Manuscripts Division William L. Clements Library University of Michigan
Finding aid for William G. Henderson Papers, 1862-1863
James S. Schoff Civil War Collection
Finding aid created by Philip Heslip, November 2009
Title: William G. Henderson papers Creator: Henderson, Gordon W. Inclusive dates: 1862-1863 Extent: 10 items Abstract:
The William G. Henderson papers consist of letters from a young soldier in the Civil War to his family in Connecticut. Henderson described camp and hospital life, and discussed his views on the war and incompetent Union leadership.
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
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.
William G. Henderson Papers, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
This collection is organized chronologically.
Henderson, William Gordon
Rank : Private
Regiment : 19th Connecticut Infantry Regiment, Co. F
Service : 1862-1863 May 4
William Gordon Henderson (c.1840-1863) was the son of Candice and Gordon W. Henderson of Litchfield, Connecticut. He enlisted in the 19th Connecticut Infantry, Co. F, in the autumn of 1862. The 19th Connecticut Infantry was stationed at Fort Worth, Virginia, and never engaged in battle. Henderson served with this regiment for only few months before becoming sick. He spent his final few months in a hospital near Alexandria, Virginia, and died on May 4, 1863. After Henderson's death, the 19th Connecticut Infantry was re-outfitted as the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery. Some sources misleadingly list Henderson as a member of this regiment.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The William G. Henderson papers consist of letters from a young soldier in the Civil War to his family in Connecticut. Henderson described camp and hospital life, and discussed his views on the war and the incompetent Union leadership. On January 20, 1863, Henderson wrote:
"But it is rather vexing to men that left their business and came here in order to end the war to be kept month after month scouring brass, washing white gloves, carrying knapsacks, and the like. We are doing fancy soldiering, that is all while the Rebs don't stop to see whether a man's gloves are perfectly white or not if he can only fight."
In his letter of Jan. 22, 1863, Henderson stated that he was not fighting for racial equality, but did believe that the cause of the war was right. He constantly voiced his disapproval of Union general's management of the war. By February 22, Henderson had landed in the Fort Worth military hospital with ear aches and ear discharge. He remained in the hospital for the remainder of the next three months, and in his last letters stated that he was getting better. The collection's final item is an unattributed poem commemorating Henderson's death (May 4, 1863).