Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Adam H. Pickel Papers, 1862-1863

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, November 1992

Summary Information
Title: Adam H. Pickel papers
Creator: Pickel family
Inclusive dates: 1862-1863
Extent: 13 items
The Pickel papers contain nine letters written by Adam H. Pickel to his parents in Phoenixville and one written to a sister during his enlistment in the 68th Pennsylvania Infantry during the Civil War. His letters provide interesting commentary on the war; in particular, he strongly refuted the rumor that General Joseph Hooker was drunk at the battle of Chancellorville.
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, 1994. M-2886.4; M-2984.1.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.


Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Adam H. Pickel Papers, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Pickel, Adam H., d. 1863

Rank : Private

Regiment : 68th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. Co. G (1862-1865)

Service : 1862 August 26-1863 July 2

Adam H. Pickel, of Phoenixville, Pa., was apparently married at the time of his enlistment in the 68th Pennsylvania Infantry at Philadelphia in August, 1862. While not up to full strength and not yet fully armed, this regiment was rushed to northern Virginia to take part in the fall campaigns of 1862 in the Blue Ridge, arriving in the state in late September.

Upon the the replacement of McClellan with Burnside and the reorganization of Army of the Potomac, the 68th Pennsylvania was placed in the 1st Brigade, III Corps, under the command of General John C. Robinson. They were engaged at Fredericksburg, suffering a number of casualties while defending the 1st Rhode Island Artillery. After wintering in the mud at Falmouth, the regiment took part in the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg in 1863. The 68th were caught in a bloodbath in the Peach Orchard on the second day of Gettysburg, where Pickel was reported killed.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Pickel papers contain nine letters written by Adam H. Pickel to his parents in Phoenixville and one written to a sister. This correspondence suggests that Pickel had received a good education and had more than a minor talent as a writer. It is clear, however, that there are numerous letters no longer present with collection, including, apparently, the letters in which Pickel described his experiences in battle.

Pickel's surviving letters nevertheless provide some interesting commentary on the war. In particular, his letters regarding Chancellorsville, even though they lack a thorough description of the battle, provide a strong feeling of the horror of that engagement. Further, he argues vehemently that, rumors aside, Joe Hooker was not drunk at Chancellorsville. Pickel claims to have seen the General perhaps 20 times during the battle, and that he exhibited no obvious signs of inebriation. He admitted, however, to Hooker's well-known fondness for whiskey. Also worth noting is Pickel's critical response in support of a Dr. Oberholzer, who wrote a letter to hometown newspaper, the Daily Phoenix, pointing out how poorly run the Army was.

Subject Terms

    • United States. Army. Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, 68th (1862-1865)
    • Chancellorsville, Battle of, Chancellorsville, Va., 1863.
    • Hooker, Joseph, 1814-1879.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Hospitals.
    • United States. Army of the Potomac.
    • United States. Army--Supplies and stores.
    • Pickel, Adam H., d. 1863.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   43, Schoff Civil War Collection  
    Adam H. Pickel papers,  1862 September 25-1863 October 28 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Partial Subject Index
    • 1863 January 2
    Chancellorsville, Battle of, 1863.
    • 1863 May 9
    • 1863 May 23
    Fathers and sons.
    • 1863 March 1
    Hooker, Joseph, 1814-1879.
    • 1863 May 23
    Packages from home.
    • 1863 March 3
    • 1863 May 9
    • 1863 January 2
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Hospitals.
    • 1863 March 1
    United States. Army of the Potomac.
    • 1863 March 3
    United States. Army--Supplies and stores.
    • 1863 January 17
    Warrenton (Va.)
    • 1862 November 23