Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Numa Barned Papers, 1862-1865

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, May 1992

Summary Information
Title: Numa Barned papers
Creator: Barned family
Inclusive dates: 1862-1865
Extent: 25 items
The Numa Barned papers consist of letters home written while Barned was serving with the 73rd Pennsylvania Infantry in a variety of campaigns.
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:

1991. 2662p.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


No copyright restrictions.

Preferred Citation:

Numa Barned Papers, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically


Barned, Numa

Rank : Sgt.

Regiment : 73rd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. Co. B (1861-1865)

Service : 1861 July 15-1865 July 14

Numa Barned was the son of A. and H. Barned of 1920 Mt. Vernon Street, Philadelphia. Enlisting as a sergeant in the 73rd Pennsylvania Infantry during the summer of 1861, Barned accompanied the regiment to its first station in the defenses of Washington, where they learned drill and discipline. During the late winter, the 73rd Pennsylvania was attached to the Army of the Potomac, and participated in the Peninsular and 2nd Bull Run Campaigns, losing nearly half of their forces on the battlefield at Bull Run alone. Given time to regroup outside of Washington, the regiment remained in the rear until ordered to rejoin the main body of the Army of the Potomac in December, arriving too late to participate at Fredericksburg. In the campaigns of 1863, however, they were again thrown into the fray, suffering heavy losses at Chancellorsville and Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg.

Shortly after the disastrous Union defeat at Chickamauga, the XI and XII Corps, including the 73rd Pennsylvania Infantry, were ordered south to assist Gen. Rosecrans. Never able to remain out of a fight for long, Barned's regiment saw action at Wauhatchie and Missionary Ridge, where again they suffered terribly. Nearly every soldier in the regiment, then numbering only a little more than 300, were killed or taken prisoner. Barned was one of those few who escaped, and he and his fellow survivors marched under great hardship through East Tennessee to relieve Burnside before being sent into winter quarters in Chattanooga. After recruiting and reenlisting, the regiment joined in the Atlanta Campaign and in Sherman's March to the Sea and Through the Carolinas. Barned was briefly captured in North Carolina in March, 1865, but escaped and served out the balance of his enlistment.

Collection Scope and Content Note

Although Numa Barned's letters are few, many of them are very valuable because of the effort that he put into them. Unlike many of his fellow soldiers, Barned did not write simply a succession of one-liners to fill out a page. Rather, he stays on a subject for a full paragraph, viewing it from various angles, philosophizing, and fleshing out his ideas. One excellent letter in this genre is almost entirely occupied with his opinions on African Americans, drawn from a wide range of experiences with them. Another deals with the equivocation inherent in the question of killing another American -- even a rebel -- in battle.

Barned is also good at writing a sequence-of-events letter, such as the report of his capture by Confederates, and his subsequent attempts to escape. He has a head for chronology, as exhibited in his lists of day-to-day positions, apparently reconstructed after the fact. One additional feature of interest is Barned's continued cry of "On to Richmond," long after most soldiers had given the phrase up as another hollow reminder of the ill course of the war.

Subject Terms

    • African Americans.
    • Bull Run, 2nd Battle of, Va., 1862.
    • Prisoners of War.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • United States--Politics and government--1861-1865.
    • United States. Army--Officers.
    • War--Psychological aspects.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   13, Schoff Civil War Collection  
    Numa Barned collection,  1862-1865 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data

    Partial Subject Index

    • African American camp followers.
    • African Americans.
    • African Americans--Contraband.
    • Atlanta, Battle of, 1864.
    • Bull Run (Va.) Battlefield.
    • Bull Run, 2nd Battle of, Va., 1862.
    • Deserters, Military.
    • Food.
    • Foraging.
    • Homesickness.
    • Howard, Oliver Otis, 1830-1909.
    • Killing.
    • Marches--Georgia.
    • McClellan, George Brinton, 1826-1885.
    • Military ethics.
    • Money.
    • Prisoners of War--Capture.
    • Richmond (Va.)
    • Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902.
    • Skirmishes.
    • Target practice.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Medical care.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Participation, British.
    • United States--Politics and government--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • United States. Army--Officers.
    • United States. Army--Recruiting, enlistment etc.
    • War--Psychological aspects.
    • Wit and humor.
    • Women.

    Bates, Samuel P. History of Pennsylvania Volunteers (Harrisburg, 1869). Vol. 2, pp. 862 ff