Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Clement Abner Boughton Papers, 1836-1906

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, May 1994

Summary Information
Title: Clement Abner Boughton papers
Creator: Boughton, Eliza W.
Inclusive dates: 1839-1906
Bulk dates: 1861-1864
Extent: 145 items (0.5 linear feet)
Abstract:
The Clement Boughton papers consist of letters written home during Clement's service in the 12th Wisconsin Infantry as part of the occupying forces in Tennessee and Mississippi. The collection also contains other family correspondence and letters regarding Boughton's death.

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:

Donated by Leonard and Mary Anna Schlueter, 1991. M-2720.2.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown.

Alternate Format:

A partial transcript of the Civil War related letters is located in the Manuscripts Divison transcript section.

Provenance:

The Clement Boughton papers were donated to the Clements Library through the generosity of Leonard and Mary Anna Schlueter of Lincoln, Neb. Mrs. Schlueter is a descendant of Clement Boughton's sister, Anna.

Preferred Citation:

Clement Abner Boughton papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically.


Biography

Boughton, Clement Abner, 1842-1864

Rank : Pvt.

Regiment : 12th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment. Co. E (1861-1865)

Service : 1861 October-1864 July 21

Clement A. Boughton and his twin brother, Clarence, were born in Herkimer County, N.Y., on November 17th, 1842. Their father, Newell Boughton (d. 1854), was a young Baptist preacher from upstate New York who was still seeking a congregation. In about 1851 or 52, after having ministered for several years in Connecticut, he finally moved his family to Delton (now Lake Delton), Wisconsin. Two years later, however, Rev. Boughton died, leaving his wife, Eliza, twin sons and young children Augustus and Anna Wakely on their own. Despite receiving some assistance from Baptist friends in Connecticut, and from family members in Michigan and Iowa, life appears not to have been easy for the family, and Clement, most of all, appears to have assumed the role of father, as they turned to farming to make a living.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Clem Boughton enlisted in Company E of the 12th Wisconsin Infantry (the Wisconsin River Rifles) under Captain Vanderpoel. Mustering into the U.S. service at Camp Randall, Madison, the regiment was assigned to post duty at Lawrence, Topeka, and Fort Riley, Kansas. Distant from the seat of war, the regiment faced greater problems from poor water and unruly civilians than they did from Confederates, and there was a strong sense of laxness in preparations for war. In June, 1862, the regiment was ordered closer to the front, when they were set to work repairing railroad lines in southwestern Tennessee, and from July until October, 1862, the regiment formed part of the force occupying Humboldt, Tenn. They engaged in some skirmishing with Confederate cavalry and guerrillas, but otherwise managed fairly well for themselves, jay-hawking freely when opportunity presented, maintaining order and overseeing the administration of the oath of allegiance to civilians and deserters. Clement became well liked by his comrades and officers and seems to have been a thoroughly well-behaved, well-motivated soldier. He considered his regiment to be one of the most pious in the army, even though they had no chaplain for much of the time they were in the field, and he held some contempt for the drunkenness he saw among the soldiers of other regiments. While he came to feel that most boys fall into bad ways in the army, Boughton seems largely to have held himself apart from the temptations of camp life.

From October through December, 1862, the regiment were stationed at Bolivar and LaGrange, Tenn., where again they had a few brushes with cavalry. Their first major expedition was taken into northern Mississippi early in December under miserably cold and wet conditions. On low rations and with many soldiers wearing shoes inadequate for the march, the expedition bogged down and accomplished nothing. Boughton's morale fell precipitously during the march, and he began to complain more volubly about the traitors at the north and the poor state of conditions in the army. Returning to Collierville and, later, Memphis, the regiment remained in Tennessee until May, again serving as part of the occupying force and taking part in minor skirmishes and a second, brief expedition into northern Mississippi.

With the escalation in the drive to Vicksburg in May, 1863, the regiment was called to Grand Gulf, Miss., where they were assigned to the extreme left of the Union emplacements in the rear of the city. Taking turns in the rifle pits and supporting artillery batteries, they were present at the fall of the city on July 4th and took part in the investment and capture of Jackson, Miss., on July 16th, but with the closure of the Vicksburg and Jackson campaigns in August, the regiment was again sent to a quiet, almost serene assignment, in the occupation of Natchez. They remained in Natchez until the end of the year when Clement reenlisted and was sent home on recruiting duty. By this point, Clement had become something of a personal favorite of Col. George Bryant, and when he returned to active duty in May, he was assigned to act as Bryant's orderly during the "sever" campaign on Atlanta. On July 21st, while running cartridges along the lines during the assault on Bald Hill, Boughton was shot three times and was killed instantly.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Clement Boughton papers include 86 letters from Clement Boughton to his mother, brothers and sister, 85 of which were written during his service in the 12th Wisconsin Infantry. The remaining 59 items in the collection include five documents relating to Boughton's service, four letters from a cousin, Mariette Bent, to Clement while he was in the service, a letter from an officer in the 12th Wisconsin relating news of Clement's death and several letters of bereavement from relatives and acquaintances. The balance of the collection is comprised of letters form other members of the Boughton family, both pre-War and post, most addressed to Clement's mother.

