Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
J. Martin Gorham Papers, 1864-1865

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, November 1992

Summary Information
Title: J. Martin Gorham papers
Creator: Gorham, J. Martin, 1830-1880
Inclusive dates: 1864-1865
Extent: 4 items
J. Martin Gorham was a lawyer from Barre, Mass. who enlisted in the 33rd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. His papers consist of four letters written to his sister and her husband during the Atlanta Campaign and shortly after the fall of Savannah.
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:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1992. M-2886.4.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.


Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

J. Martin Gorham Papers, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Gorham, J. Martin, 1830-1880

Rank : Pvt.

Regiment : 33rd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment (1862-1865)

Service : 1862 September 25-1865 June 10

Jason Martin Gorham, a lawyer from Barre, Mass., and a Harvard graduate of the class of 1851, received a Lieutenant's commission in the 42nd Massachusetts Infantry (nine months' service) on September 25th, 1862. On May 13th, 1863, he resigned his commission and was discharged by special order #115 from General Banks, and remained a civilian until December of that year, when he enlisted as a private in the 33rd Massachusetts, then at Chattanooga.

In April, the 33rd Massachusetts was consolidated into XX Corps under Joseph Hooker (later J. A. Mower) and joined in the Atlanta Campaign. The regiment suffered heavy losses at Resaca, Dallas, and Kenesaw Mountain, and took part in the occupation of Atlanta and the March to the Sea and March through the Carolinas. During these campaigns, the 33rd was consistently tapped for headquarters guard duty -- because of the unusually high quality of the regimental band, according to Gorham. During this time, too, Gorham was assigned to duty as regimental clerk, relieving him from any obligation as a combatant. When Johnston surrendered, the regiment was doing guard duty at Raleigh, N.C., and on June 1st, 1865, Gorham transferred to Co. H of the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Gorham collection consists of only four letters, three written to his sister Sarah Jane and one to her husband, James R. Marrett. Three of the letters were written during the Atlanta Campaign, and one shortly after the fall of Savannah. Gorham's letters reflect his high level of education. They are observant and literate, and yet, because he was detailed as regimental clerk during the campaigns in Georgia and the Carolinas, they are comparatively slight on detail concerning military activity. The last letter in which Gorham describes the headquarters in Savannah and relating a little bit about the city and state, is far and away the best in the collection. Gorham's notion that the quality of the regimental band made them a popular choice for headquarters guard duty and favoritism is also worth noting.

Subject Terms

    • Atlanta Campaign, 1864.
    • Savannah (Ga.)--Description and travel.
    • United States. Army. Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 33rd (1862-1865)
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   43, Schoff Civil War Collection  
    J. Martin Gorham papers,  1864 June 28-1865 January 10 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data

    Boies, Andrew J. Record of the Thirty-third Massachusetts volunteer infantry (Fitchburg, 1880).

    Partial Subject Index
    Atlanta Campaign, 1864.
    • 1864 June 28
    • 1864 August 15
    • 1864 August 23
    Georgia--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • 1865 January 10
    Savannah (Ga.)
    • 1865 January 10
    Sherman's March to the Sea.
    • 1865 January 10
    United States. Army--Bands.
    • 1864 August 15
    United States. Army--Military life.
    • 1864 August 15