Oliver Otis Howard reports (1863-1864)

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection
Collection processed and finding aid created by Rob S. Cox, November 1997
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: Oliver Otis Howard reports
Creator: Howard, Oliver Otis, 1830-1909
Inclusive dates: 1863-1864
Extent: 4 items
The Oliver Otis Howard reports consist of official reports of the 11th Corps, submitted by Maj. Gen. O.O. Howard to Joseph Hooker, commander of the Army of the Potomac.
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

Acquisition Information

1976. M-1730.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Preferred Citation

Oliver Otis Howard Reports, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Howard, Oliver Otis, 1830-1909

Rank : Maj. Gen.

Regiment : United States. Army--Corps, XI (1862-1865)

Oliver Otis Howard's war record is one of notoriously mixed success. A graduate of West Point with the class of 1854, Howard was teaching math at the Academy when he resigned his appointment to assume field command with the 3rd Maine Infantry in June, 1861. By September, he was promoted to Brigadier General, assuming command of the 2nd Division, II Corps during the Peninsular Campaign. Twice wounded at Fair Oaks, Howard lost his right arm, but continued in the service, and by November, 1862, he had been promoted to Major General commanding II Corps (January and February, 1863) and XI Corps (April-September, 1863).

During the period of Howard's command, and particularly while in Virginia, XI Corps was widely considered one of the least reliable and least effective Corps in the Army of the Potomac. Whether this reputation is deserved or not, at Chancellorsville, Howard was widely accused of having failed to capitalize on Lee's famous decision to split his forces and at Gettysburg, the collapse of XI Corps on the first day of fighting at Cemetery Hill resulted in over 4,000 men being captured, with many more straggling. In September, Howard's Corps was ordered to join the Army of the Cumberland, and remained under Sherman's command through the victorious Atlanta Campaign and the March to the Sea and March through the Carolina's.

Howard is as well remembered for his post-war activities as he is for his war-time exploits. Following work with the Freedmen's Bureau, he assisted in the founding of Howard University and became its president for five years. He later returned to active duty with the regular army, where he took part in suppressing Indian resistance in the plains states and southwest.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The reports of XI Corps consist of the official reports submitted by Maj. Gen. O.O. Howard to Joseph Hooker, commander of the Army of the Potomac, between April and July, 1863. These manuscript copies document two of the seminal encounters of the war, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, with Howard's opinions on policy and his explanations of his Corps' harshly criticized performance. The final item in the collection includes sketchy records following the reassignment of XI Corps to the Army of the Cumberland and their role during the Chattanooga Campaign of 1863. Among engagements mentioned are Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, both in almost cryptic fashion.

Subject Terms

  • Chancellorsville, Battle of, Chancellorsville, Va., 1863.
  • Chattanooga, Battle of, Chattanooga, Tenn., 1863.
  • Gettysburg, Battle of, Gettysburg, Pa., 1863.
  • Gettysburg Campaign, 1863.
  • Lookout Mountain, Battle of, Tenn., 1863.
  • Missionary Ridge, Battle of, Tenn., 1863.
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Campaigns.
  • United States. Army--Corps, XI.
Genre Terms:
  • Official reports.

Contents List

Container / Location Title
Box   104, Schoff Civil War Collection  
Oliver Otis Howard reports,  1863 April 27-1864 April 9 [series]
1.  May 13, 1863. (11pp.)
April 27-May 2, 1863. Covers Battle of Chancellorsville.
3.  August 31, 1863. (31pp.)
June 30-July 3, 1863. Battle of Gettysburg
2.  September 9, 1863. (16pp.)
June 28-July 25, 1863. Gettysburg. Copy. Covers Lee's escape into Virginia and the abortive plan to head him off.
4. Daily log of 11th Corps, with weather, movements, activities, highlights and notes.  April 1, 1863-April 9, 1864.

Additional Descriptive Data

Related Materials

The Levi B. Downs papers at the Clements Library include requests sent to Howard during his time with the Freedmen's Bureau, which were passed on to Downs.

Partial Subject Index

Chancellorsville Campaign, 1863
  • 1, 4
Chancellorsville, Battle of, 1863
  • 1
Chattanooga Campaign, 1863
  • 4
Gettysburg Campaign, 1863
  • 2, 3
Gettysburg, Battle of, 1863
  • 3
Lookout Mountain, Battle of, 1863
  • 4
Missionary Ridge, Battle of, 1863
  • 4