Boughton's Civil War letters form the heart of the collection and provide a complete account of the military service of an upright young farmer. While Boughton considered himself to be religious and while he held high standards of conduct for himself and his comrades, he was not prone to moralizing or quick condemnation. He was instead an avid, well-intentioned soldier doing his duty far from home, who felt pangs of guilt at being away during the harvest, and who continued to provide support, encouragement and advice to his mother, younger brother and sister on running the farm and leading their lives. His letters to his younger siblings Augustus and Anna are very affectionate and indicate how important he must have been in raising the children. His relationship with his twin, Clarence, is more difficult to ascertain. Clarence appears to have been an unusually poor correspondent and while Clement's tone in the one letter that survives between them seems strained, it is not clear whether there was actual tension between the two.

Among the more interesting letters in the Boughton are the series describing their duties in Kansas and Natchez. Devoid of any real action, they nevertheless paint an interesting portrait of military life away from the front, and include some good descriptions of Union-occupied territory. Boughton's letters written during the Vicksburg siege are also excellent, and include an interesting account of McPherson's attempt to tunnel under the Confederate fortifications as well as a fine sense of the tense, but at the same time boring life in the rifle pits awaiting the capitulation. Finally, Boughton's journal-like letter of the failed expedition from Memphis into northern Mississippi in December, 1862, to January, 1863, graphically details the hardships of field service in the deep south, the exhausting marches, mud, cold and hunger the soldiers faced, and the swings in morale that resulted when the objectives could not be attained.

Among the related materials, there is an interesting letter from members of the Baptist congregation at Chester, Conn., to Eliza Boughton, sending a small amount of money to help support her and her children after the death of her husband, Newell. A typescript of most of the Civil War letters was prepared by a descendant and is available upon request.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Atlanta Campaign, 1864.
    • Bereavement.
    • Firearms.
    • Guerrillas.
    • Mississippi--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Mothers and sons--History--19th century.
    • Tennessee--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Participation, African American.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Vicksburg (Miss.)--History--Siege, 1863.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
     
    Clement Abner Boughton papers [series]:
    Box   48 Schoff Civil War  
     1836-1862
    Box   49  
     1863-1906
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Bibliography

