Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Philip Bacon Papers, 1862-1867

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Mary Parsons, 2009, and Meg Hixon, July 2011

Summary Information
Title: Philip Bacon papers
Creator: Bacon, Richard
Inclusive dates: 1862-1867
Extent: 50 items
The Philip Bacon papers contain the incoming and outgoing correspondence of Philip Bacon, who served in the 1st and 12th Connecticut infantry regiments during the Civil War. Bacon discussed Civil War-era New Orleans and the difficulties of running a Louisiana plantation during the latter part of the war.
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:

2008. M-4717.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

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


The collection is arranged chronologically.


Philip Bacon was born to Richard and Laura Bacon on April 8, 1827, in Simsbury, Connecticut. On April 22, 1861, he enlisted as a private in the Union Army, serving first in Virginia with the 1st Connecticut Infantry Regiment. The regiment was disbanded on July 31, 1861, and on December 12, Bacon enlisted in the 12th Connecticut Infantry Regiment. He served as a corporal at Camp Parapet and in New Orleans before mustering out on September 3, 1863. A firm abolitionist, Bacon acted as assistant superintendant of freedmen in the area around New Orleans for over a year, and remained in Louisiana following his military service. During the remainder of the war and for the first years of Reconstruction, Bacon leased and farmed at least two plantations, where he planted cotton, sugar cane, and other crops. His interest in the plight of African Americans continued after the war, and Bacon founded a school for emancipated slaves in New Orleans. Philip Bacon died in Connecticut on November 18, 1910.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Philip Bacon papers contain both incoming and outgoing correspondence of Bacon. The collection contains a total of 50 letters, primarily written By Philip Bacon to his father, Richard Bacon; of his letters, he wrote six during his Civil War service, and received nine from various friends from Connecticut. In his letters to family and friends, he described the city of New Orleans shortly after its surrender and gave his opinions on the conduct of the war. On September 17, 1862, he wrote his father, "Mr. Lincoln is to [sic] slow, and at the rate we are now going on it will take twenty years to finish the war. Things look very bad to my mind so far." As the war progressed, Bacon showed a deep interest in the affairs of freedmen, and became an outspoken abolitionist. After he left the service, he focused on his two plantations in Louisiana, especially concerning his need for various farm implements and his initial difficulties growing sugar cane and cotton. Bacon became increasingly involved with the plight of local African Americans, and described their general education (January 12, 1864) and the establishment of various schools for freedmen (April 17, 1864). Other writers include eight of Bacon's Connecticut acquaintances, who discussed politics, a lawsuit (January 21, 1867), and farming.

Subject Terms

    • Cotton growing--United States.
    • Freedmen--United States.
    • New Orleans (La.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Plantations--Louisiana.
    • Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)--Louisiana.
    • Slaves--Emancipation--United States.
    • Thibodaux (La.)
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Bacon, Philip, 1827-1910.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   89, Schoff Civil War Collection Folders   10-19
    Philip Bacon papers,  1862-1867 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Cornelia Hancock papers contain card photographs of freed slave children, educated at Bacon's school in New Orleans.

    The Frederic Olmstead journal describes the treatment of slaves on Louisiana sugar plantations during the Civil War.

    The Graphics Division holds a card photograph showing several emancipated slaves at Philip Bacon's school in New Orleans: Paxson, C. Learning is Wealth. Wilson, Charley, Rebecca & Rosa, Slaves from New Orleans, 1864.

    The Book Division holds the following related item: Catalogue of Connecticut volunteer organizations, with additional enlistments and casualties to July 1, 1864: Comp. from records in the Adjutant-general's office, and pub. by order of the legislature. Hartford: Press of Case, Lockwood and company, 1864.

    Duke University holds a collection of Bacon family papers, which include 10 letters written by Philip Bacon.