Simeon Gallup papers 1861-1864
Collection Scope and Content Note
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The Simeon Gallup papers are comprised of 30 letters written by Gallup to his sister Emily, while he served with the 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery Regiment during the Civil War. Gallup's correspondence covers most of the war, and includes his bluntly expressed opinions on a number of topics related to the war's administration. Gallup frequently complained, for example, about the tedium of parades, and expressed hope that Lee's invasion of the North would stymie the growing Copperhead movement (June 21, 1863). Simeon provided an unflattering portrait of Southerners (June 22, 1862) and displayed a loathing toward censorship of soldiers' letters, but though he often depicted the words of contrabands and other African Americans in simplified dialect, Gallup expressed admiration for units of the U. S. Colored Troops attached to his brigade: "I have quite as much confidence in them for their fighting qualities as in any others who went with us. Such a thing would not have seemed possible" (February 12, 1864). His letters reflect a fair amount of frustration at the artillery's stint performing cavalry duties, as well as boredom while stationed in New Bern, North Carolina, but Gallup saw action several times throughout his military service. Several of his letters describe rebel troops and destruction occasioned by the fighting, and he shared a particularly wrenching account of experiences during the Siege of Petersburg (May 19, 1864). Also of interest is a description of a sword presentation to General Ambrose Burnside, including a description of the Union's commanding general (June 22, 1862). One additional letter in the collection was composed by a soldier known only as "S. P. C.," who wrote to his parents while recuperating from a shoulder wound in Chesapeake Hospital (undated).