    H. W. Rood.Story of the service of Company E, and of the Twelth Wisconsin regiment ... (Milwaukee, 1893)

    Partial Subject Index
    Absence without leave.
    • 1861 December 24-27
    Agriculture--Mississippi.
    • [1862] December 5-8
    Alabama.
    • 1864 May 24
    Ambushes and surprises.
    • 1862 November 10
    Armistices.
    • 1862 November 21
    Atlanta, Battle of, 1864.
    • 1864 July 26
    Atlanta Campaign, 1864.
    • 1864 July 15
    • 1864 July 26
    • 1871 February 10
    Bathing.
    • 1906 July 19
    Bereavement.
    • 1863 November 8
    • 1864 August [before August 24]
    • 1864 September 5
    • 1864 September 12
    • 1864 September 21
    Bible. N.T. Luke.
    • n.d. (sermon)
    Birthdays.
    • 1863 November 17
    Boots.
    • 1862 September 6
    Boughton, Clement A., 1842-1864.
    • 1864 July 26
    • 1871 February 10
    Camps (Military)--Tennessee.
    • 1862 July 3
    Cemeteries.
    • 1863 March 17
    Children.
    • [1862 October] 21
    Christmas.
    • 1861 December 24-27
    • 1862 December 21-1863 January 12
    Civilians--Mississippi--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • 1863 November 6
    Civilians--Tennessee-Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • 1862 July 21-22
    Clergy, Baptist.
    • 1855 January 7
    Clergy, Baptist--Election, call, etc.
    • 1846 May
    Coldwater (Miss.), Skirmish near, 1863.
    • 1863 April 26
    Copperhead (Nickname)
    • 1862 December 21-1863 January 12
    • 1863 March 26-28
    Corinth, Battle of, 1862.
    • 1862 October 4-14
    Courage.
    • 1863 June 25-26
    Davis, Jefferson Columbus, 1828-1879.
    • 1862 October 4-14
    Democratic Party.
    • 1862 November 13
    Deserters, Military--Confederate States of America.
    • 1862 July 21-22
    Draft--Wisconsin.
    • 1862 August 3-4
    Drowning.
    • November 20
    Duty.
    • 1862 August 3-4
    Elections--United States--1862.
    • 1862 November 2
    • 1862 November 13
    Emancipation Proclamation.
    • 1862 September 28
    Emigrants--Iowa.
    • 1860 February 6-11
    Farming--Wisconsin.
    • 1876 March 31
    Fathers--Death.
    • 1864 October 19
    Firearms.
    • 1861 November 6
    • 1862 November 23-December 1
    Firearms--Accidents.
    • 1863 February 13-19
    Fishing.
    • 1863 June 4-5
    Foraging--Mississippi.
    • 1863 April 26
    • 1863 July 15
    Foraging--Tennessee.
    • 1862 June 22
    • 1862 August 17
    • 1862 November 7
    Fourth of July celebrations.
    • 1863 June 25-26
    • 1864 July 15
    Guerrillas--Tennessee.
    • 1862 July 21-22
    • 1862 August 21-24
    • 1863 February 3-10
    Harrisonburg (La.) Expedition, 1863.
    • 1863 September 7-10
    Horses.
    • 1863 September 12
    Humboldt (Tenn.), Skirmish near, 1862.
    • 1862 August 1
    • 1862 September 6
    Hunger.
    • 1862 December 21-1863 January 12
    Husbands--Death.
    • 1863 November 8
    Indians of North America--Kansas.
    • 1862 April 21-24
    Iowa--Description and travel.
    • 1864 October 21
    • 1864 December 23
    Jackson (Miss.), Battle of, 1863.
    • 1863 July 15
    Kansas.
    • 1862 April 5-12
    • 1862 April 21-24
    • 1862 April 30-May 1
    LaGrange (Tenn.), Skirmish near, 1862.
    • 1862 November 10
    Malaria.
    • 1862 August 21-24
    • 1862 September 1
    • 1863 June 13-17
    Marches--Illinois.
    • 1862 January 15
    Marches--Kansas.
    • 1862 April 21-24
    • 1862 May 26
    Marches--Mississippi.
    • 1862 December 1-25
    • 1862 December 21-1863 January 12
    Marches--Tennessee.
    • 1863 January 15-21
    Martial law.
    • 1863 November 6
    Measles.
    • 1861 December 24-27
    Military occupation--Mississippi--Natchez.
    • 1863 November 6
    Missionaries--Burma.
    • n.d.
    Mississippi River--Defenses.
    • 1862 June 5
    Missouri.
    • 1861 December 10-17
    Mothers and sons.
    • 1864 August [before August 24]
    • 1864 August 24
    Natchez (Miss.)
    • 1863 November 6
    Oxford (Miss.)
    • 1862 December 1-25
    Phrenology.
    • [1864 March 6]?
    Plantations--Mississippi.
    • 1863 November 6
    Plantations--Tennessee.
    • 1862 June 22
    Railroads--Accidents.
    • 1864 May 4
    Railroads--Tennessee.
    • 1862 June 15-18
    • 1862 September 6
    Sabbath.
    • 1862 November 23-December 1
    Schools--Mississippi.
    • [1862] December 5-8
    Scorched-earth policy.
    • 1862 June 5
    Sermons, Baptist.
    • n.d.
    Sharpshooters--Confederate States of America.
    • 1863 April 26
    Slavery.
    • 1862 November 10
    • 1863 March 26-28
    • 1864 May 24
    Slavery--Tennessee.
    • 1862 July 21-22
    Soldiers' families.
    • 1862 October 26
    Soldiers--Alcohol.
    • 1861 November 20
    • 1864 May 4
    Soldiers--Reception.
    • 1864 May 4
    • 1864 June 5
    Soldiers--Recreation.
    • 1863 March 26-28
    Soldiers--Religious life.
    • 1862 June 22
    Soldiers--Suffrage.
    • 1862 November 2
    Soldiers--Transport.
    • 1864 May 4
    Sons--Death.
    • 1864 July 26
    • 1864 August [before August 24]
    • 1864 August 24
    • 1864 September 5
    • 1864 September 12
    Stealing.
    • 1863 April 26
    Teachers--Iowa.
    • 1863 July 17
    • 1864 October 21
    • 1864 December 23
    Thanksgiving day.
    • 1861 November 28-December 1
    United States. Army--Military life.
    • 1864 June 5
    United States. Army--Pay, allowances, etc.
    • 1863 March 26-28
    United States. Army--Recruiting.
    • 1863 November 20
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--African-Americans.
    • [1862] December 5-8
    • 1863 June 4-5
    • 1863 June 13-17
    • 1863 June 22
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Causes.
    • 1862 November 10
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Health aspects.
    • 1862 July 3
    • 1863 February 24
    • 1863 September 12
    University of Iowa.
    • 1864 July 1
    Valentines.
    • 1863 February 13-19
    Vermin.
    • 1863 June 4
    Vicksburg Campaign, 1863.
    • 1863 May 21
    • 1863 June 4
    • 1863 June 4-5
    Vicksburg (Miss.)--History--Siege, 1863.
    • 1863 June 13-17
    • 1863 June 18-20
    • 1863 June 22
    • 1863 June 25-26
    • 1863 June 28-29
    War.
    • 1863 July 17
    War wounds.
    • 1862 October 4-14
    • 1863 April 26
    Widows.
    • 1855 January 7