    Lander, Frederick West, 1821-1862
    • 1862 January 11
    Love poetry
    • 1867 August 4
    Love-letters
    • 1869 September 11
    Marches--Maryland
    • 1861 December 20
    • 1862 January 11
    Marriage
    • 1869 September 19
    Martinsburg (W.Va.)
    • 1862 March 4
    Merchants--Connecticut--Hartford
    • 1889 December
    Military discharge
    • 1861 November 28
    • 1862 January 29
    • 1862 April 29
    Military discipline
    • 1862 June 3
    Montpelier (Vt.)
    • 1869 May 22
    Morale--Confederate States of America
    • 1862 March 28
    Mothers and sons
    • 1863 November 8
    Mothers--Death
    • 1874 June 22
    Newspapers--Confederate States of America
    • 1862 April 8
    Ordination--Unitarian Church
    • 1906 October 18
    • 1911 October 17
    Ordnance
    • 1861 August 8-9
    Parents-in-law
    • 1869 September 19
    Photographs
    • 1861 November 28
    • 1862 June 3
    Pillage--Virginia--Winchester
    • 1862 March 15
    Point of Rocks (Md.), Skirmish at, 1861
    • 1861 December 20
    Prisoners of war
    • 1862 January 11
    Prisoners of war--Confederate States of America
    • 1862 March 15
    Sermons, Unitarian--Massachusetts
    • 1913
    Shenandoah Valley Campaign, 1862
    • 1862 April 29
    • 1862 May 30
    • 1862 June 19
    • 1862 July 9
    Shields, James, 1806-1879
    • 1862 April 8
    Slaves--Virginia
    • 1862 April 29
    • 1862 July 25
    Soldiers--Conduct of life
    • 1861 September 4
    Soldiers--Confederate States of America--Alcohol
    • 1862 March 28
    Soldiers--Vermont
    • 1862 April 29
    Stealing
    • 1862 May 26
    • 1862 June 3
    Sturtevant, Francis Raymond
    • 1906 October 18
    • 1911 October 17
    Thanksgiving Day
    • 1861 November 28
    Trent Affair, 1861
    • 1861 [i.e. 1862] January 3
    United States. Army--Enlistment
    • [1861 June 4]
    • 1861 July 4
    United States. Army--Leaves and furloughs
    • 1862 February 6
    United States. Army--Musicians
    • 1861 August 14
    • 1861 November 28
    • 1861 December 20
    • 1861 [i.e. 1862] January 3
    • 1862 January 29
    • 1862 February 6
    • 1862 March 12
    • 1862 April 8
    • 1862 April 29
    • 1862 June 19
    • 1862 July 15
    • 1862 August 30
    United States. Army--Officers--Alcohol
    • 1862 April 8
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
    • [1864] September 11
    • 1864 October 30
    • [1864] December 18
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--African Americans
    • 1862 July 25
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Counterfeit money
    • 1862 July 9
    • 1862 July 10
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Missing in action
    • 1862 June 3
    • 1862 June 5
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Songs and music
    • 1861 November 28
    • 1861 December 20
    • 1861 [i.e. 1862] January 3
    • 1862 February 6
    • 1862 April 29
    • 1862 May 30
    Vacations--Massachusetts
    • 1899 July 2
    Washington's Birthday
    • 1862 February 6
    Winchester, 1st Battle of, 1862
    • 1862 May 26
    • 1862 May 30
    Winchester (Va.)
    • 1862 March 12
    Winchester (Va.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
    • 1862 March 15
    Women--Virginia
    • 1862 March 28
    Worsley, Thomas
    • 1862 January 29
    • 1862 February 6
    • 1862 April 29
    Zollicofer, Felix Kirk, 1812-1862
    • 1862 January 29