Charles Eliphalet Walbridge
Letters, 1862-1865

22710

Quantity: 16 items
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Purchase: Charles Apfelbaum Rare Manuscripts & Archives, July 2002
Processed By: Jasmine Bumpers, Student Assistant (SUNYA), Manuscripts and Special Collections, June 2011.

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Biographical Note:

Charles “Charlie” Eliphalet Walbridge was born in 1842 in Buffalo, New York, and had at least four siblings: George, Harry, Annie, and Louise. He worked for a time as a hardware clerk in Buffalo before enlisting in the Union Army in September 1861. Walbridge mustered in as a second lieutenant of Company H of the 100th New York Infantry Regiment, and was discharged in April 1864 to take a promotion as captain and Assistant Quartermaster of Volunteers.

After the war he settled in South Carolina and ventured into the mule freight and train business. Charlie Walbridge died in 1913.

Scope and Content Note:

All of the letters in this collection were written between the years 1862 and 1865 by Charlie Walbridge and were addressed to his brother George. However, it is clear from these letters that he also corresponded with his mother and his other siblings.

Many of Walbridge’s letters to George focus on his position the Quartermaster Department. He dwells on his desire to obtain a promotion and his lingering fears of being passed over by a junior officer who is younger and has less seniority. Although it is not entirely clear from the letters, he was ultimately promoted to a higher position. 

The letters also reveal Walbridge's concerns about finances. He frequently sent money in the letters to his brother with instructions on how the money should be spent. He inquired about investments in oil stock and real estate, tax payments on their mother’s property and whether or not they should sell some of their family’s property to take care of debts.

Walbridge spends little time discussing his regiment’s movements or specific campaigns and battles since the much of his work in the quartermaster store was quite likely done some distance from the front line of combat action. Still, he nearly always includes his location in his letters and sometimes mentions where his unit is headed. He also offers glimpses into some division command, his daily routine, inspections/reviews, and rumors of attack; he mentions holding a captured sawmill and the construction of a canal in South Carolina, and his desire not to return to the field as a division quartermaster.

Occasionally Walbridge talks about books, the weather conditions in the south, and, through George, thanks his family for the clothes, food and gifts they sent him.

Unpublished typewritten transcripts accompany all of the original manuscript letters in this collection.

Related Collections:

Papers related to Charles Walbridge’s military service during the Civil War and post-war involvement in veterans and patriotic societies can also be found in the manuscript holdings of the University of South Carolinaexternal link.

Item Inventory:


Folder Item Description
1 1 Gloucester Point, [Va.], October 21, 1862 – Walbridge discusses his daily routine, the weather, and what he would like his family to do with the money enclosed with the letter.
1 2 Gloucester Point, [Va.], December 1, 1862 – Walbridge talks about inspections and reviews, his hopes of receiving his commission as a first lieutenant and shares his thoughts on George joining the Quartermaster Department.
1 3 St. Helena Island, [S.C.], February 22, 1863 – Walbridge expresses his wish to be appointed assistant quartermaster and says he is glad to learn the value of real estate is rising.
1 4 Folly Island, S.C., April 21, 1863 – Walbridge informs George that he and his regiment finally were paid after months of having not received their salary.  With the letter he encloses money and tells George how it should be spent or invested. Walbridge also urges George to make sure the taxes on their mother’s lots have been paid and talks about a rumor he heard in regard to another attack taking place in Charleston.
1 5 Chickahominy, Va., May 24. 1863 – In this very short note to George, Walbridge encloses $100 with instructions on how the money should be spent. 
1 6 Folly Island, S.C., June 10, 1863 – Walbridge tells George how he has his hands full as acting assistant quartermaster.
1 7 Folly Island, S.C., October 18, 1863 – Short note to George, in which he states that he has also enclosed a letter from Col. Dandy. (enclosure not included)
1 8 Gloucester Point, December 3, 1863 – Walbridge very briefly writes about his current duties and sends thanks to the family, through George, for the clothes they sent him.
1 9 Folly Island, S.C., December 9, 1863 – Walbridge writes about the upcoming construction of a canal, holding a captured sawmill, and what his regiment has been up to since he last visited it. 
1 10 Folly Island, S.C., January 17, 1864 – A brief note to George, updating him on division command and leadership.
1 11 [n.p., n.d.] Walbridge mentions an enclosed note (not included) to Dave Perkins that he would like George(?) to give to him and talks about the assistant quartermaster, Capt. Dunton.   
1 12 Folly Island, S.C., January 5, 1864 – Walbridge tells George that he has now been appointed division quartermaster. He also shares his displeasure of possibly being passed over for promotion by junior officers.
1 13 Hilton Head, S.C., February 21, 1864 – Walbridge shares his joy at the prospect of his appointment [to assistant quartermaster?].
1 14 Bermuda Hundred, Va., July 4, 1864 – An excited Walbridge tells George that he has received a furlough.
1 15 Bermuda Hundred, Va., October 23, 1864 – Walbridge recounts a Sunday during his furlough and shares his hope of returning to “civilized life.”
1 16 Bermuda Hundred, Va., March 24, 1865 – Walbridge writes about how he has been relieved and ordered to duty with the 1st Division of the 24th A.C. and how he is not looking forward to returning to the field as a division quartermaster.
Last Updated: March 5, 2014