University of Pennsylvania in the Civil War
Military Service

Prepared by Joseph-James Ahern
November 2010

Access to collections is granted in accordance with the Protocols for the University Archives and Records Center.

Thomas Humphries Sherwood Collection, UPT 50 S554

The collection documents Sherwood’s promotion as a surgeon in the Union Army. There are two pieces of correspondence to his wife (one letter, one telegram), with the letter expressing his views on service and events in the 3rd PA Cavalry; and the telegram informing his wife of a promotion and to come to Washington. Images of Sherwood, as well as certificates and memorabilia are included.


Robert Dechert Family Papers, UPT 50 D293

Box 4, FF 2, Dechert, Robert Porter Civil War Diary, 1865 January 17 - April 17
The cover of the diary notes "Asst Adj Gen Dept Hd Qts Left-Wing Army of Georgia." The diary recounts the movements of the Army from Savannah into North Carolina.


McClellan Family Papers, UPT 50 McC623

Box 1, FF 5, Arthur McClellan Correspondence
Includes an 1863 Headquarters Department of Washington pass for "Capt McClellan & Dr. Crehore," notes for corrections to reports, 1863, and miscellaneous calculations made on "Head-Quarters, Army of the Potomac, 1862" letterhead.

Despite the prominence of McClellan – the collection contains no letters from George B. McClellan, or in relation to the Civil War. The one piece of correspondence to George B. McClellan is from his nephew dated 1875 and relates to family matters.


Richards Family Collection, UPT 50 R514.1

Box 1, FF 5, Miscellaneous correspondence
Copy of letter dated 19 August 1863 from M. C. Meigs to L. W. Leeds at Calvert and Vaux Architects in NY authorizing them to draw up plans for the Western Hospital. Richards copied the letter.


James Tyson Family Papers, UPT 50 T994

James Tyson, an 1863 graduate from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, worked as a acting assistant surgeon at the Army General Hospital at Broad and Cherry Streets during the Civil War.  During the Gettysburg Campaign he was temporarily assigned to the Army hospitals in Harrisburg, PA.  Being a Quaker – Tyson served as a contract private physician to the Army, and never held a military position. 

Box 1, FF 2  Henry Tyson Correspondence
Captain Henry A. Lantz to Henry Tyson, June 2, 1864
– Lantz of Co. E 50th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry writes from “Battle Field on Pamunky River” about the engagement on May 12 at Spotsylvania Court House, and the capture of two members of the Regiment. 

Jacob Tyson to Henry Tyson, December 2, 1864 – After personal material describing his trip home to Warrensburg, MO, describes the effects of Confederate Major General Sterling Price’s raid into Missouri, in terms of the sense of security residents feel, and material taken during the raid. 

Box 1, FF 7 – 9, 15-19 James Tyson Correspondence
1861-1865, contains correspondence from James Tyson to his father Henry, step-sister Amanda Caswell, and his future wife Fannie Bosdevex many written from the U.S. Army General Hospital at Broad and Cherry Streets in Philadelphia where James served first as an acting medical cadet and later as an acting assistant surgeon. Some of the letters written to Fannie in 1863 are during James time in Harrisburg.  Among the 1865 correspondence to Fannie is a broadside for entertainment at the Broad Street General Hospital on January 7, 1863.The Civil War materials sent to Fannie include Confederate currency, state seals, and five cent sutler paper scrip notes for the 32nd Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.   

Box 1, FF 23 James Tyson Diary, 1862
James’ diary recounts his views of events that took place around him during the year – including conclusion of his medical studies, duties at the General Hospital, and personal matters.  An entry in September does mention briefly the Battle of Antietam in relation to the medical staff at the hospital. 

Box 2, FF1 Miscellaneous Correspondence
Contains an 1865 order to Tyson to report to Camp Cadwalader to examine recruits, and his 1864 contract as an acting assistant surgeon.


Office of Alumni Records Biographical Records, UPF 1.9 AR

The collection consists of biographical files for deceased alumni and faculty. During the late Nineteenth Century questionnaires were sent out that inquired about military service. Those returned by Civil War veterans have varying degrees of information.


Alumni Register, UPM 8115

Vol. 15, No. 1, 1912 through to 1914
"University of Pennsylvania Men Who Served in the Civil War" by Jordan first appears, pp 20.

Vol. 18, No 7, 1916
"The University’s Men in the Civil War" by Major John C. White, pp 631-636.
White, a Penn alumnus, responds to Rawle’s article and discusses various graduates who served in the war.

Vol. 18, No. 8, 1916
"William Brooke Rawle" by Francis Rawle, pp. 691-695.
Biographical memoir of Rawle, recounts his Civil War service.


General Magazine, UPM 8115

Vol. 45, No. 1, 1942
"A Hospital at Gettysburg" by William Fisher Norris, pp 34 – 41.
Small group of letters from William Fisher Norris (1839-1901) to his parents during his time at Gettysburg (July 7 – 27, 1863) as a surgeon in charge of 3rd Division, 1st Corps hospital following the battle. While the location of the original letters is unclear, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania does have a collection of Norris Family Papers.

Vol. 60, No. 1, 1957
"Three Letters from the Front, 1864-1865," by Henry C. Parry, pp. 7 – 16.
Collection of letters from Parry – surgeon in 2nd US Cavalry in Sheridan’s Army of the Shenandoah – to his father.