Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
John R. Comfort Papers, 1863-1865

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, July 1995

Summary Information
Title: John R. Comfort papers
Creator: Comfort, James
Inclusive dates: 1863-1865
Extent: 7 items
The John Comfort papers consist of seven letters written at scattered times through his Civil War service with the 137th New York Infantry Regiment.
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:

1995. M-3102.2.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

John R. Comfort Papers, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically.


Comfort, John R.

Rank : Sgt.

Regiment : 137th New York Infantry Regiment (1862-1865)

Service : 1862 September 25-1865 June 9

The 137th New York Infantry Regiment was recruited by Colonel David Ireland in south-central New York State during the late summer of 1862. John R. Comfort, whose father, James, lived in Lanesboro, Pa., enlisted for a three year period on September 25th, eventually attaining the rank of Orderly Sergeant.

Comfort's regiment was sent to Virginia in October 1862, where they were attached to the 3rd Brigade, 2d Division, 12th Corps. After a relatively quiet first winter, the regiment was engaged at the Battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, where they suffered heavy casualties, before being ordered south to join the drive for Atlanta. After participating in the night attack at Wauhatchie and the engagements near Chattanooga in December, 1863, the 137th Infantry took part in the Atlanta Campaign, the March to the Sea and the March through the Carolinas before being mustered out in June, 1865.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The John Comfort papers consist of seven letters written at scattered times through the Civil War service of John R. Comfort with the 137th N.Y. Infantry Regiment. Because of the scant coverage, these letters do not build a clear picture of Comfort's attitudes or experiences, though occasional glimpses of both come through. Comfort provides some interesting soldiers'-eye observations on his commanding generals, particularly Henry W. Slocum, whom Comfort liked for not putting on the airs that other generals do, John W. Geary, Joseph Hooker, whom Comfort considered one of the most intelligent commanders in the Union army, and Alpheus S. Williams, whom he detested. Comfort's letter of August 13th, 1864, includes a useful account of the life in the Union lines before Atlanta, and his letter of January 21st, 1865, provides a brief but interesting description of the desperate Confederate effort to impede the advance of the Union XV Corps by flooding rice fields around Savannah.

Subject Terms

    • Atlanta Campaign, 1864.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • United States. Army. Infantry Regiment, 137th.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   65, Schoff Civil War Collection  
    John R. Comfort papers,  1863 January 28-1865 April 6 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Partial Subject Index
    Atlanta Campaign, 1864.
    • 1864 August 13
    Confederate States of America. Army--Artillery.
    • 1864 August 13
    • 1865 January 21
    Geary, John White, 1819-1873.
    • 1865 April 6
    Hooker, Joseph, 1814-1879.
    • 1864 August 13
    • 1863 January 28-31
    • 1865 April 6
    • 1863 January 28-31
    Savannah (Ga.)
    • 1865 January 21
    Shenandoah Valley (Va.)
    • 1864 April 27-28
    Sherman's March to the Sea.
    • 1865 January 21
    Slocum, Henry Warner, 1827-1894.
    • 1864 April 19
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--African-Americans.
    • 1864 April 19
    Williams, Alpheus Starkey, 1810-1878.
    • 1865 January 21