Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Aaron H. Ingraham Papers, 1861-1862

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Philip Heslip, December 2009

Summary Information
Title: Aaron H. Ingraham papers
Creator: Ingraham, Aaron H., 1840-1864
Inclusive dates: 1861-1862
Extent: 12 items
This collection contains 12 letters from Union soldier Aaron Ingraham to his parents and sisters from 1861 to 1862, while he served in the 48th New York Infantry. Ingraham described his experiences at Camp Sherman in Washington D.C.; Annapolis, Maryland; Hilton Head, South Carolina; Camp Perry at Daufuskie Island, South Carolina; and Fort Pulaski, Georgia.
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:

2007. M-4597.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation:

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


This collection is arranged chronologically.


Ingraham, Aaron H.

Rank : 1st Lieut.

Regiment : 48th New York Infantry Regiment (1861-1865)

Service : 1861 August-1864 June

Aaron H. Ingraham (c.1840-1864) was a poor farmer who served with the 48th New York Infantry from August 1861 until his death in June 1864. Before the war, Ingraham lived with his parents George W. and Electa Ingraham and three sisters in Amenia, New York. Aaron, the eldest son, supplemented his work on the family farm with teaching to help alleviate the family's financial problems. Ingraham entered the army as a corporal with Co. F of the 48th New York Infantry and, in July of 1863, became the acting quartermaster of Co. C while stationed at Fort Pulaski, Georgia. He achieved the rank of first lieutenant during his service. He led his company at the Battle at Cold Harbor, Virginia, and was killed.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Aaron H. Ingraham papers contain 12 letters from a Union soldier to his parents and sisters from 1861 to 1862, while he served in the 48th New York Infantry. In them, he provided a description of his daily activities and responsibilities, and included basic information on troop movements. As Ingraham traveled from Camp Sherman in Washington D.C. to Annapolis, Maryland, Hilton Head, South Carolina, Camp Perry at Daufuskie Island, South Carolina, and finally to Fort Pulaski, Georgia, he described each of these settings. For instance, he reported that Annapolis was "a mere nothing, the houses being of inferior size and quality. The streets narrow and running in every direction but straight and there is naut of life and activity which makes it seem like anything but a northern city." In a letter to his sister, he mentioned a conversation with a free African American woman in Annapolis about her children whom had been taken north (October 17, 1861). Later letters concern the fortifications of Hilton Head and the effectiveness of mail delivery to the forts. Though he often described the monotonous life of a soldier, and complained about poor food and his lack of money, he used his keen sense of observation to highlight interesting events in the forts. The January 20, 1862, letter provides a wonderful account of eating at the fort and his excitement about receiving ginger snaps and bread in the mail. In this letter he also mentioned a friend who drowned after walking over the side of a boat in his sleep. Letters from November 29, 1861, and February 12, 1862, both recount instances of friendly fire. Ingraham wrote the letter of March 30, 1862, from Fort Pulaski, just after the Union captured the fort. He reported a rumor that Jefferson Davis was captured by Union troops, but he believed the rumors unfounded. While he held strong anti-Confederate views, he was not an abolitionist. In the final letter in the collection, he noted that slavery should simply be allowed to die out or at least contained in current slave territories.

The letter from January 9, 1862, has a red and blue patriotic engraved image of a woman carrying an American flag.

Subject Terms

    • Annapolis (Md.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Daufuskie Island (S.C.)
    • Food.
    • Fort Pulaski (Ga.)--Siege, 1862.
    • Hilton Head (S.C.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Military camps.
    • Patriotism--United States--Pictorial works.
    • Soldiers--United States--Attitudes.
    • Trench warfare.
    • United States. Army. New York Infantry Regiment, 48th (1861-1865)
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Battlefields.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   86, Schoff Civil War Collection  
    Aaron H. Ingraham papers [series]
    Folder   19  
     September 29, 1861
     October 6, [1861]
     October 17, 1861
     November 29, 1861
     December 11, [1861]
     January 9, 1862
    Folder   20  
     January 20, 1862
     February 12, 1862
     March 30, 1862
     April 17, 1862
     May 30, 1862
     December 21, 1862
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    Palmer, Abraham John. The History of the Forty-eighth Regiment New York State Volunteers, in the War for the Union. 1861-1865. Brooklyn: Pub. by the Veteran association of the regiment, 1885.

    Nichols, James Moses. Perry's Saints: or, The Fighting Parson's Regiment in the War of the Rebellion. Boston: D. Lothrop and company, 1886.

    The New York State Archives has a collection of Aaron H. Ingraham letters regarding his service in the Civil War.


    Coddington, Ronald S. Faces of the Civil War: an Album of Union Soldiers and their Stories. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.